From Kathmandu Jerry and I flew via Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Jakarta (Indonesia) to Jayapura, Papua. Finally, we were over the jungle of Papua – green, and some more green only interrupted by various rivers. I felt somehow similar like when I entered this land the first time in the beginning of 1978. There was an excitement in my heart about the thought: “Down there somewhere are the Fayus.” I looked at my watch, half an hour to go, then only ten minutes to go. There was joy bubbling up in me being able to see them again after about five years. I had just read Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” I will trust the Lord in all the meetings and encounters ahead of me, and all decisions, which I have to make. He will guide me with his eyes upon me.
Finally, we landed at Sentani, airport of Jayapura. I hardly recognized the airport because so much has been modernized and changed. At the arrivals hall we were welcomed by my friend Pastor Theis Wopari. Then we drove to our village Waena, where we had our base house and where Pastor Wopari’s church, “Christ Mission Church” was located at as well.
On our way to Waena Pastor Theis called several times and gave them our position. Obviously, something was organized for us, probably a welcome ceremony. The Papuan people love welcome ceremonies. Finally, the car stopped about 50 m in front of the church building. Outside the church were a number of people in “waiting position.”
As Jerry and I stepped out of the car, the whole welcome company started to sing. Some played guitars and some played drums, and little girls of the church dressed up with bird of paradise and ostrich feathers started to dance, jumping back and forth. The first one who came towards me was Fayu chief Kologwoi. He happened to be on the coast in Waena during that time. It was such a joy to see him, rubbing our foreheads, and nibbling at his fingers while he was nibbling on mine (expression of strong feeling of love). We both said to each other, “De bari oru kaha!” which means: “To see you, makes my heart very glad.”
Jerry, Chief Kologwoi and Nakire (left to right)
Then I welcomed all the other friends. After a while, we all assembled at the church. Several gave welcome speeches. Among them were two young Fayus, Paulus, and Baiba, who have just finished a three-year theological training and who were eagerly awaiting their return to the tribal area to minister to their own people. Paulus stood up and after reading Romans 10:14-15 he testified:
“We were in great darkness. Then Klausu came and with him came the Light and as it became stronger and stronger, it has touched our hearts and changed us. Back then, our families were sitting in darkness bound by sin, but now we believe in the Lord. Back then our position was darkness, sin and warfare, now our position is Jesus, light and peace.”
Then Chief Kologwoi stood up, laid his hands on me, and started to pray, besides some other things he said: “Thank you Jesus, for bringing Klausu back. For a long time he was gone. Ever since we have heard about his coming, our hearts have been elated. In the meantime, we have built a new airstrip so Klausu could land right in front of our village … !”
Since someone has moved into our house, Jerry and I were invited to stay in the house of our neighboring friends, Rainer and Heidi Scheunemann. Rainer and his family were in Germany at that time. We were very grateful for this arrangement because it was a very comfortable place to stay. Thank you, Rainer and Heidi!
While still in Germany, I booked a flight with a Christian aviation organization, which I have used before: Flight from Sentani to the new Fayu village called Dirauw. At the departure day, we had beautiful weather. It was a two-hour flight to Dirauw. I asked the pilot to fly over our old village Foida at first. As we came nearby, I sensed tremendous excitement in my heart. Then I saw the village houses from the air. I could hardly recognize my house on the hill. It was altogether surrounded by the jungle.
Our old village Foida
I did not see any people. Later I learned that most of them had been on their way to Dirauw all night long in order to welcome me there on the following day. A few minutes later, we landed in the new village.
The new village Dirauw
What an excitement and joy! Looking out of the airplane window, I saw that the welcome company already started to dance at the edge of the airstrip. As soon as the plane stopped they came running, opening the door, pulling me out of my seat and carrying me on their shoulders over the airstrip, celebrating my arrival with shouts of joy and praise, saying over and over again: “Jesus has told us that you would come and step out of the plane and now you are here.”
Welcome company in Dirauw
Then they grabbed Jerry and next the pilot. They were specially dressed up for this welcome celebration. Several of their body parts were painted white. Later I learned that they had used white toothpaste for this purpose. On some of their heads were bird of paradise and ostrich feathers. They were using some plastic pipes covered with tire tube for drumming. Thus, they were dancing and singing with a loud voice including a number of women. Then they grabbed their bows and arrows and ran around while I was in the midst of them shouting for joy.
Shouts of joy
There was a lot of “head rubbing”, a sign of special love and respect, and soon my jacket was quite covered with toothpaste. The celebration of running, singing, and dancing continued for quite a while until I was nearly out of breath. What a joyous welcome! I felt so much at home. They are part of my family and I am a part of their family, and we all belong to God’s family. What a privilege to see them after five years and to carry Jesus and the love of the Father into their midst to encourage “the tender bride of Christ” among the Fayu nation.
