Bible Teaching Begins!

When we landed back in Mibu from our yearly conference out in town, we found out that something was wrong.  Our good friend and member of our first literacy class had died while we were gone.  How many times can a heart break?  The funeral and mourning rites took over a week, and our date for beginning Bible teaching was put off several days.

In spite of the rough homecoming, the day is finally here – and TODAY WE SHARED THE FIRST OF 68 BIBLE LESSONS IN THE MIBU LANGUAGE!  The day we have all waited and worked for is finally here!  Our hearts are full to bursting!

As we shared here this morning with our Mibu friends under a bamboo lean-to, THIS is the whole reason we came, THIS is the reason we learned their language, the reason we have begun to teach them to read – it is for THIS – SHARING GOD’S TALK WITH THEM!  The Bible contains His message for mankind, and this is the Mibu’s time to finally hear it in their language.

We went on to tell them that in other places where the Bible message has gone, some people have believed the message, and some have not.  We 3 missionary families all believe it, and that’s why we came.  It’s true our home country is very far away, but this message is so important, that we want everyone to hear it.  That’s why we came to Mibu.  Our friends nodded in agreement to this.  It’s not news to them, it’s a tune we’ve been playing since we moved in.

We covered who the Bible was written by, (not by Americans, to their surprise!  And not even in English to begin with!)  We gave the origins of the Bible and explained who wrote the Bible, as well as giving the REAL Author behind the words.  There was even a skit!  Though the actors were a bit nervous, and had to do it three times to be heard, it was responded to with hearty applause.  🙂

We held up a world map, pointing out the area where God’s Word originated, how it came to Europe, on to America, and how we are carrying it on to them.  When we announced it is finally THEIR TURN to hear what God wanted to share with man, the cheers and huge smiles brought tears to our eyes.

Here in Mibu, people love to leave “memories” of special events.  A bone left in a tree, even a food wrapper stuck somewhere, it becomes kind of a 3-D scrapbook.  When we instructed everyone weeks ago to bring a rock with them to the first day of teaching, they thought it strange… but when we announced that we were going to all pile our rocks into a “memory” of this first time God’s Word came to Mibu, the response was exciting.  Rocks started piling up in the spot they chose near the lean-to.  Kids who forgot rocks ran around eyeing the ground for a contribution.  The grin splitting the face of one little girl who lugged a flat rock the size of her little sister to the pile still brings a smile to my face.

As the lesson wrapped up, we handed out word for word copies of whole lesson to all the literates (which comes to a whole dozen people, at this point!)  We pray that these lessons will be read and re-read – not only as practice for the members of the literacy class, but as they read and their families and clans listen, that the truth may sink slowly and deeply into their hearts and minds.

And now, making the joy of this incredible day overflow, after hiking home, an emissary from another small hamlet stopped by to talk.  They had been visiting this morning for the lesson, and are so excited about what they are hearing that they asked if we would mind if the entire hamlet could pick and move nearby to be able to attend the daily teaching!  We came overseas hoping to be a blessing, but we find ourselves blessed more than we could have asked or imagined.  To God be the glory, great things He IS DOING!!  🙂

From our hearts to yours,
J&B
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Bible Teaching Preparations

I can hardly contain my excitement…. David is getting it!!! David has been helping me as I write the Mibu Bible lessons to make sure that what I say is understandable. In a way, David is getting the Bible teaching before anyone else while we go over all the lessons together. He is wonderful at supplying just the right word or phrase to make what I am trying to say come to life in their language. Of course, I check to be sure that what he is supplying is accurate, but his imput makes a world of difference in the quality of the lessons. Also, gauging his reactions to what I am saying gives me a good idea of whether or not what I am explaining is getting through.

We have been talking up to this point about Adam’s sin, and the consequences it has for us. The fact that we are guilty because our ancestor Adam sinned is picturesquely captured in the Mibu phrase “Nyin be Adamdu barupin”. This means “we are the extension of Adam”. The Mibus make pig fences out of bamboo. In order to make the fence longer than the length of one piece of bamboo, they shove one piece of bamboo into another. That connection is called a “barupi”. In the same way that the one piece extends the fence, so we are an extension of Adam.

The fact that we are Adam’s “barupi” is made obvious by the fact that, just like him, we sin. Mibu people are very quick to admit that they as a people are sinful. They are quick to say “we commit adultery, we steal and eat, and we talk behind our friend’s backs.” But the admission of personal sin does not come so quickly. When faced with the fact that God remembers everything each and every person does, David concluded “There is not another path for me, I am going to the lake of fire. And I am scared.” He said, “When I die, God will have a paper with my name on it. He will ask me ‘Whose name is that?’. I will tell him that it is my name. He will ask me ‘Did you really do all these things?’ I won’t be able to tell him anything but ‘Yes.’ He will tell me that the price for disobedience is that I must go to the Lake of Fire”.

Today, David was still pretty distraught that God sees absolutely everything we do, and that we will one day answer for every action. He wondered if, when he is being good, does God see that, too, and is He is writing that down too?

We happened to be sitting on the ground in the shadow of a hut. I said, “See how we are in the shadow of this hut? God can’t see us, can He? Just as the sun isn’t shining here, so God can’t see us, right?”

David answered, “No, God sees everything. Even deep in the woods or at night, He sees us”.

His insight was music to my heart. I replied, “Yes, God is writing down the good things that we do as well. But even if our ‘goods’ outweigh our ‘bads’, we still will go to the Lake of Fire. After all, how many sins did it take for Adam to be separated from God?”

“Just one,” he answered.

“Yes, no matter how good we are, the punishment for even one sin is to go to the Lake of Fire”.

I ended by saying that, though this is heavy news, we have indeed come to share good news. We are now up to Lesson 12 – which bring us to Genesis 3:15. This is exciting, because it’s the first time God reveals to man that He will send a Savior into the world.

Its truly a joy to see the Word of God impacting David’s heart. The holiness of God demands absolute perfection or else death. This same man who told me “There’s no two ways about it, I am going to the Lake of Fire when I die,” believed just a short time ago that righteousness could be bought with cash. The Word of God is powerful! We are so excited to be a part of this incredible time in Mibu history. We can hardly wait to have the lessons written, and be ready to share this life-changing message with the rest of our friends here in Mibu.

T minus 49 days. 🙂