Awesome things are still going on over here in our corner of planet earth! Not the least of which is that we have started teaching in Tariknan, a village about 3 hours away from Mibu. The teaching been going on for two weeks now, and we have taught up through the fall of Adam and Eve.
Unlike the evangelism phase in Mibu, where we missionaries were the only teachers, in Tariknan much of the teaching is being done by the Mibu believers! Geoff and I (Joey) are there with them, partnering with them as they reach out to their own people with the message that they have taken hold of themselves. These new believers/teachers are filled to the brim with excitement seeing evidence of the God of heaven actually working in their own hearts and lives.
On Monday the teachers expressed concern that 3 of the leading men of Tariknan were not attending the teaching. We prayed together about it, and wouldn’t you know it, the next day one of the 3 of the men that was prayed for showed up, and has been attending the teaching ever since. Not only is he there, but he is obviously cut to the heart over the message he’s hearing.
It took several days to teach on the fall of man and God’s promise of a Deliverer. As we prepared together for teaching, we prayed that God would give each of us wisdom as we taught. It is so awesome to see the Mibu teachers presenting the material, not straying from the outline, but adding their own culturally relevant illustrations that the Holy Spirit has given them. Afterwards we thanked God for his faithfulness in giving us the words to make the truth relevant. They are growing by leaps and bounds even while God is using them and stretching them as they reach out.
One Mibu teacher, Kivisi, closed a lesson with this illustration: He placed two pieces of paper on the ground about 6 feet apart. He then said, “One of these papers is light, and the other is the darkness”. He then showed them that all these years they have been living in darkness, but now that the Word of God is come, they are beginning to step towards the light. And he promised that when they get to the end of the lessons, they will see clearly as in the light. What a way to end this lesson in which God promises to one day send a Deliverer to save mankind!!
What an effect the Word of God is having in Tariknan, the last village in Mibu land without the Gospel! These Mibu teachers are spending part of their days just hanging out with the guys in Tariknan, answering questions about the lessons. After the series of lessons about the fall of man, the Mibu teachers reported that the Tariknan people are to the point of tears over the sinfulness of all mankind, and their own inability to buy off God’s anger with money, ritual, or promises to obey.
We often share with the Mibu teachers, “We’ve never seen God with our eyes, but we have seen the evidence of Him at work. When he answers our prayers as He is so obviously doing in such magnificent ways, we see the evidence of His existence.” Meanwhile, back at the believers meeting in Mibu on Saturday, Sesi got up and addressed the believers during testimony time saying, “It is God and only God who is causing some from amongst us to proclaim His word without fear.” What a joy to hear this newborn babe in the Lord giving the credit where it is truly due!!
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia
Mibu, Madang, Papua New Guinea