During November we’re focusing on advancing the Kingdom. Please see the Monthly Prayer Focus page to read our strategic prayer request for this month.
By Jim Bliffen
When I was in Dallas this past June I was asked to give an impact story. I thought about this assignment and decided I didn’t want to tell a story that gave no tangible proof of impact. I could talk about Bible studies, giving out Bibles, scripture use courses, or a number of other things that I have been involved with, but I didn’t want people having to ask after I was finished, “So what happened?” I decided on the following story.
Last year I was privileged to make a trip as part of a team in support of the Lower Ramu Project. My job was to present a message at the beginning of the presentation. I had heard that there was quite a bit of fighting between two of the main villages in one of the language groups concerning various issues and linguistic problems. I felt like part of the problem between the two villages had to do with pride issues, so I chose the subject of humility as the topic for my message. I spoke to them from Philippians 2 and tried to convince the folks at the meetings that if they were going to be able to complete the awesome work of translating the scriptures they would have to humble themselves and put the interests of others first, the same way Christ humbled Himself.
After I finished my portion of the program at the first village we visited, another member of our team stepped up to deliver the main topics of our program. When she asked for questions many people began expressing their anger and frustration with the other village. It seemed we were losing control of the meeting as more and more people expressed their anger in louder and more hostile tones. Finally, as we discussed the issues with the village people attempting to convince them they were going to have to work together with the other village one of the leaders spoke up and said, “We will humble ourselves like Christ and go to their village and meet with them.”
The next day we traveled to the second village to present our program. I gave my message again. However, the anger began pouring out for the first village before we even got to the rest of our program. These people were angry and nothing we said seemed to help. We did lose control over this meeting and there was nothing we could do to stop the raging torrent of anger. I didn’t know what to do, so I just started praying. Then someone from our team spoke up and said, “The people from the other village said that they would humble themselves and come up here to meet with you.” When they heard this one of the leaders spoke up and said, “If they will humble themselves and come up here then we will humble ourselves and meet with them.” It was as if they were saying, “We aren’t going to let those people out humble us!” We didn’t care. We were just glad that they were willing to meet together and work out their problems.
Several months passed and we began to hear of feuding between these two villages back in our home office. It was at this time that a second team was planning to go back and visit the same villages again. I was given the task of arranging the travel and securing a meeting time. However, this time the team did not want to visit every village. They wanted each language group to meet in one village for one meeting. That meant the desire was for these two villages to put aside their differences and meet together. As I was contacting each of the villages I began to hear that these two feuding villages had in fact agreed to meet together in the second village. All the leaders at the main office were asking me, “Are you sure they are going to meet together? Did both sides agree to this?”
Shortly before our team was to depart, two men from the first village came to meet with me. I asked them again if they were really planning to meet with the second village. Their answer both surprised and blessed. “Yes,” they said. “We said we would humble ourselves just like you and the Bible told us to do. If we are going to translate the Word of God then we are going to have to do what it says.” Those two villages did meet together and the second trip was very successful.
To me that is Scripture Impact!
Jim serves in the area of Scripture Impact.