“There’s no real way to describe the experience.”
Nevertheless, Lisa Kappeler tries.
Her heart is to share a glimpse of the recent believer’s conference. In the course of this conference, which the Ama church hosted, 400 believers from other villages and language groups gathered, including Lisa and eight Uriay believers.
For starters, many more people showed up than were expected or planned for. As a result, food was short and living conditions were crowded at best, she writes.
A meal consisted of four leaves of greens with some sago paste. Not really enough to fill up anyone.
The beautiful part was that the 61 people who shared the house where Lisa stayed “didn’t get grouchy or angry with one another.”
Imagine a rather long night with kids crying, babies sleeping nearby without diapers and rain pouring in with no walls to keep it out. Imagine slopping through mud to try to bathe, getting one scanty meal a day, no privacy whatsoever, big sores on your feet—and the list goes on.
Lisa could not help missing her soft bed, pantry and fridge, the hot water, her private shower … all the things that she is normally able to enjoy. But, at the same time, she realises that her tribal friends do not ever enjoy these things.
So this conference was different and special. “We were all in it together,” Lisa observes.
“It was an amazing time as well as hard. … Again and again I was thanking the Lord for things that we experienced together. … It was hard, but I’m so thankful that I could be part of it.”
The Siawi believers taught first. Lisa was grateful to hear these faithful men present the Gospel very clearly. Another highlight was hearing another tribal group lead worship, singing a song about how all believers from various language groups and families were going to Heaven together.
“I was overcome at what I was seeing before my eyes … the truth that we all would be going to Heaven together one day—and the tears just flowed,” Lisa writes.
“I was overcome as I looked around and saw believers that were there because a tribal church had shared the Gospel with them—not missionaries, but a church plant. And now they’re being discipled by another tribal church.”
Is God at work in His world? Does Gospel transformation make a difference?
You might want to ask one of the 400 tribal believers who endured and rejoiced through hunger and crowds to be part of this singular gathering—a gathering that vividly displayed God’s mighty work of grace.
“Overall,” Lisa summarizes, “the conference was a cool picture of Heaven one day.”