Wikipai, the Dao Bible teacher who became sick while teaching God’s Word in a distant village, died last week. He never fully recovered from his illness.
The week before his death he told missionary Scott Phillips, "No man knows the day that I will die, but the Creator knows. Will I die while I am young? Will I die while my wife and I have only cut the cords of two children? Will I die when I am old and have lived a long life? No man can know such things, but the Creator knows. And if I die while I am still young, then the Creator has chosen that for me. I am ready to go up to that good place above the sky and live with Jesus."
"It is hard to explain with words how we feel right now," Scott wrote. "As I am sure it is hard for anyone to explain how they feel after they have lost a close friend. We don’t pretend to know why God chose this specific path for Wikipai.
"We don’t understand why God saw fit that Wikipai’s wife, Moipi, and their two kids, Tawekabo and Damekauwo, would be left without their father at such a young age. But one thing we do know and that we do not for a single second doubt is that for His own glory and for the Dao people’s good, God sovereignly chose this for Wikipai."
Just four days before his death, Wikipai and another Bible teacher, Daapoi, were commended for their ministry.
Simon Tanner, the leader of Helimission, arrived from Switzerland to visit the Dao people. The Dao believers were very excited to have an opportunity to thank Helimission for providing those interesting dragonfly-looking contraptions called "helis" that have played such a huge part in bringing them the message of Jesus.
As the people gathered to honor Helimission some of the prominent Dao men spoke. Kopeedi said, "If it wasn’t for you … we would still this day be living in darkness with no knowledge of what Jesus has done for us. We thank you for carrying the message bearers here so that we could hear of Jesus."
Then it was Simon’s turn. He stood and pulled two small shiny packages from his pocket. After sharing for a little while about how it was Helimissions’ privilege to be a tool that God uses to carry the Gospel to those who have never heard, he said that he had something to say specifically about Wikipai and Daapoi.
"There are two men here that I have heard many things about. I have heard of how they have been faithfully teaching God’s Word here. I have heard about how they have encountered many challenges and sicknesses trying to carry the message of Jesus to the people. I have heard about how the enemy has been working against them and I have great respect for these two men who have been faithful despite these sicknesses, challenges, and attacks from the enemy.
"We have come here also to show our appreciation to them. And that is why I want to present these two, small, special gifts to Wikipai and Daapoi to show our admiration for them this evening and encourage them to not give up in well-doing."
"You should have seen the smiles on their faces," Scott wrote, "when Simon reached out his hand with those little shiny packages in them and presented to Wikipai and Daapoi two brand new, bright red, Swiss-army knives, hand carried-from Switzerland especially for them.
"The Dao people thought that they had gathered for a special feast just to honor Helimission but it had been turned around on them and ended up being a feast that the visitors had used to honor the first two Dao Bible teachers and evangelists, Wikipai and Daapoi. They were lifted up in front of their own people and all those gathered for their faithfulness despite all of the hardships and sickness that they have recently encountered."
Please pray for the Dao people and specifically for Wikipai’s wife and children - Moipi, Tawekabo and Damekauwo. Pray that God will be glorified in this great loss and that more Dao men will be challenged to take God’s Word to those distant villages.