Festival attendees meet Piom

A team from New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan, was kept busy over the weekend at the Big Ticket Festival in Gaylord, Michigan.

The team set up a booth at the festival to inform and challenge people to consider how they can be a part of reaching tribal people with the Gospel.

The Big Ticket Festival, a family-oriented Christian music and action-sports festival that began in 2006, was expected to draw a crowd of more than 25,000 for the three-day event.

The New Tribes Mission booth gave visitors an opportunity to meet a tribal person – well, sort of.

Josiah Van Der Decker, whose parents began a ministry among the Kaulong people of Papua New Guinea in 1997, did a convincing job assuming the name Piom and portraying a Kaulong man.

His fellow teammates were being asked, “How long has he been in the States? How did you guys get him here? Does he like being here? Where do you keep him? Is he going through culture shock? Does he miss his family? Is he on a tourist visa? Has he had McDonalds?”

Josiah awoke early each morning to begin the lengthy make-up and costume preparation before being ready for his encounter with the public. He spoke only the Kaulong language to his visitors as they were given the simple objective of eliciting four Kaulong words: hammock, banana, tree and pot.

“I try to push each small group of visitors that comes through to get outside their comfort zone and to engage Josiah in a conversation,” wrote Ric Bruce, who acted as a guide. “Some groups need a lot of help to overcome shyness and some are so eager they offend Josiah’s tribal sensibilities.”

Ric ushered several hundred people to Piom’s hut during the event. Several high school students left excited about missions and studying God’s Word.

“People leave completely different, amazed that 2,500 people groups have yet to hear the Good News,” Ric wrote.

Please pray that God will work in many hearts to show people how they can be involved in planting churches among those who have yet to hear the Gospel.