More from the Add-on Eskimo.
Ayit continued in his telling of the spiritual history of the island. All of what he said actually happened and is documented.
“After making his decision, Nungwok said to himself, ‘I must find others to join me in being a Christian.’ So, he went first to his friend Tonkuk and told how he had become a Christian, encouraging him to accept Christ, too.
“When Tonkuk also declared he would follow Jesus, the two of them went to a third man, who had at one time declared for Jesus, but then returned to the old ways. He, too, at their urging, surrendered again to Christ.
“The three began to meet regularly to pray for others in the village to come to Christ. After a time, they began going from house to house encouraging people to follow Jesus, and many did become Christians.
“However, one man, Sigrut, who said he was a Christian, began to teach that he was the one who could forgive sins. He said the people had to make an offering of a snow bunting bird and a baby walrus to him and then he would forgive their sins.
“Nungwook rejected this man’s teaching. “‘No,’ he said, ‘I have already become a Christian. I have seen the power of Jesus as he healed my son’s blindness. I know that Jesus is my Savior, he died and rose again so that anyone who believes in him would have eternal life! I do not need someone else to forgive me!’
“When Sigrut heard this, he was convicted of his own sinfulness. He began to follow Nungwook around and eventually understood the forgiveness Christ offered and became a genuine Christian.
“During this time, another powerful shaman named Tinkit heard about Jesus and His good news but resisted it. He had much power from the spirits and did not want to give this up. Then one night he had a dream in which he was in labor and delivered a baby. But the baby was very dirty, and this bothered him.”
“That would certainly bother me!” commented the teacher. Ayit nodded.
“So Tinkit went to one of Christian leaders in Sivukuk and told him about the dream.
“‘This black baby is your spirit, Tinkit,’ the man told him. ‘It is dirty, unclean, evil. You have had much power from the devil. Now you need to turn to Jesus so he can cleanse you of your evil spirits and sin.’ And Tinkit did just that, giving up his demonic powers for the greater power of Jesus.”
“That is simply amazing,” said the teacher, “I’ve never heard of anything like that!”
Ayit smiled and went on, “Another shaman, Ayaktan, was strongly opposed to Christianity, but Nungwook and the others of the prayer band shared with him, even when he refused to listen. His son, however, became a believer, and when a missionary from the mainland came to baptize the believers, he asked his father to also be baptized.
“Aykatan agreed, not understanding what this meant and was baptized. But, for the next two nights, he was restless, unable to sleep, thinking about his baptism.
“The third day Nungwook went to visit him and found him with a Bible open on his lap and the pages were glowing.
“‘Please read this to me,’ he asked, ‘I don’t know how to read.’ Nungwook read him some passages for which Ayaktan was thankful.
“A few days later he came to visit Nungwook and told him of a dream in which he also had had a baby and the baby was very dirty. “‘What does this mean, Nunwook?’
“‘This baby is your spirit, Ayaktan, it is dirty. God can never accept it. You must throw away this baby and accept Jesus in its place. He will cleanse you and forgive you.’ Ayaktan was very thoughtful after hearing this. He did not submit to Jesus right away, but later went to Nungwook to tell him that he had become a Christian.
“So, these people carried on the faith and God moved supernaturally to empower their efforts. They added to their faith knowledge, as some of the Bible was now translated into their language. They added self-control, meeting regularly, praying for the village, sharing about Jesus.
“They also added endurance, as some strongly rejected their witness. They just kept on praying and sharing. They also added godliness, thinking in biblical terms in their difficulties. They added brotherly kindness, serving as examples of generosity and helpfulness. And they added God’s love in continuing to reach out to neighbors like Ayaktan. They were following in Okfagit’s eample of being “Add-on Eskimos.”
Picture: Ayit’s wife, Tianna in 1968; Ayit is in the background