A lesson in encouragement

POSTED ON 2010-02-19
  by David Bell

Yanis was struck to the core. What could he do? He finally found a young woman who trusted in Jesus in the same way he did. He had been dreaming about this day before peach fuzz had first become visible on his upper lip.

He had gone through the initiation process required to become a man. He had combed the jungle to gather the best poles, bark and leaves to build an acceptable house. He had carefully taken care of three small pigs, showing himself to be industrious. He had faithfully followed the expected procedure of gathering the necessary pigs from his relatives and friends. Hadn’t he done everything possible to prove himself fit as a Hewa man, ready for marriage?

But when he asked to marry Unai her father scowled and said, "No way. It’s going to take more than these 28 pigs to marry Unai."

The father’s voice threatened to squeeze every ounce of hope from his heart. It played on his youthful feelings of inadequacy. But one day he heard something that revived his hope.

"I’ll help," said his friend Eyaka. "Let’s go to every village. Let’s visit every relative, even the distant family you haven’t seen in years. Let’s see if there might be people that will be willing to donate just a few more pigs. You’re almost there. Don’t give up now."

Eyaka, a man full of energy who loves to laugh and make others laugh, was a great encouragement to Yanis. He was the first to trust in Christ a few years earlier and helped the missionaries translate verses and lessons in preparation for teaching the Bible in his village. Now he wanted to help Yanis.

Together, the two friends hiked the windswept mountains of Papua New Guinea and the muddy ravines, stubbing their toes on hidden rocks and scraping blood-thirsty leaches from their legs. They introduced themselves to long-lost relatives and made the awkward plea for more pigs. And they succeeded.

Yanis now has an acceptable bride price to offer to Unai’s family. In a few more days the families will gather, the pigs will be distributed, and Yanis and Unai will become one.

Please pray that the couple will be a great testimony for the Lord and that the faith they possess will sweep over the surrounding mountains to reach other Hewas and neighboring language groups.

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