Culture Blocks: Micronesia
Angelina Zimmer, CGO Office Administrator
Language may be the most dividing factor worldwide. Without the ability to communicate the Gospel “how can they hear?” Following closely behind language, culture is another dividing factor. Once the truths of God’s Word have been translated into the language of the people there is yet this cultural barrier.
I come from the island of Yap in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Our culture is Asian in nature. We respect our teachers with the utmost admiration. Through stories, our elders teach us the lessons they have acquired through the journey of life. They tell us narratives of how we came to be on the island. Through a story our culture and history is preserved, being told and retold to countless generations.
When the Gospel comes into such a culture it must be done such a way so that the people not only understand the words of the story but also comprehend the meaning and weight of our propitiation at the cross.
When someone on the island has committed a crime of murder in another village, he can be held and beaten by the family of the deceased, villagers, and any others until his own family produces a stone. He is unable to defend or free himself.
This stone is not the typical rock that lines the ancient jungle paths nor is it any kind of special stone or diamond. This stone is a form of currency and could weigh more than 8, 000 pounds.
Depending on the size of the stone, the family of the man who was murdered will either accept or reject the stone.
If the stone money is accepted, the murderer is released and can freely come and go throughout the village as he desires.
No more mention is made ever again about his crime.
His debt has been paid in full.
Once the stone has been accepted the complete history of the stone and how it has been passed down from person to person is told to its new owner. Hence, Yap is known as the “Island of Stone Money.”
The Gospel story can be seen and understood through this cultural practice.
We have committed many crimes against a Holy God and will not be released for all eternity. We are unable to defend or free ourselves. But, Christ is that acceptable payment and when the Father accepted Him in our place, we were released to walk boldly before the throne of grace.
No more mention is made ever again about our crimes. Our debt has been paid in full.
We are bought with a price.
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.