Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kuna Women who surrendered to Christ!

Going to bed early in the jungle brings about an unconsidered side affect. I have reached that age in life (though I never aspired to it) where I MUST get up at night to visit the restroom. In the jungle, because it gets dark so early, you add at least one extra seemingly, mandatory visit.

Things are not quite so easy in the jungle. If you ever watched Gilligan's Island, you know there are no bathrooms in the huts. As a matter of fact, if the government had not built a school in Icandi, there would be not bathrooms period.

Fortunately, there was a porcelain throne or two, but you had to hike to reach it. In the middle of a pitch black night, the last thing I wanted to do, was go hiking.

I heard a neighbor man get up in the middle of this same night, and he didn't go hiking... I wish he had. I became concerned about where it might be safe to step when I did.

When you go for walks at night, all of the dogs wake to announce your passing by. In a village of 500 people, do you know how many dogs there are? In the wee hours of the morning, I assure you it seems that there are more canines than people.

Anyway, we arose the next morning to a hot breakfast. It was such a huge blessing! A hot breakfast is prepared over an open fire. Open fires are made in the kitchen. The kitchen is in an adjacent hut to wherever your live. Each village family has at least two huts.

This seemed like overkill. The size of our huts were not like those you saw on Gilligan's Island. Upon our arrival, a family vacated their hut and lived in their kitchen. Every hut is approximately 100 ft. x 30 ft. There is no furniture, save an occasional tree stump, hewn into a stool.

The only purpose for the huts is for sleeping and for clothes storage. The clothes are stored in the rafters, and sleeping is in hammocks. So why do they need all this space? Literally, the huts are huge and empty.

Apparently, because groups of 23 missionaries are coming, on occasion, and they want to earn a little extra money by renting.

The same question can be asked in our country. Why do we have such huge homes, which are filled with extravagant excess?

We were very thankful that we were all together. We were very thankful for our home in Icandi.

The hot breakfast was amazing. Our cooks had even brewed me some "cowboy coffee." I guess I should call it "jungle coffee," as that is where it was prepared. The only people I've ever seen brew it the way they did, were cowboys in old movies.

Just a pan, grounds water and fire. No filter, no electricity required. Yes, it made drinking it a bit chewy, but I like mine that way. I was most thankful!

We headed off to the church service on this Friday morning, where we did not know what to expect. The building was brand new. The pastor was a seasoned preacher from other Kuna villages. The plan was that I would preach. The Spanish translator would take my English words, translate them to Spanish, and then the pastor would translate from Spanish to Kuna! Oh, and I was told to keep it to 15 to 20 minutes.

I jokingly told them I could not even read the scripture passages in that period of time, with that many translations. I wasn't far off.

I decided to story the Scripture as most of the Kuna's are not literate. They derive more from storytelling than hearing someone read to them.

I was concerned about keeping my audience through all of the translation. It turned out that the biggest issue with this was with my own team. Most had grown up in churches where a handful of people fall asleep during the message, regardless of the energy of the speaker or his topic.

Actually, they did really well.

The Kuna's stayed with me the whole time. As I stood to speak, I noticed a Kuna mother on the front row, breastfeeding her baby. In Latin America, the women are not shy about this. I was in Latin America. If there was a problem, it was mine, not hers. I adjusted, and did not look at her during the message.

My team and I were praying for God to move. At the end of my 30 to 40 minute message (including all translations), five women surrendered their lives to Christ (see pic above). We praised God for them! This was a huge deal!

In an animistic culture like this one, they are very leery of outsiders, and think little of their gods or ways of life. They believe in their traditions and ways of thinking about things.

God had moved and it was obvious.

During the message, for my final point, I had briefly touched on BJ a bit of his testimony. As translations were made, and the point settled in, the Kuna pastor became very broken, and had to stop for a few moments.

Then in turn, I broke, and so did my Spanish translator. The power of God moving through the testimony of a 15 year old will always be something that moves me.

I praise God for how He chose to move on this day. I am most thankful for how difficult living in the jungle was for us as a team. It caused us to rely upon our Savior even more.

We take so much for granted and we don't even realize it. We are blessed, and we need to pass on the blessing.

Stepping outside of our comfort zones is required. That is often where God moves.

It is why my son wrote, "Will you answer the call and get uncomfortable for Christ?"

Will you?



At 12:04 AM, Blogger KK said...

The pastor breaking down was one of my favorite moments of the entire jungle experience. The breadth of the impact of your family's testimony never ceases to amaze and humble me.

Love you.


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