“Brother!” the elder shouted. “You came home! I’m glad to see you!”
I smiled, remembering the events of the last few weeks.
The entire tribe was in an uproar. One of their members had committed a serious crime. Traditionally the Tawbuid are very passive, and only powerful shamans exact justice. In our village, Christianity has supplanted the shamans, but no system of justice replaced them.
After much prayer, I felt it was my duty to take a stand for the Biblical view of justice, where God calls us to lovingly discipline the wrongdoer and to defend the innocent. However, the majority of the Christians in the village rejected my teaching as unbiblical.
I was brought before village, tribal, and provincial officials. Nearly all of them rejected my teaching, and several started circulating false rumors about me and the victim who was seeking protection from her attacker. At the height of the public outcry against us, the Lord removed me from the Tawbuid territory for a few weeks to deal with visa problems and a very sick patient.
It was with trepidation that I trudged up the hill to the village after being gone for nearly a month. “Lord,” I prayed, “is this the end? They kicked out the previous eight missionaries for less. But You commanded me to speak, so whatever happens, I trust Your promise that Your word will not return to you empty.”
The elder’s shout of greeting interrupted my reverie. At least someone still likes me, I thought with a grin. But it didn’t stop there. In fact, I couldn’t get to bed until nearly eleven because so many people wanted to stop by and say hello. “Thank you, Lord!” I prayed as I fell asleep that night. “It’s good to come home!”