A whole village gathered to see who would stand up and take part in the first communion among the Yembiyembi believers in Papua New Guinea this week.
A handful of the believers boldly and gladly partook.
"I had no problem taking it," said Gloria. "Let them look and throw stones at us (ridicule us). I don't mind. I am taking it because I understand the meaning. Christ died for me and shed his blood."
"My father was a leader of our ancestors' thinking," Dennis said. "He rejected God's Talk and died, eternally separated from God. But now, I am his first born son, and I took communion today because I am not lost anymore. I believe that Jesus died for my sin payment. I remembered that today with my new brothers and sisters under Jesus."
"Afterwards many people threw stones at us and tried to make us feel bad for taking communion," said Clara. "But the more they talk the happier and stronger I became in my thinking. I have a new thinking. No more old customs for me, just God's Talk. That's what I am going to follow."
The time of communion was not only a testimony to the community but a stepping stone to reconciliation with a neighboring tribe.
"We have been praying for you guys over here, that your thinking would become clear about Jesus and what he did for us on that cross," said Joshua, a church leader from another language group who came to witness the first Yembiyembi communion. "Our church over the hill is so excited that you guys are believing this talk and you have become children of God."
Joshua could hardly contain himself as the testimonies were translated to him. For the past 20 years Yembiyembis persecuted the believers in their neighboring tribe, but now they have a common bond in Jesus. Joshua was close to tears as he heard Yembiyembis apologize for their former actions.
"We were all wrong," said Robert. "We used to go over to your place and burn houses, tear apart gardens and scoff at your fellowship. We had no clue that you were getting the true talk. I remember I was one of the guys that went over there and messed up things, and now I am so sorry that I did that. You guys had the true talk, but our fathers and village as a whole rejected you guys and God's Talk unknowingly. We thought we had it all. We treated you wrongly, but now we are brothers in Christ."
Another Yembiyembi, Paul, added, "We used to make fun of you guys because you were so little and unschooled compared to us. We used to call you the dogs of the mountain over there. But truly I tell you, I was the dog. I was going to the place of burning fire forever place and I didn't even know it. We were the real dogs you guys were the children of God."
"True," said Lawrence, "our heads were blocked by our own self, proud, big name thinking. In God's eyes now we know we were his enemies but you were crossed over to His side. If only we would have downed our name (humbled ourselves) and tried to get the true talk you were receiving. Nope, that wouldn't have happened. You know why? We were so consumed with ourselves that we blocked our thinking from receiving the Good News of Jesus. But now our thinking is clear about Jesus and we are your brothers under Christ."
Joshua's smile beamed the whole night as the men talked until 2 a.m.
Please pray that the Yembiyembi believers will continue to stand strong and that their faith in Christ will be contagious, spreading to those who are "throwing stones."