Sometimes when discouragement and weariness rear their ugly heads, it is easy to ask the question, “Is this really worth it?” This question may come regarding one’s work, ministry, raising a family, or a myriad of other topics. In the Sepik region, taking time to hear the testimonies of lives changed and see how God’s Word is having an impact is usually enough to say, “Yes, this is all worth it.”
The final Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) workshop for ten Nuku area language groups finished with graduation on July 16. Over the last five workshops, it has been encouraging to see some rather dramatic changes in these men’s lives. Men who before were prone to heated discussions and always having to be right, have become more submissive and are willing to seek out answers in a reasonable way. People are searching for truth in God’s Word to the many questions they are facing.
There has been more of a spirit of working together to make a difference in their communities. An OBS Awareness day is being planned for August 10. Representatives from several of the language groups will be telling about the work of OBS, sharing one of the stories learned, asking discussion questions, and trying to help people better understand how OBS can make a difference in each of the communities. This meeting was initiated by the participants and the SPES team is excited to see how God uses this in the communities.
Lazarus, from the Pahi language group, shared a testimony during graduation. When Gary, the SPES team leader, came to his language group to do awareness about the upcoming OBS courses, he was very cynical and thought Gary was not telling the truth about what they were going to do. When it came time for the course, the community had not marked anyone else to come, so he decided he would come and see what all the talk was about. Up until that time, he was doing drugs and up to no good. He came to the course and as he sat there and began to listen to the Bible stories, God began to get a hold of his thinking and he became a Christian. At this last workshop, he said, “Now God has completely changed my thinking.” Thinking back to the first course, he never really said anything during the discussion times; but at the final course, it was amazing to see how involved he was during the devotions and other interaction times. His smile is huge and he appears like a completely different person now.
Yes, it is worth it. Thank you, God, that your talk does not return empty.
Photos by Faith Halverson