When it’s human hearts of lives that God created in His own image, He can get pretty creative in what He calls us to do to reach them for His glory.
Joanna Jansma has done some pretty amazing things in order to build relationships with the people she has gone to minister to in the land of the Nagi people.
For instance, hiking up precarious paths or across wobbly rotten logs. She would never have taken those paths had it not been for the people that she is seeking to love and share God’s plan of salvation with.
She is so aware of God being her buckler and shield that she can depend on Him to guard and direct her. But she’s also aware that the Nagi people don’t understand this yet and their paths are filled with fear.
Another activity that she gets to witness and even learn to enjoy is the capture of frogs, and the excitement and celebration that dinner will include this delicious claimed prize. She would never normally rejoice over the capture and death of a frog minding his own business but since it’s her friends that she is learning to love better and better, it’s part of that relationship-building that goes on.
Joanna would normally fish for the big catch that would make her feel like her fishing trip was worth it. Well, if she’s going to be able to say that her relationships with her Nagi friends are growing, she will have to see the success in catching minnows. Turning over rocks in small puddles is what it’s all about.
She has to remind herself that “I didn’t come fishing for fish anyhow. The one measly minnow I might manage to catch before the day is over is not what I’m fishing for. I came fishing to stay connected with my Nagi friends,” she writes.
These times can be used to learn things about language for teaching lessons and translating the Word of God in the Nagi language.
Have you ever given a mouse to your neighbour as a gift? Well, Joanna has learned that when she catches those mice in her house, resisting the Western idea that she should immediately dispose of it, it’s the most thoughtful thing to make that the next gift that will communicate love to her neighbour.
Along with her co-workers, Joanna gets the opportunity to spend time with her Nagi friends teaching them how to read and write their own language. The team comes up with creative ways to help them learn from the first two primers they’ve developed. Kikib-o is a word they use for something like Bingo. That game helps them have fun as they learn together.
It’s been fun to enjoy the Nagi style of counting using not just their fingers and toes but also elbows, biceps, shoulders, etc. to count down days till special events take place.