Midnight persecution, sunrise church

IMGP0642aIn the southern Pacific there are between 20,000 and 30,000 islands.  Some are sparsely populated and others have larger cities.  Some islands have a long history of Christian ministry working.  Others remain unengaged by Christianity.  On one such island, the population is 99% Muslim blended with spiritism.  That is where Tasi (not real name and a national from another island) felt God wanted her to live.

While we were training Tasi and others from the region, she absorbed the use of chronological Bible storying like a sponge.  A few weeks later, she moved to this particular island.

She began telling stories to women in the village while cooking, playing with children, and getting water.  Because of the extreme religious background of the people, Tasi didn’t feel it would be safe for her new friends if she give them Bibles.  It wouldn’t have mattered anyway since their language is an unwritten one and no Bibles exist in it.

One night, around midnight, men from the village burst through her door and dragged her outside, pushing and kicking her.  More men gathered.  Some began stripping her, beating her with canes on her back and the bottoms of her feet.  The men kept telling her to deny these “infidel teachings” she was telling their wives and sisters.  Tasi kept praying out loud, “I love you Jesus…I love you Jesus…I love you Jesus…”

IMGP0753Men turned her house upside down looking for anything Christian that she might be using to teach.  They only found her own Bible, which they destroyed.  When they couldn’t find anything to use as evidence against her, they resumed their beating and yelling at her until the sun began to rise, since on their island it is wrong to punish people like this after sun-up.

Tasi made it back to her house.  Some women took care of her that day.  Tasi never renounced her faith in Christ.  The men never found anything they could use against her.  They didn’t return to persecute her.  And a small group of women began meeting in her house, the first church on the island, among an unreached people group without an alphabet in their language.  And they share stories from God’s Word.