We would like to welcome Corky Fincher as our newest author to the blog. Read below as he recommends the book Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century by Don Richardson.
In 1955 at Prairie Bible Institute, Mr. Ebenezer G. Vine challenged a group of students to look within their heart to see if God was leading them to go into foreign missions, primarily, Netherlands New Guinea. Seated in that audience that day was a young man by the name of Don Richardson, as a believer of only three years, Don felt the Lords call to service. He would go, though at the time he didn’t know where!
A few years later, in 1962, he and his wife Carol set out with the help of Regions Beyond Missionary Union, later renamed World Team to Irian Jaya. Once there, Don quickly set out in search of new people groups who lived amongst the deep jungle and seemingly endless swamps of southwest Irian Jaya who had never heard the good news of the gospel.
His attention quickly turned to the Sawi speaking tribes; they lived next to the Kronkel River. Being highly feared by the outside world because of their practice of being head hunters and cannibals, outside contact with them had been very limited.
Don wanted to live amongst this tribe as a witness for Christ. This work meant establishing a written alphabet for their language. Their language was one of oral traditions, passed down from man to man over the span of human memory.
There was a long tradition of offering a male child from each warring tribe as a peace offering. As long as the child lived, so the peace treaty held, should the child die, the treaty was null and void. So all participants took great care of the child they had been entrusted with.
Now Don had found a way to communicate the love of God to these people by using the familiar to communicate the unfamiliar. Myao Kodon “the greatest Spirit” was now being introduced to this people for the first time, using their own Language. Through this and other examples taken from their language, the Richardson’s where finally able to start seeing the results of countless hours of work.
I find this book interesting on two fronts. One, we need to reach out to those around us, missions starts at home, not in some distant land. Two, as we understand the culture that we live in, we as believers need to look for ways to present our message without compromising that message.