This week we have the amazing opportunity to pray with the team serving the Nagi people as they share the Gospel. Tonight (6-8pm EST) they will hear about the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Tomorrow they will hear about his burial and resurrection.
Porter and Lexi have sent us an overview of the teaching from the very beginning. What a great privilege it is to be able to read this and pray with them as the Nagi people hear for the first time about what Christ did for each of them.
As you read please be praying for the team and for the Nagi people, through prayer we all have a chance to be a part of this.
We finished the creation story and introduced the fall of Satan and all his followers from Heaven. We could tell (as we finished up that week, that the people knew something bad was just around the corner as they learned that Satan was thrown down from Heaven to Earth. There was also a lot of talk about the ‘big fire’ that God had prepared for Satan and his fallen angels. On Friday, it was taught about the two trees in the Garden of Eden and what they were for. After the lesson, people were MAD!
Kiris was talking a lot about the day’s lesson and how ‘Satan wants to destroy/kill us.’ Thinking maybe she wouldn’t understand that it doesn’t mean he’s going to physically come and kill us, we tried to clarify… she interrupted and said, “No! He’s going to come and lie to us. He doesn’t want us to hear God’s talk, so he’s going to lie, and wants us to be forever without God. He wants to win. He wants his name to be big, and doesn’t want Yawe’s name to be big.” She started talking about how our spirit wouldn’t be connected to God’s spirit anymore, and that our road has been cut. “It’s like that, right?” she asked.
We opened with the fall of man into sin and the consequential separation of man from God. This seemed to change things for most of the listeners. For the first time they were beginning to see themselves as a part of this story. Some seemed to be expressing genuine fear as they processed through the idea that they too, as descendants of Adam, were also separated from God. The extent of this separation is eternal, unless God does something.
Olipa was standing at the window of the meeting house listening intently. When asked what the men were talking about, she said, “They’re talking about the trail being cut off! Adam ate the fruit, so his trail was cut. Our ancestor’s trail was cut too, so they have to live away from God, and are burning in fire now. That is what they’re talking about, and that’s why we’re scared.” When asked what about us? She thought for a minute, and then said…
Us too? Our road has been cut too, right? How will it be brought back together? It’s impossible. All of those people that have died are burning in the fire place.
As we moved out of talking about Creation, the Fall of Man, the Promise of a Deliverer, and Cain and Abel, Porter asked them if God was saying, “Should I just leave off (Adam and Eve and their descendants) since Abel was killed and Cain won’t follow me? How can I send a deliverer now? Is it impossible?” Everyone emphatically said,
No! With God, there isn’t anything impossible! Everything He knows/knows how!
Continuing on through Scripture, we taught on God sending the world-wide flood. At the beginning of the flood story, they seemed like they were down on the people of Noah’s day for not listening to God, turning their back on Him (like they would never do that), but when Porter started listing some of the things they were doing… fighting, killing, lying… we all do those things today. We are taking on Satan’s thinking just like them. You could tell this started to hit home…
When Porter taught that we are like the people of Noah’s day, he used the basic form of the verb, “We are doing like that”. Kaitanus corrected him and said, “You need to say: ‘We habitually are doing like that!’”
Yuberina talked about the rainbow and how what God’s Word says is different from what they have believed. They didn’t know what the rainbow meant, so they were scared and thought it meant they would get sick. Joanna reminded her how it is Satan that deceives us with lies like those, and it isn’t just the Nagi that have heard different things about the rainbow. Lots of people say different things and lots of people are scared when they don’t know what God’s Word says and think that Satan’s lies are true.
We covered God’s destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah, God fulfilling His promise to Abraham in providing a son in his old age, God asking Abraham to sacrifice his promised son, and the idea of a substitute lamb. We then we started into the beginning of the nation of Israel (Jacob & Esau, God confirming the promise (that He made to Abraham) to Jacob, and the beginning of the Joseph story).
