Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Witness Men

Witness Men, written by Rebecca Davis, is a history, previously completely unknown to me, of the coming of the Good News of Jesus Christ to the remote tribes of Papua, Indonesia.
 The book starts with the discovery of these previously unknown tribes in 1938 and continues with the history of missionaries arriving to teach people, some of whom, were waiting for teachers to bring them news of "forever life." There are accounts that the tribes had a tradition that this news would be brought by white skinned people arriving from the sky.

Obviously, not everyone was so interested and there were many difficulties for the missionaries in trying to communicate in previously unknown languages. Communication was not the only issue and two of the missionaries were killed by an isolated tribe but many people came to know the Lord and were saved from fear, constant warfare and cannibalism.

There are some interesting insights-how messages were "echoed" so that a large congregation could hear; the destruction of the "power pieces" which were charms thought to have power and how Biblical accounts had to be repeated so that they could be learned by heart.

The book finishes with the coming of the Kimyal New Testament. The joy that met this was heart warming. Do we have the same joy at having God's Word in English?

I read this book myself and realised that it would be an excellent read aloud for my younger children aged 4, 6 and 12. It is probably slightly over the head of the youngest although he can now give a correct definition of cannibalism! It is, however, ideal for the other two. There are suggestions for further thinking at the back of the book although we are finding plenty to discuss, spontaneously, from the book, such as whether it is right to send the Good News of the Lord Jesus to tribal peoples or whether they should be left with their own traditions; whether a whole tribe can become true believers and about worship. The author has a section on her blog with extra educator resources including photos.

The video of the reception of the new Bible translation is worth watching although I would suggest that it is previewed before showing to children. The joy is wonderful and hearing the prayer of the pastor receiving the Bibles but it might be worth discussing the form of the worship.

This book is warmly recommended. It was a joy to hear about the love for the Lord expressed by the believers of the mountain tribes and their happiness at the reception of God's Word.

Witness Men is available from Christian Focus at £5.99 in the UK. It is also available from Amazon and from Christian booksellers. It is also available in the US on Amazon.com.

Witness Men was provided by Christian Focus for the purpose of a review. The views are my own.


  1. Sarah,

    Thanks for your kind review.

    Shaun Tabatt
    Christian Focus 4 Kids Blog