A GOOD SOLDIER FOR JESUS CHRIST
Russell & Ernie Presswood take up
work in the Sesajap District, Borneo" I am about to leave on
a long trip farther inland, and will perhaps be gone six weeks. I have
stirred up the folks here in Poedjoengan about a church building. They
have now begun to cut boards, and we hope to erect the building upon my
return. I baptized 23 on my way inland, and I expect to baptize many
more these coming weeks."
November 1934- The
PioneerMore Good News
C. Russell Deibler C.
Russell DeiblerPoedjoengan, my new inland base, is a large Dyak village
in the heart of a populous district. Due to the untiring endeavor of Mr.
and Mrs. Fisk, there are about 1,500 Christians among these tribes. This
is the flock of my care, but my parish totals 50,000 souls. I am
traveling constantly among the many long-houses, and the Lord adds to
the church daily.
Late in July, I left this base for a trip, and was
absent six weeks. The Lord privileged me to travel farther inland than
we have heretofore if possible. Most of my traveling was done on the
river, and a synonym for river here is "rapid". One cannot travel a
kilometer without having to cross one or more of them. Many were the
close calls on the trip. One day we were laboriously traveling upstream,
and while passing under a huge tree overhanging the back, I observed the
earth beginning to move about its roots. The Dyak chief also saw the
movement, and called to his men to redouble their efforts with the
paddles. The tree fell across the river a few inches from the stern of
our canoe. It was a narrow escape, and I overheard the chief say to his
men, "I am glad we prayed before starting this morning." I always make
it a point to pray with the Dyaks before beginning the days' travel.
Leeches are the meanest of parasites, and are cowards too. Although
one carefully watches their approach, and picks them off as they fasten
to one's limbs, yet a few are sure to get by. The result is a boot full
of blood by nightfall.
The Dyaks at the headwaters of one of the
rivers here, having heard and believed the Gospel, approached me one day
and said, "See here is water, a large mountain stream, what hinders us
from being baptized?" I replied, " If you believe, you may." And we went
down into the water of that mountain stream, some 574 Dyaks from three
different villages, and they were straightway baptized. I can assure you
there was great joy in that village that day. We then organized into
three district churches, ordaining deacons to the oversight of each.
These newly established churches will conduct regular weekly meetings on
the verandahs of their long-houses. Another glorious triumph for the
Gospel in Dyakdom.
One hears so much of "revolution" these days, but
none is more inevitable than when the power of the Gospel begins to
undermine the very strongholds of Satan. In the three villages
aforementioned the silent revolution was on. The dumb idols, they burned
before all men, even as did the Ephesians. What a bonfire it all made.
Fetishes of generations were consumed by tongues of fire, as the people
stood and praised the Lord God who had delivered them from their fear
and bondage. However, some of them like Jacob wanted to hide their
strange gods under the oak, but I insisted we clean camp of every
reminder of their former superstitions. In one village they destroyed
500 skulls, in another 185 more, all trophies of head-hunting
expeditions. One old father boasted of having taken 12 heads, single
handedly, but his own head he now laid at the feet of the Lord Jesus.
What a Gospel we have to preach to depraved man! What a dynamite! What
regenerating power in this message! It is the power of God unto
salvation, even to the Dyak.
However, waging the spiritual warfare
here is not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes the opposition is
very acute, even to the imperiling of one's life. One evening at the
close of a meeting with the Dyaks in the very heart of Borneo, I sat
silently for some minutes, waiting for the reaction. Finally, one old
man spoke sharply, and before I could puzzle out the statements he
uttered, he rushed into the rear of the long-house, and there chanted
long and loudly to his bali (spirit). This man was a brother to the
chief, who had been apprehended by the Government for head-hunting.
Eventually, the old man returned, and if he were not angry, I am sure
his blood pressure underwent a distinct rise, for in hasty words he
denied the existence of God and Christ, and remarked that in truth only
his bali existed. The following day the old man fell ill, and the second
day he went to be with his bali. I cannot tell you the impression that
made on those Dyaks, and now that story is circulated far and wide.
During the last four months I have had the joy of baptizing 628
Dyaks, the privilege of establishing three new churches, the opportunity
of preaching to hundreds of Dyaks who heard the Gospel for the first
time, and the realization of a cherished desire to witness to the Dyak
of the heart of Borneo. Besides these, I have had a regular ministry
among the Dyak Christians, and now the inexpressible joy of beginning
the work of the construction on the first Dyak church building. However,
one cannot be satisfied with what has already been accomplished, for it
is as nothing compared with what is yet to be done. "Multitudes,
multitudes are in the valley of decision." Dyaks come in canoes to
convey me to their villages to teach them of Christ, and often I must
send them back with a promise to come as soon as possible. I wish I
could multiply my usefulness a score of times. There are more demands on
my time and strength than I can possibly meet. The harvest is ripe.
Come, oh, come to our help!
November 1934- The
A TALE OF TRUTH
Time is of little value to a Dyak, and
dates are of no importance. He does not know his birthday, nor does he
have any idea of his age. It was about thirty years ago, that a Dyak
child was born. This child's life was destined to make history for his
Si-Anoe lived a normal boy's life, helping with the rice
planting and harvesting, making himself genera1ly useful around the
long-house, and occasionally trekking off with the men on a hunting
expedition. He never attended school a day in his life, yet he is more
intelligent than the average Dyak. He has distinguished himself among
his people as a weaver of mats and baskets. During inclement weather the
Dyaks usually loiter about the long-house, at such times Si-Anoe can be
found at his weaving.
