This is Kawage, one of the COC guys who comes to our Bible Study. He lives close by, but is part of the Kuman Tribe which I visited just after we arrived in PNG the first time. In the picture above, he is using the leaves of the tangat bush as decoration–this is not uncommon. Many times, when I raise my camera, people grab a flower or something to “decorate” themselves.

Today, in our Bible Study, every guy showed up. This was an answer to prayer and very exciting because it was a big day in which we confronted one of the most common points of confusion among PNG nationals who are church-goers. We reviewed some of the things introduced last week about the Law and then discussed the sacrifices God delineated in Leviticus. This discussion enabled me to challenge the belief (held by most of the guys) that they can get to heaven by following the Law. After exposing the fact that none of us have actually lived up to the standard of the Law, I then explained that even Israel did not. However, God provided a way for them to “become clean in His eyes” through offering sacrifices. (Additionally, I pointed out that the sacrifices were an outworking of faith and simply going through the motions wouldn’t accomplish anything.) I asked the guys the following questions and got the following answers:

  • Have you broken God’s Law? Yes
  • What do you deserve for breaking His Law? Death
  • Have you made the right sacrifices in the Tabernacle? No
  • Where will you go when you die? Hell

After this, I told them to hang on because good news is coming eventually.

When I finished, this was the reaction:

Malon: “We are so happy that you are teaching us because before we have heard some stories from the Bible, but we always hear the end and never the beginning. We don’t know the start so we don’t understand the end.”

Thompson: “I heard before that we were created in God’s image and thought we were like God. Now I understand that Adam and Eve were created in His image and they corrupted it. Now we have the corruption.”

James: “I heard before that Jesus took our sin, so I thought I didn’t have sin. Now I see that I sin.”

Kawage: “While you were talking about these sacrifices that the Israelites were supposed to make I started thinking this: in their time they had to believe in God and bring a sheep to die on the altar to pay for their sins. But now I think Jesus is like that in our time. He hung on the cross and died to take our sins so we have to believe in Him.” Me: “Kawage, did you hear that somewhere before.” Kawage: “No, I just thought that in my head just now for the first time.”

Any one of those four responses would have really thrilled me, but God has blessed us with all four. We still have a ways to go, but today was very encouraging. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us and to all of you who have partnered with us so that, together, we have this opportunity to help Malon, Thompson, James, Kawage, Alex, Wanpis, Benjamin, Dixon and Balux understand God’s word.

  1. That’s awesome. You are being a faithful steward of God’s word & gospel. So glad we get to partner with you.

    I’ve been reading through Deuteronomy & God has been showing me the same truths. He called Israel to obey Him as a part of the covenant, but they failed. A lot. And I do, too.

    Thanks for sharing these stories. I know they are encouraging to you, and they are to me as well.

  2. The Glovers

    Ditto,what Joey said. Emma and I have been reading through the Old Testament this school year as well. Great truths. Thanks for including the guys names so we can be more specific in praying.

  3. Kelley Haff

    That just brought tears to my eyes (not good for someone who’s nose is already stuffy from a cold). I am thrilled to be partnering with you guys too!

  4. Terri

    Me too on all the above comments! So blessed to be part of the ranks on this side of the world, and WOW on what the guys are learning. Do they indicate they are talking about the study at home with their wives/kids?
    My favorite of the comments is the connection Kawage made… love it!

  5. Shandi

    Wow, this is really exciting, and an answer to prayer! Thanks for keeping us in the loop!

  6. Mollie

    All these responses are so encouraging… Kawage’s response gave me chills… that is definitely the clear voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to him… no denying it. thank you for being so faithful.

  7. Jason

    Amazing Joseph! Keep up the good work!

  8. Karen

    I love that you began this study with these thirsty men even though you are not going to be permanently living there. You are such a wonderful example of the saying “wherever you are be all there. “. Praise The Lord for the work that He is doing.

  9. Mom O

    Great News! I read the book of Acts to Pop-pop yesterday as we drove home from Aunt Susan’s. It’s comforting and reassuring that nothing about the Good News has changed. It’s still Good News that we should all be excited about sharing. As we pray for you (all 6! plus your men), please pray for us (your whole team) to be bold and willing to follow your good example. Summer is here – we need to bloom where we are planted and get on with it.

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