Entire Mibu families trusting in God!!!

Acts 16:34 “…he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family”.

I watched in complete amazement yesterday as Mootriye and his entire family each testified to their firm belief that Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath.  With smiles on their faces, one by one they expressed their new found faith with all the joy of one having just learned that they will be spending eternity in heaven with God.

Mootriye’s family is not the first Mibu family to have done this.  On Friday, after the teaching, I sat in a hut and talked with one new believer after another.  When it was all done, and everyone that I had talked to was gathered in a hut, it hit me, virtually the entire Sandip clan has come to believe in God!!!

Thank you so much for your prayers over the last few years.  Many of you have prayed with diligence for individuals, families, and the entire tribe.  God is doing an incredible work here, and it has been such a joy to sit down with dozens upon dozens of newly born Christians in the past couple weeks.  The looks of joy on their faces, and relief, and gratitude!!  What a privilege it is to be here as an eye witness to this extraordinary climax in the history of the Mibu people.

We are thanking God for the spiritual rebirth of the following people:

Women and Girls:  Biop, Nema, Parenuwe, Dage, Mewoone, Ipi, Ngave, Jin, Sotine, Nosoo, Awiyoo, Jawiyee, Manggoowut, Sira, Barayoope, Denggena, Kalen, Wenoo, Uyu, Boni, Gipail, Depe, Mange, Opain, Pangga, Poi, Omartin, Ooneyoo, Papniwap, Sipitnung, Nata, Tema, Koowapiye, Gidion, Toipe, Yaviring, Kumup, Eootene, Ana, Jeritine, Manggwu, Mookansio, Yoote, Kwauk, Wun, Nensi, Damebiung, Luwarane, Ti, Damenggere, Ketoora, Maraoo, and Jepit

Men and Boys:  Bapeke, Samson, Trip, Tomas, Unongjim, Wuri, Sonde, Stiven, Daniel, Orine, Manave, Apioot, Weng, Sooke, Ware, Jemsi, Porenoo, Moses, Stiven, Jowi, Pliel, Bam, Josep, Imanyooel, Manggepe, and Mootriye.

For His Glory,
J&B
Mibu, Madang, PNG

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47

“You guys are speaking God’s Word and I believe that it is true.  Here’s what I think.  All the work that Jesus did unto completion, he did it for me.  He died, and took my sins, and the sins of everyone, and went to hell.  After doing that, He rose again and went to heaven.  In my thinking, this talk is true and I believe it.  It is very true and that’s all.”

This is the letter that one of the men here, Make, wrote.  He passed the note to me one morning before teaching in Beng began.  Afterwards, I tracked him down to talk.  He simply radiated joy with his every word.

We are so thankful for the prayers of so many, and so thankful to God for this beginning of a harvest.  May this harvest season be long and abundant!  His Word is true and able to change hearts and lives!  We are thankful for the testimonies of salvation from the following people here in the last few days:

Men:  Lookas, Phineas, Barnabas, Mark, Emos, Gorepe, Ronooka, Kitanoo, Jems, Make, Petrik, Song, Gooni, Ekim, Raokwepe, Bomi, Ato

Women:  Ngave, Boomat, Moosa, Manasari, Kik, Jookoope, Kong

To God be the glory, great things He is doing!!
For Him,
J&B
Mibu, Madang, PNG

Birth of a New Church

The day of the beginning of the Mibu church is here!!  Join us in praising our awesome God for the following people who have each professed a clear testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ:

Men: Royfo, Sesi, Kivisi, Samuel, Dopeke, Navang, Tima, Benny, Gero, Hone, Keteng, Semi, and Jepiri
Women: Rao(Devit’s wife), Yoonare, Eson, Nimoke, Joonoomeng, Watikiyo

Royfo:  “Thank you for telling me this!  Jesus died in my place.  Now I know I am going to heaven.”

Sesi:  (While still an unbeliever) Upon hearing about David’s conversion said, “I’m so happy for him.  Soon I will understand and believe too”.  Two days later, he gave a clear testimony of his own salvation.

