Above shows our friend Payomenaa getting ready to eat a piece of the “redfruit” or “pai” in their language.
“He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” – Matthew 3:12
They had never seen wheat. They don’t even eat bread! The words describing what is taking place in this verse seemed about as foreign to their language, way of life and culture as it would be for us talking to aliens from a different planet about the strange other-worldly foods that they would eat! So how would we get the point of this passage across in our teaching and translation? How could we help them understand the word picture that is being displayed here?
As we continued to think through this passage and the other verses in the gospels that use this same word picture we began discussing the verses with the Dao people who were hearing it in their language for the first time. At first the imagery seemed confusing to them; a “winnowing fork”? a “threshing area”? But then there was a breakthrough. Right along the time we were discussing these things a Dao man walked into the village with a huge, freshly cut red fruit.
“Pai” is a cone shaped, bright red fruit that looks like a very large pinecone.
It was red fruit season! And boy did the Dao people love their red fruit. In the local language it is called by the word “pai” and it looks like a large, two to three foot long, bright red pine cone. We ourselves had never laid eyes on “pai” nor did we know of this fruit’s existence until we moved into the jungles of Indonesia to work with this remote tribe. But man had we grown to love it. Once we had gotten used to eating it we craved it! To us it resembles the taste of fresh roasted hazelnuts with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee and just a hint of dark, bitter chocolate on the finish. There isn’t a fruit or food that we have found anywhere else in the world that can quite compare.
One of the most interesting things about “pai” or “redfruit” is how it is prepared. The inside of the fruit, along with the thousands of seeds are hard and dry and so tough that they are inedible. But the outer layer of skin and the bright red pulp that coats the seeds are a near delicacy. In order to extract that thick nutty pulp from the thousands of one inch seeds on a single fruit the entire cone is first split from top to bottom.
The redfruit or “pai” is prepared by boiling the fruit and then separating the seeds of the cone from the pulp.
A sharp stick is used to scrape and hollow that tough inedible chaff-like inside from the fruit and then the outer layer of skin and seeds are boiled over an open fire for hours to get the fruit soft enough to where the much coveted pulp can be separated from the tough seeds.
And then the real work begins! Those thousands of tiny seeds are taken one handful at a time and squished in between cupped hands back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and…..well, you get the idea…until the pulp drips out through the bottom of the hands and into a bowl below. For what seems like an eternity (when one has a rumbling hungry belly), this process is continued one cupped handful of seeds at a time until all of the seeds and skin has been sorted through and the delicious pulp is separated and ready to eat.
The mounds and mounds of inedible seeds that have been removed are set aside along with the thick, chaff-like center and thrown away into the jungle and then the red fruit meal proceeds and everyone eats until the bright red pulp is gone or they could not swallow another bite. Which is rare, because when something is that good, there is always room for “just one more bite”.
For the Dao people, redfruit or “pai” as they call it, is one of those foods that is so good that there is “always room for just one more bite”.
After such a meal of red fruit one afternoon, Paatoma was one of the first to notice the similarities in between this unique fruit and what they had been hearing from Matthew 3:12 “We are God’s redfruit!” he said with a big grin. “We people of the earth are just like the Creator’s Book says. He takes the inedible and useless seeds and chaff-like tough skin and separates it from the delicious edible pulp. He throws out the useless and stores the good for His own pleasure. That is what the Creator’s Book is talking about in those verses isn’t it?” he asked with a satisfied grin that said he knew he must have hit the nail right on the head.
What a joy it is to see God’s Word come alive to people that had never before heard the words of the pages of this awesome Book. It seems to us that He has intriquetly and thoughtfully designed each language and culture to reflect the truths of His Word. Through the power of God’s Spirit, His message speaks with power and conviction even among the most remote and isolated people groups! His promises are true! As He Himself has told us – “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish that which I purpose, and will succeed in the thing for which I have sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11
Praise God together with us that we are part of something that cannot fail. And pray with us that people will step forward and play a part along side of us to see His Word carried to the last remaining unreached people groups in this world!
Announcing the birth of our 5th son, Jedidiah Knox Phillips!
Born at 7:21 pm on February 19, 2018 Weighing in at 9.1 pounds!
Praise & Prayer Points
* Praise God together with us for the safe delivery of our 5th child! Please pray for a full recovery from the birth for Jennie!
* Please pray also for the Dao people as the literacy teachers and pastors we have trained continue to minister and now carry out new outreaches in other language dialects.
* Pray together with us also for wisdom and strength as we continue to work to translate the remainder of the Old Testament also into the Dao language.
* Pray for our present project of the month and that if its the Lord’s will for DAO Ministries, that He would raise up people that can financially support and help us to fund the purchase and distribution of 1,000 Solar Audio Bibles for the remote tribes of Indonesia.
* Pray for the continued smooth development of the DAO Ministries Missionary Training Center and that the Lord would provide the volunteers and resources needed for the continued progress of this center.
* Pray for DAO Ministries partner organizations, (Hope From Above, Project 1040, Helimission, Alta Forma & Beyond The Reef) as we labor to see the last remaining unreached people groups reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ!