By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
SOLOMON ISLANDS (ANS – May 3, 2017) — The interior of Malaita in the Solomon Island chain had a long history of opposition to missionaries and other outsiders – sometimes violent resistance by the Kwaio tribal group.
In 1927, 13 government officials from the UK were massacred by the Kwaio as they attempted to survey the area for taxation purposes. The British government responded by sending a warship to shell that part of the island, which resulted in the deaths of 200 Kwaio.
Later, several Roman Catholic priests were killed by the group. In 1965 a Protestant missionary from New Zealand was martyred as he attempted to evangelize the Kwaio. Ten years later, a medical missionary and his son were also killed.
But God had a plan to reach the Kwaio using missionaries from Fiji in 1990, as told in the compelling book, Look What God is Doing, by Dick Eastman, president of Every Home for Christ (EHC).
It seems several Fijian evangelists affiliated with EHC who had been part of a campaign to reach Fiji’s 106 islands turned their attention to the 100 islands of the Solomon chain, 1000 miles away.
They reached the island of Malaita and spent time evangelizing the coastal areas. One night as their team sat around a campfire, a team member pointed to the rugged interior of the island and asked, “Are there people there who have yet to hear about Jesus?”
“Yes,” one replied. “It’s one of the most difficult areas in all of the islands to evangelize because of the rugged terrain and the hostile people.”
An argument ensued within the team as they heard more about the history of the people group. Some were intimidated and urged caution. Cannibalism had been practiced until the end of the last century; who could be sure it had not ceased?
The team finally agreed they would pray and fast for seven days before attempting to send a team to reach the Kwaios.
With the help of two witch doctors who had become believers, a list of 87 different evil spirits were identified that were said to hold sway in the region. They pointedly confronted each demonic entity with focused warfare prayer over the seven-day period, according to Eastman’s book.
On the eighth day, Jack and Japta joined 10 other Christian workers on a day-long journey into the rugged interior of the island.
About five o’clock in the afternoon Jack and Japta reached one village where there was a large assembly of people, indicating something unusual might be going on. The two men were quickly surrounded by several large warriors, wanting to know where they were from and why they had come.
“Jack explained as quickly as he could in the Kwaio language that they were bringing the Kwaio people Good News,” Eastman noted. “But the burly guardians led them away to be questioned by five village priests or elders. These were elders who had gathered in anticipation of the impending death of their chief.
“The strangers had arrived at a sacred moment and might be infringing on the customs of the Kwaio – a taboo of taboos that could meet with dire consequences.”
As the Christians were questioned, they could not help but notice some of the large warriors standing near them had 24-inch machetes and some carried bows with poison-tipped arrows.
Photo captions: 1) Men in traditional dress, Malaita 2) Dick Eastman in a Malaita village. 3) Mark Ellis.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and is also the founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions. Previously, Mark co-hosted a TV show called “Windows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, aired on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/), which is now co-hosted by Dr. Garry Ansdell, Senior Pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California.
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