Sending out a prayer letter - pig attack and the death of a local woman here

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I am sending out another prayer letter. If you would like to be added, let me know:

Here are two stories from this latest update [modified slightly for posting]:


TandTfamily

Ainus (eye-aye-noose) Kogoya was near the village when a wild jungle pig attacked him.

Drawn to female domesticated pigs near the village, the boar aggressively approached. Upon encountering Ainus, it sprung.

Ainus suffered 7 deep wounds, All will require stitches. There is a 3-inch slice between his big toe and second toe and bone is exposed. The pig also stuck his tusk into Ainus' arm (we are trying to make sure he gets a tetanus shot in Merauke). The pig bit into the back of Ainus' head. Lots of blood was lost. It puddled in our living room floor as we treated him. It soaked through all of his bandages quickly.

Others hunted down and killed the pig with much malice.

Thanks to Mission Aviation Fellowship and an internet connection via satellite dish. We arranged medivac by float-plane within 4 hours for pick-up here in Danowage (which the pilot calls "about the farthest place from anywhere!") to the coastal hospital in Merauke. Mission Aviation literally saves lives!

Ainus insisted that some pig meat be taken along with him to Merauke so he could "eat the pig that ate him."

Pray for him as he recovers. Sometimes quality medical care is hard to find in this region.




Also, about the death of a tribal woman here (pictured in the link below with her son):

TandTfamily: Tribal portraits 3 - waiting for lunch

The Tough Life of a Tribal Woman​


"And thank you God that I was not born a ____[tribal person]..."





So goes our 8-year old son Noah's oft-repeated bedtime prayer.

We've never rebuked Noah for this prayer. His little heart is sincere. He knows he is privileged.

He prays open and honestly, "Thank you that I was born with a mommy and a daddy...Thank you that they believe and are nice to me," "Thank you that we have a house and enough food."

Noah is observant. He sees his friends who live at the end of our village in a thatched hut full of only young boys, without mothers and fathers, raising themselves. Noah knows the several orphans here.

Noah plays with Yamis. Yamis' older brother not only failed to defend Yamis from witchcraft charges, but actually took part in planning how to kill young Yamis (drowning? Choking? or arrows?). Finally, the evangelist Ainus trekked to the village of Ujung Batu and brought Yamis the 8 hours back to Danowage to be cared for by our co-workers Perin and Jimmy.

Noah is thankful for not being born a tribal person. I am sure he would agree that he is to be doubly thankful that he was not born a tribal woman.



The tough life of a tribal woman:​

Meet Yaim Warita.

We took this picture two years ago after treating her for an infected machete wound.

She sliced her leg while working her garden. Her daily search for food had to continue despite pain. Her leg grew red and angry as infection set in. We treated her with antibiotics and wrapped her leg. She continued her daily routine, returning each day hunched over with a net bag full of either firewood or bananas suspended from her head. Sometimes she carried her young son as well.

In the picture you can see that her right eye is useless and clouded over, probably from some past scratch that resulted in infection. We could not treat that. Her arms are scaly with skin disease. Her posture was a permanent stoop.

Her first name, Yaim, is actually the local word for theft and is associated with evil. That was the name her parents gave her. We don't know why.

Yaim's husband is Pieter. Pieter is known as a very bad man. My stomach used to knot on sight of him. I would instantly bristle and get defensive when he climbed my porch. He seemed to bring constant conflict.

We are not sure how Yaim came to be married to Pieter. Many parents arrange marriages for their young daughters, using the arrangement to procure foodstuffs and promises for more trade items. Often, girls as young as 5 go and live in the home of the man they are supposed to marry. The phrase we have heard describing this is, "I have raised her up to be my wife," the same phrase "raised up" being used to describe raising one's pigs or cassowaries.

Last month, an older man of about 55 or 60 (it is so hard to tell age here) came to my door for treatment. He was sick with tuberculosis. Fresh from the jungle, he wore only his traditional clothing (a leaf over his privates and string through his nose and around his waist). A 5-year old girl in grass skirt followed him - his intended wife. We explained to him that he would eventually die during rainy season if his condition remained untreated (sunlight helps retard the progression of TB and many people sicken when the region clouds over during rainy season). He refused to go downriver where meds could be procured. Some people still fear enemies or foreign magic if they travel out of their own lands. So, resigned to his soon death, the old man began to arrange barter for his young wife and the two men standing next to him discussed who should get this child-bride upon the old man's death.

