Don recently found out that the word he had been using for months for ’the future’ does not mean future, but the time between rainy season and dry season. So when Don thought he was teaching his language helpers, “In the future, God will throw Satan and his followers into the second death/eternal judgement.” Don was instead saying, “After next rainy season, God will throw Satan and his demons into the second death/eternal judgement.” He wondered why they were so excited!
One of Don’s language helpers was out fishing with his older cousin. As they walked along they heard the ‘Sihoho' bird. They believe this to be an ancestral spirit and therefore need to offer a food sacrifice to this bird so it will not hurt them but instead allow them to catch something. (It basically controls if the Agta will catch fish or trap animals.) His cousin had nothing to offer the spirit so he stopped and said to the Sihoho, “Don’t hold back the fish in the ocean from us.” The man looked at his cousin and said, “No way dude, God is in control of the fish!” It was as simple as that, BUT the lessons about the spirits are crossing over to REAL LIFE! This was HUGELY exciting for the missionary team. The message is getting through, despite mess-ups in language.
Don’s other language helper, is also using pictures from the lessons they are going over to tell his neighbours and others in his house about what the pictures represent; spirits and the fall of Satan, how the spirits deceive us, etc.
The team’s goal to start official teaching by August - September may be a little too optimistic. They are now working through the first five lessons with a church planting consultant who looks over the lessons, gives feedback, and makes sure they are communicating accurately, offering suggestions and/or questions.
Though the large group teaching may not take place as soon as hoped, Don is encouraged by his language helpers who continue to go through the Bible with him every day. Pray that these guys will be leaders in the future church, who will take the Gospel to other Agta villages along the coast. Continue to pray for them in the process of lessons development.
The Epps have been really enjoying Abby’s (a volunteer from Canada) help with home schooling the kids, helping in ‘the centre’ with Char’s teaching, spending time with the community kids, and just being a part of the team in the village. It is so valuable for them to have someone to take on important responsibilities to relieve Char.
Abby decided to stay one more month. This gives her a chance to finish off the kids school year, and enjoy the summer there. Continue to pray for her during her last month. There is no replacement for her at this time, so please pray that the Lord will lay it on another’s heart to join their team to teach the Epp kids.