Out of Our Hands

A small group of ladies and children sat on the hill up from our house talking about Mata.  I had been friends with Mata, but hadn’t seen her much since she married into another village a few years back.  The news had come from that direction that she was very sick, and not two hours later another messenger brought the news that she was gone.  The news hit hard for Joey and I, knowing that she had moved away before the Bible teaching had happened here.  She had not been able to come, living with her new family in a village several days hike away that speaks a different language.  Times like these feel so crushing….

I sat on the hill and chatted with the ladies, talking about Mata’s little son, and who would take him now.  I lamented that Mata had been gone for the Evangelism lessons.  Mata’s Aunt Eson peered into my sad face with her steady dark eyes.  “But she did hear,” she told me.  “Last time she visited, she was staying with her parents.  I told her God’s story.  Her brother, Mark, also spent time telling her what God’s Words says, just how like we learned in the Bible lessons.  We told her, and she believed.  She is with God now.  I miss her, but we will see her again.”   How wonderful to hear that the Gospel goes forth, not just trained teachers outreaching to entire communities, but individual believers passing on what they have learned as they see need and have opportunity.  Eson and Mark and so many other believers here know the truth, and reached out with it to Mata.

Our tears have turned to joy.
Thank you everyone who is praying for the believers here; rejoice with us!

For His Glory,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia
Mibu, PNG

A Changed Viewpoint

I sat down in Benny’s hut and waited for my eyes to adjust to the dim interior.  He was just recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia, and I was thrilled to see that he finally looked like he was on the mend.  Even though his breathing was still somewhat labored, his eyes shone and twinkled.

Benny began to reminisce about his old beliefs, which he has discarded for a biblical worldview.  He talked about how, before, everyone he knew believed that all sickness and death was caused by sorcery.  (Germs are a new concept here.)  He believed that anyone who was mad at him could capture part of his spirit and work sorcery on it.  They would use a piece of his leftover food, or fingernail clippings, or even simply catch his reflection in the blade of a knife.  He believed that people could steal his spirit, then work sorcery on his captured spirit and cause him to get sick and die.

He went on to say that in the Bible teaching he learned that man has only one spirit and that at the instant it separates from the body, the body dies.  So it is impossible for anyone to steal his spirit.  He mentioned that even after trusting Christ he still was confused on this issue and would pray to Jesus for protection from the sorcery.  He said that he sees this kind of prayer, even though it was to Jesus, was a form of worshipping Satan.

He explained, “God and God alone holds life and death in his hand, and Satan tricked us people into believing false things about the nature of our spirits.  Satan’s first sin was to try to take God’s place, and his ways have not changed.  He still distorts things so that we will fear him and not God.”  Benny’s grasp on these truths made my heart sing.  What a testimony to the power of the word of God!  He can change centuries upon centuries of false beliefs!

What a blessing to see God’s word in action, and the transformation that is slowly taking place in the hearts and minds of the Mibu people.  God’s word really is making a difference in the way they live their lives!!!

For His Glory in Mibu,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia
Mibu, PNG