Pigs. Grunts. Little squeals. Swooshing grass skirts. I stuck my head out the window from the translator’s house into the cool mountain air. Fancy headdresses. Colorful feathers. Beads. Grass skirts. Gourds. Overloaded string bags. Rattan skirts. And more pigs. Nearly 500 pigs! Pig feasts are held for important events. And this was a big event.
What was the big deal? In January we were in the village of Kosarek nestled up in the central highlands at 4,500ʹ to celebrate with the people the 50th anniversary of the first time a missionary came to their valley. We hiked an hour up to a monument that had been built on the arrival spot, and we listened to a recording from that first missionary, Mr. Zollner. He said he wasn’t sure if he was going to be killed. He wasn’t! He said they “planted a small seed (the gospel) and now it has grown into a large tree full of good fruit.” How cool is that?
The Kosarek people had a long ceremony memorializing that event (the coming of the gospel) including a really neat reenactment of the first contact done by kids who attend a Christian school operated by our local ministry partners.
And yes, the pig feast was good: meat and sweet potatoes wrapped up in banana leaves and roasted with hot rocks in a pit. As honored guests, we even got served the head. Felt real special. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from various people:
“We don’t have much in life, but we have God’s word.”
“We only endure because of the foundation of God’s Word.”
“We used to live in darkness. But because the missionaries came 50 years ago we live in the light.”
“We can sleep at night in peace with no fear because of the gospel.”
Mike Martin, our good friend and Kosarek translator, also had a time to present the New Testament manuscript to the church leaders. He gave them a challenge—in their language— about using the Scriptures. (I couldn’t understand that part.) The Kosarek New Testament is currently in line at the printer. Coming soon!