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A couple years ago, our Resurrection Sunday started out with a somber call. The weather was foggy and cold and only the roosters could be heard when a man called. The news of death needed to be passed along our mountainside. Just a few hours before, a lady had passed from this life into the next. Mike later preached, “Who knows the time of death? When am I going to die? When are you going to die?” Thankfully, followers of Christ have hope, because Christ conquered death on our behalf. If we believe in Him, we have eternal life with Him. We had celebrated the death and Resurrection of Jesus with the believers here in the tribe on Friday. We cooked and all ate together and read the account in the Gospel of Matthew.
Being able to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord with our tribal brothers and sisters is such a blessing. Before God sent us to preach the gospel, there were no believers among this people—they had never heard the gospel before! But now there is a thriving church! Sadly, many of the people of the tribe refuse to believe in Christ and instead still live in fear and bondage to the evil spirits.
For example, one time, Hudson was sitting outside on the front yard with his friend Pu when they noticed Bogu, a man known to rely on evil spirits. He lives up on the hill from our house. He was squatting, unwrapping something covered in banana leaves, all the while hissing at the evil spirits. When he finished unwrapping the leaves, he pulled out three stinging nettle sprouts. He then walked into the pandanas trees, cleared a spot, and planted the stinging nettle, whispering into the leaves and then into the trees around him. After that, he stuffed the wrappings into the boards of his house. “What was he doing?” asked Hudson. Pu explained that the old man was planting the leaves for the spirits. This bondage keeps these people living in fear and holds them back from accepting the precious message of the gospel.
But the gospel message of what Jesus Christ did for us sets people free from bondage and gives them a life of freedom and peace. We praise the Lord that He is growing His church here in the remote jungles of Southeast Asia!
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