'One stomach with you'

POSTED ON 2008-12-09
  by David Bell

No one moved. No one talked. The silence was awkward and began to frustrate the missionary team that had just presented the death, burial and resurrection of Christ to the Patpatar people of Papua New Guinea.

The missionaries began to wonder if they had communicated the message clearly.

But the reality was that last week the Patpatars heard a message that was different from anything they had ever heard and were sitting quietly, contemplating this new concept.

"They had heard of God. They had heard of Jesus. They had even heard about Jesus dying. But they had never heard about salvation by faith through the grace of God," wrote missionary Aaron Luse.

"The concept that the way to eternal life in heaven with God was not through their effort, ability and works was revolutionary. The fact that Jesus was the way to the Father and that believing in His work on the cross for their sins was the Good News was new."

To believe the message would mean that they turn from the teachings of their ancestors and from other religious teachings. They would be ostracized from others in the tribe who had not yet heard the teachings or who didn't believe them.

As Aaron finished the teaching, no one responded when he gave them the opportunity.

Later, "when we began to talk one on one with the Patpatar people we began to be encouraged," Aaron wrote. "Over and over again we heard that God's Talk was clear to them, that they understood the message."

"This school is different from what we believed," said Tokiung. "Don't be fooled when some of us seemed to know the answers because we knew some of God's Talk before. We just got a piece here and a piece there and tried to get to God through a big process.

"I want the others (those who weren't at the teaching) to believe like I do now. I believe in Jesus' work for me. His blood paid for my sins. I am not good enough to pay for them. He was the only One that was the perfect Lamb so my sins could be paid completely. I thank God that His Talk has been made clear to me."

"When you started to teach God's Talk I was not one stomach (in agreement) with you," said Matias. "I didn't want to hear the talk and I didn't want you to be here. Then one day I went to hear the teaching. The talk fought with my stomach (really made me ponder). I started to come all the time. Now I have heard the work of Jesus. I couldn't sleep last night because that horrible suffering Jesus endured was for me. He did the work for me to get to heaven. Now I want everybody to hear this message."

"I came with lots of questions in my head. I didn't want to throw them out," said Pius. "I wanted to hear God's Talk from the beginning to the end so that it would go inside and answer those questions. Now I am clear. The questions have been answered. I know that I am a sinner and can't get to God on my own. I am clear now on the way to Heaven; that Jesus died for those sins and it is by belief in Him that God will accept me."

"I used to be in Satan's clan because I am a sinner," said Tamrau. "I tried to do good works, follow the laws of the church, even appease the spirits, but now I know that was not enough for me to get to God. I am now trusting in Jesus' work for me. He died. He was put in the tomb and He rose to pay for my sin. He is the only way to God. I am believing in Him. Yes, the Spirit of God has given birth to me in God's clan now."

Please pray for these believers and others who have broken the silence. Pray that they will stand strong in their faith in any opposition that may come their way.

Today the Patpatars gathered at a village feast to celebrate the teaching of God's Talk. Those who heard the Gospel had the opportunity to publicly testify about how the teaching affected them.

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