They lack the context to understand what you want to tell them. The Gospel? A Saviour? God? You need months of lessons before they’ll begin to grasp those concepts. So to pique their interest, the team among the Pal people of Papua New Guinea used a method that many others have found effective: a string of beads.
The missionaries to the Pal people – Chris and Maggie Hostetter, Nate and Elizabeth Claasen and Axel and Sandra Fachner – recently started presenting Bible lessons that will span from creation to the ascension of Christ. But before the first lesson, they brought a string of 6,000 beads to the hamlets where the Pals live.
They started by showing a length of about 200 beads, “and talking about what the beads represent,” Chris wrote. “As they come to understand that each bead represents a year in history, we shift the talk to moving backward in time and see what they know or can remember from five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and so forth.”
“Before we get even 200 years into the past, their knowledge runs out. … We ask … do you know how old the ground is? When the sun was born? How about the moon and stars?”
The common response is, “We don’t know the truth. We’re waiting for you guys to tell us the truth.”
“We then pull out the 6,000-bead timeline and watch their eyes grow wide …. We say, ‘God has told us what happened at the beginning. God has told us about the middle. And God has told us about the future, all in His Word. And we’re going to share with you God’s Word so you can know it, too.’”
Teaching Toward an End — the Gospel
By the end of the year, the Hostetters, Claasens and Fachners intend to finish the lessons, which climax in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It’s a team effort. Nate and Chris are teaching; Maggie is helping them translate Scripture for the lessons; and Elizabeth has helped those three teach people to read and write Pal. Axel and Sandra joined the team more recently and are still gaining a working understanding of the Pal language. Please pray that many Pal people come consistently to the lessons and that God uses His Word to draw them to Him.