Someone was crying in the church.
Anne had been walking by, cleaning up the cooking fires and getting ready for the night when she’d heard the soft sobbing of someone inside the little adobe church.
Breathing a soft prayer, she gathered a lantern and walked inside. The church wasn’t large, so it wasn’t hard to find her. Anne thought she recognized the young woman. Although her face looked aged from the wrinkles of many trials, Anne knew she wasn’t yet twenty years old. Molly spoke in the native language: “Kira? Is that you?”
The woman nodded, but kept crying even when Anne put a hand on her shoulder. “What is wrong, Kira? Can I help you? Is it your children?”
“No, you cannot help me. And, yes, it is my children. Well… not the living ones. They are fine.”
Anne waited; saying another prayer for wisdom. Ever since she and Larry had come to this remote rain forest, at the edge of Colombia, they had prayed to make a difference with the people. Their mission was miles from the nearest city; several tribes lived in this forest. There was no running water and many of the natives still wore no clothes. Anne and Larry yearned to break through to the scattered tribes; all with their own cultures and beliefs. They had worked to learn the language and honor the native customs. Yet, despite two years of work and their daily prayers, not one person in the tribes had yet to make a decision to follow Jesus. Most of the people still clung to beliefs in pagan rituals and evil spirits.
“Please tell me, Kira.”
Kira shook her head and cried. “If I tell you; you will cast me away.” Molly shook her head, but Kira continued: “I know I have done wrong. I have done like the Cain man.”
Molly wondered what she meant. That evening’s Bible study had spoken of Cain and Abel. Could Kira mean…? “You have killed your brother?”
“Not my brother,” she whispered. “It was my children. I have killed my children.”
Molly gasped. She had heard of this tribe’s beliefs; if a child was born with certain defects, the tribal leaders ordered the new mothers to bury them alive. She had even heard that, when twins were born, one of the twins must be chosen as a sacrifice in order to prevent evil spirits from possessing the other twin. Molly had heard of the practice but had never seen any proof. Molly thought of her own precious daughters; she couldn’t imagine taking their lives. She cringed at Kira’s confession, but again asked God to help her hear it through to its end.
Little by little, the story came out. Kira had had two healthy daughters, but her third pregnancy had resulted in twins, so the leader had told her one must be given back to the gods. “I could not bear to look,” she told Molly. “I buried him with my eyes closed and closed my ears to his crying.” She went on to say that her next child looked normal to her but the tribal leader told her the boy was cursed, and she had buried him, too. “I cannot face God. I am like the Cain man and must flee from His face.”
Molly swallowed her horror; she knew this was her chance. “No, Kira. You do not have to flee. God can forgive you.”
Kira looked up. “Can it be? He can forgive me?”
“Yes,” Molly grasped Kira’s hand. “He can forgive you.” Molly ran to find the newly-translated Bible; prepared by missionaries in the language of Kira’s tribe. She opened the Book. “Let me read you John 3:16… that whosever believes in Him will not perish…”
“Who is this ‘whosoever’? Is it me?” Hope washed away her despair; her eyes lit up with it.
“Yes, Kira. It is you. And whoever else can believe.”
Kira wept again, but this time the tears flowed with the joy of her newborn belief. “Please, Miss Molly. Tell me more.”
adapted from a true story told by a Baptist missionary in Colombia’s rain forest.
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