This is one of those short stories that have so little to actually say, but in fact say so much. I am amazed at the power of God within people and how it transforms them. How God can take a piece of ore and turn it into the purest gold.
Miriamu, our Hadzabe translator, considered herself a Christian long before we arrived. I am not always sure what this means in Tanzania, but I do know that it is a heavily cultural reality. People in this part of the world are often split into two camps. On the one hand there are cultural Christians and on the other hand there are cultural Muslims. Miriamu was the former.
When we arrived, God put it on Charlie’s heart to help her to go deep with Jesus. So we prayed with her, and Miriamu was really never the same. She looked at situations, and scripture and God gave her Holy Spirit wisdom.
On one occasion Miriamu was reading her Bible and came to the scripture in John 11 where it says Jesus wept. Filled with the Holy Spirit Miriamu looked at this phrase and said, ‘I think Jesus is still weeping over us because of our sin (spiritual death).’ The depth of her understanding could only possibly be of Jesus.
On another occasion Miriamu was reading in Mark 5 where Jesus is walking to heal Jairus’ daughter. It says that a woman who had a bodily ailment thought that if she could touch Jesus’ clothing then she would be made well. And she did and she was. Once again filled with the Holy Spirit Miriamu said, ‘I think that when we are having problems in our life that we should reach out and touch Jesus.’
God really did show Miriamu some amazing spiritual truths through scripture. But he also did some amazing things in her heart that manifested themselves in actions.
While we were in Sunegu we met a man named Geeocha. He had no fingers and no feet, he had lost them to leprosy. He lived with a man named Samson and his family. Most of his time was spent sitting alone. When Sunday would come the families that lived nearby would leave and go to a local bush church. Geeocha would be left at home because he could not walk. Miriamu noticed this invisible man’s hunger for God. So, the Sunday that we were in Sunegu while we were preparing to walk to church Miriamu said, “I am going to go talk to Geeocha and teach him some stories.” Miriamu saw her opportunity to love a man that very few others would even look at, and she did. Geeocha could not get to church so Miriamu brought church to him. After all, church is a gathering of believers, not the building where they meet.
All of these stories are on the list of my favorite things that happened while we were among the Hadzabe, but I think there is one that is my most favorite… In the final week of our trip we were planning to be ministering to the Hadzabe in a region called Mangola. There is a very complex dynamic which exists between the Hadzabe of Mangola and any outsiders. The long and the short of it is that the government has decided to exploit these Hadzabe for the purpose of tourism, which means that if you don’t pay them you don’t talk to them. What this meant for us as missionaries is that we would not be able to preach the gospel to them. They saw our skin color and said tourist. The situation gets even more complicated from here and we discovered if we attempted to preach the gospel without paying that Miriamu may be thrown in jail. So we decided that we would not preach the gospel here. BUT God had a better plan. We realized that Miriamu, being our translator, knew all of the stories by heart and all of our teachings as well. So, we asked her, what do you think about becoming the missionary to the Hadzabe here. She was on the same page and she took up the challenge to reach the Hadzabe in Mangola. Because, she is a Hadzabe she would not be faced with the same issues that we were. And so Miriamu became a missionary to her own people. In fact, while praying, Miriamu was reminded by God of a dream where he told her to start by preaching the gospel in one of the local villages. How amazing is that!?!
God takes a humble heart that loves him and does crazy things. He took Miriamu who was a cultural Christian and he transformed her in to a true believer and a Missionary to her own people! How amazing is God. He is GOOD!