From murderer to missionary

"God surely has done a miracle in this man’s life," missionary Scott Phillips thought as he watched Daapooi get an early start on the trail, headed toward the same village where he watched his close friend and fellow evangelist, Wikipai, waste away from a lowland illness.

This would be Daapooi’s second attempt to gather and teach this village about their Creator, and he was just as determined as ever.

"If it were just pig meat or money or anything else that needed to be talked about, I wouldn’t be going," he told Scott last Wednesday morning. "I am going to finish what my friend Wikipai started. I am going because it is the Creator’s talk that needs to be carried there. It is the biggest talk of all."

Scott vividly remembers the day a few years ago when he and his wife, Jennie, were trying to learn the culture and language of the Dao people. Daapooi led a group to do what their Dao beliefs demanded of them -- to take the life of a young woman accused of witchcraft.

Now, Daapooi wants to speak the words of life to his people.

The two men committed the journey to the Lord and Daapooi hit the trail with a sense of urgency to teach a group who seemed ready to hear.

The week before, the village sent word to Daapooi saying, "We have all temporarily returned from working with the business down river. We are gathered and ready to be taught about the Creator! We want you to come down and teach us! Please come down quickly!"

Daapooi, along with his wife Otopina and their two young children, gathered their things in no time and were ready to leave. Missionary Derek Grant made the two-day hike with Daapooi to support him in the first few days of teaching.

Many villagers were gathered and waiting when they arrived, and teaching began Friday morning. For the next couple of months, Daapooi will be teaching from Creation to Christ the way that he and other Dao people were taught a few years ago.

"Please pray for Daapooi, Otopina and their two children," Scott wrote. "We know that the enemy [Satan] is not in the least bit happy about what they are doing, and that they will be facing many hardships because of the attempts they are making to carry God’s message to this people."