As 2021 disappointed the world’s hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic would swiftly abate, Aaron Nikki, Every Home’s ministry director in Papua New Guinea, and his team faced a unique challenge. Their neighbors were suffering severe economic and emotional hardship, but the nature of the crisis made it difficult to practice the hospitality that is so central to the culture of Papua New Guinea.
“We are a social community,” Aaron says. “We get together… If one family is suffering, other families come to comfort them. We depend on each other.”
Looking for an innovative way to adapt his evangelism strategy, Aaron reached out to his network of Christ Groups and invited them to identify families in need in their area to receive a food package and a gospel message.
The response was unprecedented. Could something as simple as a bag of rice touch lives so powerfully?
One woman, who lives near a church with her children, said that she had seen Christians dressed up, going to church, but no one had ever bothered to come to her house. And then, a visitor brought food right to her house. The woman had seen Christianity before. But she had never truly seen Jesus until someone showed her the love of God. She came to know Jesus that day.
“Because you show care, without even preaching, already your action is speaking your love,” Aaron explains. “That demonstration of your love for others will open up their hearts to receive the gospel… People can’t see Jesus, but they see us. How we smile, how we love, that’s the demonstration of the love of God… We can start preaching, but if there is no demonstration, how can they really experience it?”
“To care for someone is to truly see them,” Aaron says. “In our culture, if you talk to someone, it really means a lot. They think, ‘This person can see that I have worth.’”
When we see people, they see Jesus. “People have a spiritual hunger,” Aaron says. “But they can’t see that there is a God who cares for them… Something has to happen to open up the way they see. People tell us, ‘We hear people preaching in the streets and singing in the churches. But we never cared until you showed us love. Now, we can see.’”
The future is still uncertain in much of the world, but Aaron and his team are excited to continue helping their neighbors see the gospel in action.
“God has many mysterious ways of changing people,” Aaron says. “We only make ourselves available.”