Books in their Hands

Story by Karen Weaver, photos by Kathy Wilson

In the past four weeks, Jonathan Wilson had spent a total of twelve mornings standing at the Nindewari marketplace trying to sell Binandere Scripture books. In all that time he had only sold six books. Jonathan was disappointed because he longed for these people to have God’s word, to read it, and to cherish it.

Now he and his wife Kathy were planning to visit two Binandere villages upstream on the Gira River. Should he try to sell books there? Reluctantly he put the latest Binandere Scripture books in his backpack and carefully crossed the narrow log bridge, heading toward Kadeu village. The books he carried were a compilation of Mark, Luke, and Acts.

When he arrived at the first village, Jonathan had the opportunity to read the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) out loud to several men who were gathered on a porch playing cards. Drawn to the words, two of the men quietly arose and began peering over his shoulder to see this book written in their language. As soon as Jonathan finished the story, one of the men announced, “I want to buy one of those books.” Just that morning the man had walked 13 miles to visit his relatives in this house and was happy to be there when Jonathan came.

At another house Jonathan read the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44) “…Mapa eutu rori ouwa ainda yai sakabé awa berari itae piesira.” (“…[The] very little that poor widow over there had, she gave it all.”) He had barely finished reading it when two of the ladies who had been listening piped up, “We each want to buy one of those books!”

One by one, the Scripture books were purchased by the Binanderes. As Jonathan crossed back over the narrow log bridge in the afternoon, his backpack was much lighter. All the books he had carried that morning were now in the hands of Binandere men and women. No longer would they need to peer over someone else’s shoulder to see the book, or ask a visitor to read God’s Word to them. Now they could read the Binandere Scriptures for themselves.

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