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A waft of smoke drifted up from our lonely mountaintop this morning. It was the smoke of the burning funeral pyre. A little girl died last night, and after a time of village mourning, the little limp body was laid in the wood “nest” and more wood was stacked on top of her. Burning sticks were shoved in below her, and as the wood started to catch, the cries and tears kept flowing. This is a scene that has been played countless times over in these remote mountains. But here this time, on this mountain, there was a difference. There was no extreme wailing and mutilating of body parts. There were no chants and promises said to the evil spirits. There were no special words said to the “shadow spirit” of the young girl.
Instead, my good friend and disciple Liku stood up and spoke from God’s Word. He read from Genesis 3:17–19 and correctly explained how the hardship of life and death is the result of our ancestor Adam’s sin. He went on to explain that it is because of Adam’s sin that we have to work hard in our gardens and sweat to get our food. And then our bodies dry up and we return to dust. He explained that the meaning of death is separation. He taught that when Adam sinned, he was separated from God—his life source. His body would also one day die and be separated from his spirit. Ultimately without faith in the coming Messiah, his spirit would be separated from God forever in the lake of fire. He went on to explain that we (and all people) are born into sin and, although we are alive and walking around, our spirits are dead.
Liku then went back a few verses and read Genesis 3:15. He said that in this verse we see the promise that God would one day send the Redeemer to crush the head of Satan. Liku taught that God, because of His mercy, sent a way for people to live forever with God if they would trust in God’s Way, which is through His Son, the Redeemer. Liku said a few more words about Jesus the Redeemer, and then concluded his talk by saying that “God alone is the one who determines our days, and we can understand that even this is from His hand. Let us use this child’s death to remind us of the Truth that we read from God’s Word, which is the fact that the punishment for our sin is death and we all are in need of the Savior!”
As I sat there listening to Liku, I was amazed at the power of God and His Word to change people. It is only God’s Spirit that can change people’s hearts. And when their hearts have truly been changed, their actions follow suit. It is my prayer that the Truth that has changed the people on this mountain will continue to spread and reach into the other still-dark corners of this people group.
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