Peace Child

by Don Richardson

Paperback, 1975


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Call number

266 Ri


Baker Pub Group (1975), Edition: 3rd, 288 pages


In 1962, Don and Carol Richardson risked their lives to share the gospel with the Sawi people of New Guinea. Here is their unforgettable story of living among these headhunters and cannibals. The Sawi valued treachery through fattening victims with friendship before the slaughter. God gave Don and Carol the key to the Sawi hearts via a redemptive analogy from their own mythology. The 'peace child' became the secret to unlocking a value system that existed through generations over centuries, possibly millenniums, of time. This analogy became a stepping-stone by which the gospel came into the Sawi culture and started both a spiritual and social revolution from within. With an epilogue updating how the gospel impacted the Sawi, this missionary classic will inspire a new generation of listeners to hear this unforgettable story and the lessons it teaches about communicating with Christ in a meaningful way to all those on Earth, near and far.… (more)

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User reviews

LibraryThing member MaryAnn12
For years, I have been fascinated with the question of how undiscovered, isolated groups of people would held accountable for their decision to accept or reject God. How could uncivilized people understand how God's message related to their lives? After reading this book, I found my answer! I
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realized that through what Don Richardson calls "redemptive analogies," God makes a way for ALL people to understand his loving message. Just as he ably used analogies that were particularly meaningful to the Jews and Greeks in the Bible, God is able to use analogies that are meaningful to cannibals and other isolated groups. Peace Child is Don Richardson's account of how he discovered the analogy that God had specially designed to make a cannibalistic tribe in New Guinea understand his love... and then of how he risked his life trying to share that analogy with those people.

This book chronicles one man's purposeful encounter with a group of people who had never come in contact with Godly principles. Perhaps because I'm a wife and mother of two, Richardson's decision to include his wife and two toddlers in his quest to share righteousness really made me understand his degree of commitment to God.
Richardson's powerful text outlines a sacrifice of earthly comforts for spiritual reasons and shows God's protection of the lives of people who actively seek to serve His purposes. While written by a very educated scholar, the text is very easy to follow. The careful reader will also notice that Richardson used a combination of both white collar and physical talents to convert members of the cannibalistic tribe. (To live and teach the cannibals, he was required to work not only as a carpenter and foreman, but also as a linguist and dictionary author.) That was a real revelation for me.