Kivisi:  “Now I understand.  It is finished.  What is there to say!!”

Tima:  “Just as people in the Old Testament offered animal sacrifices thinking, ‘These animals are dying in my place’, so I look to Jesus who died in my place.”

Samuel:  “Thank you for bringing this talk.  May God bless you for bringing this talk.”

There are also many others who are so very close to really understanding how it was that Jesus’ death bought their forgiveness.  We are overjoyed to tears at each new testimony shared with us, and expectantly watching many of the others on whom light is beginning to dawn.  God’s Word is so very powerful!!

For His Eternal Glory,
J&B
Mibu Tribe, Madang, PNG

Sivi and Posilongge

Hi,

I  just wanted to pass on a quick request for prayer.  As the time for the presentation of the Gospel to about 200 or so people draws close, we are super excited as it appears that many people have understood and believed what we have taught on up until this point.  We expect God to do great things.

As excited as we are, there is an element of sadness.  As there are several who although continue to attend the teaching faithfully, are rejecting the message that they are hearing.  This is hard because as we come to the presentation of the Gospel, we know that it will be meaningless to those who have not accepted the foundational teachings that we have taught every day for the last 5 months.

Please pray for specifically for 2 brothers, Sivi and Posilongge.  Pray for them to acknowledge God as the only God.  Also that they would see their ancestor beliefs as the lies of Satan that have held them captive for centuries.

These 2 men are very influential leaders here.  And they are very close friends whom we have spent hundreds of hours getting to know.  Its very painful to see them continue to reject God.  Please pray for them.

Here’s a poem I sent out before, that attempts to describe the world view of Sivi and Posilongge.

Envisage

I am a man of Mibu
where mountains and traditions are steep,
and such I hold to be true
what I see when I’m asleep.

Leaving the world of consciousness
consciousness of the world does not suspend
I hold firm any semblance –
for truth is truth, whether real or imagined.

My spirit in the midst of night
travels far with open eyes
and sees in the dark as if in light;
gives me meaning, tells no lies.

Ask me of my ancestors
names forgotten, it would seem.
Yet I need not look any farther
than answers revealed in my dreams.

As I lay me down to sleep
I pray unto this effigy;
reveal to me the secrets deep
of wealth, success, prosperity.
—————————————————

Encouraging as it is that many are turning from this way of thinking, some continue to hold to it.  Please pray with us.

J&B
Mibu, PNG

Really Great News!!!!!!

Yesterday David and I were working together on the last few evangelism lessons.  We talked about the reasons for Jesus’ death on the cross.  I asked him if, since Jesus is God, couldn’t He have forgiven us for our sins without dying?”  David wasn’t sure how to answer that, so I reminded him of what God had told Adam in the garden.  The penalty for sin is death.  So how can God forgive us without that penalty being paid? It would be against God’s character.

David replied, “If God did that, He would be a liar.”

So I asked again, “Couldn’t Jesus have just declared our sins forgiven without dying?”

Then I saw it all making sense!  The look in David’s eyes and the smile that jumped onto his face gave him away before he even said a word… he got it!  Everything David has been learning in the past months became clear!  He had heard that Jesus died, but just this morning the pieces all fell together as we talked.  We are all separated from God from the Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden of Eden.  Just as God said so many times throughout the Old Testament, The penalty for sin is death.  ONLY Jesus’ perfect sinless life and his death on the cross could appease God’s righteous wrath!  Jesus HAD to die for us to be able to be reunited in relationship with God!   And these conclusions from David’s own lips!

Once he understood God’s plan of salvation, he wanted to tell me over and over and over again; stating that it is true and he believes it!

When I was finally able to get a word in :), I asked David if God keeps His promises.  Since we had recently worked through John 3:16, he knew God’s promise that everyone who believes will have eternal life.

“Yes, every promise is true!” he replied, “And God said that if I believe His Word I will go to heaven and be with Him when I die!  I am going to heaven when I die, and I am so, so happy!!  Thank you very much for telling me this.”

Our cups are overflowing with joy.

