The village chief, Kwepa, was fearful and greatly distressed. He had fallen deathly ill with what seemed to be a severe case of malaria. No one, including Kwepa himself, believed he would survive.
At about 70 years of age, Kwepa was the oldest and most respected man in the village; the only man with gray hair. On an island where missionaries Scott and Jennie Phillips say the average life expectancy is only about thirty-five years, Kwepa was indeed an old man.
The village sorrowfully braced for their chief’s death. His sons and other relatives came to say their good-byes. The village began to grieve Kwepa’s loss in advance.
And then things got even worse. In Kwepa’s darkest hour, a large delegation from an enemy clan showed up. He was sure they had come to work sorcery on him and his family. A frightening thought haunted his heart. Which would be worse, he wondered, to die by sorcery and witchcraft or to die by sickness and malaria? They will work sorcery on me and finish me off!
The Dao Bible teachers who came to the village several weeks earlier in an outreach effort to teach God’s Word were deeply saddened watching the events unfold. “Perhaps we have come to this village to teach a little too late,” they said to each other.
Then Kwepa called the Dao Bible teachers to his side and asked for their advice. The teachers were certain that the Bible teaching should continue, in spite of the arrival of the enemy clan.
“This isn’t a message only for some and not for others,” the Bible teachers told him. They explained to Kwepa that the message from God’s Word telling His story of Creation through the sending of His Son was for everyone. They told him that the bad things in his village and valley would not change if only a few clans were allowed to hear the words of the Creator.
“We all need this message, even those people that you dislike,” the teachers told Kwepa.
Then one of the main Dao Bible teachers, Kogipiyaa, ventured to speak to the arriving members of the enemy clan. He learned that the clan members had come to the village for a very different reason than Kwepa had presumed. Their own village had heard about the Creator’s teaching going on. They had come to hear about His Son for themselves.
After much discussion, the Bible teachers concluded that they should start the Creation to Christ teaching all over again so that the visiting clan members would hear the full story. They presented their idea to Kwepa.
Kwepa thought about it for awhile. He had seen changes already in some people who had heard about the Creator’s message. He reluctantly agreed that the whole story should begin again.
“And then, he began to recover from his illness,” Scott Phillips writes. “Praise God for what He is doing in Kwepa’s life and village … and in other villages! He Himself is doing the work that we as missionaries cannot do. He is drawing people to Himself and giving them the desire to know Him.”
Kwepa is still recovering from his illness and is attending the daily Bible teaching, along with about 100 others from his village and other villages.
You can partner with the Dao Bible teachers in this outreach project. Kwepa and the other listeners are hearing the story of the hope and light of God’s redemption, a message of His triumph over death and fear and hopelessness. Pray faithfully for the teaching in this little village and for God’s powerful work of transformation in this village’s fear-gripped lives.