Like the lessons on the Flood, when the lesson on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was taught, they started to personally apply what they were hearing:
Lidiya and Ita were talking about the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, but we hadn’t yet taught the lesson where God destroyed the cities. Will God punish them? Lidiya said, “Yes! God customarily punishes sin. He will punish them… ke! (Hey!) He’ll punish us too! All of us have done bad.”
As the lessons were taught on Abraham, and God promising to make the nation of Israel through him, they started to get more of a glimpse of God’s grace in accepting man… not on man’s own performance, but because they agree with Him about their sin, and believe that only He can save them.
For the lesson on “God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac”, Porter and Reece acted out what happened. When Reece went up front and Porter put the ‘The One to be Killed’ sign on him, everyone got REALLY quiet.
Emili said, “Isaac won’t live… it was for nothing (that he was born).”
After God sent the angel to tell Abraham not to kill Isaac, Porter asked, “What are they going to use for a sacrifice now? They came up to offer a sacrifice, and now they don’t have one. How will God accept them?”
“Impossible!” everyone said together.
Porter said, “That’s right, both father and son… it’s impossible for them to provide a sacrifice. We are just like Isaac… the only way we can be out of the ‘killing spot’ is if someone takes our place. Even if I offered to die for you guys, God would say ‘no,’ because I have sin too. If someone else offered, He would say ‘no’ to them too, because all of our blood has sin. Our blood is not enough to satisfy God. God is the one that provides the sacrifice.” Grandpa Uwiveng emphatically said, “That’s right!!”
Another man, Obet, reflected on God’s faithfulness as he swept his finger around the room at the chronological Bible lesson pictures.
We were focused on the nation of Israel. Starting with Joseph getting out of jail, and then God using Joseph to not only help the Egyptian nation, but more importantly, to sustain Joseph’s family (the promised line of the Saviour) from starving to death.
Speaking of Pharoah, and frustrated that Pharaoh still wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to Moses after the 6th plague, one of the guys shouted out, “You aren’t enough!”
After Porter explained that Pharoah thought if he held out, that he could win against God, “Impossible!” said Obet, “There is not one person that is enough!” stressing again that no one is enough in and of themselves.
The lesson on the final plague and the Passover was a very key lesson as Porter was able to explain even more clearly than in previous lessons about the significance of a substitute, sacrificial lamb.
Talking about the lamb needing to be PERFECT, without blemish, Yuberina said,
God is just good so you wouldn’t give him anything bad.
Before anything was even said about the lamb being a substitute for those who should die (just the instructions were given for killing a lamb and putting blood on the doorposts), Kiris said, “They (lambs) took on that place.”
Porter asked the crowd questions and they would remember and answer what was needed to be done for the different parts of the Passover. He would even ‘trick’ them with questions like, “Oh, what if I just tied the lamb up to the door? He’s our really special lamb, we don’t want to kill him…” They all answered, “No! There has to be blood!”
When Porter read how God parted the Red Sea, the ladies were saying, “That’s right! He does like that! He is more than enough!”
Teaching about the 10 Commandments, we had some pretty thought-provoking lessons… To start off, they were quite disturbed by the first two commandments: “No other gods, but Me” and “No idols or graven images.”
Grandpa Uwiveng speaking about appeasing the spirits, said, “Hey, kids! (talking to the whole group)… Satan was here and we didn’t know so we are doing this. Our ancestors told us this is what we should do, but they were tricked by Satan. We have Satan’s talk, but now we have Yawe’s Talk…” (He was ‘weighing his hands’ like which one are we gonna listen to?) “Satan’s talk we have held onto… God’s Talk we don’t know.”
As we finished, the head guys said, “So, we should stop doing masob (sorcery, divination and offerings to spirits) but what do we do now? Talk to God? Should we cross ourselves? Should we pray before we eat?” Porter answered well with, “We’ll talk more about that later.”
It seems like a crutch has just been taken out from under them… ‘don’t call on spirits’ …but they are still hanging there trying to hold their leg up… what do we do now? What do we use to replace what we have always done? How do we only call upon Yawe? This is a very hard place to be in the teaching… we have not yet taught on anything to help them replace this view.