A large group of Tobo villagers in Papua New Guinea made their way to a cliff at the edge of their village on New Year’s Eve.
They blew whistles, clapped, banged on pots and some sang songs. Many of them carried palm leaves and green branches.
At the cliff the group recited some ritual prayers and the religious leaders spoke some solemn words. The group then began launching the palm leaves and branches into the dark void off the mountainside.
It was their way of starting the New Year fresh. In their minds they were ridding themselves of the sinful behavior and disputes of the past year.
But not all of the Tobos participated in the traditional entrance into the New Year. The believers had their own way of celebrating. They started 2010 with a time of worship and fellowship, thanking God for the love, joy and peace they have found in Christ.
Several of them discussed the impossibility of getting rid of sinful behavior in their own strength, as some of their neighbors were attempting to do. They recognized that Christ’s finished work on the cross took care of their sins.
A few days later the believers gathered to continue their study of Romans. In their first lesson of the New Year they talked about what it means to offer oneself to God as a living sacrifice.
"Isn’t it just great," wrote missionary Chad Mankins, "that we can let God take care of throwing out the old ways in His own good timing as we yield ourselves to Him? What a neat time we had together. We look forward to continued growth and excitement among our little group of believers as the year 2010 progresses and we wrap up our study of Romans this spring."
Please pray that more Tobos will see the uselessness of trying to rid themselves of their sin through works and will place their faith in the finished work of Christ.