Native Knowledge

I have mentioned the dedicated missionaries, Joe and Millie Dawson before. I hope their children, who are still serving as missionaries, will forgive me for telling more. The Dawsons went to the Amazonian jungles of Venezuela in the 1950s. They lived in a village of Yanomamö people which they worked to evangelize.

After some time, Joe and Millie were able to communicate in this unwritten language. As their proficiency increased, they were able to give the Yanomamö natives the Gospel and to tell them Bible stories.

On one occasion, Joe was telling the people the story of Job. The Yanomamö began talking among themselves. They knew the story of Job! The Book of Job is considered to be the oldest book in the Bible. The story of Job had been preserved with this people, with no written language, down through the millennia!

Last week I wrote about another dedicated missionary couple, Adoniram and Ann Judson. The Judsons labored in Burma, now Myanmar. One of the first Christian converts was from the Karen people. His name was Ko Tha Byu. He was a murderer and had a diabolical temper. Ko Tha Byu was converted to Christianity by Adoniram Judson and George Boardman. He was baptized on May 16, 1828, and became an evangelist to the Karen people.

Like the Yanomamö people in the Amazonian jungle, the ancient Karen people of the jungles of Burma had knowledge of Bible events that took place millennia before.

They believed that there was an all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth who made a man, then took one of the man's ribs and formed a woman. The Karen people believed that as a result of temptation by a devil, the man and woman fell, but there was a promise that someday a Messiah would come to their rescue.

Amazingly, the story of Creation was preserved in their culture over thousands of years.

The Karen people also had a prophecy. They lived in expectation that white, non-Oriental, foreigners would bring them a sacred white parchment roll instructing them on the way to Heaven. The Lord had prepared their hearts for the coming missionaries!

I believe the story of these two isolated people groups shows they have an origin that goes back to where Noah, Abraham and Job lived. It confirms the division of language as told in Genesis chapter eleven. It also shows that the Word of the Lord is universal, and He has preserved it; it is everywhere!

May the name of our all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present, loving and patient Heavenly Father always be praised!

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