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by Alex Shaw
"May I talk with you for a few minutes?" asked Pastor Richard Robert. "Come in and join us for breakfast." I responded. With that he entered the house and we sat down to eat.
We first met Pastor Richard and his wife Marea about 4 years before although the "Wokabaut" short term mission trips have been taking place in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea since 2000. Pastor Richard was a contact person for us in his language along the coast. Where he lives is a microcosm of the complexity of languages in Papua New Guinea. What was thought to be one language has turned out to be six small languages. All these people in need of hearing the Good News of Jesus in the language they understand best, their own heart language. Over the ensuing years Pastor Richard and Marea have become important link people in contacting people in the other languages, arranging for recording and for the "Wokabaut" short term distribution trips. It has been interesting to see the development taking place in their lives. This morning's breakfast meeting, before we left for the airport and return to Australia, was an encouragement to both Sybil and I.
Here's an interesting thing about many cultures: when the people have something really important to say they do not speak strongly. Rather, they drop their voice and speak softly. So when Pastor Richard started explaining the reason for his request it was evident that what he was about to say was a very important matter.
"Over the last 3 years my wife and I have been working with you, helping with recording, making arrangements for recording, being with you for the Wokabaut distribution trips. Your lives have been an example to us. We have been challenged about serving God in missions. As my wife and I have been praying we have felt that God wants us to give one tenth of our family land to establish a mission centre here on the Suau coast. A place where Christians from this region can be prepared to serve God in missions. We have discussed this with all of our family and prayed together and that is our family decision. We wanted to tell you this before you returned to Australia."
Pastor Richard's discussion brought home to me how important it is, not just to be giving people the Word of God in their own language, but to build relationships and be an example for others to follow. We just never know the extent of the impact of Wokabaut on peoples lives across cultures.
Are you ready to be a change agent and join a Wokabaut short term mission?