By Mark Ellis —
One evening, in the years before World War II came to the Philippines, an older member of the Palawano people group named Erot, whose name meant “Guide,” gathered a group of young people around him and delivered a remarkable prophecy.
“I have something important to tell you,” Erot began. “One day an American will come to you bringing a book with him. When he comes, listen closely to his teaching, because the book that he brings tells of the true eternal God, and how to have eternal life,” according to a report by Josh and Candy Dalton, missionaries with New Tribes Mission.
Nearly 50 years later, one of the young people who heard the original prophecy, Inting, heard about an American who brought a special book to their village and was teaching nearby. Excitedly, she sent her husband, Putek, to listen to the American’s teaching.
As Putek sat and listened, he was amazed by what the man said. He heard the story of creation for the first time, how sin entered the world through the sin of Adam and Eve, and about God’s promise of a Redeemer who would take away their sin. The more he listened, the more his excitement began to build.
After the American missionary told them how God revealed himself and His promise of a Redeemer throughout the Old Testament, he taught them about the life of Jesus Christ, how His life fulfilled all the prophecies, how He was sacrificed in their place and rose again to bring eternal life.
As the missionary told them story after story from the book he carried, a realization dawned on Putek: this is what Erot had told them to wait for! This was the story of their Creator – the living God. At long last He had sent someone to bring them the truth! He hurried home to tell Inting what he heard.
As a result of the teaching, God’s Word touched their hearts deeply and both Putek and Inting received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and were born again.
As more and more in the village came to faith, the missionaries regularly taught the people from the Bible,
translating small portions for each lesson. As years went by however, the church was still dependent on the missionaries for their spiritual sustenance, according to the New Tribes Mission report.
The Palawano people longed to have the Scripture in their own heart language. Recently, their wish came true. In early 2014, the Palawano New Testament translation was completed.
In June, New Tribes Mission held a celebration and dedication service. There were wonderful testimonies from the Palawano church. “This book is a treasure to us worth more than gold or money,” said Abil, one of the church leaders, as he wiped tears from his eyes.
“We are so thankful to our white uncle that God sent to us to bring us God’s Word in our own language so that now we can read it and understand it for ourselves. Now that we have God’s Word we are responsible to be faithful to study it and obey it.”
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