New Tribes Mission reports the death of Indonesian missionary Elisa Bowa. Graham Castle writes – he was a humble, gentle man who had a heart to serve the Lord; ‘I’m just a servant!’ is what he would say to me.
He once told me, ‘Had not missionaries come to my tribe when I was a child [thirty years ago] I would still be in darkness’. He was burdened to live amongst an unreached tribal group to share with them the same gospel light he enjoyed.
The group he went to was the Elseng – a hard people living in a hard place. ‘I hear the people at night calling out to the spirits and their dead ancestors. They should be calling on the Lord. That is why I am here!’
Elisa and his family moved there over two years ago and had been learning the tribal language and culture. They experienced much opposition and sickness; last year Elisa became sick and almost died. It took 5 months for him to recover and in May he moved back to continue language learning.
A few weeks ago Elisa was flown out by helicopter because of an infection that wouldn’t heal. He was finally able to leave intensive care and move to a normal room. He sat up and talked to people. But then his conversation became disjointed.
They heard him saying, ‘Pulang, pulang’. Juarni his wife asked, ‘Elisa, are you wanting to go home [heaven]?’ He said, ‘Yes’. Then he passed on, to his Lord in heaven.
Later we learned that Elisa had cancer. He had been pressing on with all his heart to reach the Elseng with the gospel even though terminal cancer was weakening his body.