40 Stories: My Mistakes Don’t Define Who I Am

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Amos Leana, Motuan People Group, Central Province, Papua New Guinea, teacher, Nungalinya College, Darwin

When I married my wife Doreen from Samoa, we went to her country one Christmas and New Year. I think the first two days we had no food as no stores were open. We started fasting and spending time with God every night, we just kept thanking God and worshiping God because in Samoa around six o’clock in the evening most of the communities in Samoa were praying.

And one night when we was praying, we heard a knock at the door and it was a taxi. And this driver said, “I brought food for you. And we said, “Oh, where does this food come from?” And this driver said, “A pastor from a neighboring village, neighboring village, sent you this food.”

And we said, “Oh, thank you.” It was two large baskets, woven coconut baskets. The food in one basket was roast pig, roast chicken and in the other basket was a big cake. And we sat down and thanked God for the food. So, after eating and being satisfied, we heard another knock on the door. We saw the same taxi driver again and he said, “Oh brother and sister, this is the wrong house. So we returned the food basket. I don’t have any answers, but I could say God just brought food out of nowhere!

My parents used to tell me that they offered to me and said, “Lord, we give you this child to serve you when he grows up.”

My name is Amos Leana and I am from Papua New Guinea, central province, village called Gabagaba. I have three brothers and four sisters. My father was an ordained minister in the United Church of Papua New Guinea. My mother was also a very active member of the church in matters of leadership. And so, I grew up in a Christian family. I knew God. My parents used to tell me that they offered to me and said, “Lord, we give you this child to serve you when he grows up.”

I didn’t understand, but my parents were praying for me, and in 1984, on April 21, I was invited to a youth camp. And I thought I was a Christian because my parents were pastors. But then, at camp, I realized that I needed a savior because of my unworthiness. I invited Jesus into my heart. And that’s how my journey began as I started to grow.

Jesus knew suffering. Jesus understood my pain and I trusted him. Every moment of my pain and my tears, I felt that God was there.

When I knew Jesus, I realized that I was a child of God. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, but my mistakes don’t define who I am. If Jesus is invited into your lives, you become children of God, and yes, you make mistakes, and you feel really discouraged, and you feel like shame is washing over you, but you’re not defined by these errors, but I am defined, and you are defined by our identity in Jesus Christ as children of God. I was nothing. I was lost. I was hopeless and Jesus found me. Jesus is the only way.

At 16 or 17, it was very hard when my father died, my brothers and sisters were still young and I was the eldest. I had to support my mother because in Papua New Guinea we don’t have government support. The other challenge was that my first wife died. After two years of marriage, we were preparing to serve the Lord. And after three months of marriage, she got sick, and finally she passed away. My brother passed away, leaving a two-year-old boy and a baby. And again, you know, you ask these questions, “Lord, why? And I came to understand that Jesus knew suffering. Jesus understood my pain and I trusted him. Every moment of my pain and my tears, I felt that God was there.

I saw the hand of God in my life. His call became very clear in my heart. And so, in 1990, I came to Australia and studied at the Bible College of Victoria, which is now the Melbourne School of Theology. After graduating from college. I went to Samoa to work in the theological college there.

Samoa is where I found my wife Doreen. And I married her. We felt that God was beginning to call us out of the country. And after that, we came to Australia to work with Australian Indigenous people in the Kimberleys, Halls Creek. In 2008 we moved to NSW and worked at a place called Walgett. People have asked me, “Why did I come to the indigenous peoples?”

We have seen how God simply transformed them. And through that, we got to see God become real in their lives and in our lives.

God was working in their culture, coming from a society like Melanesia where we have similar cultural beliefs, like the indigenous people. And by working together, we would be able to find the fingerprints of God in our cultures where God was at work in these indigenous peoples. First, I see them as the people of God, a spiritual people, and we believe that God is at work in every culture.

We listen to their stories and we were able to get those stories and try to make those connections to the gospel message. And we would really see Christ growing in our midst. We did not come with a structure. We did not come with an agenda. But we were developing relationships. So we made a lot of brothers and sisters. We worked with them and learned from them how much they loved the Lord. We have seen how God simply transformed them. And through that, we got to see God become real in their lives and in our lives.

I am now working at Nungalinya College as a teacher. God is at work in your cultures, and God wants to use you, the indigenous peoples. The rebirth stories I get from Elcho Island and the Warburton Ranges [in Western Australia] where no one from the outside went to tell them about revival, but God just moved. People had changed. God was at work in this community.

These people from Warburton Ranges got up and went out to tell the people about Jesus. Who brought them the gospel? Not strangers. It was aborigines from Elcho Island who came down there and the fire burned. God is at work. But my native brothers and sisters, you have to let go and let God take over. And you will see, God will act. God is working among you, and you are going to make a difference. You’re going to tell strangers who God is, the true God, the God the Bible talks about, and we experience that in life.

See the video of Amos Leana here. It is by 40 storieslicensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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