Several years ago when Lane Sanford and Chris Lujan stepped off the boat and onto the island where the Siar people live, they were greeted by an excited group of people who were waiting for them.
In fact, the Siars had been waiting for a very long time. They wrote to the New Tribes Mission leadership team in Papua New Guinea asking for a missionary to come live with them. The leaders told them that there was no one to send. So the Siars began to wait patiently for the missionaries to come. They had seen changes in the lives of other people groups where missionaries lived and wanted that transformation for themselves.
When Chris and Lane and their families moved into the village, the Siars realised that there was much work to be done. They needed to help the missionaries learn the culture and language in order to hear the message Chris and Lane had promised. As relationships grew and the missionaries became comfortable in the language, five Siar men, Amos, Bernard, Sali, Toiya and Tande, helped the missionaries translate God’s Word into final teaching lessons.
In August 2011, Amos and Sali trusted Christ as their Saviour and continued in their role of helping Chris and Lane translate God’s Word.
In October of that year, Chris and Lane completed the Creation to Christ lessons and a church was born among the Siar people. They did not yet understand what God was going to do in their lives. “As the church grew in their understanding and experience with the Lord they started to gain a deeper understanding of God, His life, His desire, His work, their new identity in Christ and also His worldview,” wrote Chris.
God began to work His miracles in the lives of the Siar church. Recently they sent out their first missionaries. Tande, Nelson, Sali, and Jon stepped up and began to teach the Kandas people the Firm Foundation Bible lessons. The four men hike up the mountain on Wednesday then teach on Thursday morning, again in the afternoon and on Friday mornings. On Fridays they come back and report to the church.
The Kandas have not heard a clear presentation of the gospel in their own language so teaching the Word of God from Genesis to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is a long term commitment and may require a family to move into that village for some time.
The Siar people have come full circle. They have received the gospel message and were transformed when they trusted Christ. Now they are teaching another people group and looking forward to Christ doing His miracle of transformation in the Kandas’ lives.
But the Siars and the Kandas are just two of the thousands of people groups who need to hear the gospel. There is a huge job to be done. Chris and Lane have done their part, the Siars are doing their part, what about you? What would God have you do to help plant churches among remote tribal groups?