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Tribe Chief Heard Gospel Before Dying, Was Raised Back to Life to Testify to Missionaries’ Message

For decades, no one could reach out to a certain tribe in a remote area of the Solomon Islands because of its hostility—until God sent two missionaries to tell them the Good News and proved the message of His salvation through a miracle.
A tribe in Malaita Province, Solomon Islands celebrating cocoa field day. Google Commons

For decades, no one could reach out to a certain tribe in a remote area of the Solomon Islands because of its hostility—until God sent two missionaries to tell them the Good News and proved the message of His salvation through a miracle.

The Kwaio people, who lived in the interior of Malaita, held a reputation of being violent. In 1927, they slaughtered 13 officials from the U.K. government who were surveying the land. In retaliation, the U.K. government sent a warship to attack the area where the tribe lived, resulting in the death of 200 tribe members.

In the succeeding years, the Kwaio people killed Catholic priests, a Protestant missionary and two more missionaries.

It seemed very difficult to reach these people with the gospel. However, God had been working in the hearts of several missionaries from Fiji who felt the burden to evangelize the tribe, according to God Reports, a website that publishes stories from the mission field.

In 1990, a group of missionaries decided to send a team to the Kwaio people. They prepared for the task by praying and fasting for seven days. They also talked with former witch doctors who became Christians in order to identify and wage specific warfare with the demonic forces working in the area.

Jack and Japta, who were among those sent off, walked for a day toward the island's interior until they reached a village where a crowd had gathered. Immediately, they sensed that something was going on in the place.

The details of their story are found in the book "Look What God Is Doing!: True Stories of People Around the World Changed by the Gospel," written by Dick Eastman and published in 2009. Eastman is the president of Every Home for Christ, a ministry that seeks to spread the gospel worldwide from home to home.

As it turned out, the tribe chief named Haribo was dying. Although the two men were received with hostility, somehow the village elders allowed them to see the chief when they said the One true God could heal him.

Jack immediately shared the gospel to Haribo, whose response was priceless.

"I have waited my entire lifetime to hear this story," the tribe chief said. "I have always felt there was some sacred message like this. But no one ever came to bring us such words. How can I receive this Jesus into my life?"

The missionaries led him in prayer. Two hours later, the chief died.

The tribe prepared the chief's body for burial, and Jack and Japta went on their way back to the coast. However, as night fell, Haribo suddenly sat up and started to talk. He ordered that Jack and Japta be brought back to the village, and he explained why.

A person named Jesus Christ, who was "dressed in glorious white," appeared to him and showed him a beautiful place where those who worshiped Him would live for eternity. There was no pain or suffering among them, Haribo said.

Then Jesus took him to "a place of great torment" where those who reject Jesus would end up.

Haribo said Jesus allowed him to go back to his village to let them know that what Jack and Japta told him was true.

"This Jesus is the only way to experience eternal life," he said.

When the two missionaries arrived, they were surprised to learn what happened. They shared the gospel to the village, and many received Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Haribo remained alive until the following morning. Then he lay on his bed and went home to God.

The gospel reached nearby villages, where more than 300 people gave their lives to Christ. Eastman later recounted on a 2011 blog that there were 11 Christian villages in the area.

God continued to work among the tribal villages through signs and wonders to draw people to Jesus. On one occasion, lightning struck and split in half a giant stone the tribe priests used for worship, causing the priests and villagers to receive Christ.

"Soon, many villagers, with their chiefs, had received Christ," Eastman wrote. "On their own they burned their huts to the ground as an act of repentance and moved to a nearby Christian village that had been established only 36 months earlier."

Tags : Kwaio, Kwaio Christians, Every Home for Christ, Dick Eastman, Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Christians, Solomon Islands missionaries, missions, evangelism, Christian persecution, ministry to tribes