My friend told me about a recent happening here in town. There was a young middle school aged girl, about 16 years old (lots of older kids are in lower grades here because of having to travel out to town to attend school) who got into a relationship with a 23 year old so called “pastor” and ended up pregnant. Knowing her family was still back in the village and she was pretty much alone with this newly discovered secret, she told her boyfriend, who responded by saying he didn’t want that responsibility and told her to go away. Feeling discouraged she texted his family telling them she was going to kill herself since she was all-alone. A nephew of the boyfriend received her text and raced to her home to try and stop her but he was too late. He found her hanging from a tree on the side of her house. She had killed herself, along with the baby who was around 3 months along. I have been thinking about this story a lot today. It makes me so sad, especially considering the boyfriend was a “pastor”.
Sadly these kinds of things happen all the time. My friend said it’s very common for girls to hang themselves in the villages. Its easy to look at the majority of the population here and imagine that they are mostly saved, that they understand the gospel and go to Church because it is a place of fellowship and a chance to learn more about the Lord. Instead, most go to Church because it is just another part of their identity. As much as the color of their skin or the name of their tribe, they are “Christian” and being a Pastor can sometimes be just a step up the economic and social ladder. Though there are those who are saved, many are just tangled in a confusing list of dos and don’ts that they believe make them “Christians”. Don’t eat in the Church because it’s the house of God. Don’t spend money set aside for offering or you will get sick. Don’t chew beetle nut because… well, they don’t really know why not.
What is scary is that many times the reasons behind following these “rules” are that they were taught to them by the first missionaries who shared the gospel with their tribe and they have tried to follow them ever since. It is such huge responsibility for us to teach clearly from the word about the kind of relationship God wants to have with man. Not a list of dos and don’ts that put up walls between us and our Creator but a grace filled relationship where we are gently led by his Spirit to do what is right. From the moment we meet an unreached people group they will be watching every move we make and our testimony is a big giant blueprint of what they are going to mimic. Scary.
I am learning more and more that there is NO WAY my life or anyone else’s is going to make any impact on the unreached unless it is Christ doing everything. There is not one tiny bit of something special that I have to offer, even though I am tempted in my flesh to think there is! In fact there is a lot of not so special stuff that I easily mess everything up with when I do think I have something to offer! It HAS TO be Christ doing it, and He IS! People are coming to know Him all across this country and that is so cool to watch. I am guilty of looking at other failures like myself and thinking, how in the world are people coming to the Lord through failures like us? and then I remember that “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:26-31) and then I can say PRAISE THE LORD because lets be real, we foolish, weak and lowly things could never do this on our own!