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on March 12, 2003
Talk about living on the edge, Don Richardson, his newlywed wife Carol and seven-month old son Stephen step from the 20th century into a stone-age cannabilistic cultural with gruesome and horrific practices. This book reads like the true adventure it is, starting with the narration of life, death, betrayal, parties where the honored guests become the special of the day. Enter this family of three into the midst of suspicious cannibals bringing three rival factions together each vying jealously for the knifes, steel axes, matches, machetes, mirrors and medicine, you get a powder keg with small to large explosions daily. Imagine living in a grass hut with your wife and baby huddled inside while fierce warriors and arrows fly throughout the sky. Imagine facing an entire clan beating and burning a man that the sorceress has declared to be a soul-less zombie and praying him back to life, only by a miracle of God. These and other adventures show what it's really like to walk by faith, trusting only God to protect you, and doing His will to win people to Christ. There are many hair-prickling turns in this story, leaving you at the edge of your seat, wondering if it'll all end in disaster. But the glory of the Lord is that He had left Himself a witness in the strange custom of the "Peace Child" that Richardson was able to use to point to the Perfect Peace Child, the Son of God, Prince of Peace, to bring the Sawi tribe to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. Truly awe inspiring. I am now reading the sequel "Lords of the Earth".
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on October 4, 2003
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 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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on March 17, 1998
I have had the good fortune of reading this book (twice), seeing the film, and hearing Don Richardson in person tell this story, and have been thrilled by each vehicle of communication (though I think Richardson's personal telling probably the most vivid.) The Sawi of New Guinea were a people still living at a stone age level when Richardson and his family went to live with them in the early 1960s, and their bizarre cultural customs make for fascinating reading. Their most developed form of treachery was betrayal, to 'fatten an enemy with friendship' before murderously turning on them. When Richardson told the Sawi the story of Christ's life, the real hero to emerge was Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed his close friend. Things changed among the Sawi when Richardson found how they stopped their wars through the means of a Peace Child, exchanged between warring tribes for adoption and peace. Read this fascinating account of what happened next.
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on May 12, 2006
This is an amazing story of Don and Carol Richardson going into an area inhabited by people who were cannibals and how they found things in that tribe's culture that allowed them to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ so effectively that many became Christians. It also shows that missionaries don't need to introduce western culture to indigenous peoples but do better when merely giving them the Truth of Scripture and let the people themselves decide how that affects the way they live. This is one of the best books I have ever read and I'm giving it to my friends.
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on December 3, 1999
This book Peace Child portrays with such vividness what the mission field is, and is not. This book brings out bizarre cultural customs such, as headhunting cannibals who used their victims' skulls as pillow. In 1962 Richardson reaches three Sawi villages;one named Mauro. Richardson seems to be taunted by the wildness. As the "Peace of God" descended on him, the strange place became home. Don Richardson was the first to live among the Sawi, his goal was to combine faithfulness to God and the Scripture in respects for the Sawi culture. Once Richardson observed that a child was offered as a peace gift. The living peace child was indeed a culturally built-in cure to the Sawi idealization of violence. Richardson realized that the gospel beard the same spiritual message. That true peace can never come without a peace child. Richardson used this peace child story because it was something the tribesman related to in a personal way and it was the some much like the story of the gospel. Richardson went on telling the stories of the bible and how God had but one son and how Jesus was offered to man as a peace child. This book should be read by anyone who wishes to become a missionary.
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on July 31, 2006
Peace Child was my summer reading book this past year and though there are many tough issues regarding cannibalism and violence. The people of New Guinea have never known anything different. They have need for a Savior who continues to prevail all throughout the book. As Don Richardson (the missionary) tries to find a spiritual parrallel with the gruesome Sawi culture, he finds much much more. Though at times your stomach may feel unneasy while reading it. It's a gripping and enlightening story. Without a doubt, a must-read for anyone regardless of their religion.

For it is by the grace of God that we have been saved through faith, not through ourselves, it is the gift of God.

