I never expected where a request I received yesterday would lead me.
I was asked to do a little research for NTM’s CEO, Larry M. Brown, having to do with the mission’s history. That led me to an account from Bruce Porterfield, one of NTM’s pioneering missionaries who passed on to glory in summer 2012. Bruce went to Bolivia in 1950 – arriving with his wife, Edith, in the midst of a revolution.
In February 1951, Bruce, Dave Yarwood and Jim Ostweig set out to try to make contact with a people group living in the jungles of Bolivia. After several months of searching with no success, they literally ran into some of them while hunting turtle eggs. They gave them gifts, and the people disappeared back into the jungle.
The next month, September, they met more of them, and soon were making more regular contact. These encounters included bear hugs, painful horseplay and, once, one of the missionaries was choked until he almost passed out.
Yet sometimes they shared a meal with them. The missionaries learned some of their words, and discovered they were excellent mimics. The encounters seemed to be going so well that when the men needed more supplies, Dave did not want to leave.
“I’ll hang around here and keep up the contact,” he told Bruce. When Bruce told him they should all go, Dave insisted on staying.
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The Guahibo church in Colombia now have the privilege of sharing the Gospel with more than 80,000 Guijibos that live in the prairies of Colombia.
God is opening a great door for the Guajibo church to go to regions beyond to share the Gospel with inhabitants in other areas.
A few years ago Colombian missionary, Alberto Gonzales, visited that region and I found many Guahibos meeting to study the Word of God. Teachers, who had only been taught in Spanish with a limited understanding of Spanish, would read Scripture and afterwards strive to interpret it and translate it from Spanish to Guahibo for their hearers. Neither do they have Guajbo New Testaments available in their language.
“I could tell because of their lack of understanding, what they shared wasn’t exactly what God says. This situation made me sad, as I could see in those people a desire to learn more of the Bible but there was no one to teach them clearly in their language. Today, God has begun opening that door for the Guajibo church to minister, “ said Alberto.
“John, a brother and leader of the Guahibo church, was invited to teach for a few days. We are going to accompany him, desiring that God will totally open this door and permit us to begin teaching the Bible, beginning from Genesis in the Guahibo language this coming year!”
The Planas region, where there are more than 70 Guahibo communities, distributed in 11 settlements, with a population of over 10,000 Guahibo people.
Today it is one of the principle areas of oil exploitation in Colombia. This has made an impact on the way of life and thinking of the Guahibo people living there. It is evident that the region is in the midst of great spiritual darkness! Starting a Bible teaching ministry in the Guahibo language of that region is full of immense challenges.
We appreciate your prayers:
Pray there would be a great desire to hear the Word of God
Pray God would prepare the hearts of the people that will be hearing the Gospel message of grace!
Pray that the Guahibo church will actively participate in the great privilege of praying, sending and going with the Good News of Salvation to Planas and other regions.
Pray for the Lord’s care and security during this trip.
Colombian national missionaries, Alberto and Nancy González
August 1, 2012 | NTM@work Magazine
Different Shores, Same Team
In the church planting team, there are people who work overseas in remote tribal villages, and in town and cities in support of them. The team members who serve in the USA are equally important. These are their stories.
In This Issue
“Fear not” is the most commonly repeated command in the Bible. And before you start feeling like a wimp for having fears or concerns about becoming a missionary, think about the world-changers to whom God said “fear not,”. including Moses, Joshua, Peter and John.
God says “fear not” because of who He is. His leading is a promise of what He will do through you if you follow. At times, it will be difficult and scary. But holding onto Him, you can do this.
What if I’m not spiritual enough?
Missionaries experience spiritual highs and lows, difficult times and “Hallmark” moments just like everyone else. Whether you’ve been walking with Him for a year or for 40, He keeps calling you deeper in your relationship with Him. Are you becoming the person God wants you to be? And are you demonstrating that by active service in your church? If so, you’re probably spiritual enough.