After nearly a year-long struggle with what she called her "sick," a Lavongai believer in Papua New Guinea took her last earthly breath.
Mandes never knew what her sickness was but missionaries suspected cancer, and during her last stay in the hospital doctors determined her liver was failing. She was given a two-week supply of morphine and sent home. She died this week a couple of days after her release from the hospital.
Mandes and her husband, David, responded to evangelistic Bible teaching in 2005 and became faithful followers of Christ. They attended a mini translation workshop and assisted the missionary team with translation work. Mandes was Sarah Pauli’s main translation co-worker for the past three years.
"I so enjoyed our time together studying Scripture," wrote Sarah. "I would try my best to explain Hebrew culture while we were straining our brains together trying to come up with just the right wording to explain a concept that is foreign to the Lavongai culture.
"Several different times we stumbled across just the right phrase at the very same time and we knew it was the Lord’s doing. What a feeling!
"Other times what we were studying together offered comfort, perspective or hope for a personal struggle Mandes was feeling at the time. To see Scripture as living and active and a source of comfort is a very new concept for the Lavongai people, but Mandes experienced it several times."
Mandes’ parents are believers, but her siblings and five children are not. Her married daughter, Judy, visited Mandes in the hospital and upon leaving the hospital told missionary Wade Ebersole, "This is a real sickness of the body, not the way people (back home) with eyes of the world look at it. It’s her liver. That’s why she’s sick and dying."
Many Lavongais believed that Mandes’ sickness was the result of sorcery, not a physical problem. The Lavongais beliefs in sorcery often stir up suspicion and accusation, ruining relationships and instigating malicious pay-backs.
Please pray that God will work in their lives and that they will come to understand the Gospel and believe in the One whom Mandes put her faith in.