Tribal church growing in number and maturity

By June 16, 2008

Papua New
Guinea (MNN) — 59 new believers of the
Siawi tribe chose to follow the Lord in baptism on Sunday, June 8, New Tribes Missions reports. About 100 Siawi have now been baptized and
appear to be growing in their faith. 

A few difficulties came up, but the Siawi allowed nothing to
stop their baptism service. The river
was low because it hadn't rained for a week, so the Siawi built a small dam to
make a deeper pool. They also postponed
the baptism for a few hours to give missionary Tom Brendle more time to recover
from malaria. 

Since Brendle was still weak, he and missionary Jason
Swanson asked believers Kwaelom and Someliae to take his place in the
service. Kwaelom and Someliae gladly
agreed and had the opportunity to baptize their own children. After the baptism, missionaries asked all of
the Siawi believers to stand with the newly-baptized believers. 

"Our desire is for them to begin to see that they are
one body in Christ," wrote missionary Danielle Brendle. "There have been many divisions in the church
here, and they probably need to be taught from 1 Corinthians, as much as

The missionaries are beginning to teach the book of Romans
after finishing the book of Acts just a
few weeks ago. About 100 Siawi have been
coming to the Bible lessons. 

Siawi Christians are beginning to realize that they need to live
out what they are learning in the Bible, which forbids many things that they do. Their culture is in bondage to fear of
sorcery, spirits, sickness, and death. Kwaelom
was thoughtful after hearing the final lesson from Acts.

"I just can't stop thinking about what Paul said in Acts
28:26. Isaiah wrote that the Jews would hear and hear but not know. We have
been just like that," he said. 

The subject of baptism came up several times while the tribe
was studying Acts, and the missionaries invited the Siawi to ask about being
baptized if they were interested. They
made sure that the baptism candidates fully understood the significance of
their salvation and the purpose of being baptized. 

They were surprised when Noa, Ekebauele and Sek–young men
who had been making trouble for the church–expressed an interest in being
baptized. Ekebauele used to throw stones
at the building where the Bible lessons were taking place. 

"Oh yes, before I wasn't a believer in Christ. I didn't
care about God's road. But as I listened to the teaching on Acts, my thinking
became clear," Ekebauele told Brendle and Swanson.

"I understand that Christ's death made the way for me to go to heaven. His blood was shed for me, and there is no other way for my sins to be paid for. I want to be baptized because it is what Jesus said should happen to those who believe in Him. I want to follow Jesus' Talk." 

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