Crashing the Wild Man Party

29 Jun

Me showing a little party spirit (the color of my jacket may have matched their clothing, but I didn’t blend in very well otherwise!)

Crashing the Wild Man Party

Todd’s 1st blog from China

Dear Friends,

The remote, mountaintop village of Xinhua looked deserted as I and some team members pulled our vehicle to a stop at the edge of town. We soon discovered that almost the entire village had congregated at what might be called their “fairgrounds” to celebrate a festival called (according to the best translation I can come up with) the “Welcome the Wild Man Festival,” and we were just in time to join the party! (As the only foreigner there I wondered if some thought I was the wild man!)

We traveled to Xinhua, deep in the mountains of Southern China, to meet people of peace—those who are not necessarily believers but who are not hostile to the gospel, and who are, we believe, prepared by God to help open a door for the gospel into an unreached tribe. They in turn, we prayed, would provide an opening into a tribe called the Nisu.

We recently discovered the Nisu (considered unreached according the Joshua Project) speak the same language as the A-Che people with whom we’ve been working to reach for many years. Our team has translated and recorded select Bible stories and the gospel message in the A-Che language, with which we originally thought we could reach around 40,000 people, many of whom are illiterate. After learning that we can reach the Nisu with the same recordings we realized we could now possibly touch 240,000 additional souls!

In March my team and I set out to find the Nisu people. That’s when we crashed the Wild Man party. As it turned out, the festival was a great excuse for us to be in such a remote region, one that the government considers “sensitive.” Another blessing, thanks to our God working his perfect plan, was that we encountered a virtual buffet of persons of peace—nearly 5,000 people, including all from surrounding villages, had converged on Xinhua for this festival—many of whom we counted as new friends. We also left town with many invitations to come to their home villages!

At left, festival participants; at right, men sacrificing animals to the spirits of rocks and trees while wearing tribal clothing and skin paint (the priestly-looking guy in the center was also sporting a hands-free microphone attached to his left ear, no doubt a relatively recent addition to this primitive celebration!)

A few of the ladies at the festival who were dressed in vibrant traditional clothing

I returned to China in May, when I was elated to be able to meet several more “persons of peace,” one of whom, a woman named MeiLan, I had met during our festival visit to Xinhua in March. Stay tuned for my second blog from China, in which I’ll tell you about MeiLan and some pretty amazing divine appointments.

Thanks for joining me! Thank you, too, for caring about the unreached through your gifts to the Unreached People Groups Ministry. You’re rewriting the history of the A-Che people—as well as the Nisu now too!

Many Blessings,

Todd Matthews
Director, Unreached People Groups Ministry

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