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40 Stories: My mistakes don’t define who I am

By Eternity News

Amos Leana, Motuan People Group, Central Province, Papua New Guinea, teacher, Nungalinya College, Darwin

When I got married to my wife Doreen from Samoa, we went to her country one Christmas and new year. I think the first two days we didn’t have any food because no shops were open. We went into fasting and having time with God every evening, we would continue just to thank God and worship God because, in Samoa, at about six o’clock in the evening, most of the communities in Samoa would pray.

And one particular evening, as we were praying, we heard a knock on the door and it was a taxi. And this driver said, “I brought some food for you people.” And we said, “Oh, where did this food come from?” And this driver said, “A pastor from a nearby village, next village, sent this food to you people.”

And we said, “Oh, thank you.” It was two big baskets, coconut weave baskets. The food in one basket was roasted pig, roasted chicken, and in the other basket was a big cake. And we sat down and thanked God for the food. So after eating and being satisfied, we heard another knock on the door. We saw the same taxi driver again, and he said, “Oh brother and sister, this is the wrong house.” So we gave the basket of food back. I don’t have answers, but I could say that God has just brought food from nowhere!

My parents used to tell me that they offered me up and said, “Lord, we give you this child for you to serve you when he grows up.”

My name is Amos Leana, and I come from Papua New Guinea, from the central province, from the village called Gabagaba. I have three brothers and four sisters. My father was an ordained minister of the United Church of Papua New Guinea. My mum also was a very active member of the church in leadership. And so, I grew up in a Christian family. I knew about God. My parents used to tell me that they offered me up and said, “Lord, we give you this child for you to serve you when he grows up.”

I didn’t understand, but my parents were praying for me, and in 1984 on the 21st of April, I was invited to a youth camp. And I thought that I was a Christian because my parents were pastors. But then at camp, I realised that I needed a saviour because of my unworthiness. I invited Jesus into my heart. And so that started my journey as I began to grow.

Jesus knew suffering. Jesus understood my pains, and I trusted in him. Every moment of my pain and my tears, I felt God was there.

When I came to know Jesus, I realised that I’m a child of God. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, but my mistakes don’t define who I am. If Jesus is invited into your lives, you become children of God, and yes, you make mistakes, and you feel really discouraged, and you feel like shame gets onto you, but you are not defined by those mistakes, but I am defined, and you are defined by our identity in Jesus Christ as God’s children. I was nothing. I was lost. I was hopeless, and Jesus found me. Jesus is the only way.

At the age of 16 or 17, it was very hard when my father passed away, my brothers and sisters were still young and I’m the eldest. I had to support my mother because in Papua New Guinea, we don’t have government support. The other challenge was my first wife died. After two years of marriage, we were preparing to serve the Lord. And after three months of marriage, she got sick, and eventually, she passed away. My brother passed away, leaving a young two-year-old son and a baby. And again, you know, you ask these questions, “Lord, why?” And I came to understand this Jesus knew suffering. Jesus understood my pains, and I trusted in him. Every moment of my pain and my tears, I felt God was there.

I saw the hand of God in my life. His call was becoming very clear in my heart. And so, in 1990, I came to Australia and studied at Bible College of Victoria, which is now Melbourne school of theology. After I finished my studies at the college. I went to Samoa to work there at the theological college.

It was in Samoa that I found my wife Doreen. And I married her. We felt that God began to call us out of the country. And after that, we came to Australia to work with the Australian Indigenous people in the Kimberleys, Halls Creek. In 2008, we moved over to NSW and worked at a place called Walgett. People have asked me, “Why did I come to the Indigenous people?”

We saw how God just transformed them. And through that, we were able to see God become real in their lives and our lives.

God was working in their culture, coming from a society like Melanesia where we have similar cultural beliefs, like the Indigenous people. And as we work together, we would be able to find God’s fingerprints in our cultures where God was at work in these Indigenous people. Firstly, I see them as God’s people, spiritual people, and we believe that God is at work in every culture.

We listen to their stories and we were able to get those stories and try and make those connections with the gospel message. And we would see Christ really grow in the midst of us. We didn’t come with a structure. We didn’t come with an agenda. But we were developing relationships. So we made a lot of brothers and sisters. We worked with them and we learned from them how much they loved the Lord. We saw how God just transformed them. And through that, we were able to see God become real in their lives and our lives.

I’m now serving at Nungalinya College as a teacher. God is at work in your cultures, and God wants to use you Indigenous people. The revival stories that I get from Elcho island and at Warburton Ranges [in Western Australia] where nobody from outside went to tell them about Revival, but God just moved. People had transformed. God was at work in that community.

Those people at Warburton Ranges got up and went out telling people about Jesus. Who brought the gospel to them? Not outsiders. It was Aboriginal people from Elcho island went down there, and the fire burnt. God is at work. But my Indigenous brothers and sisters, you need to let go and allow God to take over. And you will see, God will work. God is working amongst you people, and you are going to make the difference. You’re going to tell the outsiders about who God is, the real God, the God that Bible speaks about, and we experience him in life.

Watch the video of Amos Leana here. It’s by 40 Stories, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

 

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Source: Eternity News.