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God’s Word Changing Hearts

MAF family celebrates Bible dedication with the Moi tribe

Words and photos by Heather Marx

Moi villagers unload boxes of Bibles.

“Ah-EEE!” The Moi believer interrupted his own words with an emotional cry. “All praise to God! You brought this Word to us. We praise You, Father, that we have seen this day before we die!”

The villagers gathered around the MAF plane to receive the first shipment of Bibles my husband, Brian, flew in. As the engine spooled down, the people whooped and then danced around the plane. So much excitement!

As the first box of Moi Bibles came off the plane, I looked around. Tears of joy streamed down the faces of those gathered—the missionary families, the pilots and other support staff, and the Moi believers themselves. Much hard work and sacrifice led to this moment of bringing the translated New Testament and 1,500 verses of the Old Testament to the Moi people.

The Marx family at the Moi Bible dedication.

Brian and I, along with our children Ethan, Jayden, and Elyse, spent four days with the Moi in January, arriving a few days before the dedication ceremony. Brian flew us to the village in a Kodiak, and we stayed in one of the missionary houses built over 20 years ago.

Celebrating with all the missionary families was so special. Brian has been flying for 13 years in support of the work in Moi people group, flying in the missionaries, their children to and from boarding school, medevacs, flights for the Moi school run by Lantern of Hope, and the clinic. We also supported the work when we lived in Nabire, hosting guests and doing the occasional supply errand.

The Marx twins meet Moi twins who were both allowed to live.

I was so excited to introduce our twins to a Moi mother of twins, a boy and girl, just like ours. This is the first time in Moi history that twins have been kept alive. The Moi used to believe that one twin was an evil spirit impersonating the baby. They would kill one twin, usually the smaller one.  But the gospel changed that!

Brian eats dinner in the home of a Moi family.

On the first night we were hosted for dinner in a honai (traditional Papuan house) by a Moi family and enjoyed a meal of root vegetables, sugar cane, and bananas, all roasted in the fire. Sepaiye is the MAF agent who helps when the plane comes to Daboto. His wife, Betani, gave me her necklace and said, “Your husband is my husband’s friend, so you are my friend.” We were so blessed and humbled to be hosted by this family who shared their food and possessions with us.

The Moi pray over the Bibles.

On the day of the dedication, Brian and another pilot flew in dignitaries, pastors, and VIPs. There was more dancing and whooping around the planes. Boaz, the representative of the Bible society that paid for the printing of the Bibles, was lifted and carried around.

I loved watching the parade of Moi people, missionaries, and dignitaries carrying boxes of Bibles down the airstrip, along the foot paths, through the hamlet, over pig fences, and to the sports gym where the ceremony was held.

Boaz, a Bible society representative, is lifted up.

During the dedication ceremony, the Moi people sang, chanting in harmony. All involved in the translation work went forward. Speeches were made. A Bible was ceremonially given to each Moi clan, as well as to MAF and other support organizations.  “We couldn’t have done it without you all!” said Steve, a longtime missionary to the Moi people.

Brain Marx receives a Moi Bible for MAF.

One of the Moi believers had this to say: “Regarding this book, it’s in our language. It’s ours. But, even more, the purpose contained in it is for causing us to live well. And for that reason, the joy in my heart is beyond words!”

Moi parents video chat with their children in Jakarta.

After the dedication, a video chat was set up so the 35 Moi students who are studying in Jakarta could speak with their parents and hear all about the Bible dedication. The students received their Moi Bibles the same day!

Moi Bible photo by Jacinda Basinger.

That afternoon while sitting on the porch, Steve translated for me as I asked one of the key church leaders, “How does it feel to have the Bible in Moi?” He answered, “I am thinking about the timing of the printing of it. We are so happy it is a time when we are not old. We now have the Word of God in our hands, and we can start using it for the rest of our lives. We’re very happy about that.”

He continued, “When you first hear God’s talk you’re thinking ‘Is this some kind of legend or fairy tale?’ Now I know this is God’s word, He’s talking to us! It’s the truth!”

Story ran in the Vol. 2 2024 edition of FlightWatch. Read the entire issue here:


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