As we all know becoming a follower of Jesus Christ does not make you a perfect person. You still make mistakes all the time no matter how long you have been a believer.
A few weeks after we all celebrated Kalefu's beautiful testimony of his faith in Jesus I came across my friend Tesi (Kalefu's second wife) crying her eyes out and talking to Susan. I was worried, so I stopped to ask Susan what was going on.
"I don't know," she said, "She is so upset that she is talking in her dialect and I can't understand her. Give her a minute and she'll calm down and change to this dialect."
So I waited. Tesi calmed down and then told us that she, the first wife, and Kalefu all had a big fight and he told her to get out of the house.
This actually happens all the time. They do not exactly have the sister-wife relationship that you may have seen on TV. But at least this time she didn't have a big black eye.
"But we're all Christians, now. This isn't supposed to happen anymore," she sobbed.
I chuckled a little and then explained to her that John Michael and I have both been Christians since we were children and we still have arguments sometimes. We just have to decide to love and forgive each other when we feel we are wronged. That is just as much a part of being a Christian as living peacefully with each other.
We talked a little more and I prayed for her as we parted ways, but I was thankful for the reminder of why we don't just "win souls" and get the heck out of there. Discipleship matters if we want the Hewa church to survive. They need God's Word in their language to strengthen their relationship with Him and to teach future generations.
It was a great motivator as we were getting ready to go on furlough and wondering if we had accomplished anything in the last three years in PNG. If our presence mattered at all to the people we worked so hard to live and communicate with. It reminded me that even though there are days that I feel completely worthless in the tribe, when I am convinced that I am just dead weight to my co-workers, that we are working towards something really beautiful.
As Paul said to the Roman believers, we are working toward being able to impart some spiritual gifts to make each other stronger so that we can all be mutually encouraged by each others' faith. (Rom. 1:11-12)
I am thankful that the Hewa people are already encouraging me with their faith, and I can't wait for the day when I can more easily encourage them with mine.
|All the the Hewa missionary ladies (including the Copley girls!) just hanging out with Tesi and a few young girls|