From Our President
The Beautiful Feet of Native Missionaries
Dear Friend in the Harvest,
What do your feet look like? It’s summer. Are they beautiful?
What about the feet of native gospel workers who trek mountain paths to reach a primitive tribe with the gospel?
They may look like ginger root, but the Lord calls them beautiful.
“As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
Bayani Leyson, leader of an indigenous ministry in Mindanao, Philippines, works to reach Muslims and hidden tribes who have yet to hear the gospel.
To reach one village, he and his team walked eight hours after their vehicle could go no farther, crossing one winding river 53 times, and carrying equipment and supplies on their heads, shoulders and backs.
“If we don’t walk with the gospel, people cannot hear,” he told our staff during his recent visit to Christian Aid Mission. Even with radio and television, in places like that there is no power and no connectivity. Without a preacher, they cannot hear.
“The beautiful feet are not those with Adidas shoes, but those that bring the gospel of peace,” said Bayani, who grew up in a ministry family. “God called me. Muslims
were killing and displacing our people. Why not bring them the gospel? When I told my father, he said, ‘I will pray for you.’ We have to watch for communists and
bandits. They have beheaded pastors and their children.”
Bayani strategically enters a village with the gospel. First he finds believers and asks if there are any villages without the gospel. The people say, “They are too far and dangerous to reach.” But Bayani replies: “No problem.”
“If you go into a village with a Bible, they may kill you. You have to begin by working with the chief. And always travel in daylight.”
Bayani takes water purifiers—$120 buys 10 (801PPM-07). The people drink water after pushing aside the squigglies. A purifier box is revolutionary. Next, he offers a feeding program.
The people are malnourished. When native missionaries bring food, and even over-the-counter medicines, the villagers welcome them.
“I always ask, ‘Lord, when will it be time to share Your Word?’ Then I say to the chief, ‘When can we sit down and talk about your Qur’an and my Bible?’ I listen to his stories about how Muslims will dominate the world. But the Bible talks about loving the world. That word, love, pierces their hearts because they want to hurt us.”
Bayani then prays for the chief, who feels “happy” in the Lord’s presence. So Bayani asks if he wants his family and village to feel happy, too, and the chief says yes. Bayani returns with the Jesus Film and preaches the gospel.
“Now there’s a church as well as the old mosque in that village, but more people are in the church.”
Bayani’s friend in ministry along with his wife and two daughters lost their lives on these back roads in Islamic Mindanao. This is the cost of carrying the gospel to the most unreached peoples. These are the beautiful feet, clad in longsuffering and peace.
In the fl esh, who would walk? But constrained by the love of Christ, these native missionaries cannot deny the call of God to go—and not only bring the gospel but return to build them up in the Word. “I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19).
Will you help Bayani reach more remote villages? He trains and disciples pastors and wants to offer vocational training so they can support themselves ($500 per pastor for six months of training in carpentry or farming, 801PPM-07).
“There are two kinds of missionaries,” he said: “Those who cross the ocean and those who cross the street.” Bayani crosses the street. But when we send support to native gospel workers overseas, we cross the ocean.
Until there is a people for His name in all nations,
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