I want to emphasize, though, that this book is more than the masterpiece story of Don Richardson's experiences as a missionary. It is also a book that really convicts its readers to think about what their own roles should be in influencing the moral compass of people who have no social rules and no agreements about how to live together in groups - people with no Ten Commandments and no Magna Carta. There was a point at which I put this book down for a minute because tears were rolling down my face. I felt such an inward "call" to become more involved in sharing both the message of love and salvation and the principles of organized group behavior with the forgotten people of this earth, even if it meant sacrificing the comforts I am so used to. My brother-in-law read it years ago, and as a result, he started sharing the Christian gospel with prisoners in his hometown every Saturday morning. He still does that today.
Buy it and share it with your friends. It will change you inwardly and motivate you to inspire others.
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LibraryThing member tim.sherrod
a spectacular story about two missionaries to the sawi tribes of indonesia. these sawi people were born to kill and often only found their honor of manhood in doing such. they would "fatten their enemies with friendship" before they would brutally betray and kill them, often eating their bodies in
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celebration. it was through the symbol of what they called a peace child that these two missionaries would finally be able to present the gospel to a people so wholly different to the message of jesus christ. highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member Jbenzing1
Not only is this a great, inspirational story, it is very well told. I remember letting a friend borrow it and he told me he could not put it down. I have read it to my children and they followed along intently. It is a strong story about the gospel, how it truly is the power of God unto salvation
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and that the Christian message can penetrate any culture. The story is also a good anitdaote to those who think the savage is noble and best left alone.
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LibraryThing member taterzngravy
This book is one of the Christian Missionary classics and has served as the basis for rediscovering a way to study anthropology.
LibraryThing member MrsLee
A great story, it fills you with awe towards the love that God has for all people and the way He has prepared for them to hear of His love.
LibraryThing member vnovak
Incredible account of a missionary's work with the Sawi, a cannibalistic people in New Guinea...made me marvel at God's miraculous work and long to worship Him.
LibraryThing member BethanyBible
Still living in the Stone Age and, until 1962, still isolated from all but the nearby tribes, the Sawi people of Netherlands New Guinea were headhunting cannibals who pillowed their heads on the sculls of their victims. Among the Sawi, treachery was more than a way of life; it was "an ideal which
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unnumbered generations of Sawi had conceived, systematized and perfected." In 1962, under the auspices of the Regions Beyond Missionary Union, Don and Carol Richardson went to the Sawi people with the story of a different kind of Legend Maker whose message was love, not treachery; forgiveness, not revenge. They told of God's Peace Child, and He found acceptance amongst these people whose own legends also told of a Sawi "peace child."
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LibraryThing member moses917
Don Richardson who is a Canadian Christian missionary, who worked among the tribal people of Western New Guinea, Indonesia. He demonstrates in his writings how, hidden among tribal cultures, there are usually some practices or understandings, that he calls "redemptive analogies", which can be used
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to illustrate the meaning of the Christian Gospel, contextualizing the Biblical representation of the incarnation of Jesus.
The book tells the story how in 1962 Don and his wife Carol with their 7 month old baby went to work among the Sawi tribe in New Guinea. The Sawi were an isolated tribe who were known to be cannibalistic headhunters. Richardson labored to show the Sawi a way that they could comprehend the Gospel, but the cultural barriers to understanding and accepting this teaching seemed impossible until an unlikely event brought the concept of the substitutionary atonement of Christ into immediate relevance for the Sawi.
The book goes into detail about many of the concepts and customs of the people. One highly-prized ideal was the "fattening a friend for slaughter." It wasn't just enough to kill someone. The best and most highly-regarded way to murder was to first befriend a person (from another tribe or village) and get him to trust you fully. Then, after many months of friendship, the "friend" would be dramatically murdered, cooked, and eaten. As Richardson learned the language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: "In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the fool to be laughed at." Eventually Richardson discovered what he referred to as a Redemptive Analogy that pointed to the Incarnate Christ far more clearly than any biblical passage alone could have done. What he discovered was the Sawi concept of the Peace Child.
What happened was that three tribal villages one being the Sawi were in constant battle at this time. The Richardsons were considering leaving the area, so to keep them there, the Sawi people in the embattled villages came together and decided that they would make peace with their hated enemies. Ceremonies commenced that saw young children being exchanged between opposing villages. One man in particular ran toward his enemy's camp and literally gave his son to his hated foe. Observing this, Richardson wrote: "if a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted!" From this rare picture came the analogy of God's sacrifice of his own Son. The Sawi began to understand the teaching of the incarnation of Christ in the Gospel after Richardson explained God to them in this way.
This is a great read and Richardson’s books have had a significant impact on missiology and ongoing Christian missionary work.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
From the first pages, this book not only held my attention, but occupied my thoughts when I was not reading it.

This book immerses you first into the native Sawi culture, and then adds the stories of those who arrive with medicines, modern tools, and a desire to help stop the practices of
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headhunting and cannibalism practiced there.

Fascinating book. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member JBrauer
Outstanding mission story!
LibraryThing member VhartPowers
The beginning starts with a betrayal of Sawi tribal people called "to fatten with friendship for the slaughter." The tribes are cannibals and that's just what becomes of the man that was betrayed.
A dangerous environment for anyone, especially western missionaries.
The first part of the book is
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slow and was hard for me to get through, but well worth it in the end. The foundation of how the Sawi people live and think is necessary to acknowledge how far they come in their growth and knowledge.
Don Richardson brings his wife and young son to live among these people and teach them about Jesus. But first he must learn their language and their traditions as well as their trust.
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