For each service, Sunday and Wednesday, everyone walks to church, except for my family. No one in the church has a vehicle. Keep in mind, this village is in the bush. Most walk about 1 mile. However, one family has been walking quite a long distance to church. The family is from the village of Belai, and has now attended four services.
Saturdays I usually spend in the village, visiting. This past Saturday, I traveled to visit with this man from Belai. While driving there, I took notice of how far he lived from the church. It was farther then I thought it was. It was just about 5 miles, 4.6 miles to be exact. This man, his wife, and their five children were walking almost 5 miles, one way, to church!
When I arrived at his hut/house, he was thrilled to have me there. My son Daniel was with me, as always, and he sat down on their bamboo bench. I sat down on the ground with the family. Two neighbor ladies also came and sat down with us.
I must admit, even though I have been here now almost three years, it is almost surreal making some of these visits. Here I am, sitting down next to a bamboo hut with a grass roof, on a tiny little island in the South Pacific Ocean giving the gospel out! What a privilege! Pigs are running around, parrots flying overhead, no modern civilization is anywhere close.
Anyhow, I began to make conversation with the man and his family. His name is Stephen and his wife’s name is Limakum. I told him that I would make arrangements to pick him up for church at the end of Kudukudu. This way, he would only be walking about 2 miles. Now, my primary purpose of the visit was the gospel. He and his wife had now heard me preach several times from their visits to church. I knew the Word was sown in their hearts. I asked if he had any questions about what he had heard at church. He told me he had just one question. Stephen then said this thing about eternal life/heaven bothered him. He went on to say, he did not know what would happen to him when he would die. He wanted my help with this!!! Up to this point, I had not mentioned anything about the gospel, or asked him any questions regarding salvation. The Lord had been giving the increase already in his heart and his wife’s heart.
I then preached to them the gospel. They listened intently. I explained to them sin and the penalty for it. They both admitted, at that point, if they died they would go to Hell. Then we talked about Jesus Christ and why he came to this earth. When I explained II Corinthians 5:21 to them, you could almost see the Holy Spirit turn the lights on for them. They understood why Jesus had died on Calvary. They knew He took all of their “nogut pasin” sin, and made available to them His “stretpela pasin” righteousness. Both then told me they wanted to repent and put their faith in Christ, and a few seconds later they both did! Amen!
We rejoiced together at their decisions to receive Jesus Christ. The neighbor ladies also listened intently, but did not trust Christ as Savior. Hopefully, they will allow me to come back and talk with them more.
As I was preparing to leave, Stephen told me that I do not need to come to the edge of Kudukudu to pick him and his family up for church. He said they would continue to walk. I told him I did not mind. He said, “No, I will be there waiting when you arrive at church. He said, “We really want to come. You do not need to come get us!” Sure enough, as I pulled into the church grounds today Stephen and his family were already there. They walked the five miles. One of the men told me they had been at the church for quite some time, waiting for things to begin!!!
Stephen’s dedication, which led to his salvation, puts many Americans to shame. Most Christians are so caught up with the things of the world, that any excuse not to come to church will be used. Many, I do not believe, would walk a half mile to church. If the church can not make arrangements, then they simply will not come. How sad! We lack the knowledge of what life is all about! Life is about God and serving/loving Him. If we have to make some sacrifice in our service for God, it is a greater opportunity, not a greater burden! When sacrifices are made out of a love for God, this is a privilege!