Horton Hears a Hajong?Jul 29th, 2009 | By Stan | | Print This Post |
“On the fifteenth day of May, in the jungle of Nool,
In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
He was splashing… enjoying the jungle’s great joys…
When Horton the elephant heard a small noise.
So Horton stopped splashing. He looked toward the sound.
‘That’s funny,’ thought Horton. There’s no one around.
Then he heard it again! Just a very faint yelp,
as if some tiny person were calling for help.” 1
These are the opening lines from one of the Dr. Suess books I grew up with, Horton Hears a Who! You may know it through the film of the same name.
Like several other Dr. Suess books, there’s a moral thread running through it. Since I don’t have space or publisher’s rights to quote the whole book, let me summarize:
Elephant Horton (good guy) hears tiny noise and befriends source of noise (a “Who”, a community of tiny creatures). Bad guys (monkeys and kangaroos) ridicule Horton for hearing things, and hide his tiny new friend from him. After desperate search, Horton finds the Who and tries to protect it. Bad guys are bad again. Horton pleads with tiny friend to call out loudly enough to be heard by others. Bad guys finally hear it. All now agree that the Who exist, Horton isn’t crazy, and that the Who have value, no matter how tiny they are.
So what does all this have to do with ministry? Some years ago, a human Horton, Dr. Ralph Winter, set out to create a revolution by highlighting the presence of thousands of “Whos” around the world whom he called hidden peoples. Some of these hidden peoples live in places like Horton’s “jungle of Nool.” But others live in mega-cities where other religions and ideologies hold sway. Some number a few hundred, others are in the millions. What they all have in common is that we as God’s people have been totally ignoring them, sometimes because we didn’t even know they existed: their voice was too small for many of us to hear, or to care about when we did hear it. Dr. Winter and other prophetic voices set out to change that.
Which brings us to the Hajong people and Ethnê 09.
“I have many children, and I am unable to control them.”
I began praying for the Hajong people of Bangladesh and India last year because of a prayer guide sent by an Indian friend. Most Hajong have yet to hear the simplest message of the gospel in their own language – from someone they trust.
The Hajong have long suffered from local rivers overflowing their banks, flooding their homes and fields. Year after year they used to sacrifice a pair of goats to the river goddess, pleading with her to stop the floods. They finally lost hope after the goddess “spoke” to them through a diviner, “I have many children, and I am unable to control them.” Before we think this odd, recall the words of the apostle Paul to Jesus’ followers in Ephesus: Remember that you too were once separate from Christ… without hope and without God in the world.
The Hajong are the reason why the Ethnê movement exists and sponsors a gathering every three years – to celebrate progress, to reassess the situation of groups like the Hajong, and to stimulate new ministry among them.
Later this year Ethnê09 is coming….
“On the first of November, from all over the globe,
God’s people will gather, in all shades of robe,
In the cool of Colombia, to share what God’s doing
Among hidden peoples, where much has been brewing.”
(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)
What difference has the Ethnê movement made? When a killer cyclone hit SE Asia last year, Ethnê’s Crisis Response Network served alongside local churches in a nation that has been almost inaccessible. And in places like Nigeria, wives are benefiting from what their husbands are learning about how to treat them, as part of a discipleship effort among mission agencies focused on the least-reached.
At Ethnê09, we’re hoping to have participants “from all over the globe.” But some will miss out for lack of funds. You can help.
Sponsor a “shade of robe” and provide an opportunity for more hidden people to be discovered and touched by God’s love. To have a part in this, please go to http://tiny.cc/YAcUa
1 © Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. 1998, published by Random House