As Ayit walked with his father to the next visit he asked, “Father, is there no way to protect ourselves from these evil spirits?”
“None that I know of,” replied Okfagit, “we can only do what the shaman tells us and hope that this will be enough to defend us. We have no other power.”
“What if the prophecy you told me about came true?” Ayit asked. “You know, that an outsider would come to the island with a message of hope?”
“Yes, I remember,” his father replied, “but many, many seasons have passed since then, and no such person has come. True, whalers have stopped by, but they brought no message, only goods along with troubles from whisky and disease.”
“What would you think if I said I’d met someone who knows the outsider who brought a message of hope?”
Okfagit stopped and looked at his son in astonishment. “Why, I would first wonder if that was true. And then I’d want to know what the message was! Why do you think this?”
Ayit told of his thoughts about all the evil the spirits did and that they could not have created a beautiful word. Then he shared about his conclusion that there must be a good creator God, who was as beautiful as what he had made. Then he told about meeting Kolawi and how he told him about Jesus, the son of Apa who sent him into the world to save all who would believe.
“But Kolawi is from this island, he is not an outsider,” Okfagit objected.
“It was the teacher, Mr. Campbell, who came to the island and brought the message of hope,” Ayit explained. “He brought this thing called a book which has stories and wisdom Apa wants to share with us. Kalowi has taught me some of it. Come with me, father, let us talk with Kalowi about it.”
When they were seated on the floor of Kalowi’s house, they were served tea and after a time of respectful silence, Okfagit began to ask Kalowi about this “New Way” and how he had entered it.
“My child was sick,” began Kalowi. “We tried all the ways of our people, including having the shaman come to play his drum and sing. But my boy only got worse.
“Then Mr. Campbell came and prayed for my son in the name of Jesus, the powerful creator God. My son got well, and I believe it was in answer to Mr. Campbell’s prayers.
“So, I began to ask Mr. Campbell about this New Way, about Jesus, the son of Apa. He explained to me that Apa wanted to have a relationship with each person, but our wrongdoing keeps him distant.
“So Apa sent Jesus to the world to open the way by taking on himself our punishment for what we have done wrong. As I have told Ayit, Jesus died in our place buying for us forgiveness, and then rose from the dead to buy eternal life for us. And because of this, we can now come close to Apa.”
Okfagit shook his head. “How can a man die and rise again?” he asked.
“Jesus was a man, but he was also God who created all we see here. He had the power to give his life and to take it up again. This is the power he can and wants to use in our lives. It is the power with which Jesus healed my son.”
Okfagit was quiet, again shaking his head. “This is so different from our way,” he finally said. “I will have to think about this.”
“Come tonight to the teacher’s house and you will learn more,” Kolawi said.
Picture: Grave yard where the little children killed by the evil spirits were buried