From afar, Guadalcanal is an island surrounded by turquoise water, covered in lush rolling green hills and tropical plants. Closer, seafoam spreads across the shore, palm trees stand as sentinels along the beach, war memorials host tourists, and straw, wood, and concrete roofs house locals.
Guadalcanal’s main language is Solomon Islands Pijin. The island is a temporary home for Canadian linguist, Naaman Brignall. Even as Naaman and his family prepare for long-term Bible translation work on a neighbouring island, God has deepened his longing to share the gospel with locals.
In 2018, Naaman teamed up with his local colleague named Max (pictured below). The two men ventured to a hospital in Honiara, Solomon Islands’ capital, and showed the “JESUS” film as well as the story of Joseph.
Max felt deeply connected to Joseph, whose biblical story includes betrayal, rejection, and ridicule at the hands of his brothers.
Joseph grew up far from his family and was subjected to servanthood and imprisonment. After helping Pharaoh decipher a dream, Joseph was given a leadership role in Egypt that eventually brought his brothers before him, asking for help. In fear, the brothers fell silent in Joseph’s presence, but Joseph welcomed them with forgiveness and joy.
Max longed for that kind of reconciliation with his twin brother, Daniel. A decade earlier, Max and Daniel had a harsh disagreement. The conflict caused pain on both sides and devastated their families.
Church leaders and others tried to help Max and Daniel reconcile. Even so, the twin brothers’ refused to forgive one another.
As God continued to move in their hearts, Max prayed for a “miracle”— reconciliation with his brother. Max kept his eyes on the Lord and continued to share the two films with Naaman and on his own.
While working one day in the office of SITAG, Wycliffe’s partner organization in the Solomons, Max received an unexpected guest. Daniel came in and asked if he could borrow a book for his church. Unfortunately, the office did not have the book, but they did have the “Joseph” film.
Naaman recounts his conversation with Max, after Daniel’s unexpected visit :
“Naaman, I have something to ask you.” Max’s quiet Pijin breaks through my thoughts. “I want you to come do a showing of Joseph with me.”
I nod, waiting for him to continue.
“My brother invited me to show the film at his church this Sunday.” Max tries to keep his voice steady, but emotion surges behind his words.
“Yes! My brother.” Max beams. “He wants me to come show the “Joseph” film in his church, and I want you and your family to come with me.”
After 10 years of animosity, Max and Daniel had shared their first peaceful interaction. The following Sunday, Max presented the film in Daniel’s church.
When the showing of Joseph ended, Max and Daniel apologized to each other. The brothers’ apology led to a long conversation and a reconciliation meal. God restored their relationship and continues to build a bridge of peace between their families and the community.
“Max glowed as he recounted how God used the story of Joseph to bring healing to his situation,” said Naaman.
Naaman and Max continue to show Joseph whenever possible, in hopes of pointing people to God’s boundless love.
Written by Alexandria Ramoutar