From the Archives: April 12, 2015
As I type, I’ll be sitting on the tarmac in 24 hours. This journey has been long anticipated, and it is the culmination of 30 years of missionary work in Papua New Guinea. I travel this week as your representatives to witness the delivery and dedication of the Waxe New Testament to a couple of wonderful churches, deep in the jungles of the Sepik River basin. It’s a thrill (and a bit of an adventure) for me. This is a high-water mark for our church and the Kingdom.
But if I’m honest, I am a bit apprehensive. There are many unknowns about this trip. Many. The fish which now inhabits what will be my bathtub for a few days is called the Pacu Fish. Google it. Such a pleasant creature. There are bugs galore, and I’ve been warned to not even touch the mosquito net while sleeping — or I’ll get bitten. Having a nurse at home, I know of the many diseases lurking with every breath. I’m bringing my own plates, silverware, sheets, mat and pillow. Never quite packed for a trip quite like this. But I really can’t wait. Not for all of that. But for something quite a bit more important. I get to meet, Lord willing, Kletus.
Kletus was only 16-years old when the unthinkable happened. After missionaries moved into the neighboring village, the village rejected them and sent them away. “But they promised to give us God’s Word!” Kletus thought to himself. “How will we find out what God’s Word says now?”
He was just a teenager at the time. He could have been considered “insignificant.” But he was persistent. He reminded the leadership of New Tribes Mission more than once that they had promised to give his people God’s Word. And he held them to their word.
Thirty years later and a pastor from Palos Verdes will be headed to Kletus’ village. No, I didn’t do any translating. I really didn’t do much of anything. But Greg and Laura Melendes have been used by God to learn the language and culture of the Waxe people, to teach foundational Bible lessons, and translate God’s Word into the local language. And throughout the process, who was there? Kletus.
Kletus helped with the translation. He became an evangelist. A teacher. An encourager. He could have considered himself an “insignificant” teenager and kept quiet. But he didn’t. And because of his persistence, the promise of God’s Word in the Waxe language will be a reality next Wednesday afternoon. And through it all, Kletus had the privilege of playing a grand role in this incredible process. As did you.
It was the persistence of your giving and praying which has enabled this project to come to a conclusion. Thanks to your labor during the week, and your response to God’s Word, this day is happening. Thanks for giving. Thanks for praying. Thanks for sending.
We’ve had a couple of weeks to celebrate around here. A risen Savior. A brand-new Bible. What’s next? I can’t wait.