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Tribal Stories: Aziana Tribe

Soap in His Eyes or
Bar Soap and Bubbles of Joy

"We have enough money to buy a carton of bar soap," the Aziana women's group agreed. They had made the decision to order bar soap to give to their pastors and teachers in the churches there. I'm sure God got soap in His eyes that day. What a joy it must have been to Him to see his daughters giving because they loved Him. On the surface, bar soap may sound like a pretty insignificant thing, but let me tell you what it represents. One of the women had been challenged by a paper she had read on giving and started sharing her excitement with some other women. As they started giving, as unto the Lord, their joy increased, and they have continued giving above their tithes to help many different people.

The former religions of the people of Papua New Guinea (PNG) were animistic and mostly took the form of male cults. Women weren't very important and had little to say in decision-making and little to do in the rituals and sacrifices made to please the ancestor spirits.

The light of the Gospel has slowly changed men and women in the Aziana tribe. Many have put their trust in Christ alone for their salvation. In learning to walk in the Spirit, these women are putting their love into practice. People can see the fruit of their lives as they joyfully give.
pic4Most Sundays these women not only contribute thro ugh the offering plates, but also by bringing garden produce for their pastors and teachers. When another woman is sick, they often take them firewood and food. They also pray with them and try to encourage them to keep looking to Christ.

May this be a challenge to all of us that we, too, may learn the joy of giving. What greater joy can we have than to be part of a team that is reaching these lost tribes. You can be a part by praying for those who have put their faith in Christ. You can pray for the many tribes who have not yet heard the Gospel. You can pray that God will send more missionaries to help reach those people.

A Tribute

The young mother clutched her husband's arm with an urgent need to speak the most important words she had ever spoken to him. As the desperate plea escaped from her lips, she was gone.

Missionaries' kids make many friends among the tribal children. Mike and Diane Henderson's children in the Aziana tribe in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea were no exception. A little girl named Kerorin who was only six months older than the Hendersons' eldest child, Philip, was one of their playmates for many years.

When the kids were older and went off to the mission boarding school, Kerorin sometimes helped Diane with some of her household chores. On their return for holidays, she would get together with them again for hours of great fun.
communityWhen the chronological teaching of God's Word was given, Kerorin was a young teenager and she put her faith in Christ's work.

Later, she married a shy young man named Benja'o and bore him two sons. She was in a lot of pain and some people accused her of pretending to be sick just to get attention. These false accusations only added to her sufferings, which she bore for another six months until she came out to the hospital in the town of Goroka. They treated her and sent her back to her village, but she didn't make any improvement.

After several more months of suffering in the village, she was flown out a second time to the hospital. While she was in the hallway awaiting admittance, she grabbed her husband's arm and said, "I'm going to leave you now and go to heaven. I'm sorry you are going to have a lot of work raising the kids by yourself, but you must have strong faith in God. Please promise you'll tell our sons about Jesus dying for them. We will all meet again in God's kingdom." Saying that, she closed her eyes and was the first one in the family to enter God's presence.

Before she had left the village, she had asked her relatives that, if she should die, they wouldn't allow the unbelievers to sing to her departed spirit. Her family honoured that request, and the believers came and sang praises to God instead. Through Kerorin's death and her testimony, her father came back to the Lord.

Later, her husband was sitting in his hut when his oldest son asked him, "Where is Mom?" His father didn't know what to say but then he looked at a verse Kerorin had memorized recently and had pinned to the wall which read, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Philippians 3:21 He was able to explain to the boy that his mother was now in heaven with a pain-free body.

She was only a simple village woman, but God used her to change the lives of others. Pray for her husband Benja'o and her two sons as they face life without her.

Pray for the Aziana New Testament project. The translation of the New Testament in the Aziana language should be finished within a year. We know God will use His Word to change many other lives there. If you would like to help in getting this New Testament printed, please contact the Publication Department, New Tribes Mission, 1000 E First St, Sanford, FL 32771-1487

Little is much

That little guy? That's him? That's Jos? I expected him to be much bigger. It just goes to show you that God can pack a lot into small containers. How big does a person have to be to be used by God? You may say that size matters, but I'd like to remind you of the words written about King Saul in 1Samuel 15:17. Samuel said, "When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?"

It seems to be a principle in the Scriptures that when a person considers himself to be nothing, the least of all, or small in wisdom and power, God delights in using him to show forth His great power. Jos is a good example of divine strength in a frail form.

306aHe was born in the Aziana tribe of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea about 36 years ago. His parents had no idea that God would use their son for His glory. In fact, they didn't even know God themselves. Shortly after his birth, the first NTM missionaries moved into the Aziana tribe to learn their language and culture. Others joined them later and eventually the Gospel was clearly proclaimed to these people. These missionaries were undoubtedly good examples of what God can do in lives that are yielded to Him.

Eventually, Jos heard the Gospel of Christ and believed too. He never grew very tall or wide physically, but he gradually grew in Christ and tasted the power of God in his life. He loves the Lord and has served Him in different ways during his life. For several years, he has tried to reach out to a neighboring tribe called the Awa. He has taught the Word in his local church and has been involved in helping Mike and Diane Henderson translate the New Testament into the Aziana language.

He wrote me a letter recently, and I was filled with thanksgiving to God for His being able to use men and women who yield themselves to Him. Let me share a few things he mentioned. "Just this week, Mike and I finished translating Colossians and Jude. Whew! We really worked hard to get the words right. In Christ, each day our Great God gave us new strength and understanding." In writing about the Awa people he said, "The men and women of the Awa tribe really need a missionary. We have been praying that after the translation of the Aziana New Testament is completed, my family will move into an Awa village and start teaching them again. We would like to see a local church established there. You can stand behind us in prayer, and God alone can show us the good path to take." He signed his letter, "I am just a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Please pray for the completion of the Aziana New Testament. When it is finished, the Hendersons will be taking it to the U.S.A. to be printed. Pray for the finances needed to complete that project. Also pray for Jos and the other Aziana believers to stay 'little' in their own eyes. Pray that the Awa people will get a missionary someday too.

Did I hear you say, "I could never do that?" Hey, that's a great start to becoming a candidate for God's power in your life. Does God want you to have a part in the Aziana translation project? Does He want you to have a part in praying for a local church to be established in the Awa tribe? Then do it!

Thank you for your interest in the Tanner's ministry. They appreciate your prayers and support. Their field address is P.O. Box 1079, Goroka, EHP, Papua New Guinea. You can contact them by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Financial gifts should be sent to New Tribes Mission, 1000 E First St, Sanford, FL 32771-1487. Checks should be made out to New Tribes Mission with a notation saying "for Jim & Kathy Tanner."

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