Transcription

[music plays]

Announcer:  Gami was unhappy as a sorcerer. When he met an old missionary, he found out why. Listen to the rest of the Rebekah’s account of Gami Akij.

Rebekah:  There were cars; there were stores. He was scared to death. [laughs] He’d never seen anything like it. He grew up in the village. None of his people had been out before. In a few days’ time, though, he got used to it and he managed to find the school there, where . . . I forget how many witch doctors were running it—prominent leaders in New Guinea. Some of them are now in Parliament. Very important figures in the country. They took Gami under their wing and began to teach him to be a priest. There, they call it “Anglicans,” which, I don’t know. Maybe they heard the Australian name, Anglican. That’s what they call it, but it’s sorcery. He began to learn the fine arts of sorcery, and he also began to learn how to drink. They had whiskey in town.

He learned how to smoke marijuana and cigarettes. He learned how to fight in the street manner, how to kill. He also became very unhappy. He didn’t understand why. He was in a very desired spot. Not many boys in New Guinea are destined to be the leader of their people, and not many boys have the chance to become a mighty sorcerer, who was the most feared kind of leader in New Guinea. But he was so unhappy.

One day, he met another boy about his own age called Theo. Theo was different. He always had a smile on his face. Theo said to Gami, “Gami, I used to be like you until I met a man named Jesus. Can I tell you about Jesus, Gami?” Gami said, “Sure.”

He told him about Jesus, and Gami said, “I’ve never heard this before, but for some reason I don’t think my witch doctors would like it very much.” He said, “I don’t think you should talk to me about this anymore,” and he went on his way.

But a couple of weeks later, Theo came and he said, “Gami, the church that I go to, they’re having a won tok today.” Now, in Pidgin, won tok means “best friend,” or . . . Yeah, the equivalent would be “best friend.” He said, “I don’t have a good friend here in town. Would you come with me, Gami? Would you be my friend?” Oh, Gami was flattered. “Sure, I’ll be your won tok.” So he went to won tok day with Theo.

Now there at the church that day, they had a missionary. This missionary had been in the country many years. He was an old man, and he spoke their language. That day, he preached about hell and the wages of sin. Gami, he clung to the pew in front of him until his knuckles were white. He was shaking all over. He said, “In our legends, we’ve heard of this place of fire.” The man preached about sin and what sin was, how it makes you unhappy, and how when you die you go to hell. He was scared to death.

As soon as the man finished preaching, Gami ran to the front, he grabbed the preacher around the knees, and he said, “Save me, I’m going to fall into hell!” The man took the afternoon and he talked to Gami all afternoon, until he clearly understood the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Gami Akij got saved. He said, “I can’t keep the name ‘Gami’ anymore. That’s the name of a mighty sorcerer.” He said, “From now on, I’m Allan.”

He went back to his room where he was living, and he told the people, he said, “I have something to tell you. I got born again. I can’t be a sorcerer anymore.” They said, “You what?” and they grabbed his bags and they threw him in the street. He didn’t have a place to live anymore. He didn’t have any food or any money.

He wandered around for a few days until he found the missionary that had preached that day. He told him his story, and the missionary said, “Well, there’s a school here. I think they’ll let you go if you just get a part-time job and take care of yourself.” For three years there in town, Allan studied at this school. It was in a church in the evenings. He learned how to read the Bible—they gave him a Bible—and he learned a little bit of English. He learned some doctrine. He didn’t know much at all, but he learned a little bit.

He met a girl named Priscilla. She was the coastal girl there, from a different village, who also spoke English, and they got married. One day, Gami said, “My people,” who were back in the jungle, in the village, he said, “they’re waiting for me to come back. When I get back, I’ll be the leader. They’ll listen to me. They’ll do everything I say. They expect me to be a mighty sorcerer.”

