I’m CSPC missions partner Kevin Humble. For the past three decades, my wife Leilani and I have been working to bring the Gospel to unengaged people groups. We’re currently doing that in Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia. The idea of two steps forward, one step back is something everyone can relate to, and that’s sort of what ministry is like for us sometimes. Let me give you an example. The way our ministry works, our access into villages where the Gospel’s never been heard comes through teams of workers, or ‘guests’. So a church will send us a team and we train that team to just live out loud their love and passion for God, then we take them into villages where foreigners have never been; where the Gospel’s never been preached. If the guests are able to find people who are open spiritually, it’s Leilani’s and my job to follow up with discipleship. Well, over the last two years, during the COVID crisis, things shut down. We had basically no new guests and we’ve not really been able to get to the villages to do the discipleship. But we thought we were seeing one exception. It appeared the Gospel had started to break loose during the pandemic among a group called the Bajo people. The Jesus Film from the 1970s got translated into the Bajo language –our daughter helped with that- and the people got excited about it. So we were thinking ‘This is going to pop. We’re going to see God’s Kingdom come to the Bajo people. We’re going to see Jesus build His church.’ A key person in all this was a Bajo man who’d had a diving accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. Our guest –our missionary worker in the village- came alongside and prayed for him, and within two days he was walking. An instant miracle! So this man became her person of access. He was not yet a believer, but was apparently getting there and was introducing her to the whole village. Leilani and I decided to go to the village for follow-up. But thanks to a series of boating mishaps, we were never able to make it. So our missionary worker ended up in the village by herself, and this is where the heart of the story really unfolds.
The main person of access ended up dying after drinking something unhealthy for his system at a large wedding. So our worker was now left with one Bajo believer on this island- a woman. The woman’s husband wasn’t a believer yet, but he was starting to set the Psalms to Bajo tunes, so our worker continued to work with this woman and her husband. During this time, our worker’s mother died of COVID. She wanted to fly home, of course- her mother lived a long way away. But she had to test for COVID herself in order to travel, and she came up positive. It was just a crushing blow- she couldn’t go home to mourn with her family. In that time, we heard that the husband of the woman who was the lone believer on the island had died. Our worker went to his funeral and was able to play some of his psalms, and that’s where things stand now. We don’t know just where the narrative will go from here. This isn’t one of those feel-good missionary stories, but it gives you a picture of what we’re really up against as we hope to see God’s Kingdom come to a people group that, as far as we know, has never had the Gospel. Today we do have around 40 Bajo believers. That’s pretty amazing, but there’s no breakthrough yet like we thought we would see: no church started, no disciples multiplying. The enemy has had these people in his grip for as long as we know, and he doesn’t want to let go of them.
Please pray that we connect deeply with unreached and unengaged people groups in our province. Pray that we’d see God’s Kingdom come to these groups. We know He has more than just 40 people here, and He wants them worshipping at the throne.