For various reasons, this chapter will be scrapped from the book I’m working on, but I decided to post it anyway, to give an idea of the compelling need and the sacrifice involved in the missionary work in Irian Jaya. The scene is 1955 at Prairie Bible Institute. Phil Masters is a man who later gave his life while bringing the gospel to people who had never heard.
WHO SHOULD DIE?
“Well, I’m just disgusted, that’s all I can say.” Phil Masters threw the National Geographic on the bed.
“What’s eating you now, man?” his friend asked him.
“It’s no coincidence Mr. Vine came to speak in chapel about those tribes in Dutch New Guinea, same time I was reading about them. But I’ve had it up to here.” Phil jabbed himself so hard he nearly knocked his glasses off.
“Hey cool it, bud,” Jim said. “What’s the stew?”
“The magazines all talk like they’re . . . they’re some kind of prehistoric ape-like creatures. They keep saying things like ‘Neolithic Man’ and ‘a last look at our ancestors.’ Do you get what they’re saying?”
“Well, that they’re living in the Stone Age, but you gotta admit, Phil—”
“That’s just it!” Phil nearly exploded. “That’s just it! They talk about them like they’re not really people, and if they’re not really people, then they don’t really have eternal souls, and if they don’t really have eternal souls, then nobody needs to take the gospel to them. But just like Mr. Vine was saying, they’re people in desperate need, and we’ve got to tell them about Jesus! They’ve been living in darkness for centuries, even millennia!” Phil pushed his glasses up on his head and began to pace around the small dorm room.
“I heard him speak too, you know,” Jim said. “And yes, they need to hear about Jesus. But you know, they’re headhunters, cannibals. It’s dangerous, and you and Phyliss are going to be having a baby. . . .”
“But doesn’t somebody have to be willing to give his life? And look, I know other people besides me felt God calling them when Mr. Vine was talking. It was like . . . it was like . . .” Phil stopped abruptly and leaned in close to Jim. “It’s like the book Mr. Maxwell wrote. If we’re born crucified, if we’re raised with Christ and have intimate communion with Him, then it doesn’t matter if we live or die, does it? I mean, right now, they’re the ones dying, and their death is eternal. Ours . . . what does our death matter?”
He stopped again. “It’s like . . . it’s like D-Day.”
Jim just waited, sure Phil would explain himself eventually.
“It’s like D-Day, ten years ago.” Phil gazed out the window, as if he were realizing this for the first time. “Those first soldiers who landed at Normandy, they knew they would die. They knew it. But they did it anyway, because they had to rescue the world from that . . . that monster.
“And, listen, these people, they need to be rescued too. From the clutches of Satan. And . . . and . . . from evil spirits, and witchdoctors, and who knows what all. And we need an army to go. And in any good army, some of the soldiers have to know that they’re going to die. Didn’t Jesus say it-—to be ready to die?
“It’s war. And I want to be part of the army.”