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In 1962, missionaries named Don and Carol Richardson went to New Guinea to bring the Good News of Christ to a group of people known as the Sawi. The Sawi was a headhunting, cannibalistic tribe who used the skulls of their victims as pillows. He wrote a book about his experience called "Peace Child." He began his work among the Sawi by reading through the Gospel of Matthew. But to his consternation when he got to the part of Judas betraying Christ everyone cheered. He did not realize that their culture was one built around treachery. The one who was the most devious was the one who had the most respect in their tribe. The missionary searched for every possible means to explain the greatness of God's gift of truth and pure love to a people whose values were based on deceit. Then one day he witnessed a solemn ceremony between two warring tribes. One of the chiefs walked over to the other and handed him a child. In fact, it was the chief's own son. Their custom had been that peace could come between two tribes only if the chief of one of the tribes would give his son over to the people of the other tribe. He was called the "peace child." The chief would place his own son in the hands of a people who hated him and had been his enemies. It was the only way to bring peace between them. Richardson saw in this act the perfect bridge to help these people understand what God had done. God had given his "peace child" into the hands of a hostile world in order to bring the hostility between us to an end. The angels said at his birth: "Peace on earth, good will toward men."


From Stephen Sheane's Sermon "God With Us"

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