Konkomba Villages Waiting for the Words of Life
“…they are not just waiting—they are hungry and waiting.”
Greetings, dear brothers and sisters, in the name of Jesus, our Jesus. He is the one, and the only one who WILLINGLY gave up everything he had, because of his UNWILLINGNESS for one thing. He was not willing that any should perish! His position, rights, comforts, and very life were subservient to and were forfeited because of His desire that all would come to repentance. It is true that not every person alive then or now has been eager to accept Christ’s offer to repent and be saved. We must know, though, that when Jesus gave his life, he gave it so that ALL would have the opportunity to repent and believe in Him, thus grasping hold of eternal life! It is true that God’s foreknowledge comes into play here, and we respect the limits of our fallen humanity, but that in no way limits the fact that Christ died for all. It doesn’t take away from the fact that when Jesus hung on the cross He looked down through the ages with a heart that encompassed all of humanity both present and future, and that heart was unwilling that any should perish. Oh, how He loved us! May we love Him more, and as we come closer to His heart may we pick up His heartbeat and make it our own—NOT WILLING, NOT WILLING, NOT WILLING that any should perish! May we join Him in His passion by abandoning everything that would hinder us and by pouring our lives out in the pursuit of what He died to achieve; an open path to God for all of mankind. Oh, God, give me a holy stubbornness and a total unwillingness to see humanity rushing on toward hell when You gave Your life and by that gift totally purchased their redemption! I must do something, for my heart and conscience compel me. Only show me what to do and I will obey!
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Konkombas is, that they might be saved.” Romans 10:1 (personalized)
Have I shocked or alarmed you with the strong words written above? My intention is not to shock but to share, not to inflame but to inform. My friends, you cannot walk the trails that I walk. You cannot see the things that I see. Therefore, somehow I must communicate enough of what I experience so that you will be able to share more fully in the burden I carry, because in many ways we are here on your behalf. We feel keenly the fact that we are not here alone. Many of you are laboring with us in heart and in prayer. It is with a burden to keep you all engaged in soul-labor with us that we write to share our heart with you. We want to keep you connected to what we view as our shared ministry and out of that desire we share our visions, dreams and difficulties. The victories we exult in are ours together, so we wish for you to join in our praise. The resistance we encounter is against our shared offensive, and this makes us desire your support as we make our stand. We do not take your prayerful undergirding of this work for granted. We thank you for taking the time and energy to care about us, and most importantly to care about the spiritual needs of the Konkomba people.
As I just mentioned, sometimes we share stories of success and other times accounts of difficulties we are facing. In this article I would like to take you into the burden that I have felt for our people in the last couple of weeks. Our burden is not our ministry, but it is the passion that fuels our outreach. Although the burden is always present, from time to time God allows us a glimpse of the needs around us in such a way that it once again arrests our focus and drives us to action. The view of the needs around us in the last few weeks have pulled our hearts deeper into God’s heart for our tribe. Our burden has grown until the above verse just rang in my heart this morning. Truly, brothers and sisters, this is our one desire that our people would be saved! We beg you to open your heart to share that desire as you read a bit about the needs with which we have been faced in recent days.
“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip...and desired him saying, ‘Sir, we would see Jesus’.” John 12:20-21
God has given us the privilege to stand for the Konkombas of this area, where Philip stood for the Greeks almost 2000 years ago. This is the place of being where people who are wanting to see Jesus come to inquire. We count it a real opportunity to be ministering to a group of villages that are not only open to hearing the gospel but are ACTIVE in looking for someone to come and teach them! As Christians, we are called not only to share with those that are seeking, but, also to carry the news of the gospel to every person alive. Certainly we would all recognize that there is an extra urgency and motivation that accompanies sharing the gospel with those who are, as the Greeks were, asking to see Jesus. It is in this place that we find ourselves, as God is working to draw the Konkombas to Himself, and as their age-old darkness is pierced by the light of Jesus. It is an exciting, but challenging work!
During this last month, we have come into contact with no less than six villages who have come to meet us with the specific purpose of asking us to come and give them the word of God. They have met us under many different circumstances and through many channels of contact. They are spread out over a large area, but they are united in their shared desire for a church in their village. Some have come to meet me in Bunbon as the market draws people from maybe forty-five villages around it every six days. Others have been introduced through a family member, who somehow came into contact with one of our groups in another village. Now they come as a representative of their village to beg me to come. One was even discovered by the latest youth team from America, who happened in on a particular village as they walked the trail to invite people to a Bible class in the evening.
They come bearing gifts, a chicken and a dozen yams is not an uncommon one. They recognize that before they ask me to do something for them cultural tradition demands that they must give me a gift. They sit on the logs in my compound, usually three of them at a time, explaining to me where their village is located, how many people live there, and why they want a church. I sit and explain to them that the only thing I have to offer them is the Word of God. I try to convey to them the fact that if they obey the words that I teach them they will become a church. Their words are stuck in my memory, hear them:
“We come to you from the village of Chabaatung. Please accept this fowl and these few yams from our people. If the harvest had been good we would have brought more. Please, we have seen that some of the villages around us are leaving the darkness of our forefathers and are following the path of God. The people of our village also want to have their eyes opened to see God’s way and to know the way that we should live. We, the Konkombas, have been like small children who know nothing, but now we are starting to see what is the right path to follow to remove ourselves from the problems that we and our grandfathers have been facing. We have built our church (usually a cleared area with some log benches under a tree) so that anytime that someone comes to teach us the words of God we will be ready. We are trying to follow the church road but we do not know what is good for us and what God doesn’t like because nobody ever comes to tell us the right thing. You must come soon as we are waiting, and while we wait for you we always gather at our ‘church’ on Sundays as we have seen some other villages do. But when we gather we do not know what we should do, so we only sing some songs and go home again. Please try to come to us soon, as we are like a blind man until we hear the words of God.”
