Sunday, October 2, 2016

Simple Book Review: Light in the Sarawak Jungle

Light in the Sarawak Jungle: An Epic Story of How the Gospel Spread Among the Kayan People
 and How the Bible was Translated into Their Language
(2016) by Leah Cubit

Tebara Ka ‘atih aleng lirui mayak akui, dahin malah te’ alan kui” (Psalm 119:105). With this verse, Leah Cubit ended her personal encounters, stories of obedience to the Lord’s call from Australia to Borneo Island. Leah (to whom the Kayan gave the name ‘Ubong’) and Win Burrow (‘Bulan’) were among the earliest BEM/OMF missionaries who has been ministering to the Kayan people of Borneo. These two women sent by God to work at Long Atip and other Kayan villages in the Baram area of Sarawak, East Malaysia. Leah recorded: “Travel was by launch on the Great Baram River of Sarawak to Marudi, then for three days in a dugout canoe on the Tutoh and Apoh tributaries of that river, with thick jungle on both sides. I lived there with those beautiful people for about 27 years.”

As I read this action-pack diary of Ubong, I was very inspired! They opened a school, provide medical services, build an airstrip(!), hiking for hours in the interior jungle, ministering to the Penan and Kenyah people too, eating monkey’s brain(!), trained leaders and pastors, encountered poisonous snakes, and many more. And the greatest of them all – translating the whole Bible into Kayan language. Leah as the pioneer translator together with Taman Ngau Juk, Taman Ayub, Taman Joseph, Taman Sara’ and others – local and oversea – finally finished translating the Bible after 12 years of hard work, almost give up and much prayer. “The Bible in our own language,” the Kayan people said, “is like eating a banana without the skin on it” (the “skin” being a language they had to learn before they got to the flesh).

28-19th July 1988 were memorable days for the Church of Borneo as hundreds gathered – includes YB Ramsey Jitam, Miss Sylvia Webb, YB Luhat Wan, the Penan and Kenyah people, and especially the Kayans – at Long Bedian for celebration services with sermons, thanksgivings, praise and worship because God’s Book, the Wonderful Book, the Word of the Eternal God, were given by the Glorious Lord to His precious children, the Kayan people! This book is published by Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM), so, may BEM churches can promote or translate this book in BM. If you’re Kayan people (or married one or about to marry one), read this book. If you already read Unchartered Waters by Hudson Southwell and/or Longhouses Open Doors by Ray Cunningham, you’re going to love this one too! Thank you missionaries, local churches, pastors and leaders, supporters from overseas for your great courage and hearts for my country and Sarawak specifically. With tears of joy in my eyes, the Lord bless you all. Amen.

My Psalm of Praise
(written by Leah)

Praise ye the Lord,
For it is good to praise Him together.
He is majestic,
And his works call forth our praise.
He builds up his Church in Borneo,
He gathers the pagans to be His people,
He breaks the power of smoking and drinking,
He flings away the betel-nut from those who have been bound.
Men’s faces light up as they recount the blessings,
Women say, “O, we didn’t know that the Lord was like this.”
Young people sing words and harmony blending the praise to our God,
Even children run to the house of prayer, praising and worshipping in truth.
Praise ye the Lord.

God has revealed His purity,
And the darkness has fled before it,
Secrets are revealed publicly by the spirit of God,
Even Satan’s things hidden in dark places,
They are dug out, they are flung away,
The people rejoice.
Praise ye the Lord.

God gives joy in the place of burden,
And love instead of suspicion,
Praise replaces the curse,
And the gentleness the word of anger.
He opens the mouths of young people,
They proclaim His words.
He opens the purses of men,
They pour them out for Him.
He makes their feet to run swiftly,
Running with the good news of grace.
Praise ye the Lord.

The Word of God is quickly and powerful,
And sharper than any two-edged sword;
It is food, it is water,
It is strong meat, it is honey.
Men seeking for light, read it and say, “Why, this is Truth.
Why aren’t we walking in this?
This is the Word of God.”
The Fathers come to the Bookroom, ‘Have you any Bibles?
Thank you. I’ll take the lot,
Our people want them.”
Praise ye the Lord.

Praise the Lord, all you my praying friends!
Praise Him you who give to His works!
Praise Him Council members, prayer groups, missionaries!
Praise ye the Lord.


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