“Don’t aim at fame. Don’t aim at sexual gratification. Don’t aim at wealth. And don’t aim at safety. Aim at all-satisfying joy in God which will empower you for humility, and chastity, and simplicity, and risk-taking, sacrificial love.”
– John Piper
Above photo shows one of the older illiterate Dao women that hiked hour after hour barefoot through the jungle with her family to
receive a gift that she had been waiting for for a very long time.
Imagine hiking multiple mountains barefoot. Not only are you barefoot but you are also carrying enough food on your back to feed your entire family for days…
The sweat is pouring from your body, your back has the imprint of the rough bark-string bag (which you weaved yourself) pressed into it from hours upon hours of travel. Your feet are sore from hiking and your heart feels like it will pound right out of your chest from all the strenuous activity. But deep down inside you are happy. You are excited with anticipation and know that the long journey will be worth it because at the end of the journey you will receive something that you have been waiting to receive for a very long time. And after you receive it you will finally be able to hear your Creator’s words, the words of life, whenever and wherever you want!
This is the exact thing that has happened these past couple months in the remote Dao tribe of Indonesia (top right photo). They are a people that live in an extremely rugged and isolated territory. A land with no roads and no automobiles, no hospitals or electricity. They live their daily lives in a place with no government schools or hospitals. In fact, they didn’t even have a written alphabet or know how to read or write until this present generation. As a result, most people in their fifties or above don’t have the ability to read a copy of the recently completed New Testament translation in the Dao language even if they wanted to. Though most of the younger generation has learned to read and write in recent years through the literacy program we set up there and now enjoy being able to read the Dao New Testament for themselves daily, the older generation was in a much harder situation, until recently that is.
The above photo shows us distributing a solar audio bible to an old chief named Kwemugu and explaining to him how to operate the device.
Many of you know that this past year we have been working on a project that would be a game changer for the older illiterate members of the Dao tribe; the solar powered Dao audio bible. A small, durable handheld device, that we could record an audio version of scripture portions from the Dao New Testament on. A device simple enough to be operated even by an illiterate remote tribesman far back in the jungles. After word had spread that we had brought these devices back to the Dao tribe, kids that were just learning to read, old weathered tribesman and women, and teachers and evangelists that could use these as a teaching supplement in new outreach areas came from miles around in excitement to worship their Creator, celebrate His Word and to receive their own solar audio bibles!
Thanks to the churches and individuals that rallied behind this project and sacrificially gave to see this dream become a reality we were able to provide these Bibles to the Dao people free of charge. When the tribes people realized that they were receiving these solar audio Bibles at no cost to them the looks on their faces were priceless. One by one they grinned from ear to ear and said over and over again “Paamee! Paamee!” which is the word in the local language for “Thank you! Thank you!”.
The above photo shows a young Dao boy that is just learning to read grinning from ear to ear because of his excitement at
receiving a new avenue through which he can listen to his “Creators Leaf Book” as they call it.
It was amazing to us to see that whole families and clans had hiked for hours and some for even days barefoot just to celebrate and receive God’s Word together. We entered with them into a time of spontaneous fellowship as believers and they asked their pastors to teach God’s Word. As family after family continued to arrive in our village, some from multiple days hike away the Dao teachers asked us if we would be willing to also, once again, teach them a daily Bible class as we had in the past.“Of course!” we told them. “But since we have now already taught you through the entire New Testament verse by verse and you are leading your own church, why don’t you go ahead and keep on leading and preach for the Sunday service. Talk together and decide for yourselves what book of the Bible you would like us to teach during the rest of the week from Monday through Saturday then tell us tomorrow after the Sunday service what you would like me to teach.”
The next day, they came and got us bright and early on Sunday morning to tell us everyone had gathered earlier the usual for the Sunday service. As we gathered together in the little shed that they use for a church building I was reminded of the contrast in between the place we were gathering to worship and the great big beautiful buildings we gather in for worship in America. Things were so different in this little tribe of believers on the other side of the world. The people were all sitting on the floor in this little shed the Dao people called their church building. There are holes so big in the walls of the church, which is made from hand hewn boards, that occasionally I would see someone lean over and spit through one of the holes in the walls. There were holes also in the rusty tin roof of the building and the thought crossed my mind that if it were to start raining heavy during the church service we might be in trouble for all the leaks that would drip down on us. There was a fire pit in the center of the room for the cold nights that they might be meeting in the building to sing and praise their Creator together. There was no electricity, bathrooms or running water in the church building just as there were none of these things in their own thatched roofed houses. But as the people sat together and praised their Creator they were so, so happy.
Once it had begun, the service went on for hours. First an hour of singing during which many of the songs were new and were being sung in their church for the very first time. The Dao people don’t sing 500 hundred year old hymns left over from past generations, they write new songs regularly, often on a weekly basis with which to praise their Creator. After that was another hour of worship during which the people quoted scripture to each other! From the youngest kids that had just learned to read to the oldest proud warrior in the room, hunched over from old age and missing most of his teeth, that didn’t know how to read at all, they quoted full paragraphs of scripture to each other by heart complete with book, chapter and verse reference. As a Bible translator that had spent over 15 years laboring to translate the New Testament into the Dao language one verse at a time, Jennie was so taken back that she started crying with joy in the middle of the church service right then and there. After that time of quoting scripture to each other finally came the preaching during which one of the Dao pastors gave a beautiful message on Matthew 16:13-20 on how “Yesusi” as they call him proved that he is the Son of the great Creator, the Messiah! And during the entire message the other Dao pastors also joyfully chimed in from time to time with truths they also knew related to the message.
