“All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: 'What have you done?'  Daniel 4:35



“What should we do?”  A life was at stake.  Instinctively we desired to do whatever was necessary to save the innocent life.  After all, “In what situation would it ever be acceptable to stand by idly as an innocent person was murdered?”  


A man from our village, Andarum, was killed this month.  He was cut in the leg with a machete as the result of a dispute… that night he bled to death.   Now half of our village has rallied to practice their ancient custom of ‘revenge killing’.  In a revenge killing it is acceptable to kill an innocent family member of the murderer, if the murderer cannot be found. 


“What should we do?  Do we stay out of it?  Do we try to stop them?  But what would we say?”  One problem was that if  we tried to speak into the situation we would have to explain the why behind our talk.   “How could we answer ‘why’ when they know nothing of God’s story and His standards?  They don’t even know who God is and what He is like… How can we hold the Kaje to His standards?  After all, they are separated from God anyway!  Is God not sovereign over life?  Especially over the innocent?  But are these people innocent in God’s eyes?  I believe not… Does He need us to intervene?  of course not… but perhaps He desires to use us to intervene?  What do we do?”


These are some of the questions we wrestled with as we prayed for wisdom for what to do.


In the end we decided we had to do something for the sake of the innocent life at stake.  We knew God values life and so did we.  What if we could save a life and as a result that person later believed?  So we respectfully told the Kaje people that we would not stop them from going through with the revenge killing, but our stance was that they should not do it.  We told them that now they won’t understand “why”, but when God’s talk comes, they would fully understand “why” and be glad should they decide to listen to us.  


In the moment it seemed the best thing to do.  However, in that moment we were ignorant of certain implications. 


 As cross cultural church planters we cannot simply respond to situations without understanding the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.   There is a worldview beneath, driving the outward behaviour of people.  When we bypass trying to understand what that is and jump to addressing the outward behaviour, it can at times, result in damaged relationships and loss of credibility.  How tragic a thing it would be to lose the right to speak when we are trying so hard to earn it by the way that we live! 


In the above situation we did not understand why the Kaje desired to carry out this revenge killing.  But because of the lack of time to investigate, we chose to step in despite our ignorance of their ways.  As it turned out, there are deep seeded emotions and reasons behind this custom.  Revenge killing is not a random act of vengeance.  It is a responsibility they have to their village and families.  You see, the Kaje believe that if they do not carry out this revenge killing, then as a result, they will suffer sickness, poison, and even death.  Think about the implications…  By asking them not to pursue this revenge killing, we were in essence asking them to accept sickness, poison, and death of their innocent families instead.  


Of course… the Kaje are deceived.  However, pre Bible teaching  we cannot simply tell them, “Oh that is wrong.  What?  You really think that?  Well it isn’t true!”  You see the deception of animism verifies itself in the eyes of the enslaved.  If they choose not to carry out this revenge killing, then the next time someone gets sick or dies, in their minds they will know without a shadow of a doubt why that sickness or death came.  Because they failed to maintain the proper order and balance of their animistic world.  The personal and impersonal spiritual forces and beings that make up the Kaje’s worldview have them locked away in darkness… Believing lies. 


Life is messy here in Kaje, and it is often hard to know what to do.  We aren’t perfect and we will make mistakes.  Please continue praying for us here.  Oh do we need it. 

Check out the latest video from our team-mates the Goheens here


Please pray with us!

  • Taylor and I hike to the neighbouring language group of Inapang to ask the tribal church there to send us a missionary family to partner with us in Kaje.
  • Endurance as we continue learning the Kaje language
  • For rain.  Jaydin & I got rashes from washing at the stone water which means we will be using more of our tank water to wash with.