For His Glory,
J&B
Mibu, Madang, PNG

The Choice

I walked in on a conversation the other morning that sent my hopes soaring. I had gone down to Mibu early before teaching and stopped by my friend Sesi’s house. When I got to the doorway of his hut, I could hear lots of people talking. When I called out, they invited me in. About a dozen people were sitting around the fire pit earnestly discussing recent events in light of what they were learning in the Bible lessons! This, of course, put a smile on my face!

The village was being threatened with sorcery by the local delinquent. He took the credit for the most recent death which he said happened by his power (the man died of TB), and said another 51 people would soon die if his demands were not met. The demand being a wife… Of course, nobody wants to give up their sister or niece or daughter to such a fate, but there was more to it than that. Now more than ever their old beliefs are in direct conflict with what they are being taught in the Bible lessons. As I sat in Sesi’s hut listening to men telling each other that sorcery has no power over them, and that they should not give in to his demands because they believe what God is saying now, my stomach did flip-flops. This is it! This is what it’s all about! Even where they are at now, not even knowing who the promised deliverer will be, they are choosing to side with what they know about God and His Word and His power!

They asked for my opinions, but I told them that I talk all the time, and to keep on in their discussion. Truth is, I wanted to just listen. To hear our friends siding with God even when it goes against everything else they have ever learned… I will never forget the moment. When it was time for us to go down to begin teaching, I left by adding this thought. I held up a flashlight very, very close to the page of a book. Just a sliver of light showed around edge. “This,” I said, “is the small amount of light or understanding that has been given to you by the teaching of God’s Word. You are choosing to trust in it, to believe it, and God will give you more light. And more. As you choose to put your belief in Him, He will increase your light (as I held the flashlight gradually farther from the page.)

To those of you sharing in the journey with us, let us praise God! We are not yet to the crux of mankind’s salvation, but they are allowing what they are hearing to permeate their lives and thinking. If they will just continue to choose believe the truth, it WILL set them free!!

1 Thes 1:9 “…and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.”

For His Glory,
J&B

God of His Word

When studying the culture of the Mibu people, one of the questions I asked over and over was, “To you, what is a good person like”?  One of the answers that came up often was “A good person is someone who says, ‘I’m going to do such and such’, and then they really do it”.  Mibu people place a high value on following through with promises.  Then, just like us, they often struggle living up to that ideal.

Thankfully our God is perfect and always does what he says.  This has been a major theme that we have brought out over and over throughout the continuing story we are sharing with the Mibu people every morning. We are teaching on the Israelites being enslaved in Egypt and God’s miraculous intervention to set them free.  We continually point them back to Genesis 15:13-14 about how God predicted to Abraham hundreds of years prior all that was going to happen.  God keeps His promises!

Even with “little” things.  God told Moses he would send Aaron to help communicate God’s words to the Israel people and to Pharaoh.  Just as he promised, so he did.  In big things and little, God is emerging as a God of His word in the hearts of the Mibu people.  Several people have even expressed privately that they think that maybe Moses is the promised Deliverer sent to save them from their sins.  They are looking and waiting for Him!!

For His Glory,
J&B

PS Several more people in the village are very sick.  Many think it may be TB, which is highly contagious and deadly without treatment.  There is often not TB medicine available at the aid station a day and a half’s walk from here.  Please keep them in your prayers.  Thank you.

Abraham and Isaac

Sorry, it’s been a while since we’ve sat down to write an update about the teaching.  We’ve made significant progress into the story and taught about God asking Abraham to offer Isaac.  We used a series of skits all done by the Mibu people to help tell the story, and we brought out the dilemma that Abraham felt, “If I offer my son, from where will the promised Deliverer come?”  We shared how Abraham reasoned that maybe God would raise Isaac from the dead.

At the climax of the story when Abraham was about to kill Isaac, we related Isaac to us.  Here are we with this death sentence.  “Kepoo karaknyin upusi” or, “We have no feet or hands”.  That is the Mibu idiom to say “our hands are tied”.  In that way we explained that salvation is totally a God thing, we cannot get ourselves out of our hopelessness by ourselves.  We are continuing to lay this foundation for the Gospel which we are hoping to present by this Spring!

