Note to parents: the Sawi were cannibalistic. You might want to read this story before letting your children read it.
In 1962, Don and his wife Carol moved to West 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 400 Sawi 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 of the story. 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.
In time, battles broke out between various villages over who got to be close to the Richardsons. When Don told them they needed to make peace or they would leave, a man brought his baby son to another tribe. The Richardsons were told that in the Sawi community, when one village wanted to make peace, they presented one of their children to another village. For as long as that “peace child” lived, there would be peace between the enemies.
After working hard to explain the Good News, Carol Richardson finally realized that this “peace child” act was a metaphor for the Gospel. A father would give his son to the enemy to restore peace and bring reconciliation.
Using this metaphor, the Sawi saw instantly understood what the Richardsons had been trying to say, and saw how traitorous Judas was.
This is a true and inspiring story. I cannot say enough good about it. I wish I could say more, but it’s pretty late for me and I’ve run out of time.
I hope you enjoy it!