The Pnong Jesus

“The happiest two days of my life were my wedding day and today,” Noy beamed as he shared his baptismal testimony. “Before I believed in Jesus, I followed the my own religion and had many problems and sins. I asked God to help me. I began studying with Pastor Greg, and he taught me a lot about Jesus. I decide to believe, and I know Jesus is the real God. Then I decided to get baptized. My heart is changed—not because of me but because Jesus has changed everything in my feelings, in my heart, in my life. I really want to work for the church and spread the news of Jesus to the indigenous people in remote areas.”

A feeling of deep fulfillment washed over me as Greg lowered Noy into the water. Only a few months before, Noy had almost lost his marriage because of his uncontrolled temper. At his lowest ebb, we pointed him to Jesus as the only way to save his marriage and to take care of his anger problem. We told him Jesus would give him a new, gentle heart, but only if he surrendered himself 100 percent. Noy made his decision. He was all in! Now, when tempted by anger, he takes his Bible to a quiet place where he prays and reads, and the anger vanishes.

We have hired Noy as a literacy facilitator, and Greg is discipling him to be a spiritual leader for the Pnong people. As a Pnong, Noy can share his faith in ways we can’t. For example, when visiting a lady with us, Noy shared what it’s like to hunger for God.

“Do you know the feeling when you urgently need to defecate, but there are people everywhere, and you can’t find a spot? Well, that’s the feeling in your heart when Jesus comes in. You have such a desperate desire to know God.”
Greg and I glanced at each other, trying not to laugh at the analogy. But our hearts were full. Full of the memory of Noy coming late to staff meeting because he just couldn’t tear himself away from teaching the Bible to a friend. Or the time when he was begging to preach because he just had to share. Perhaps this divine urgency is why many Pnong people have nicknamed him Jesus.

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