Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement! This month has been full of ups and downs, so we are especially thankful to have a supportive community around us. Today we would like to share a classic missionary story with you. We were able to hear Don Richardson, who served among a cannibalistic people group in western New Guinea, speak at a course we attended in early 2015. We had no clue at the time that we would be heading to the same island!
The Peace Child
In 1962, Don Richardson and his wife Carol moved to a village in Papua, Indonesia. With their 6-month-old son Steve in their arms, the Richardsons approached the Sawi tribe, not realizing that the very act of carrying their infant was a sign of peace to the Sawi village waiting to greet them.
As the Richardsons began to explain Jesus’ story to the tribe, they realized that the Sawi were interpreting Jesus’ betrayer Judas as the hero. It turned out the Sawi idealized treachery. Sometimes they would even befriend a member of another village for the sole purpose of later betraying him to the death and having a cannibalistic feast.
The Sawi were continually at war with neighboring villages. Don and Carol often found themselves in the midst of bloody raids, spending much of their time patching up wounds. Don finally told the Sawi headman that the tribe needed to make peace or he would leave.
The headman didn’t want Don and his wife to leave. He had known for a long time that the killing had to stop or his clan would be wiped out. He also knew the terrible price he would have to pay for peace. He went to his house, took his infant son, and carried him to the enemy’s village. There he laid his son at the feet of the enemy headman.
His chest was heaving as he said, “I give you my own son as peace child. It is so you will know that as long as he lives among you, we will never attack your village. We are no longer your enemies. We are your kinsmen.”
The headman and his wife grieved the loss of their son, but they knew there would be peace.
As Don witnessed this extraordinary act of sacrifice for peace, he suddenly realized that the peace child was a reflection of the Gospel. From that moment, he began to declare that Jesus was the Peace Child, offered by God to make the Sawi His kinsmen.
The headman was one of the first to respond to this new and clear understanding of why Jesus came. Nearly the entire village eventually trusted Christ, and the Sawi began reaching out to tribes they had previously warred against.
The whole story can be read in Peace Child by Don Richardson.