Lukas Posia -- Called To Teach Others To Read
As told by June Hathersmith.
Lukas, always smiling, loves to chat with everyone he meets. He is a true extrovert who enjoys people. It didn't take me long to warm to him. He has a deep concern for his neighbors in Papua New Guinea. Lukas wants them to have the Scriptures and to be able to read about Jesus in their own languages. Most of all, he longs for people to encounter the God who loves them.
"The worship of idols and the ancestors had a grip on my life," Lukas told me. "I was trained in that way, but then, Jee-Young An came from Korea to help us translate the Bible. He invited me to do Bible study with him, just the two of us. Jee-Young spoke fluently and taught me in my own language. What he said really convicted my heart. Through that Bible study I came to know God. Jesus became my Savior and changed my life."
Lukas' friends and family found it hard when he turned to Christ. Then, one by one, they gradually began to understand, accept the truth for themselves, and join in. Over the years group Bible study helped them grow and bond together.
Meanwhile, Lukas longed to help with the translation, so Jee-Young An tested him to see if he could be a translator. Lukas tried working on parts of the Gospel of Mark, but found it very difficult.
He began to pray earnestly, "What should I do? What's my call?" And God told him clearly, "I want you to teach adults to read their own Gwahatike language."
Lukas followed God's call and learned to teach. He had just six years of education, so it was a struggle. Jee-Young An taught him to read and write Gwahatike, and ways to explain the Gwahatike alphabet. It became clear that Lukas should do the two-year Supervisors Tok Ples Education Program (STEP), which helps leaders develop the skills to train teachers and begin vernacular education programs.
At the start, there were no reading primers in Gwahatike. After the STEP courses, Lukas made some primers and books. He used hunting stories and themes related to Gwahatike culture, and Bible stories too. "You see, children are able to memorize and understand stories about Noah, the Good Samaritan, and Easter," Lukas told me enthusiastically.
Lukas and Robert Barang, another Gwahatike man trained at STEP, are developing a literacy program for their own people. Today many Gwahatike people are learning to read and write in their own language. Lukas trained six preschool teachers -- four men and two women -- and studied the Bible with them.
"It's hard," declares Lukas, "but I'm finding a way. I asked God to show me how to help people to read the Scriptures. He's guiding me. Right now I'm concentrating on the 'future people' -- the children."
"When a person reads in his own language," says Lukas, "he can understand the Word in his own heart. Men and women will understand if we use their own language. They will really understand about Jesus Christ. In English, John 3:16 is not meaningful to me, but in my own language it is very clear. It is full of meaning. So, my goal is to be sure people read well enough to read God's Word. Adults want to learn for that reason. They say, 'It's good to read the Gwahatike Bible and know Jesus Christ.' And the children want to learn to read and write because, as they say, 'We are the people of the future. Reading the Gwahatike Bible will develop us.'
"Our goal is not just a book. I want to see more people knowing Jesus. I couldn't change my own life. God used His Word to change me, and He loves everyone so I mustn't stop here. I must reach out. People see what Christ has done for me because my life has changed. Now, God tells us to go and give the good news to others in the Great Commission, but it is hard for us to share with others. They don't want us because our lives have changed. Please pray those very people will one day have a close relationship with us. I want to reach out to others. They hold the beliefs I held in the past. Pray our testimonies will help them believe in Jesus Christ and be willing to change."