It was definitely worth the pain my right thigh endured as I slipped and fell multiple times, catching myself with my right leg and grabbing at the roots sticking out of the ground.
The reward I had hoped for was there; a few hours of filming the shots we needed, then jumping in the river and swimming with the local tribesman. It was a blast.
But God had another surprise for me. You see, I had befriended one of the young believers, named “Tipaye” (pronounced “Se-pah-yay”), and when I was sharing my powerbar with the others, he didn’t seem interested.
He was off by himself, completely lost in what he was doing: listening to an MP3 player with white headphones!! (congrats, Steve Jobs, you’ve managed to extend the digital music culture you created to the ends of the earth!)
I took an interest in what he was doing, as he seems to do things differently than the others. His mind seemed elsewhere.
Tipaye pulled the earbuds off and put them up to my ears. I had no idea what he might be listening to. National hip-hop? Island reggae beats? PNG’s pidgin rap artist “O-Shen”???
No. It was Robin Mark singing “Lion of Judah”. Celtic worship music filled with rich doctrine!
I was floored.
Now I know he probably doesn’t really understand what all is being sung … but he sure seemed into it!
It brought me back to a service I’ll never forget. Back in July, Nate & I were with Beth Moore in Minneapolis for Living Proof Live. We stayed an extra day so that we could visit John Piper’s church. “Lion of Judah” was the main song that ushered in our corporate time of worship, and the whole service seemed to bleed with a mission heartbeat.
For some reason, it was a really powerful Sunday that I will never forget. It made me think of New Tribes Mission and the work being done in some of the remote places in the world where there are no churches and other believers to reach the unreached.
As I look back, it’s encouraging to see that when God leads me on crazy journey down a deep valley, there He is. With a refreshing stream to relax and play in, and with a brother who’s got more in common with me than I ever expected.