Headhunters, five British pounds, and a legacy of missions

By April 23, 2018

International (MNN) — The International Day for the Unreached is a reminder that not every tribe, tongue, and nation has access to the Gospel just yet. Ask what it means for John Pudaite, president of Bibles For The World, and he’ll tell you it’s personal for him.

He came from an unreached people group himself.

“In the year 1910, before the Gospel came to my people, we were known as one of the most savage head-hunting tribes in India,” Pudaite says.

However, one man didn’t think things needed to stay that way. A 22-year-old Welsh missionary named Watkin Roberts sent a copy of the Gospel of John to the chiefs of the tribe. Pudaite’s grandfather lived in one of the villages that got ahold of one.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned. “That Gospel of John was in a neighboring language, and they couldn’t understand it,” Pudaite says. “They sent a message back saying ‘Please sir, come and explain the meaning of this book.’”

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Roberts wanted to come immediately, but British authorities wouldn’t let him head into such dangerous territory. But Roberts wouldn’t be stopped.

“He snuck into the hills and walked seven days to get to my grandfather’s village,” Pudaite says. “He was only able to stay there five days, and in those five days, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he found a way to share the Gospel message the love of Jesus Christ.”

Thanks to his efforts, five men became followers of Christ. One of them was Pudaite’s grandfather.

When Roberts returned to the British, they were angry. They kicked out of the district. They kicked him out of the state. Eventually, they kicked him out of the country altogether.

But the seed of the Gospel had been planted. A change was coming. “My grandfather and the other young men carried that message of salvation through Jesus Christ all across our tribe,” Pudaite says. Within 30 years, every village of the tribe had been evangelized, and other than Roberts and his initial influence, no outside missionaries were needed.

And it doesn’t stop there. “Our people took that message of the Gospel to the neighboring tribes and continue to do that to this day, and that’s really the roots of our ministry.”

Now, Pudaite wants to continue that legacy of planting the Gospel and letting it spread like a wildfire. Still, that can be easier says than done.

“Most of the unreached people groups are now, very remote areas. For some reason, whether it be cultural, social, geographical, or political, they remain unreached.”

That task isn’t impossible, but it will take unity and prayer. Pudaite thinks Bibles For The World has found that.

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“It is really an honor for us to be part of the International Day for the Unreached, to join in this alliance of like-minded ministries that really have a burden to reach those people groups who are out there who still have not heard the name of Jesus.”

And you can help too. Pudaite says one of the most moving parts of Roberts’ story is his sponsor. Before the Welsh missionary left for India, one widow stepped forward and handed him five British pounds. Those five pounds funded the publishing of the Gospels of John Roberts sent to the village. Those five pounds helped introduce the tribe to Christ.

“We need people to step out with that same boldness of the missionary that brought the Gospel to my tribe, and we need people supporting them in prayer, since prayer is what opens these doors and these opportunities for the Gospel to come in.”

International Day for the Unreached is May 20. Want to be involved? Here are some resources to help you get started.

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