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It is such a great time in the life of this first generation church where, in so many ways, the tribal Christians have turned from fear to faith. It seems like each day I hear another encouraging story from people who have been delivered from their old life of bondage and now feel great freedom in Christ. One recent story happened just a few days ago.
As we were preparing for a small feast to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, some of the young guys went out to try to collect some bats. Bats are a delicacy here but are rarely hunted because they live in difficult areas like inside caves and inside large crevices in the mountainsides. Because these areas are believed to be inhabited by dangerous territorial spirits, fear has kept the tribal people from coming too close.
About an hour hike from our hamlet, there is a large, bare rock face on the side of the mountain with a large crack or crevice that runs up it. Bats are known to hang out in this place, so these young guys, led by a young man named Pengguci, went out to see what they could get. When they arrived at the rock face, they had to cut down some small trees to make a bridge, which got them up to the bottom of the large crack. Looking inside they could hear the cry of the bats, and the occasional bat would fly out and in. This is as far as the tribal people would go. Normally they would stand at the entrance of the giant fissure and swat at the bats flying in and out with large branches, praying to the evil spirit to give them some of his bats.
Now just inside of this large crack is an opening off to the side. It is like a door that leads into an inner chamber inside the mountain. From what I heard, no tribal man had ever gone inside this “door” for fear of the territorial spirit that lived in there.
But Pengguci and the rest of these young guys are all solid followers of Christ. Pengguci told me the story of what happened next.
There were only a couple of bats flying in and out, and we needed to get a lot for our feast. I thought about how God had created everything including the mountain and the bats. God even created the spirits, and God has complete control over all of His creation. We knew that if we went inside the “door” then God would protect us, and we had nothing to fear! We went inside and found a large room, which was full of bats. We whacked them and shot them with our pellet gun, and we got a total of 52! On the way home, we thanked the Creator God for giving us so much food for the feast.
Before God’s talk came to this mountain, this cave was feared by even the bravest warrior. Yet now a bunch of fearless young men and kids entered in, fully trusting in the Creator, and God blessed them by providing a great catch! A day later, we all celebrated the Resurrection of Christ, and, as we sat around and enjoyed food and fellowship, we not only praised God for his provision of the Savior who paid our sin debt but also for His plentiful provision of bats!
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