Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good News in Mibu

Here's a noteworthy update from our co-workers, the Tartaglias!

Moofore's house and garden is one of my favorites in the whole area. His
steep yard drops away on three sides, showcasing a wild panorama of the
surrounding mountains and valley rivers. It is still the only place I've
been where both the village of Mibu and the village of Beng can be looked
down upon from one single spot. It makes me happy to think of Moofore here,
on top of his local world. Because of the severe deformity of both his feet,
he seldom leaves his own yard.

When the Gospel was first presented here 5 years ago, we stood by and
watched with amazement as God turned almost every adult to Himself. But
there were some who did not believe. Moofore was one of them. I've gone to
visit with him twice since coming here a few weeks ago, and today the
conversation touched on spiritual things. This was the first time I have
seen evidence of concern for his own sin and status with God. He asked about
overcoming the real problem of sin and its penalty. At that point, I asked
if we could pick up the conversation again in a few days, and asked him to
keep thinking about that very question, and to ask others what their
thoughts are. (After hundreds of conversations about this, I know there is a
lot of good understanding out there.) I told him I'd visit again in a few
days, and would like to ask you to pray with me for Moofore before we
continue. Might this be his time to understand and believe the Gospel?

---------- then a week later------------

I went to visit Moofore again at his hut. Walking up the path to his place,
I felt such a sense of the bigger purpose God has for us during our stay on
earth. Isn't it incredible that hundreds of people can be praying for the
salvation of one man on the other side of the earth? What a privilege it is
to be involved in what He is doing in the world. 

Moofore called me in, and we sat talked for a while on local matters before
the conversation moved to spiritual things. As we caught up, God brought to
mind the many people who wrote to say they were praying. Thank you, each and
every one of you who prayed! The only thing I felt lacking as we talked
together was the lack of other Mibu believers there with me. So many others
here have been involved in sharing God's Word with him over the years. No
sooner did I have that thought, than two Bible teachers from the Mina
churches (8 hours away) and one of the teachers of the Mibu church poked
their heads through the doorway!!! As they walked into the room my heart was
bursting at how God was answering our prayers. I looked at the men God had
sent at just the right moment (even the right day!). Each of these men has
sacrificed for the sake of the Gospel. And now all this coming together for
one crippled old man! God's patient love truly is great!

The timing was right, and we were eager to talk about Christ. Moofore soaked
it up, interspersing questions and thoughts of his own. We discussed Jesus
being born sin-free, His being God, and also Emmanuel - "God with us". We
talked about how he was called "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of
the world." We talked about how Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people
and how so many of them sought Jesus not for a relationship with Him, but to
get more food out of Him. Finally we talked about how Jesus was punished not
for His own sins, but for ours. And how God's anger for sin was given
completely to the One who never sinned. In illustrating the wrath of God
being absorbed by Jesus, one of the men pointed to a sheet hanging in the
doorway that was casting a shadow into the house. He said that God's wrath
is like the sunrays, and that Jesus is like the sheet that absorbed the sun,
casting a shadow for us to rest safely in. 

Moofore spoke and answered with real understanding, so we asked him again
where he thought he would go if he died. He said confidently that he would
go to heaven. We asked him about his previous stumbling block - his own sin. His reply: "Because of my own sin I deserve hell. But our penalty, I mean,
MY penalty, has been paid by Jesus!"

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