Dear ones, these are actual words pled with me. I have heard them not once but several times over the last weeks. The long names at the heading of this article are not ones I dreamed up. They are actual places, villages with maybe two hundred people who are hungry for God’s word. I put the names there not to amuse you with their hard-to-pronounce sounds, but rather to help you to visualize in your minds the fact that they represent real people! We must face the truth that there are many villages where Konkomba people gather together hungry for God’s Word. So hungry, in fact, that they will send out a delegation looking for someone who will teach them the Bible.
What a wonderful thing it is to be here ministering among a receptive people! We know that we have a rare opportunity. We pray that God will help us to use it to its fullest to build God’s kingdom. Just the knowledge that there are so many villages who are waiting to hear a clear presentation of the gospel for the first time should be enough to increase the burden on all of our hearts. But the thing that has really multiplied my own burden is the fact that I cannot take on all of these villages, so there they sit waiting for teaching. The fifteen villages where we are already working take up all of our time and energy and we honestly do not know what to say to these many villages that are knocking at our door. Some of them we promise a one time visit to survey the situation. That only makes it worse as I sit in their village compounds, see the ‘church’ they built, and sense the hunger that they have to actually leave their idol worship and follow Jesus.
What should we do with our physical limitations? We are faced with being a Philip but not being able to answer the many queries we get of people seeking to see Jesus. What can we do to somehow answer all of these cries without endangering the work that we have already undertaken in so many other villages? What would you do in our shoes? Can you understand why I say we are burdened? I must say that I feel almost frustrated today with my limited vocabulary as I try to communicate the need and our burden to you. It is not that I think that all of these people are 100% sincere or that I expect all of them to burn their idols immediately. We are aware that every soul is won through war. We have seen some of that conflict here, but it seems the chance of a lifetime to share with hungry hearts the good news of Jesus. It seems the ultimate shame to leave them sitting there hungry!
“And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” Romans 9:26 & Hosea 1:10
Dear fellow burden bearers, I am both excited and very burdened with what I see as I live and work here among our dear Konkomba people. God has opened up a window of opportunity for us here, as the Konkomba villages come into contact with the light of the Gospel for the first time. The Gospel is always powerful, but I do not believe that anything can rival its first impact. It is this persuasion that makes us desire to move forward carefully, to maximize the initial influence to its highest potential. At the same time, the majority of the villages around us are without the teaching of God’s word and are crying for it! This fact makes us desire to rush quickly through this open door.
I am burdened because I do not want this hunger that the Konkombas now feel to pass without a large portion of the tribe coming into contact with the Gospel. My heart is heavy because I do not know what to say to the many voices calling for Bible teaching, some of which are so far away as to make it difficult to go there regularly. I keenly feel the fact that in another ten years, and maybe even only five years from now, the situation will be much changed here as civilization and development move into these super rural areas. This fact compels me to do everything possible to ensure that these dear simple people put their child-like faith in Christ before materialism, western ideas, and the television come in to distract and confuse them. Lastly, I am burdened with the thought that Christ-hungry villages are sitting and waiting. It is true that the Konkomba villages have waited for hundreds of years without the Gospel. That fact alone should motivate us to reach them, but the thought of Konkombas sitting, who have seen enough of the light to be hungry for it, is too much for my heart.
I am also excited for several reasons; The hunger that we are seeing among our people, demonstrated by their actively searching for someone to teach them, opens up incredible opportunities for the gospel to change the course of history for an entire tribe. This is a wonderful and rare chance for the Gospel to sweep rapidly through a large area of a tribe, with many coming to Christ and changing the moral climate of a people forever. I am also thrilled with the thoughts that flow out of the promise above when I apply it to our tribe. Though for centuries the Konkombas have undoubtedly not been God’s people, God, in his redemptive plan, is working right now to bring this tribe to the place that they can, individually and collectively, be called the children of the living God! And you and I get to observe this marvelous reaching out of God’s grace to a whole group of people. We not only are allowed to observe, we are called to labor here in work and in prayer, right now, to see that this wonderful plan of God is brought to completion! These thoughts awaken in my heart feelings of awe and wonder at God’s goodness. This is coupled with a deep desire to know the power of God in such a real way in my own life that I will be able to labor unflinchingly to bring this people group out of the clutches of Satan and into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God!!
Dear friends, for the sake of Christ’s name among the Gentiles, and for the sake of the souls of the many hungry Konkombas, pray that God will help you to pick up the burden of praying this vision into reality. We certainly know that God wills it. Remember, He is the one who willingly gave all because He was unwilling that any should perish! Pick up the excitement of dozens of villages filled with people who are beginning to hunger after God and His word. Let your heart meditate on the marvelous possibilities that are opened up by such hunger, and praise God for putting it in the hearts of the Konkomba tribe. I beg you to also pick up the burden that lies in the fact that we cannot fill all of the calls for teaching that come our way. Allow God to press upon your heart the reality of these hundreds of souls lost in darkness, now groping for the light. Think about the spiritual warfare that absolutely must be raging for the hearts of this entire tribe! When this burden settles on your heart, PRAY! Oh, how we need your support in this way! While you pray, ask God what else you can do to push forward His redemptive plan for this tribe of dearly loved and dearly bought Konkombas. Maybe God will send you here to join in this work, which I described above as both exciting and challenging. Maybe the call from Chabaatung or Damankudo or ??? is meant to be answered by you!?
Thankful for praying friends and praying for more,
Daniel Kenaston and family
Remember, they are not just waiting—they are hungry and waiting!!
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