After teaching the lessons to the teachers, John Michael was talking to one of the guys in the group confessing to him how nervous he was to teach. Our co-workers have been with the Hewa for 16 years now, so even though his language capabilities are phenomenal, it is difficult to feel comfortable teaching when he is not at the same level as the other guy. (Our co-workers were moving in with the Hewa as we were graduating high school if that helps give you some perspective).
After hearing John Michael's fears this guy, Fawa, says, "Don't be afraid. You just taught us that God's Talk says not to be afraid to teach and lead if we are young. It is the same with you. You can't be afraid because you are younger than Jonathan and haven't been here as long. I heard your teaching and I heard it well, so stop this rubbish talk of being afraid".
Not much to say to that except, "Ok." It is pretty amazing when we are discipled by the Hewa people.
In November when all the violence broke out and the threats were directed at this village and we had to leave, I kept telling my friends how sad and how scared I was to leave them. I was mostly scared that something would happen that would keep us from coming back. Several ladies told me, "Don't worry. This is God's work. It is His decision if you come or go or live here or not. We can't know his thinking but we know His Spirit will go with you, and if He wants, will bring you back."
As hard as it was to leave, it was incredible to hear those words come from my friends. Living with people, growing with them, being disciplers and disciplees, is one of the greatest rewards of this job. It is not us and them. It is us with them. It is not the highly Biblically educated American saviors coming to help the poor savages. We are the Body of Christ united by the Holy Spirit.
Paul says in Romans 1 that he longs to see the Roman believers so that they can be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. Paul, highly educated in the law, knowing Scripture inside and out, saying he longed to be encouraged by younger believers with pagan backgrounds? What could they say to him that he didn't already know? I have no idea, but I do know that whatever it was, it was encouraging to him. (Maybe it was "Here, have some bacon now that you can").
I know that it was encouraging to my husband (and to me) to hear the words he JUST finished teaching to this young guy, a relatively new believer with an animistic background taught right back to him. Paul and the Romans. John Michael and Fawa. Mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
God does such weird wonderful things with such weird wonderful people.
PS- Did I already write about this? I feel like I have already written about this. And since I can't get on the internet* to check if I did I am asking you. Oh well, if I did, then you know how seriously amazing it is because I am talking about it again.
*Just a reminder that I do not have internet. I have to send this posts via email, and the email comes through a short wave radio and it only only works about 50% of the time. So, if you have tried to email us and we never wrote you back there is a good chance that we never got your email. There is a SLIGHT chance that we are just jerks and forgot to write you back, but that is only SLIGHT as we are kind of obsessed with email out here since we have no other way to communicate with the outside world.