The above photo shows a picture of Jennie giving a solar audio bible to her old friend Ikagepane.
Ikagepane never learned how to read and is completely illiterate as there were no schools and their tribe didn’t yet
even have a written form of their language when she was a little girl.
After the service had finally come to a close that afternoon and the entire village was eating a meal together to celebrate, one of the Dao pastors looked over at me and said “Hey Degapiyaa! (Years ago the Dao people named me “Degapiyaa” which means “Tall White Tree”) we think we know what you want to teach us on over the next few weeks!” he said. “Can you please teach us again through the book of Acts?”he asked. “We want to be reminded of what the New Testament church was like so that we can think through how we can be more like them!” he said with a sweet smile on his face.
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I thought about what he had just asked. There Jennie and I and our children were, sitting among a group of people that had hiked for days barefoot with huge bags of food, their belongings and even small children and babies that didn’t yet know how to walk, pressing down on their backs just so that they could get to our village to attain a way to hear more of God’s Word. These people had met together in a shack of a building and sat on the floor for hours praising their Creator together with beautiful songs, some of which they had just written the previous week. They had memorized full paragraphs of scripture and were quoting it to each other by heart from the youngest to the oldest. They had rejoiced over God’s Word together for hours that morning alone and now, though they didn’t have much to begin with they were sharing what little they had together as believers to have a meal together. Yet they were asking to study through the book of Acts together so that they could be “More like the New Testament church”. I could barely agree to their request for the lump in my throat. I was so humbled by their attitude and what we had been a part of that Sunday morning.
The above photo shows the Dao people happily studying Gods word together in their “Church Building” (Which is made of hand hewn boards, has no electricity or running water and has holes in the walls big enough to spit through).
May we learn from their simple passion and love for their Creator. May people like these serve as a reminder to us that there are places in the world that though they are dirt poor compared to there rest of the world, they are rich spiritually speaking because they realize the worth of the Word of God and they cherish it deeply.
Compared to the western world where people have huge comfortable houses, two car garages, plenty of food to spare and on top of all that all the extra toys for the weekends, these remote tribes people have almost nothing materially speaking. So many people in the west have so, so much and still aren’t happy! But these simple people truly are happy people because they know they have the greatest thing – they have Jesus.
Praises & Prayer Requests
- Please pray for our present “Project of the month” which directly effects our Bible translation efforts for the Dao people. Pray that the Lord will raise up people to pray for and contribute to that present need! (Scroll down to find out more about this need)
- Praise God for the many opportunities He has given us to trumpet the cause of world missions in Churches and conferences. Pray that God will use these opportunities in powerful ways and that many more missionaries will be raised up to go to the unreached people groups!
- Please pray for our family and children, that we will stay in good health. Jennie is still struggling from the parasites we have recently picked up in the Jungles of Indonesia. Please pray for her healing and stamina.
- Please pray for the continued progress of the “DAO Ministries Missionary Training Center” as we continue to trust the Lord for His provision of laborers and equipment to clear the land, put in roads and move forward with the development of this center.
- Please pray for the continue Bible translation work we are doing in the language of the Dao people of Indonesia. Pray that the Lord would give us wisdom in our translation decisions.
- Please pray for the Bible teachers and literacy teachers we have trained that are presently teaching and carrying out new outreaches in various villages.
- Please pray for DAO Ministries partner organizations, (Hope From Above, Project 1040, Helimission & Alta Forma) as we labor together to see the last remaining unreached people groups reached with the gospel!
Upcoming Speaking Dates
When we are not in the jungles of Indonesia or some other part of the world we take every opportunity we can to trumpet the cause of world missions. We want to tell as many as possible about the awesome things God is doing! Come and join us at one of our upcoming events and hear firsthand about the unique things God is doing through DAO Ministries and how you can play a part! (“Prophecies of Pale Skin” and our other books also will be available at most speaking events)
*Sunday, May 5, 2019 (11:00 a.m.)
Cool Springs Baptist Church, Tate, GA
*Sunday, June 9, 2019 (11:00 a.m.)
Bakewell Bible Church, Soddy Daisy, TN
Sunday, June 23, 2019 (11:00 a.m.)
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Jasper, GA
*Sunday, July 7, 2019 (11:00 a.m.)
Duncan Park Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN
*Sunday, July 21, 2019 (9:00 & 10:15 a.m.)
Greenville Missionary Church, Greenville, OH
*Saturday-Friday, July 27- August 2, 2019
Gitche Gummee Bible Camp, Eagle River, MI
*Sunday, August 18, 2019 (8:00 & 11:00 a.m.)
New Union Baptist Church, Dayton, TN
If you are interested in having us come and share at your church, school, conference or event please contact us at email@example.com and let us know. If we are in the country at that time and available we will do our best to accommodate your request and add you to our speaking schedule.