Tobos live out what they learn

POSTED ON 2010-08-13
  by David Bell

Since hearing teaching from the book of Romans, Tobo believers in Papua New Guinea have gone above and beyond the cultural norms to help each other in their family and clan relationships.

Tobo Bible teacher Welsen recently talked with missionary Chad Mankins about the plight of one Tobo woman. Bula is lame and cannot get around without aid. She has been confined to her house and porch, and must sit and shuffle on a rough plank bench to get to her outhouse. In spite of her circumstances, this very kind lady has an excellent sense of humor and an infectious laugh.

The two men decided that maybe there was some way to help her. Chad gathered pieces of plywood that were left over from various projects and provided nails and Bula’s sons were glad to cover over the splintery, uneven surface of Bula’s pathway.

"They even had enough for a nice sitting platform just on her porch to allow her extra comfort when she scoots out from the smoke-filled house to sit and take in the fresh air from time to time," Chad wrote.

Welsen didn’t stop at the pathway makeover. He suggested making some wooden crutches for Bula. So along with the plywood they presented Bula with her hand-hewn crutches.

Bula could not contain her tears as she expressed her gratitude and believers in the village were praising God for the act of kindness.

"I too stood there and gave grateful praise to God," Chad wrote. "Though generosity is very prevalent in Tobo culture, the type of help that we gave was not something that most Tobo people would ever dream about."

Typically, the response would be, "Ah, it’s her sons’ responsibility. Let them take care of her," or "She’s not in our clan. There is nothing we will get in return; no prestige or big status will come to us from this. She is not a big man in the community either, so is it worth it?"

But God’s Word is making a difference. The young believers were living out what they learned from studying Romans. Pray that their example will spread to others and result in more Tobos coming to a relationship with Christ.

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