|About five o’clock in the afternoon they reached one village. There was a large assembly of people, indicating something unusual might be going on. The two men were quickly surrounded by 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.
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 that some of the large warriors standing near them had 24-inch machetes and some carried bows with poison-tipped arrows.
‘Why are you here? one of the elders demanded.’
“Why are you here?” one of the elders demanded. “We have come to share Good News,” they repeated once more, as they went on to describe the one true God who created everything in the heavens and on earth – including the Kwaio. “Our eternal God sent His only Son to be like us, a man, and to sacrifice His own life willingly on our behalf.” The elders said they had never heard a message like this. They understood the concept of a blood sacrifice, however. After a few moments of heated discussion one said, “We can not believe anything you say unless our chief believes.”
Jack and Japta requested permission to see the chief, knowing it was customary in many villages to seek approval from the chief. Once granted, that would open up opportunities for their message to be heard. But the elders refused because their chief, Haribo, was dying. Seeing him was out of the question. Then one of the Christians had an idea. “When Jesus Christ came as the Son of God, He came not only to deliver men from their sins, but to heal sick people, too. God is quite capable of healing your chief.” In response, the elders began to argue among themselves.
Jack and Japta spent the night locked in a hut, but at seven the next morning the elders returned with surprising news. They were granted permission to pray for Chief Haribo! When they entered the chief’s hut, they could see he was very old and weak, struggling for breath. Jack shared with him quickly God’s plan of salvation, explaining that Jesus was the only way to eternal life.
‘I have waited my entire lifetime to hear this story!’
The chief had a most amazing response. “I have waited my entire lifetime to hear this story,” he told them. “I have always felt there was some sacred message like this. But no one ever came to bring us such words. How can I receive this Jesus into my life?” Jack and Japta led Chief Haribo in prayer. A few moments later a profound peace transformed the countenance of the chief.