Where is Your Mission Field.
I looked on as the Duk-Duk jumped erratically and spun around the young boys who followed lethargically, their eyes glazed over as if in a coma.
But these boys are healthy... why are they acting as if they are in a trance?
Something was very very wrong.
What is a Duk-Duk?
He looks like a dancing bush. I can’t think of a better way to describe a Tolai Duk-Duk. In more familiar terms, a Duk-Duk is a witchdoctor, a man who oversees the religious rites of the island tribe. During this instance, he led that group of boys to a secret location where he inducted them into the ancient animistic religion practiced throughout Papua New Guinea.
In our modern age, he may seem like a cultural relic or a harmless piece of the exotic past for tourists to gaze at.
But is that the truth? Are these just harmless rituals that preserve a unique culture?
A Challenge to Spiritual Authority
Why this group was walking through our village is still a mystery to me. Nanga Nanga has a large community of Christians and the Duk-Duk certainly knew they would file past the church if they followed their route. Perhaps it was a challenge to spiritual authority.
Women aren’t allowed to look at these witchdoctors, but that didn’t stop me, or the missionary lady standing next to me. I noticed the glare she gave the Duk-Duk as he danced past her veranda. Having on the mission field for nearly two decades, she knew what those boys were doing. I think it hurt her.
So much has advanced for the gospel, but still, there is darkness and bondage.
Understanding the Importance of Missions
I was only a teenager when I witnessed their ritual parade, but I have never forgotten it. One cannot merely push aside those eyes - empty, void of life, even slavish. If anything has ever made me consider the importance of missions, it was that moment.
And yet, missionaries are often questioned as to why they go overseas. Should they bother a centuries-old culture? What is the need to mess with the beliefs and customs of another?
Even missionaries sometimes wonder “Why?”. After all, large sacrifices are required for cross-cultural missions. Friends, family, and familiarity must be exchanged for people and places that may not be very welcoming. The gospel may not interest anyone, and the missionary may be viewed as a nuisance.
The environment may not be the most congenial to health either. In my experiences, living on a Pacific island, volcanic ash, malaria, and tropical weather proved to be a detriment to health even after moving back to Kansas. Missionaries the world over deal with chronic illness due to their time on the mission field. This calling comes with many sacrifices.
God Chose Us
It can make you wonder what God was thinking when he planned for flawed humans to share the message of salvation. Is it too much of Him to ask? I may not have an articulate theological defense for God’s reasoning, but that doesn’t really matter. He did choose us (1 Cor. 1:27).
But remember, He didn’t ask us to do something that He was not willing to do himself. Jesus did come to earth to live as the ultimate missionary. He also suffered. Jesus did this for you. He did this for me.
And that is where it really hits home. I know what eternity holds for me. I know where my grandma and my dad are, and I have definite plans to see them both again. But do those boys? Those little elementary aged boys with glassy eyes, do they have plans to see their family again? Do they have any hope for eternity? I don’t know. But I do know that is why missionaries go.
Where is Your Mission Field?
If you have ever wanted to be part of something important, I cannot think of anything with a more lasting impact than missions. The efforts you put into it will be eternal. So, what is your mission field? Is it your workplace, a group of refugees around town, or maybe, a remote island in the Pacific? Whether you set foot on foreign soil or not, you can be confident that all you do for missions is God-honoring and God will honor.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? 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 10:14-15
Are you interested in Missions?
Here at the Submissive Spirit we strive to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Giving to your local church, praying for your missionaries, and going on missions trips are just a few ways you can make a difference.
Not sure where to start? Missions doesn't have to be in Papau New Guinea, you can start in your home town! Volunteer in your community, or ask your pastor about opportunities in your local church for outreach!
Shaleena spent most of her childhood as a pastor’s kid in Kansas, but also had the opportunity to
experience several years on the mission field of Papua New Guinea. In her spare time, she experiments
in the kitchen, crochets, and travels. She and her husband currently serve on staff at their local church.