Matt, Paul, and I accompanied Jimmy and Yulianus into the Mamberamo region to preach, pass out literature, and explain some educational and translation programs for the future. Here is Matt's update:
Matt's Visit to Papua
As some of you may know from recent emails, Matt came back from Papua on January 12th. The trip, although brief, was very profitable.
There are three evangelists with whom HeartCry partners in this Indonesian province (Yulianus, Jimi, & Perin), and Matt had yet to visit them in their native place. Yulianus is from the Fuau tribe (http://bit.ly/SN7SVi), and Jimi and Perin are from the Dani tribe (http://bit.ly/ZZICIQ). Matt also visited Trevor Johnson and Paul Snider, both of whom are working with World Team among the K___ tribe (http://bit.ly/V6vxNN). Here is a brief summary of the trip in the words of Trevor Johnson:
Praise God that last week we preached/taught at 3 villages in the Mamberamo and 3 coastal locations to almost 1,000 people, passed out over 2,000 tracts/booklets/bibles (easily over 700 in outdoor evangelism and over 1300 inside the church to build up believers), preached or taught 8 times in 7 days for about 18 hours cumulative (mostly on distinguishing the new birth from a mere external religiosity) and yesterday I had visitors finding my house to come and tell me that they were greatly moved.
Also, in case you haven't been able to read it yet, here is the brief update Matt sent out while he was still in Papua:
Today (Sunday [January 6th]) we worshiped at a church comprised mostly of people from the Fuau region (where we're flying to tomorrow). Most of them have come out of the interior jungle for educational purposes. Some are studying in a local Bible college, and others are pursuing various other occupations. Yulianus helps them in different ways, including providing scholarships for those who show the most potential. His desire, though, is for them to return to the interior in order to be a blessing to their own people. So he made them promise to return before ever giving any sort of scholarship. One of the men there today, also supported by Yuli, is Bastian Guani. I met him in Jakarta in 2010 when he was studying at Kartidaya (SIL's linguistic training). He and Yuli are in the process of translating 15 key Bible stories into the Fuau language, after which they will begin translating the New Testament. They didn't feel prepared enough to directly begin the NT, so they decided to start with the stories in order to at least get something in the hands of their people, along with getting some good practice/training for the bigger project. You can read more about the Bible story project here (their language is technically called "Abawiri"): www.theseedcompany.org/files/Papua_GIDI_Storying_Cluster-2012_03.pdf
I preached in the service in Bahasa Indonesia. I felt like the Lord helped and I'm beginning to feel much more comfortable preaching without any notes. Trevor also gave a couple different strong exhortations to the people. There's such a great need here for people who call themselves Christians to be born again. They live like the world, many coming to church on Sunday mornings and then getting drunk a few hours later. HIV and prostitution are also big social problems, indicative of the spiritual darkness of those who profess the name of Christ but deny Him with their lives. So, much of our teaching and exhortation centered around the new birth and what it means to be genuinely saved. After eating lunch, we then went to a local market in order to pass out Gospel tracts and share the good news with the people there. Together we were able to pass out perhaps 400-500 tracts, and I got the opportunity to share the gospel with dozens of Papuans, along with many __ others__...
After leaving the coastal area (where the above update took place), we flew into the Mamberamo River Basin, visiting three different locations - Fuau, Taria, and Kasonewega. The first two are small villages with very little ethnic diversity. Sometimes Danis from the highlands or brown-skinned Indonesians come down to these lowland villages in search of sandalwood, or other natural resources. All the people in both Fuau and Taria would claim to be Christian. But, similar to the above paragraph, there are very few who have genuinely experienced the new birth. Generally speaking, the two tribal groups have a Christian identity, but understand very little about the gospel. ....
that God would use Yulianus to continue to evangelize his own people. In the last 2-3 years, it seems there was an awakening among a small minority of the people. However, there are still so many who have no saving knowledge of Christ.
that God would prepare Yulianus and Bastian to translate the Bible into Abawiri.
that God would also prepare Yaber Faboisa and his team to translate the Bible into ___Taburta
also as Yulianus recruits other translators among the 18 other languages spoken in the Mamberamo.