Later I invited them to come to the church building for a meeting. I shared about my children, about our ministry time in Nepal and I talked about a particular problem.
Church building of Dirauw
Comments on the Problem
Since few years now, the Fayu territory has been registered by the government and has been divided in several districts. The government received from time to time a big sum of money from one of the greatest gold mines of the world, located in the southern part of Papua. Much of this money has been distributed to the new formed districts in the land including the Fayu districts. Therefore, since two or three years now every village has received some government money. The village chief had never seen so much money in his life. Thus, he was passing it on to the different families in his village. I sense that this is a tremendous temptation to the people and especially to the young generation. Some of them took the money and ‘escaped’ from the jungle to the outside world. They are in danger of getting addicted to money. One thing that is worse than no money is too much free money being received without doing any work. That puts them in danger of being enslaved to the government.
Even this time when we arrived nearly one dozen young people took our plane to fly to the nearby west coast because they had the money for the ticket. Although the enticements of the world had drawn them, it was nevertheless suddenly important for some, to see me once again before I would depart so that they somehow managed to return to the village on time.
The enemy is earnestly trying to capture especially the young people. It really makes me sad and I am very much concerned about this development. Jesus is not the first anymore. Please pray that they wake up before it is too late.
As I shared about my concern at the meeting in the church, the older people were nodding because they could clearly see this development too. I challenged them with the choice: The way of money and the world or the way of Jesus.
While I was talking in the church building, I thought that this would be a good place to stay and to sleep. This building was located a little bit away from the village. The Fayus agreed. I am so thankful for this decision. Thus, we had peace especially in the evening, while in the nearby village there was generally a lot of noise until after midnight.
The church had been built by the government and was more or less empty. The only piece of furniture was a sawhorse, which served as pulpit stand and for us as a kitchen table.
We asked the Fayus about mosquito activities at night. They assured us, “There are only a few.” Therefore, we decided not to put up our mosquito nets. For the night, we laid down on the floor only covered by a mosquito head cover like a beekeeper’s hat and a blanket. I can tell you, this became the worst night on the trip. As soon as the sun was down the mosquitos came, lots of them, and with them came cockroaches, ants, and rats and during the night, we heard the choir of frogs, bats, and howling dogs from the outside. The hard wooden floor bothered me a lot. I turned nearly every ten minutes to find a more comfortable position, but there was none. I was dreaming of a nice mattress.
In the next morning, Jerry and I were quite exhausted. Jerry mentioned, “I have never experienced something like this in all my life.” Be sure of this – the following night we were under our mosquito nets.
We went then to the nearby river for washing and drinking. It was such fun to be with the Fayus. I enjoyed every minute and they enjoyed it too. They will probably remember this a long time. Everyone was begging me to come back and stay, however, I clearly told them that this would not happen. I only come for a visit.
Just being among them, talking and fellowshipping sparked so much joy and laughter. There is another generation, which has come up. They especially were looking at us with amazement. Some only have heard from me “by the hearing of their ears but now their eyes have seen me” (Job 42:5).
Suddenly we heard a howling, a “telephone message” from the jungle, that a pig was coming. The chief from the neighboring Fayu tribe was approaching with ten of his people. They had been carrying a live pig through the jungle for about six hours for the Klausu welcome feast. When they came closer to the church building people came running and yelling with a loud voice for joy. Then I saw the pig, tied to a pole and carried by two men.
Pig for the feast
Happy faces were everywhere. Then the whole village assembled for the feast. The pig was shot with an arrow. After the hair was burned over the fire, the pig had to be cut. They were asking for a sharp knife and I gave them my new “Swiss survival knife” which I had just received before my trip from my Swiss friend. Wow! It is tremendously sharp. The Fayus were delighted. Everyone wanted to use it.
After cleaning the pig with water, it was put into a pit between two layers of hot stones to cook. After several hours the “oven” was opened and you could see those delicious pieces of meat. Chief Kologwoi stood up and blessed the food in Jesus name. Then he took the Swiss knife and distributed the meat to all the people. Jerry and I received the neck and part of a leg. With a little salt, it was very tasty. However, Jerry remarked, “It could have stayed down for another half an hour.”
During the next day, we met at the house of Kologwoi’s son, called “Klausu Bosa” which means “the little Klausu”.
Klausu Bosa with family
All the leadership of the Fayu church was assembled. Jerry shared about end time events, the second coming of the Lord. He spoke in Indonesian and Klausu Bosa translated into Fayu. They were amazed about what was said.
