Jephunneh Van Der Decker's Testimony
My time in Papua New Guinea has been very profitable. This is what I mean: God has taught me much during my time there. It was during that time that God showed me that I am sinful and that I can therefore do nothing to make myself to be in right standing with Him, and because of my sin, I would need to spend eternity without Him in what the Bible calls Hell. It was there in PNG that God used my parents to show me that Jesus came and died on the Cross to pay for my sin, and that His death completely paid for my sin in full, and that all I needed to do was to trust that Jesus died on the cross for my sin and that I do not need to do and cannot do anything to make myself in right standing with God. It was there in PNG that I put my trust in Jesus alone, for what He did in my place. It was there that He drew me to Himself.
God created Adam and Eve – so that they might populate the world with people who would know, love and serve Himself. Or, as another example of this desire of God’s being shown in the Scriptures is before David cut off Goliath’s head. David declared he that did what he did so that on that day, “…all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:46) And again, before Jesus returned to Heaven, he told his disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:18b-20)
What advice would you give others seeking to live on the mission field?
First of all, one needs to be sure that he is truly born again – that he is truly a child of God. The Bible says that everyone in the world is born cut off from God and that we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We, however, might be thinking that we are not as bad off as the Bible says we are. It may be that we are not known for lying, cheating, or stealing. It may be that we have never killed someone or done any of the other ‘major’ things that are “bad” in the eyes of everyone else. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we have sinned (disobeyed God). Jesus said that if we have hated our fellow man, that in God’s eyes, it is as though we have killed him. Even if the good things that we do “out-weigh” the bad, in God’s eyes, our righteous acts are a stench to Him. Nothing even tainted with sin can even approach Him! Isaiah 64:6b –” and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” No matter how much we try to become “good enough,” there is no way that we can become right in God’s sight, so that we can spend eternity with Him.
Because we are sinners, the wages, or pay, that we receive for being sinners is death. Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death.” This death is eternal separation from God in what the Bible calls Hell. The Bible describes it as being a “furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:50, NASB) and as being “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). It is there that we each deserve to spend eternity, because of our sin.
But there is good news: because God loved us extremely much and did not want us to have to spend eternity without him, he sent Jesus, who is God, to come and take the penalty for our sin. Jesus came and died on the cross and then rose again from the dead to pay the full penalty of our sin. When He died, all of God’s wrath towards us and all of the penalty of our sin were laid on Jesus. And when He arose from the dead, He proved that His death completely paid for your sin and my sin in full. (For, if He had not risen, then His not rising would prove that His death did not satisfy God’s wrath against us for our sin.) Romans 5:8 (NASB) – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB) – “He (referring to God) made Him (referring to Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
The Bible says that if we are trusting alone in what Jesus did to pay for our sins and that we can do nothing to earn merit or right standing with God, but that this salvation is only of Him, that God declares that we are righteous in His sight and that we have eternal life. Romans 6:23b – “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” John 3:16 (NASB) – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV) – “It is because of him (God, not us or anything we have done) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” Since Jesus paid for all of our sin, if we trust Him for what He did, there is none that is left for us to pay. This verse is true for each of us if we are each individually trusting solely that Jesus’ work on the cross completely paid our sin-debt in full. Romans 5:1 (NASB) - “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now, if you are truly born again and you feel God leading you towards the mission field, it would be highly recommended that you get enrolled in a good Bible school or college in order to receive more Bible training. Although you may have grown up in a Christian home and may even have been a born-again believer ever since you were a young child, it is always good to have more Bible teaching. I know some people who grew up in a great Christian home, where they were always being taught the Word. The Lord drew these people to Himself when they were still young. Even though they already had all this Biblical training and background in the home, they attended one of New Tribes Mission’s Bible schools, and they have learned much through it.