Drik was a warrior. His tribal group in Indonesia had been cannibals. The government and outside forces stopped this, but the warrior status remained. I first noticed Drik when he led his friends to ambush and kill a group of local Christians, not because they were Christians, but because they were easy targets. Only by placing myself between my friends and the arrows pointed at them was I able to get them safely out of harm’s way.
After some similar incidents, I was seriously considering asking God to remove Drik from our village. I only considered, never prayed for it, but would not have been upset if God had ended his life.
One morning I heard a banging on the side of my house. As I opened the door, Drik burst past me, saying only, “I have to talk to you.”
Not knowing what was coming, I moved him away from my family and sat with him in a corner of the room. He was obviously agitated, but I didn’t know if this was a bad or good sign.
He began by repeating himself. “I have to talk to you. Something happened last night.
“I had a dream,” he continued. “I saw a man dressed in white clothes. He said to me, ‘Drik, you are a bad man. You are so bad that you will die in three days.’”
I knew dreams played a big part in Drik’s tribal culture, and wondered where this one was going.
“I’m scared. My mother had a dream like this when I was a child.” He paused. “Three days later she died.” Silence as he built up the courage to say, “I don’t want to die. What can I do?”
Suddenly, I was asking myself the same question. What can I do? Nothing in my Western Christian life or my missionary training had prepared me for this experience. I was out of my element and, evidently, into God’s. In faith, I plunged ahead.
That morning, I was able to lead Drik to faith in Jesus Christ. God had intervened directly in his life in a way he, a Kayagar tribal warrior, was able to accept and understand. He was ready to surrender to the true God and allow himself to become a new creation.
As wonderful as that was for Drik, the experience also helped change me. I realized that God does speak to people in languages and means with which they are familiar. For those who, like the Western me, need the written word and logic, He speaks through the Bible, through other books, through spoken word. For those in other cultures, He uses means with which they are familiar. That day he used a dream to catch Drik’s attention, then used His word, through me, to bring him fully into the family of God.
As we in Mandate, and so many other organizations, send workers throughout the world, we must adapt our methods and lifestyle to reach the many different cultures in which we find ourselves. In the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:22, we must “become all things to all people so that by all possible means [we] might save some.”