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Breaking the Four-Fingered Grip of Fear

Pawaian family reading together

A Joyous Occasion

All hands turned out for the dedication of the Pawaian New Testament. The year was 2000, and Larry M. Brown, currently CEO of Ethnos360, was in the organization’s leadership in Papua New Guinea. He was prepared for the celebration. He wasn’t prepared for the handshakes.

A Four-Fingered Grip

At any event in Papua New Guinea, everyone shakes hands with everyone else. When Larry shook hands with one older Pawaian, he noted that the man had four fingers. So did the next older man, and the next, and on and on it went. Yet the younger Pawaians had all their fingers. What was going on?

Pawaian man practicing writing with charcoal on cardboard

Jack Douglas, who with his wife, Isa, translated the New Testament, told Larry that the people had feared the spirits so much that they cut off each baby’s little finger to appease them.

Faith has Five Fingers

But no more. Now the Pawaia people have heard God’s Truth and have the New Testament in their own language. They know they serve God, and God loves them and is more powerful than all the spirits.

Today, neighbouring people groups are asking the Pawaians to share God’s Truth with them. “It is a new life they are noticing,” Jack Douglas wrote.

many Pawaian people gather to listen at a church service

Heart language ministries — translating the Bible, teaching in their language, teaching them to read and write — have lasting results. Learn more, and find out how you can take part:

Posted in Asia-Pacific, Bible translation, News, Papua New Guinea