After teaching is over around 9 AM, I usually hang around the village for several hours talking with individuals and small groups answering their questions about the lessons.  It is so exciting to see God’s word at work!  This culture is permeated with  the mindset of “If no one saw me do it, it wasn’t wrong”.  But over and over again we’re showing through the Old Testament lessons that God always sees us. This has many people admittedly scared.  One person shared, “It’s like I’m in court, and I just keep hearing ‘you’re this kind of person’.  And because of that I’m fearful.”

While judgment comes out over and over in the lessons, we also see over and over again God’s merciful provision for those who trust in Him.  This is a glimmer of hope, and many of expressed their eager anticipation to see what God’s way is going to be for us sinners.  Two men said in reference to this promised Deliverer, “It is that crossroads that we are waiting for.  We wonder, what is going to happen?”

From what we can tell, most everyone from the village is attending the teaching.  This is an answer to prayer in itself!  Please continue to pray for their hearts and minds to be open to the truth, and that they will be ready to accept the Savior when His life is taught.  Thank you!!!

Submission

Today’s lesson was incredible! Seeing people beginning to place their faith in what God says in His Word just thrills our hearts unto praise for Him!

We are up to Genesis chapter 4 so far – the story of Cain and Abel. We could hardly have guessed before coming to Mibu how just the first four chapters of Genesis could turn their world upside down. Who and even WHAT God is by what He said and did… that He created all of us, that sin has consequences, that we have an enemy who hates us and wants us to be separated from God forever, that we are all descendants of the two first people, these truths and so many more are at the same time amazing and confronting the Mibu people.

When we taught on Cain and Abel, we held up the tree branch that we had broken off weeks ago was sitting visibly in the teaching area. It was now dead and the leaves were dried up and shriveled. We said, “Just as if you break a branch off a tree, it’s source of life is gone, and so everything from the point where it was broken on outwards dies. The branch is separated from it’s source of life – the roots – God. The broken off branch is like Adam – and the smaller branches and leaves are like all of his descendents. Since Adam was separated from God for his disobedience, all of his children and children’s children down to US are separated from God. What a visual picture of our need for God!

Many people are asking us if they should sacrifice sheep like Abel did. They are ready to do it! We have told them to wait and keep listening to the lessons- that in the upcoming weeks we will learn more about the promised deliverer that Abel was waiting for. Later they will hear that the Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to cover them once and for all!

Right now they only know this promised deliverer as “Muguratdu Upeukngun”. This means “The offspring or our progenitor” (Genesis 3:15). Who is this person? Some have guessed that perhaps it is the angel who guarded the way back to the tree of life. We can only keep telling them to keep coming and hear the story line upon line. Someday soon they will know!!!

May God bless unto salvation those are believing to be true! I wish you all could have seen the look on Nimoke’s face during the teaching – she was just soaking in the truth! Later that afternoon, she walked up to our houses to talk further with us, and stated that she believes what she is hearing to be true, and therefore feels that she should abandon her former ways. Oh, may God bless this woman’s seed of faith! May she one day see Him face to face as Savior and as Lord!

And then there’s Bapake. This man walks hours and hours from his home village at the beginning of each week to hear the teaching! He said today that He believes God’s word to be true and is looking forward to the one that God will send to take their sins away. May this initial act of faith carry through to the day He hears of Jesus Christ.

Because of Him,
J&B
sms

Tension

Here is the tension expressed by the Mibu people as they begin to see their position before God:

“My sins are many, how can I go to heaven?”
“Should we sacrifice animals to God so that He will forgive us?”
“How will the Deliverer that God promised make a way for me to go to heaven?”
“All of our ancestors that died before hearing God’s word, what happened to them?”
“If I die before hearing the end of the story, what will happen to me?”

For the past month we have taught through the first 3 chapters of Genesis, Monday thru Friday.  We have many more foundational teachings to cover in the Old Testament before presenting Jesus Christ, the promised Deliverer.

Please pray fervently for the Mibu people to look to the Lord and Him alone.