During my Senior year of high school, I was given a book and some tracts to read. Little did I know that reading them would set the course of my life. The book was The History of New Tribes Mission and people in the same organization wrote the tracts. I had never met anyone like the people described in that book. People who were so concerned about reaching the lost tribal groups of the world that they would gladly give their lives to serve or die for the Lord.
One of the tracts I read told about over 2,000 languages in the world that still hadn’t heard the Gospel of Christ. I couldn’t believe it. With radios, motor boats, and jet planes, what was the problem? I remember my Sunday school superintendent saying, “It’s because people are not willing to leave their families and homelands to go to foreign countries.” Wow! That really had an impact on me.
As I was kneeling in prayer, I reminded the Lord that I wasn’t a very good person, but that if He could use me to somehow and in someway to reach one of those 2,000 language groups, I was giving my life to Him. Little did I know of God’s ability to use those who are available to Him.
Not being much of a scholar and working 60 hours a week, I found it hard to study the Bible, but one day I read 1 Kings 13 for the first time. God kept saying to me, “Jim, when I ask you to do something, just do it!” The younger man of God in that passage was killed by a lion because he had disobeyed the Lord’s simple instructions to him. That next Sunday, my Sunday school teacher taught from 1 Kings 13, and then my pastor also preached from that passage. God used that passage 3 times in one week to challenge me to be obedient to Him, if I wanted Him to use my life.
When I decided to leave for missionary training, my world started falling apart. Through all of the trials and temptations, God kept saying, “Jim, when I ask you to do something, just do it!” After training, we came to Papua New Guinea and, by God’s grace, we were able to learn one of those languages and make the Gospel available. We have seen many lost people who need to hear God’s Word, but they all have had some type of outside influence. The government and other mission organizations had influenced them, and some of them even spoke the trade language. We realized that these people were in desperate need of the truth that only God’s Word can offer.