During December we’re focusing on learning to disciple. Please see the Prayer page to read our strategic prayer request for this month.
By Brian Paris
On Wednesday nights I have the privilege of leading a small Bible study and prayer time with whatever Papua New Guinean men and women happen to be in town doing work. A few weeks ago we had several work sessions going on in town and around fourteen people came to Bible study while at other times I’ve met with only two men. I’ve learned that no matter who is there or how many attend, it is never what I expect it to be.
Once we were looking at the story in Luke 5 where Jesus forgives a lame man’s sins and then heals him to prove to the Pharisees that He had the authority. Jesus asks them the question, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? (Luke 5:23, NIV). I posed the question to that group. After some careful discussion the conclusion was, “Jesus had to forgive the man’s sins before He could heal the man, because the sin was causing the lameness.” I have to admit that response caught me off guard, but it fits completely in a Papua New Guinean worldview. I, not having a Papua New Guinean worldview, had to leave my notes to interact with them about it.
Last week I took some time to explain what the Thanksgiving holiday means to those of us from the USA. I then read Psalm 100 and had us go around the room to talk about what we are thankful for, a tradition I have participated in sometimes with my family, sometimes at a church, sometimes at college. But again the answers here were not what I expected. Three of the stories involved miraculous healings. For example, one man told us about how he was in the hospital with his son. Late at night a doctor came and examined his son and told the man what drugs to tell the nurses to give him. The next night it happened again. After the third night when his son was getting better, the nurses finally asked where this man had gone to school to get his medical knowledge. He told them he is a bush man who hasn’t been to school and that the doctor told him what to say. He described the doctor to the nurses who told him they didn’t have a doctor who looked like that. He believes it was an angel that helped cure his son and strengthen his faith.
Every Wednesday night I get the chance to share with some of our national co-workers. Every Wednesday is a new opportunity to both be discipled and to learn how to disciple in a PNG context. Most of the time they ask me questions or draw conclusions I have never come close to before. But their perspective has helped grow my own faith and I pray mine has done the same for them.
Brian serves as an assistant to administration and in language survey.