(Ephesians 2:8)
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on April 12, 2006
I just finished reading Peace Child by Don Richardson. Wow. What kind of faith must one have to be a missionary and to take a wife and seven month old son to a tribe of treacherous cannibals where no white man speaks the language? That's just what Don Richardson did. He and his wife Carol went to Irian Jaya (island north of Australia) in 1962 to witness to the Sawi people.

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.

Richardson shares his frustration at trying to share the story of Jesus and His love with these people and at finding that they thought Judas was the one to be admired because of his deceitfulness. "...It seemed God had not troubled Himself to prepare the Sawi...for the coming of the gospel...The Sawis had no name for God. Nor even the concept of Him..." Disheartened and wondering if any man at any time had ever faced a communication barrier such as his, Richardson wondered what would happen. And then, he learned of the tradition of the Peace Child.

The story of the Sawi people and their conversion from paganism to Christianity and the story of the Richardsons and their faithful ministry is a fascinating and compelling read. The book would not be appropriate for younger readers (or as a read aloud for those listeners) as there as cannibalistic practices and killing are discussed in some detail. But, for a more mature reader (late middle school and above), Peace Child will make you marvel at God's hand even in the remotest corner of the world.
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on June 8, 2003
Cannibalism among the Sawi Tribes of Irian Jaya, (formerly Netherlands New Guinea), was not necessarily survival, but the way of life, in which they used humans as prizes to demonstrate their arrogance, pride and strength. Civilized or uncivilized, there is one common ground in all people, all nations, which is the struggle for peace throughout the centuries. Yet the Sawi people were difficult, perhaps so stubborn, there are no other words in the English language to describe them other than accepting their primitiveness engrained by subliminal psyche. However, the husband and wife missionary team, Don and Carol Richardson without a doubt, understood this challenge. The Apostle Paul who brought the gospel to Europe, his account with the Greek Stoic and Epicurean philosophers in the Aeropagus in Mars Hill, Athens, applied "cross-cultural" approach in lieu of criticizing their pagan beliefs (the common mistake of the west) bearing the inscription of their "unknown" god (Acts 17, New Testament). The Apostle finding a parallel thereby used it as opportunity to present the gospel message to these Greek philosophers. The question among the Sawis that challenged them was likened to a hidden key? However, they too discovered a parallel like that of the Apostle, which provided them with the right approach and the right attitude. Through patience and perseverance, somewhere in the thick of the woods they unlocked its secret code, that breakthrough, in which they discovered within the hearts of the people. Trusting in a "temporary" child that never brought forth peace among the Sawi villages, not only the people discovered that peace was possible, they also discovered the "everlasting, eternal" child that brought them not temporary peace, but everlasting peace.
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on February 5, 2002
Richardson's personal experiences with the Sawi tribe in former Dutch New Guinea was moving, inspiring, and fascinating. God used Richardson and his family to bring the redemptive message of salvation through his son Christ to this tribe of cannibalistic people, a group that idealized treachery the way some idealize intelligence or artistic ability. Quite a daunting task. God showed Richardson that the answer to making the message come alive lie in the Sawi's own culture, the custom of the peace child. It is through this custom that Richardson is able to begin to connect the message of Christ into the hearts of the Sawi. This is an excellent book.
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on August 2, 2000
I read this book when I was in the 6th grade. This book was so powerful for me because it was one of the first accounts I had read that so clearly illustrated the marvelous hand of God. It just amazed me how God worked in the Richardson's lives as missionaries, especially when their lives were at stake; they had to completely surrender their trust to Him. In 1997, at the age of 22, I participated in a short term mission trip to Papua New Guinea. There I met other missionaries that had been there at the time that the Richardson's were doing their work. How profound it was to put a picture with the words I had read 11 years prior. It was there that I truly came to understand the meaning of perseverance. My respect for Don and his wife and others who are devoting their lives to spreading God's Word, is beyond words.
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