|Paulus, the first believer among the Ketengban of Pipal, |
receives a box Bibles translated into his language.
April 8, 2014
A few weeks back, I flew in to Pipal with an Indonesian missionary and boxes of the freshly printed Ketengban Scriptures. The new Scriptures are to be formally dedicated in June and distributed to the Ketengban believers at that time. In other words, these boxes are a bit like Christmas presents that are supposed to sit under the tree, strictly off limits until Christmas morning.
But, it would seem that Pipal is populated with cheaters.
I have it on good authority that after the first day of sunup to sundown work constructing a home/ministry building at the top of the airstrip, the people brazenly broke the rules, removed a single Bible from one of the boxes and implored our missionary friend to read from the Psalms and Proverbs. Exhausted from the hard day's work, he nonetheless complied (making him, at the very least, an accomplice in the cheating).
The people sat and listened as, for the first time in their valley's history, the ancient Hebrew words of David and Solomon were spoken in Ketengban. Many times the missionary felt too tired to continue, but the people forced him to keep reading the contraband book late into the night.
The cheaters of Pipal gathered every night after work, hungry to to repeat the wonder of hearing the Word of God in the language that had a clear and unobstructed shot at their hearts. And every night the cheaters forced our friend the missionary to read deep into the night, far past his endurance.
The aircraft that delivered the Bibles to Pipal just happened to be the plane that we found in Nepal. From the initial finding of the aircraft to actually having it flying in Papua was long, challenging, expensive process. Likewise, the process of getting the airstrip at Pipal operational was an enormous undertaking. The Indonesian missionary of this story has faced immense challenges along the way. The multiple man-years of blood, sweat and tears poured into the translation project itself represent a stunningly high price to pay to produce a book. As I look at the level of expense in terms of time, energy, and money that it has taken to reach this tiny community in Pipal, I begin to shake my head and smile at the absolutely ridiculous economics of it all. How much for Psalms and Proverbs in the night?
And then, I am reminded of the immeasurable cost my God expended in searching out and finding me... a dirty rotten cheater like my friends in Pipal.