Cannibals and Bullies: two types of people one would be quite happy never to meet in life. But that would just make life way too boring. God is not boring.
Most of us struggle to share the gospel with the people we like, people we know. This week I heard these two stories about how people shared the gospel in some pretty scary circumstances. Spoiler Alert: God wins.
STORY 1: The first begins 50 years ago, deep in the jungles of Papua - in a village of Sawi. Don Richardson and his wife and their infant son moved there to be missionaries. While Don's wife took care of the sick, he learned the language in order to tell them about Jesus.
But the Sawi didn't respond. Their lives were focused on war. They were headhunters and cannibals.They knew no peace.
As a last resort, Don told the Sawi that they would have to leave if the fighting continued. The Sawi were desperate for them to stay.
What was it the Sawi wanted? What did they think they could not live without if Don's family left? Whatever "it" was was enough for them to think differently. They sought peace and they did something nearly unthinkable.
Each tribe gave a child to their enemy as a sign of peace. They called each one a "Peace Child." This act opened the door for Don to share the story of how God gave his Son as the ultimate Peace Child. Now they were listening.
From that point, everything changed for them. They embraced Christ. They stopped fighting. They learned to love.
Recently, Don, and his now grown sons, returned to the Sawi village to see how things were going. The reunion was more than they could have imagined. You don't want to miss the transformation (watch it here).
One man who grew up with the boys said that when the parents came they were still living in darkness. He said how thankful he was that the gospel came there. He said, "I want you to know that when you leave on the airplane tomorrow, we will be faithful to the gospel as long as we live. It's everything to us."
Don's family, obedient to God's calling, changed an entire culture - an entire race.
This story is important, but so is the next one.
Since most of us won't become overseas missionaries, let's dial it back a bit and look closer to home. At one small girl...maybe just like one we know.
STORY 2: I heard this story from a mom who called into KLOVE radio this week. Her daughter came home from school and asked her mom to write down the name of their church and the address for her.
When the mom asked why she explained that she was going to give it to the girl that was bullying her at school. She said she started talking to her about God and she said she should come to their church. Apparently the girl was open enough to want the information about where she went.
The Point: While I want you to see that there are different ways to share the gospel - big and small, globally and locally, what I really want you to get is a visual. God is at work. People ARE sharing the gospel.
The point is we need to stay connected to the activity that God is doing in the world. We need to be putting ourselves in environments where God is talked about. Where stories abound of God's goodness, of the amazing power the name of Jesus has...today. Where talking and walking with God are normal.
If our only exposure to God is in small weekly (weakly) doses, we lose touch with our Creator. We won't believe our Father is capable or willing to do great things. But, if we immerse ourselves in his Word, in seeking out his stories, miracles, and transformations we'll be so much more equipped to share that information with others.
When you truly see how amazing God is and the mighty things he is doing through his servants, you will want to talk about it with everyone.
Cannibals and bullies...things are about to change.