About the time Si-Anoe was married, he had a
most enlightening dream. He saw a white robed man, who promised to
return within five years to teach his people about the true God. In
obedience to the words of this strange visitor, he immediately turned
from his heathen rites and practices. Five years later the mission
launch, the Courier, on its inland journey anchored before the
notched-log ladder of a long-house. Among the first to met the
missionary was Si-Anoe. After learning the mission that had brought this
stranger many days into Dyakdom, he related the story of his dream. That
day Si-Anoe heard for the first time the "sweetest Story ever told" of
the love of the true God, and of the death of the Son He had sent. How
simple, yet different from any story he had ever heard! It was about the
love of a loving God instead of the fear of an avenging spirit;
immediate, complete, and conscious pardon of sin in p1ace of utter gloom
and hopelessness - salvation for a11 who believe, simply believe. Almost
too good to be true!
When days later the Truth had entered his
opened but darkened heart, he was the first of his village to confess
Christ. He preceded all others in following his Lord in baptism, and is
a regular attendant at all the services conducted in his 1onghouse. How
much of an encouragement this man has been to the heart of the
missionary. Thank God for the "first ones" who have the courage of their
convictions to turn from their idols to serve the living and true God.
Place this dark-skinned brother on your prayer-list: he merits your
November 1934- The Pioneer
The Church in the Wilderness
Rev. C. Russell Deibler
Armistice Day, November 11th, 1934. While in many places in the
world crowds were assembled in memory of those who gave their lives in
foreign climes for their country, a large company of Dyaks in the
interior of Borneo, who had never heard of a World War, were also
assembled, but for another reason. It was the occasion of the dedication
of our first Dyak Church building,--a great victory for the cause of
Christ in East Borneo.
Two months before the work was begun on our
first Dyak church. The task was divided according to families in the
village, each family being requested to hew from the jungles a certain
number of boards and shingles. Then followed a day when men in numbers
went to the jungles in search of the heavier materials, beams, etc. Dyak
long-houses are roughly made, and tied together with rattan, but it was
decided that the Lord's House should be better constructed. It did not
require much finance to make this better building, but some nails,
hinges, white-wash etc. were indispensable. We asked for a freewill
offering to meet this need. The offering consisted of rice and chickens.
These, taken a long month's trip over fierce rapids to the coast, were
exchanged for our few necessities. How anxiously we awaited the return
of the canoe with the supplies. The evening it arrived the gongs were
beaten and a village meeting was called to plan the work. For the sake
of economy I suggested that fifty men work the first day while the
remainder continue the weeding of their rice fields, and so each
succeeding day fifty fresh hands turn to the task. Of course they had
their own views on the matter with the result that some two hundred and
fifty men appeared on the scene every day, while but fifty were able to
work at one time. However, I did not remonstrate, I have learned the
moral of this poem:
"It is not good for the Christian
soul to hustle the Aryan brown, For the Christian riles and the native
smiles, And it weareth the foreigner down; And the end of the fight is a
tombstone white, with the name of the dear deceased; And the epitaph
drear --- 'A fool lies here, who tried to hustle the East'."
was to supervise the work, but I was mostly engaged in correcting faulty
workmanship. But in spite of my vigilance many mistakes escaped my
critical eye. The work of construction was completed in a week; a
building sixty feet long and thirty-three feet wide, white-washed
without and within, and furnished with rough benches and a pulpit, built
entirely by the Dyaks without a cent of cost to the Mission. Sunday was
designated as dedication day.
Sunday morning the first gong sounded
in the village before I was prepared to hear it; fifteen minutes later a
second sounded, calling the Christians to assemble; and before the third
sounded I was in my place in the pulpit, happy but amused at the site
before me. An audience of about five hundred happy faces looked into
mine; men on the right side, and women on the left, and on the front
seat sat the deacons of the church. Then entered several more Dyaks, and
instead of moving down the aisle and seating themselves in a convenient
seat, they began at the rear bench and, stepping over each in turn,
proceeded forward to a suitable seat.
After the dedication prayer,
the message was given, followed by prayer by the deacons. Accustomed to
sitting on the floor in our usual meeting in the long-houses, at the
request to stand for the closing prayer, they stood on the benches! What
else were benches for if not to be stood on? That remedied, and the
meeting dismissed, they had not the patience to wait for exit at the two
doors, but poured out the windows! How could I be disturbed at their
ignorant conduct, lost as I was in the joy of the occasion, and the
marvel of God's grace? You cannot imagine the distance traveled by these
simple hearts, --from fear of evil spirits and terrible superstitions,
to the feet of a God of love, mercy and pardon. O the marvelous grace of
our loving Lord! Thank God for this first Dyak church building in East
Borneo, a Gospel Outpost in the far inland, a Church in the Wilderness.
November 1934- The Pioneer
By Walter Post
From every kindred, tribe, tongue, and
people, through the whole world, He is calling, calling out His own. It
is the last call. The age is rapidly darkening. The nations are in
commotion and perplexity. " The devil has come down unto you having
great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Rev
12:12) Soon the Lord will have completed the unfinished task. Soon
the Gospel of the Kingdom shall have been preached in all the world for
a witness unto all the nations. (Matt 24:14) Soon will He have
"visited the nations", and taken out of them a "people for His Name."
Amen! Even so, come. Lord Jesus.