I was sitting at the work desk in the corner of my bedroom staring at a blank page in my prayer journal. My heart was languishing before God. I was about to take one of the biggest leaps of faith I had ever taken, get in a plane with my dad, fly to a country I had never been, to meet a man I had never met, to go to a people group I had never heard of, and we didn’t even know if we could get there. To say the least I was ‘nervous’…
As I sat praying all I wanted was for God to give me something that I could hold onto—something encouraging. I was scared of what could happen. I had thoughts like, “you know they eat people there right?” and “What if all the money you spent on plane tickets is a bust and you miss your flight or you can’t get to the tribe?” I asked God to speak to me. As I sat quietly waiting, an image of a man with a red painted face and a bone through his nose popped into my head. I personally didn’t think much of it, as I had been looking at pictures of Papua New Guineans on the internet and he looked like so many photos I had seen. I didn’t even take note of it in my journal thinking, ‘oh it must just be me.’ As I forced that image out another popped in. It was a man with a large black feather head dress. I decided to write that down as I had no idea where that came from.
After I finished drawing the picture, nothing else came to mind and I just sat there. I was worried enough that I got a little irritated with God. I wanted him to say that everything would be ok… or something, but nothing happened. Looking back, I see now that he had already promised to be with me in his Word, but I didn’t have the ability to see that in that moment.
So, we embarked. Dad and I flew three quarters of the way around the world to go one quarter of the way (because it was cheaper that way). We met a man named Simon, who became our guide, our translator, our friend and ultimately our brother. We journeyed in a rented vehicle 9 hours into the bush. After another day of walking we arrived at our final destination—Hagini. It was the word that God had put on my heart 4 long years earlier.
Our ministry during our stay was multifaceted. We had brought discipleship materials and audio bibles with us, along with a heart to serve wherever we could. We spoke most nights of the week in a local church. We also spent time during the day talking to people and sharing with them the message of Jesus. The people treated us so generously. Their love was palpable.
We had the honor of celebrating Easter in Hagini. It was a special day. I love celebrating holidays like Easter in other countries. The Easter bunny is not a distraction there, the celebration is centered on families, the church, and ultimately on Jesus. After preaching that morning, we had decided that today was the day that we would offer to take family photos of everyone in town. I bring a polaroid camera with me whenever I go, most people in the third world never get the opportunity to have a family photo… so even something small like a polaroid can mean the world.
After about an hour of craziness, everyone got their photo and went home. So I decided it was a good time to rest. I sat down on the porch of our hut. As I was sitting there a man walked up to me. I greeted him and he introduced himself as Ougalee. I didn’t think much of our encounter until I saw his shirt. On it was a Papua New Guinean Man, with a red painted face and a bone through his nose. In that moment the Holy Spirit reminded me of the image that he had shown me so many days earlier. In my spirit I knew that God wanted me to speak to this man. So I brought him to the church, which was just about 100 yards away, where Simon could translate for me. I told the man that God had shown me a picture of his shirt before I came to PNG. I told him that I believed God wanted me to share with him that God loves him and has a plan and a purpose for his life. Then I ran out of things to say, and the man wasn’t really responding, so I decided to leave. But I didn’t make it 10 steps out the door before God was like, “you are not done yet, go back and tell him the gospel.” So I did…begrudgingly at first. However, as I shared the gospel, Ougalee seemed like he really wanted to hear. When I finished I asked him if he wanted to accept Jesus. He said no. but then he shared his own story with me.
Over the course of the next few minutes, Ougalee proceeded to tell me about how the night before he had felt a powerful force, which he believed to be God, telling him to go to church that day. He said in Pision (the language of PNG), “I have never set foot in a church before today.” He told us that morning that he had gone to the local Catholic church, but had not found what he was looking for. Then when he heard that some missionaries were staying nearby he decided to come to us. And then this happened.
I responded to Ougalee’s story and told him that I felt strongly that God was trying to speak to him and tell him that He wanted him to be His son. When Ougalee once again didn’t respond I felt that God was leading me to give him one of the audio bibles that I had brought along. So I did.
Ougalee left a few minutes later. Over the course of the next few days, Dad, Simon and I prayed for him and continuously asked God to move in his heart. The morning before we left Ougalee came back to our hut. This time he was wearing a black feather headdress. It was a confirmation in my spirit that this was the man that God had showed to me that night at my desk. I asked him, how he was doing and what he thought of the stories of Jesus that I had given him on the audio bible. He replied, “I have been listening to the stories… and I have a new peace in my heart.” I told him, do you think this peace is from God? He said, “Yes.”
God moved in Ougalee and changed his heart! God is surly able to do amazing things. I hope that you find this story encouraging. God is a God of the impossible.