Yaim was also most likely married off in this same manner when she was but a young girl, little better than property or trade-goods.

Yaim's husband Pieter was often hostile towards Simson. Simson is a young believer here who is especially close to my family. He helps us with language and other tasks. Baby Perpetua often runs over to hug him upon sight. Simson's younger sister, Demina is an adolsescent girl with a big smile. She is a newly developing adolescent and her body is changing. Pieter wanted her as wife number two. And was willing to use force.

What about Pieter's current wife Yaim? Pieter's gruff reply was, "I'm only using her until I can get a better wife." Yaim stood next to Pieter as he explained all this, looking at her feet with a net-bag full of firewood weighing down her head.

Pieter's demands grew more vocal for Demina. We sheltered her from Pieter. First, Demina was sheltered in Jimmy's house (Jimmy is one of our Dani evangelists). Then Perin (the Dani Christian lady who lived with us until marrying Jimmy) sheltered her in our home. This caused Pieter's ire to land on us all. He threatened to shoot us with arrows and actually drew his bow on me and Jimmy several times. He threatened to cut our radio cables, hack up our home, and destroy our property.

During one of these feuds, arrows were actually released. This escalated the violence. Yaim found herself in the middle of all of this by virtue of being married to Pieter. She was struck on the head and shoulders several times with a log. She was bleeding and groggy as we treated her with a bandage and pain medications. She lie mostly still in her hut for several days. She finally strengthened enough to go out and return to work in her garden.


. . . .

Yaim Warita died last month.​


Nobody is sure of the date. Her death was mentioned as an afterthought, "No...nothing has happened in the village in the few weeks you have left.." and then, a minute later, "Oh....Yaim died...but it was just her."

It was just her.

Malaria is a horrible sickness! Last week both Paul Snider and myself suffered from it. We were miserable even with light cases. We had medications and someone to bring us food and water.

I've hallucinated before. I've rolled on the floor due to extreme pain. I've wondered before whether I had dislocated my back due to the violent chills and shaking and projectile vomiting from some cases of malaria. This week I ground my teeth in pain until my fillings came loose in my mouth and my jaws still have a dull ache ache this week, due to my most recent "light" case of malaria.

Yaim died in her tree-house away from the village. We don't know if her family was present. She probably had stopped eating and drinking, as is the custom of the tribal peoples here who fall sick with malaria. She had no medicines to lower her fever, made worse by tropical heat. She had no pain pills to ease the painful shakes. The flies can be terrible to the ailing sick as their smell worsens and they linger, too tired to bath. It sounds like she may have suffered and died alone. There was no report of burial. Her body may still lie in her tree-house. Often bodies remain in place and the house is abandoned for the jungle to reclaim it.

On several occasions, Yaim heard the Gospel. She probably heard the story of the Creation of the World, the Fall into sin by Adam and Eve and the entrance of the curse of sin into all the world, and God's sending of a Savior into the world for all who believe. Yet, she spoke such little _____[the language of the country] and I speak such little of the local language, did she really understand? Simson often attempted to explain the Gospel in his own language. Yet, he is often awkward and hesitant and his knowledge is limited. Pieter's threats have limited Simsons' ability to speak much at all to Yaim. We have audio recordings of some Bible stories in the tribal dialect to our south. The Northern K Tribe can understand enough of this for their benefit, but Yaim had minimal contact with me and these recordings due to her husbands' demeanor. I have prayed with Yaim several times this past year. Did she merely nod her head in obedience or submission? Did she understand?

We hope and wish the best for Yaim and try not to despair over the bleakness of the lives and deaths of many in our area. We pray that God's love will impact this region and many will know the love of their Creator and also know better the love of fellow man who will see them as dignified souls, created in the image of God and worthy of respect and love.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Pergs, it is impossible to read this without tears. How precious that you were able to pray with her and show a little of the love of Christ to a life so destitute of human love. I can't imagine that didn't shine out to her more than you could know. I pray you will be able to commit her to the Lord with peace. He is able to say to anyone 'this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise' if that is His will, and we can trust Him with all the souls He has made. Praying for your and your wife's encouragement in such painful experiences. Praying also for Ainus.
 
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