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Fresh Out of the Bush Posted 4.17.2015

I am fresh back from the bush of Papua New Guinea (by the time you read this, I’ll be in Manila). It was an amazing couple of days.  Exhausting.  Exhilarating.  Heart-changing.  There are many scenes burned into my mind.  Let me share one.

 

It was near the end of our time in Wenim.  The Dedication Service for the new Waxe New Testament was nearly completed.  They had the Melendes family bring in the “firstfruits” of Bibles on a specially rigged “cart.”  We had prayed over the Bibles.  It was time to make the first Bible presentations to the leadership of the local churches.  I have always wondered how they would react.

 

It was a somber moment.  They understood the significance of having the New Testament in their own language in their own hands, bound – with pictures!  There was one old gentleman I will never forget.  He was just about in tears as they presented him his Bible.

 

A “receiving line” of ladies had spontaneously formed at the exit of the dais.  I went down to try to get some good pictures of the presentations, since I was sitting behind all the action.  Down there this man came slowly down the stairs clutching for dear life his brand new Bible.  I wish I could describe his face.  Deep wrinkles spoke outwardly of a crusty old gentleman, but now he was overwhelmed.  His hear was breaking.  Tears streamed down his face as there was not a chance he was going to let go of his precious new gift.

 

Another man had come down those steps and thrust up his Bible with two hands in a celebration of victory.  The ladies had applauded and rushed to all hug him at once.  But not this other man.  He was too overwhelmed to hold up in his hands the words of God.  He said nothing.  And nothing needed to be said. His face spoke volumes.

 

What made these days so special is really the health of the church among the villages or Wenim and Meska.  Not only did they have a Bible, but they know how to use it.  They know what this is going to mean to them moving forward.  They are two healthy churches which now can grow in their depth of spiritual wisdom and insight as never before.  They don’t just have a Bible, they have two healthy churches.

 

The missionaries are now gone, but life – and the Waxe’s love for Jesus – goes on.  There is nothing like the assurance that we left several hundred people in the hands and care of the grace and love of God, with His words continuing to transform their lives, corporately and individually.

 

Of course, I had to ask myself when was the last time I wept over the fact that I owned a Bible.  May we treat God’s Word as the precious gift that it is to us.  In our culture The Bible has become archaic and many consider it obsolete.  But it holds words of life.  May the faith of the Waxe people reinvigorate our own love and devotion to God’s Word, the words of life.

 


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