After years of learning the culture and language of the Siar people, and months of teaching through God’s Word from Creation to Christ, Lane Sanford on Friday taught about Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
“After completing the lesson, I simply asked the Siars if they had any questions or comments and then I sat down,” Lane wrote.
Lane wasn’t sure what would happen. Questions and uncertainty ran through this mind. The silence didn’t help.
Then Jon stood up. Jon has been helping Lane prepare the lessons, so this was his second opportunity to hear what Jesus did for him and his people. Jon was emotional, which is unusual for him – or any Siar, for that matter.
“He shared how God's Word in the creation account revealed to Jon the true God who is perfect, all-powerful, and the creator of all things,” Lane wrote. “God's Word showed him that no matter what he thought about himself, the truth of the matter was that he was a sinner separated from God and the punishment for his sins was ready for him to bear. …
“He knew that the death on the cross was meant for him and he deserved it but Christ took his place and suffered his punishment for his sin. He said he firmly believed it, and was confident that God bought him back and that he was now in God's clan forever.”
Then Jon challenged his people by saying, “You guys, this is the truth - the only truth. And this is the time for us to decide whether we will believe this or not. … You all need to decide what you will do with this Gospel; this was for you and you must decide!"
Next Tomulai stood and said he been awake all night after hearing about the suffering that Jesus experienced for him. Then Ogen stood and said simply that the death of Christ was indeed the only way to eternal life. After that Sali had a message for Lane and his teammates. The Siars are being ministered to by Lane and his wife, Karrie, along with Jonathan and Melissa Jackson and Chris and Erin Lujan.
What Sali wanted to say to them was thank you. “He thanked us for leaving our homes and coming here to give them the truth,” Lane wrote. “He was thankful for that and thankful for the truth of Christ's death that he now understood and believed in.”
Two women, Sakman and Redi, sat together saying, "This is it. This is the only truth and only Jesus' work for me is the truth that can save me. We are believing this truth and we will never leave it for anything else!"
Tinamidil, a quiet lady, said, "This is the only truth, that is for sure, and I believe it."
Stiven said he believed that Jesus’ work was complete and the only way to eternal life.
“A number of individuals, husbands and wives, older men, and older women have believed,” Lane wrote. “The truth of the Gospel has shown its bright light into the Siars' minds and hearts, and many have responded in faith. “
Now, after years of work to get to this point, the hard work starts, the work that continues to lead toward establishing a mature church among the Siars.
“The ultimate desire of God for the Siars is a mature and thriving church comprised of Siar men and women who are grounded, growing and dependent on the Word of God alone. What that means is that we are not standing at the end of this work with the Siars, but we are at the very beginning,” Lane wrote.
Please pray that the Siars who have not yet made a decision to follow Jesus will do so as the Sanfords, Jacksons and Lujans follow up with individuals. Pray that those who have believed will learn and grow. Pray for perseverance for the missionaries as they tackle the work ahead.