The Tobo people of Papua New Guinea are an emotional people, and it showed when missionaries Jason and Kellie Knapp told them that they would be leaving them soon.
The people could not hold back their weeping and wailing, but encouraged the Knapps with their testimonies of God’s work in their lives.
"We can be sorry that you are leaving," one woman said, "but we now have Jesus Christ in our lives and so we can rejoice because we will shortly see each other in Heaven, where there will be no more goodbyes or tears."
"We did not ask for you to come," said one man, "but God saw our need for Jesus and brought you to us. Now we have not only believed in the one road, Jesus, and been given eternal life, but we also know how to read the Word of God in our own language. We have been blessed, and since God brought you here how can we disagree with him and say that you should not leave now? He is taking you somewhere else. Others need to hear this message and God will use you to tell them."
Another man said, "God’s Word says that some people plant and others water. You have planted the seed and it has grown. God will use others to water, and God will cause us to grow."
Jason recently visited Polas, a Tobo man who placed his faith in Christ two years ago and then moved to town to get work.
"When I left our village and came to town, I had no intention of staying for longer than a month or so," Polas said. "But I saw the spiritual darkness in this gold mining town and so I put up a tarp and started teaching about the characteristics of our perfect God and how we humans are sinful and doomed to Hell.
"I taught that following the law or living moral lives or following different denominations cannot save us. Only belief in Jesus’ death for us can save us from our sin and the punishment of Hell. Many people have challenged me on this point, but I take them to God’s Word and show them the only road of life -- Jesus."
Knowing how God has worked in the lives of the Tobo people, the Knapps wrote, "It was a struggle to come to this decision, but we have peace that this is God’s own direction upon our lives.
"We praise God for the privilege it has been to live among these people and to become their friends and brothers. It has been an unspeakable blessing to watch God, through the simple Gospel message, bring salvation to these people and to watch Him work in their lives and cause them to mature."
As the Knapps move to another ministry, missionaries Jason and Nisae Williamson and Chad and Janeene Mankins will continue to translate Scripture and teach God’s Word to the Tobos.
Please pray that the believers will continue to mature in their walk with Christ.