Christmas in the Jungle

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BOOM – boom – boom -boom! BOOM – boom – boom – boom! The rhythmic, furious beat of a drum assaulted our ears near the break of dawn. We were in the remote jungle village of Emrang for the first time. A kind church in Michigan had sent Christmas presents and supplies for a Christmas party so we could tell unreached children the story of Jesus.

Our journey to Emrang began on a Sunday afternoon as we started the 3.5-hour hike up the jungle trail to Kemantian. Before dark, we arrived safety at the home of Pastor Kent and Leonda George, where we spent the night. The next day, we had a beautiful but strenuous four-hour hike to Emrang.

When we arrived, the children were waiting for us. Praise the Lord, we have a mission school in Emrang. Student missionaries and other workers have been active in the village for years, but the work has been somewhat difficult due to the remote location. We are very thankful that last year a native Palawano named Niksun decided to be a missionary teacher in the village. He can make the journey from his home in Kemantian to Emrang in about 45 minutes! God blessed his work, so this year we built a school in Emrang. Another Palawano named Magni joined Niksun in teaching the 50-some students.

We did not have Christmas presents for all the 70-plus children in Emrang, so Niksun arranged the Christmas party to be for 24 of youngest children who were not yet old enough to go to school and had not heard the Bible stories and songs their older siblings had. It was a blessing that all of our family got to participate in the Christmas party. Our son Luke first told the children a little bit about how God created the world. Then Lily told them about heaven and how wonderful it will be. I told a little about the problem of sin that spoiled God’s perfect world. Then Sonya told the children of our Savior Jesus and how he came to rescue us from sin.

We slept in the school that night. Early the following morning, the drumming began—part of the native spirit worship.
However, as the children arrived for school and began singing praises to God, their voices drowned out the drumming.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support for Emrang that enable us to have teachers in this remote village! Please keep Niksun, Magni and their precious students in your prayers.

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