Teaching about end-time
Later we heard that they had been discussing this half the night. The following day we met again with the leaders. They were so interested to hear more about it, so we decided to meet with everyone for a meeting session about this subject the following day at the church. At the next morning as Jerry was crawling out of his mosquito net, he was shivering and I knew this was evidence of malaria . Immediately I started to pray against this attack in the name of Jesus. Later chief Kologwoi arrived and together we continued to pray. Jerry felt a little better, but still very, very weak. Then I cancelled the end time meeting. The enemy obviously did not like this truth to be taught. Finally I found the malaria pills and Jerry started the treatment. Towards the afternoon, he was still looking very bad, so I got really concerned. In the evening, I tried to get in contact via ssb-radio with the coast to request an emergency flight for the following day. After trying about two hours, I finally got a connection and was able to send the message to be passed on to the chief pilot. It was Saturday evening. Sunday morning Jerry felt much better and said, “Malaria is gone.” Nevertheless, he was still extremely weak. Klausu Bosa was listening to the radio on that morning. Suddenly he heard a voice. The chief pilot called in and asked for a weather report. He himself was on the way to pick us up. Thank God. We packed our stuff and slowly went to the landing site. Jerry sat down on the only chair of the village and we waited for the plane. Chief Kologwoi, his son Klausu Bosa and Bebe, the Fayu pastor, prayed for Jerry and then for me as well. These were special moments. Then we heard the plane approaching. Everyone came to say goodbye and to rub foreheads with us. Some had tears in their eyes. My friend Nakire was especially moved while saying farewell. “We will meet up in heaven again.” I gave him my t-shirt, which he put on right away.
After landing, the pilot installed a makeshift bed for Jerry in the plane where he could lay down. Before taking off the pilot asked for further prayer and chief Kologwoi and one of his sons came and laid their hands on Jerry for prayer.
Prayer for Jerry
I took my seat beside my friend Jerry. Some people still brought me some smoked pieces of meat of ostrich and wild boar. Then we took off. All people stood at the side of the airstrip shouting and waving us goodbye.
At the coast, we were picked up by Pastor Theis Wopari who took us home to our friends’ house. After about one week of sleeping on wooden floor, we really felt like being in heaven putting our head down on a mattress. What a difference! What a blessing!
A number of young Fayu men heard about our visit to the village. During that time, they were at the west coast of Papua. Some of them bought tickets with a passenger ship, travelled the whole night circling the island to reach our place next morning. They very much desired to see and greet their Klausu too. Among them was Johannes. He was so moved. He wept and wept, embracing and repeatedly rubbing forehead with me, saying, “My father, my father.”
Johannes with tears of joy
The meeting with these young men was very special. I shared with them beside other things about the danger of trusting in the god of mammon instead of Jesus. Thank God, they are still following the Lord. I prayed for them and blessed them one by one.
All who came to see me before departure
Before leaving Papua, we got a request by Klausu Bosa and the Dirouw Fayus to speak to them one more time via ssb-radio. They wanted to hear my voice again. So I went to the radio room which was located at the back of the “Christ-Mission-Church” and spent some time talking to them. It was very moving to me sensing their great love towards me. I finished with prayer.
Goodbye via ssb-radio
The following day we left for Jakarta. It was difficult to part from our friends in Papua, and say goodbye. However, thank God, as a Christian we know we will see each other again one day.
At the hotel room in Jakarta where the A/C was running, without people around us, on a nice mattress and on the way home we were tremendously blessed. That night we had the best rest on our whole trip. Jerry was “over the hump”. His condition has improved a hundred per cent. Praise the Lord! Thanks to all of you who prayed for us during this trip. Please continue to bring the Fayu church to the throne of grace. Let us continue to declare: “Light and Life has come to the Fayu nation and the powers of darkness have been destroyed, in Jesus name!”
Translation of the Word of God into the Fayu language
Towards the end of this letter, I am passing on an item of praise as well as for prayer. You might remember that the Lord had given me the mandate to “translate” the Word of God through my life as a testimony for the risen Christ. Furthermore, He has told me to be a father to them. That was my assignment.
During my time with the Fayus, I have only translated some key verses. As I asked the Fayus during the meeting at the church whether they still desire the Word of God being translated into their language, at least part of it, they enthusiastically said: “Yes, yes!” While staying in Jakarta for a few days I arranged a meeting with a young US brother.
I had heard about him and about his desire to translate the Word to a people in Indonesia and he heard about the Fayu tribe and became interested. He is linguistically well trained and is very eager to get involved in the translation work.
I had put together a file of language material, some reports, as well as a number of pictures to give to him. We had a good exchange for several hours. And after answering some of his questions, he confirmed to me that he would continue to pursue his goal to translate the Word of God, possibly even for the Fayus. He has already been to Indonesia to study the nation language Indonesian.
I have just heard that he has finished his Indonesian study, and is on his way back to the US to apply for a visa in order to work with the Fayus. He mentioned one prayer request – that the Lord may give him a partner in this work. Let’s remember this.