He said, “I’m afraid of what they’re going to say when they hear I’m a Christian.” Then he said, “It’s a lot more important that I go back and tell them, than it is for me to stay here. Will you go with me?” Priscilla said, “I’ll go wherever you go.” She went with him. They flew back to that little airstrip, and climbed and climbed until they approached the village. The people saw him coming from a distance, and you could hear the women crying, [foreign language].

The children were jumping up and down mimicking him, and here came old Akij, running out from the village. He embraced his son, and he said “[foreign language], My son, you have returned as the leader.”

All day long, for three days, they feasted and celebrated the return of Allan Gami Akij. In the Kumboi language, it’s rude to immediately introduce any subject of importance. You never talk standing up. For three days, Allan didn’t mention anything. He waited until the celebration was over, and then he went to his father’s house in the evening and he sat down. There were a few seconds of silence; his father knew that he had something important to say. He knew for three days he had something important to say, but now, culturally, it was appropriate. It was the right time. Everybody else filed out of the house. It was time for Gami and Akij to speak. All night long, the fire burned and Allan told old Akij what had happened to him in town.

He told him the story of Jesus. Akij listened in silence, and when Allan was finished, he said, “My son, I’ve never heard anything like this before. I need to think about it,” and he disappeared into the jungle.

Allan waited, and he prayed, and he waited, and he prayed, and about a week later, Akij came out of the jungle. He came straight to Allan, he took him by the opposite shoulder, and he said, “My son, what you say rings true. The universe bears witness of it.” [laughs] Old Akij was born again. Akij was thrilled, to say the least. Gami, or Allan, was thrilled. He now had the blessing of his father to preach to his brothers.

Jerry was the first one to be born again after Allan. Then Lawrence, Stephen, Dick. Who else was there? Peter. One after another, his brothers were saved, and the Kumboi culture—praise God—unlike many other places, the Kumboi culture is such that every single man is a spokesman. Every single man is an aggressive leader.

Every man that was born again among the Kumboi people overnight became a preacher of the Word. They told what they knew, aggressively. Within a few years, all of Allan’s immediate family were believers. His brothers began going to enemy villages, the villages that killed them and ran them out years before. They went there and they preached, and people got saved.

They kept going. [laughs] They understood so little, just the gospel story, but they were so aggressive and they were so changed, their lives were changing, and they were so thrilled with this message that they just kept going and going.

Nine years later there were over 500 believers still actively witnessing all the time. Seven villages, not all the same language group. Three different language groups that had believers praying for each other, keeping track of who got saved. Every time somebody got saved in another village somebody would come as a runner, a bearer of the good news to all the villages and say, “So-and-so got saved.” It’s still going today.

A few years ago, some of the boys, Jerry, Lawrence, Pastor Allan’s brothers, came to him and said, “You know, you’ve done a good job. You’re our leader. You didn’t have to stay here in poverty and teach us. You’ve taught us well and you’ve taught us everything you know. But Allan, it’s not very much. The Bible’s a big book and we know that God’s got a lot in there he could tell us. We want to know what the rest of it says. We want to know what God says in that book.”

Allan said, “You’re right.” He said, “Even I . . . sometimes I want to know so bad what that book says.” He said, “I think we should pray that God will send us somebody to teach us that book.” And so, they began to pray. For one year, for two years, for three years. One day, Allan flew back to town. Very rare that he ever had the money to fly to town. The three days that he was there, he met a missionary on the street that had been there for years. The missionary said, “I’ve got two Americans at my house that are looking for a place in New Guinea to minister. Would you like to come by and talk to them?”

Allan went by Jerry Williams’ house and there he met me and my brother Gabriel. We talked all afternoon and he told us the story about the boy, Gami, and about how the gospel reached the Kumboi people. And he asked us to come visit. Which I did, Gabriel and I went and spent a week there among them.

[music plays]

Announcer:  As always we hope you are blessed by what you’ve heard today. And again, remember to check out our great weekly online specials.

 

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