Greg and Heidi Greenlaw and their family are always up for a visit back to the tribal village that was once their home. “It’s a different experience,” Greg writes, “part tent-revival, part world-aid and part family camp-out.”
But this visit was even more. It was a time for renewed assurance of God’s ongoing, faithful work in Nakui believers. It was seeing the Nakui church, not only growing in numbers, but taking God’s Word seriously.
It’s not church programs that are drawing many new faces to the church, Greg says. Instead, it’s the transformation clearly visible in the lives of Kibo, Suse and Sobai, Nakui church leaders.
“These three are treating their wives in a very different way than their fathers did before them,” Greg explains, “and they have happier families as a result. Their lives are bringing them credibility and are attracting nearly all the younger couples in the village to hear what they have to teach each Sunday.”
Greg says that also it was easy to see increased maturity in the interactions of Nakui believers with one another. Traditionally, he says, the tribe has divided themselves into kinship circles. “Think Hatfields and McCoys,” Greg writes. But this visit, there were examples of people who, when circumstances demanded it, had forsaken their blood families for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
This growing bond of unity in believers is most encouraging. “The sprig is growing,” Greg observes, “not just taller, but thicker.”
The Nakui church is, not too surprisingly, experiencing some persecution. One of the village’s leaders is vocally opposing the believers and at times heckles them on Sunday mornings.
“This is fantastic,” Greg observes. “He heckles to discourage them, but God is using it to galvanize their identity as a church.”
For Greg and Heidi, the Nakui church feels much like an 18-year-old who they have sent off to college. They have wondered often to themselves in years past how the struggling believers would make it on their own.
And three years ago, the picture was not encouraging.
“With only a few exceptions, the Nakui church was an unreliable group of pew warmers (stone sitters, log loungers?) in 2010,” Greg shares. So he is rejoicing to see that in those three years, God has worked in their hearts to make them “more genuine in their faith and more faithful in their service.”
It was a journey back to their old home that brought the Greenlaw family much encouragement and joy.
“As ever,” Greg adds, “we have only God to thank.”