Several weeks ago we sent out a prayer request for 2 individuals who were rejecting the message of the Bible. This was especially alarming considering the prominence and influence these 2 men have in Mibu.
Well, it’s as if God was saying “All you had to do was ask”, because shortly after we sent out that prayer request, both Sivi and Posilongge each completely changed their minds in regards to the truthfulness of God’s word. Here’s how it happened:
Around the time we sent out the prayer request, we taught a lesson on the temptation of Jesus by Satan. It was a relatively short lesson, and we did 2 simple skits. The first skit was at the beginning, where we showed Satan distorting the message of the Bible, trying to use that to tempt Jesus. Of course, Jesus correctly used the Word of God to refute Satan.
Then, at the end of the lesson, we did what we normally do, that is, ask if anyone has any questions. I simply asked the question, and the person who played Satan in the first skit got up and said, “Yes, I’ve got a question”. At this point, he was still in his Satan “costume”. He started asking the Mibu people, “Do you really think that this guy, Jesus can really save you? He’s not even from Papua New Guinea? He’s fine for the Israelites, but how can he save you?”
As Satan finished his spiel, one of the Mibu guys that often helps out in skits stood up and said, “I believe what you are saying.” Immediately, Satan rushed over to this guy and pulled him out from the rest of the group; then Satan came back and addressed the Mibu people again.
This time he ever so skillfully implored the Mibu people not to take our warnings about hell as literal. “Its just a figure of speech” he said. Again, another one of the Mibu actors “believed” Satan’s words, and Satan pulled that person away from the group.
Finally, Satan returned a 3rd time and said, “All this talk about ‘salvation’. You know what they mean when they say ‘salvation’, don’t you? They mean that if you believe God’s word, he is going to save you from the hard life you face. All the material benefits you could ever want.” Once again another Mibu man was led away by Satan.
Then, Satan went and addressed privately the 3 people he had taken. The 3 of them, along with Satan, came back to the group and started preaching their lies, trying to pull more people away. Yes, it was a set up… and that’s how the skit ended.
In the following days, both Sivi and Posilongge sought us out to talk on separate occasions. Geoff and I sat down at length with Posilongge and listened to him talk about how he had been deceived, and how he had changed his mind, and is now believing God’s word, and that he too trusts in Christ’s death. Even yesterday it was so sweet to see him bring 2 little boys by so that they could share their testimony with us. While it was obvious that the two boys still haven’t put the pieces together, it was very special to see Posilongge trying to help them see it.
Later on Brooke and I sat down with Sivi and his wife, Wun. Sivi talked first at length of his deception. He said, “All those questions I asked you were because I just didn’t understand. I asked a lot of questions that were off point, because I was deceived.” Then Sivi and Wun each shared their new found faith with Brooke and I. Neither of them have stopped talking about it since!! 🙂
God is calling many people to Himself. Please continue praying, now for the wisdom and patience and diligence to disciple these new believers and teach them to turn to God and His Word for their needs.
For His Eternal Glory,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia
Mibu, Madang, PNG
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. 🙂