For you who have been faithful all these years by giving, by prayer and by words of encouragement, we are very grateful. You have had a part in the gospel of grace coming clearly to the Amdu people for the first time. And the Lord is working in the hearts of Amdu men and women! We wanted to share a few testimonies that we’ve heard from those who are resting in Christ’s sacrifice alone for the forgiveness of their sins so that you might rejoice with us in the miracle the Lord has done here. Last Friday was the lesson about the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and we’ve spent the week since then talking one on one and in small groups with those who faithfully came to the Creation to Christ Bible teaching. We’ve been thrilled to hear simple confessions of faith. We’ll share some of these here with you.
Just yesterday I was sitting with a man about my age who has lived quite a life. He has several wives and is well known as a powerful man. He is a good hunter and one who walks far and wide. People respect him and listen to what he says. But listen to his testimony. He said to me, “Bart, for much of my life people have been telling me that I would never go to heaven, that I couldn’t or wouldn’t be accepted by any means because of having multiple wives and the wild way I have lived. But when I heard you guys teach that it was Jesus’ blood that God was looking at to pay my debt with God, I was full of joy! He wasn’t looking at all the bad I had done, but only what Jesus did to remove my problem with Him! I was a great sinner and have done many bad things, but Jesus’ blood is special enough to cover all of it. I am so happy! I have left my ancestral and personal magic that I trusted in and am holding onto only the death of Jesus in my place. Now I’m looking forward to hearing Course 2 when you start teaching again soon!” Friends, this man is already telling people about his new-found faith! The one who thought he was too far for God to reach has been joyfully freed from all that bound him! Now others who have been blocked from coming to our teaching but are related to this man are coming to him to ask what he’s learned from the teaching. There is more I could say about him, but I want to save space for some one-liners from others who are also believing.
From an older man who has been faithfully attending and sitting each day with rapt attention: “I was born a child of Adam and because of that I was a broken-off branch from God. But Jesus is the only way. His death on the cross took all my hevi (sin) away. Every single thing you see – the mountains, the trees, the birds and the animals and the rivers and dirt and rocks; God made all of it. Our ancestor stories are false. God’s story, like what you have taught us, is the only true story. And God sent Jesus. And Jesus alone can remove sin. I say that is true! So, while it is hard to live on this earth because of Adam and Eve, I’m going to be in heaven with God one day.”
From a middle aged man who walked each day from a neighboring hamlet: “Because I’m a broken-off branch, my confidence is in Jesus’ death on the cross. He removed my sin and took my punishment.”
From an older lady who is grinning every time we see her: “I can’t stop thinking about all you have taught us. My heart is just so light!” “Jesus came and died and his blood took away my sin. I am saying true to that.”
From a man who is a leader of a religious group here: “All those ways we heard were the way to God – doing good and not doing bad, being good to other people… – those aren’t the way. Jesus dying in my place is the only road that God made to be right with him again.”
Rejoice with us for these new family members! There is none too far for God to reach. There is nothing too difficult for Him!
And there are other similar testimonies! But there are also a handful who don’t quite understand yet, or who hear what God is saying but can’t quite grasp that there is nothing they have to do but accept God’s gift of salvation to be made right in His eyes . Continued conversations are helping those ones to become more clear. And our next phase of teaching is just what they need to shore up what they have already heard from God’s Word. As long as we are here, we will be teaching God’s Word and helping the believers to grow in grace and knowledge!
Keep praying for our team as we continue with translation and Bible teaching. There has been lots of hard work up to now, but in some ways the work is just beginning. We know there are challenges ahead for these new believers and for us. The Lord is faithful and He gives strength for each step of the way. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!!
Rejoicing in God’s salvation,
Bart, Emily and boys