“I really want to thank you for flying the S.A.L.T. team to Simbai and Goroka in June. What a blessing! Thanks so much for making it possible for the team to go to Simbai. Thanks for all the effort and for the subsidy!“
MAF didn‘t fly some cooks into remote Simbai to promote a special brand of salt and to teach the people there how to use it in their diet. The group MAF flew put Jesus’ words “You are the salt of the earth“ [Mathew 5:13] into practice, not seasoning people’s meals but more so people’s whole lives!
S.A.L.T. stands for Scripture Application and Leadership Training. It’s a two week Bible course that is run in remote areas. It is mainly taught by Papua New Guinians, which makes the teaching very powerful, since they know the culture and the way the people think.
The quoted thank-you note above, MAF received from Marjan Aubrey, the Pacific S.A.L.T. Coordinator, and continues, “It is so special to work together in God’s Kingdom. It’s special to see that we need each other to reach the people with God’s Word.“
So what happened at Simbai?
From 9-22 June a team of eight S.A.L.T. facilitators were dropped by our MAF plane at at Simbai, Middle Ramu, Madang Province. Then they hiked to a nearby village to run the S.A.L.T. course for the Asai people group. Fred Igami, who was the team leader during the Asai S.A.L.T. course reported:
The Lord has done Great Things among the Lives of the People
“The course commenced on Monday morning, 12 June. There were four denominations in the community: Church of Christ (the hosting church), Anglican, Baptist, and Christ for the Nation.
Monday afternoon Fred received a text message from Crystal, the interim Pacific S.A.L.T. Manager who is organizing all the logistics for our team. MAF changed the schedule of our return trip, from 26 June to 22 June, because of national elections. So I told the team and the course participants to teach three lessons each day, including Saturday.
We had a total of 28 participants registered to attend the course, but every day there were more than 40 to 60 people who came to hear all the teachings. As a result Praise God, while we were continuing the teaching each day, the Holy Spirit convinced the hearts of many. During one of the morning reviews, 11 people brought drugs and tobacco, and surrendered themselves, confessed sins and asked forgiveness and gave their lives to God.
At the next morning review, another eight people surrendered and gave their lives to God. On Sunday the 19th the local pastor from the Church of Christ told the S.A.L.T. team to lead praise and worship and to share the Word of God. So we took over and led the service. Another five people surrendered and gave their lives to God.
The total number of 24 souls gave their lives to God. It is so great and awesome that God is doing great things within the lives of the people out there. My observation is,“ Fred concludes, “that the harvest is plentiful, but the believers in the remote areas lack well-trained pastors and leaders to reap the harvest. The team requests prayer for the Asai people, for the Word of God to take root in their hearts and to produce fruit.“
After a S.A.L.T. course the participants are asked to do an outreach as part of the S.A.L.T. training. They have to go to another village and teach one of the lessons they received the previous weeks. By teaching others they’ll get encouraged in their leadership roles and do not only receive teaching. In that way the S.A.L.T. concept applies what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.“
Fred continues, “we divided the participants of the course into groups of four people going to different surrounding villages and different churches: one for the Baptist church, one for the Anglican church, and two for the Church of Christ. The audience that come to these outreaches have not been part of the S.A.L.T. course. The total number of 134 adults and 80 children attended the different outreach services and heard the Word of God, which was basically one lesson from the S.A.L.T. course“.
Afterwards, church leaders and other people in the community who had chosen to be occupied with the ongoing election affairs, and didn’t come to the course told us that they did regret it. Therefore they requested that we should come back and help them still hear the teaching, if possible. During the graduation day a community representative said, “All course participants are like a bush knife that has no sharpness; some are blind and cannot see the light. Thank God that He sent the S.A.L.T. team to come and help us. Now we can go back as bush knives, sharpened and ready to use. Light has come into our community“.
MAF’s purpose and vision are to share God’s love through aviation and technology so that isolated people are physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name. Partnering with the S.A.L.T. team to provide air service for their teams to reach out to remote communities like Simbai is like our aircrafts becoming a salt supplier, helping to season people’s lives with God’s Word.
- The Pacific S.A.L.T. course is a two week intensive Scripture Use workshop conducted in the village at the request of local church leaders.
- S.A.L.T. seeks to encourage a love and wonder of the Scriptures among language communities and to equip local pastors and village leaders to effectively use the translated Scriptures.
- S.A.L.T. encourages the study of the Scriptures in their own heart language in order that language communities may develop an understanding of the Scriptures and develop a Christian worldview.
- HERE you can find out more about the history and impact of S.A.L.T. in Papua New Guinea.
Story Mandy Glass. Photos provided by Marian Aubrey/ S.A.L.T.