In Papua New Guinea, Stacy Wyse teaches a theological course for pastors who are unable to attend Bible school. The Theological Education by Extension (TEE) course enables them to stay in their own villages or towns while attending courses.
On one occasion, a couple of pastors came to Stacey with a special request, just one week before she was to teach a course on Genesis. They wanted to invite a former raskol (gang member) who had come to know the Lord. Stacey agreed, but wondered how this young believer could benefit from studying the book of Genesis.
Ok Lord, she prayed silently. You know how.
A week later, the pastors and the former gang member were in place when the course began. Nothing remarkable took place until they began reading Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26a ESV).
Their guest was dumbstruck.
“You could tell he was really emotional,” says Stacey. “He started talking and tears ran down his cheeks. He said, ‘If God has made women in His image, that means I need to treat my wife differently!’”
The other men in the room quickly made the connection too, realizing the verse’s implications for them as they related to their wives, daughters and other women in the community.
“For the next half hour, I watched them as they all did their own Bible study on that one verse,” recalls Stacey. “I just observed as the Holy Spirit moved in these pastors and this former raskol who had just given his life to the Lord.
“I was blown away as I thought to myself, Ah, that’s how God disciples through Genesis!”
Months later, Stacey attended a church commissioning service at another location and saw the former raskol. Throughout the service, she observed how well the young man treated his wife and children, how they interacted with smiles and laughter, and how his community had accepted him back despite his former lifestyle.
“It was really exciting to see how God had moved and worked in and through this man.”
Adapted from a story by Stephanie Ernandes at The PNG Experience