And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, ESV).
“…from every tribe and language…”
What is a tribe? Among some, it is used to speak of their coworkers, teammates, or those who share a common activity. “Those people are my tribe,” we might say.
But historically, “tribe” meant a people united by customs, culture, and their own unique language. Tribes may consist of a number of extended families. In North America, we think of Native American tribes and recognize their successful businesses and accomplishments. In other parts of the world, sadly, they are looked down upon as people who are undeveloped and primitive. They are some of the most underserved people with respect to their health, education, and other social needs.
The Board for World Outreach is happy to say that our synod supports active mission work in seven different ﬁelds.
Within two of them, we are working with tribal people. We are sharing God’s plan of redemption, the scroll mentioned on the previous page. Only Jesus can open the scroll and carry out God’s plan of redemption. He ransomed us by being slain and shedding his blood.
We share that message with tribes in two special places:
India (our largest mission field)
At St. Peter’s orphanage in Hyderabad, India, about 60 boys are at the orphanage and school. They are from a tribal people that speak their own language. They come from what was formerly one of the lowest castes of the Indian caste system (now illegal). They are still looked down upon by many. But some of our pastors in India from the Lutheran Mission of Salvation-India are reaching out in tribal villages and sharing the Gospel. Though looked down upon by some, they learn they are not looked down upon by God. He has cherished them and wants them to know they are redeemed in Christ Jesus.
Peru (our oldest mission field)
Many of you are aware of our work among the Shawi people in the Amazon region of Peru. Looked upon by many as undeveloped because of their simple homes in the jungle, nonetheless they have schools with their own Shawi teachers and support their families through farming, hunting, and other jobs. Most important, they have the message of redemption in Christ, teach it in their schools, and travel as evangelists to other villages to share the message. About ten men are in seminary classes, some preparing to become pastors, others getting further education to be better pastors.
Together with them, we are part of the “tribes, languages, people and nations” ransomed by Christ Jesus. Together we praise him and serve him. Your generous support is so important. Your gifts and offerings to the Lord are, in turn, shared with the Lord’s people who come from various tribes, languages, and nations.
Rev. Thomas Heyn
Board for World Outreach