The growth of the young Yembiyembi church was hastened by the hard work and long hours that Brooks and Nina Buser along with their co-workers Tim and Courtney Shontere put in for more than nine years.
Tim often got up at 3:30 in the morning and worked steadily on literacy until the heat was too intense to continue. The sweat would pour down his arms into the computer keyboard.
Brooks was usually up by 4:30 and worked tirelessly with the translation team to put the Scriptures into the Yembiyembi language so that the teaching could begin.
Once literacy was over, Brooks and Tim taught faithfully day by day until a group of Yembiyembis understood the Gospel message and trusted Christ as their Saviour.
Then while nurturing the new believers, Satan began trying to squash the little church.
“Probably our biggest struggle,” wrote Brooks, “has been the fairly constant antagonism by the unbelievers that wholeheartedly rejected the gospel. It was incredibly sad to see some of them not only give their back to the message but try desperately to snuff out the early church when it was so small and fragile. God was good though and He protected and nurtured the church through those early days and the persecution that came. In the end we would not have it any other way. The persecution pushed the church to grow at a rapid rate, it made them dig into the Word to defend themselves, and was a huge benefit to the church reputation and standing in the community.”
As the church grew, several were baptized. “The men and women showed great courage being baptized while people standing around wanting to put spears into them because of their faith.”
The tribulations honed some great men among the Yembiyembi believers.
“Zacheus is a special person,” Brooks continued, “He is not a big talker but when he believes in something he doesn’t let it go. Last Sunday when he got up to give his testimony for being named as an elder in the church he said, ‘I came to the teaching thinking that I would end up getting cargo and some other stuff. But as the lessons got deeper and deeper I realized this was not about money and this was a story of life, about my life. This talk got me because it started at the roots and went all the way up to the leaves, it is talk that made sense and I believed and crossed over (was saved).’
“He has gone through some deep water. Because he is such a quiet guy he gets a lot of pressure from his unbelieving relatives because they think he is weak, the opposite is true. Every time he goes through a major life incident it seems to strengthen his faith and make him a stronger pillar in the church, he is a gift from God for the Yembiyembi church.”
The progress of the ministry among the Yembiyembi has been amazing, from building their house in 2004, to airstrip building, language learning, translation and many other ministry tasks. The team maintained a good pace toward their goal, allowing them to bring the message to the people as soon as possible.
“I put that obviously to the Lord, and his keeping us in good health, to the sharpness and persistence of the Yembiyembi people, wrote Brooks. “Recently Zacheus, Maikel, Kelly, Job, and Robert were named as elders and Silas a deacon in the church. These men and their families are incredible. I wish they could tell you their testimony and the obstacles they have overcome to become leaders.”
Soon the Yembiyembi believers will have God’s Word in their hands. Brooks is hopeful that the final checks will be completed and sometime this year the New Testament will be printed.
Pray for Brooks and Tim as they shepherd and guide the young church. Praise God with us for those who have remained faithful in spite of every trial. Pray for the church leaders as they assume responsibility for their flock.