On-the-job training

POSTED ON 2009-04-22
  by Dena McMaster

Three missionary candidates, who have been living in a remote Saluan village, will graduate next month.

The students displayed a serving spirit as they helped the villagers weed their crops and did other chores while living in the village for the last three months.

Missionary Simon Pyatt, who teaches the students, needed to make a trip to the village to evaluate their progress in culture and language acquisition.

"If I thought the two previous trips into Saluan were an adventure then I was in for a surprise, Simon wrote. "This time I tried to get to the upper village as fast as I could so that I could have plenty of time with our student missionaries to evaluate their language progress."

Because of excess rain in the area, the river was flooded and the only route was straight up the mountain. That made for an event-filled trip.

The first part of the trek was enjoyable because Simon was able to question Pak President, one of the first four Saluan men to believe the Gospel, concerning his journey to faith.
"I can't get enough of hearing how God has so wonderfully set free so many people who lived in terror, and bondage, through simply hearing, understanding and believing the Gospel," wrote Simon.

Their conversation made the first part of the trip fly by but the second half of the trip was extremely difficult. Constant rain made Simon's back pack heavier as items became more rain soaked. As Simon and his Saluan friends went up and down the mountains his legs began feeling like jelly. Then they came to a mountain that demanded a four-hour hike straight up in the dark and then another two hours slipping and sliding down the wet clay on the other side.

Pak President kept saying, "Careful, there's a cliff to the right -- careful there's a cliff to the left." At one time, Simon actually fell head first over the edge but was saved by some shrubs.

At 11 that night the group arrived at their destination and Simon was able to meet with the students. As the students were getting ready to leave and return to the school, the locals wept at losing their new friends.

Pray for Simon as he guides and shepherds missionary candidates through their training. Pray also for the training program as they prepare missionaries for the task of planting tribal churches.

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