by Lynn Turner.
Chief Anton awoke to a hot, cloudless day. He lay quietly in his hammock listening. The jungle was alive with the sounds of birds chirping, animals rustling and insects buzzing. He felt disquieted in his spirit. Why was that? People were talking about another god, and he wondered about him. What made this god different? Their village had many spirits. They were always trying to appease them by incantations and sacrifices, but he wondered about this other god. He heard someone say that there was a man downriver who could teach him about this god. He made a quick decision. He would go and find this man.
Chief Anton prepared for his journey. It would take him 8 days to travel downriver in his dugout canoe, so he would need some basic supplies – water and some food. He set out alone.
Many days later, the chief found himself in the village of San Antonio. He asked around and found the house of the missionary. He arrived at the house and with his very limited Portuguese said, “I have come to learn about God”.
“That’s wonderful”, replied the missionary. “We have Bible classes. You can attend”. The chief stayed for three days and attended the classes. He became frustrated, because he could not understand. He spoke his tribal dialect, but he didn’t understand enough Portuguese. He approached the missionary. “I come back”, he said, and left. The missionary said goodbye and watched the chief leave in his canoe.
Chief Anton was disappointed that he could not understand what the missionary was teaching. As he journeyed back to his village he pondered what he could do. Soon he had a plan. When the chief arrived, he called to his grandson. “Marco, come. You will go with me downriver to learn about God.”
A month later, Chief Anton and his grandson, Marco, gathered their supplies and started the long canoe ride back downriver. When they arrived at the mission house, the missionary greeted them at the door with surprise in his eyes.
“Hello, you are back”.
“Yes”, said the chief. “I no understand before. I bring grandson. You teach him God. He teach me God”.
The chief turned around, made his way back to the canoe and left for the return journey upriver. Marco, wide-eyed and nervous, looked from his departing grandfather to the missionary. He could only speak his tribal language. “How can I communicate?” thought Marco. The missionary with open arms and a smile welcomed him into his home. It was the beginning of many new things for Marco.
Now, several years later, Marco has not only learned Portuguese and Spanish, but has also studied the Bible and accepted Jesus as his Savior. He returned to his village and taught them about the one true God and God’s Son. He has begun a church with the new believers. And his grandfather, Chief Anton, now understands more about the true God in heaven. (names were changed for anonymity)