I was involved in early evangelism of three small and isolated tribes in the interior of Papua New Guinea. They lived three (or more) exhausting days walk over a rugged mountain range to the south. This was done with the help of Christians from the Yuna tribe.
Each day the people gathered in a house and I would tell Bible stories through an interpreter. The first few days the people listened politely but with little response. This day I related the story of the woman at the well. I explained arid climates (something they knew nothing about) and what a well is (their climate includes almost daily downpours. Never in their lives have they felt a shortage of water). When I finished the story of John 4, lively debate erupted in their languages and I waited in wonder until there was a pause. I asked the interpreter what was going on. He said something along these lines:
“We are of two different opinions and we don’t know what to think. Our question is, did Jesus come to our planet or did he go to the moon or somewhere else?”
Confused, I asked for clarification. He said, “Where Jesus lived, you tell us they had to dig in the ground to get water, that doesn’t sound like our earth, so it must be somewhere else. Perhaps one of the lights we see in the sky.”
So, the next hour was spent with me trying to convince them that indeed Jesus came to our world to save all of us. I explained that Israel was in a distant part of our world, and people can travel there by airplane. This was interpreted into their languages and they were not impressed. I then said I have seen pictures of Israel and I know people who travelled there and saw it with their own eyes. More discussion. Still not convinced. I prayed (silently) asking the Lord for help, then He answered.
I remembered an Israeli classmate from Bible School, Naphtali, who was actually from Bethlehem. As this was relayed to the people, I witnessed dramatic change in the room. When the discussion slowed the interpreter said, “Now we know that Jesus really did come to our earth to save us.” Why? “Because we know you, and you personally know someone from Jesus’ clan. So, he could not have gone to another planet, he had to have come here.”
This was a major breakthrough. If this question was left unanswered, months or years of teaching and preaching would be met with skepticism and doubt. PTL! So many cultures around the world are Relationship focused, Relationship oriented. Logical arguments and reasoning do not go far on their own. How important it is to KNOW PEOPLE.