When my husband and I arrived in Papua New Guinea, where we were to work with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, an arm of Wycliffe Bible Translators, one of the things I found a bit awkward was the custom of hiring people to work for us in and around our home. We were told if we did not hire a woman to help in the house and a man to help keep the yard and garden, the people would consider us very stingy. So I complied. Davi came to do housework twice a week and Iya came to do the gardening. I grew to love and appreciate them both.
Iya was a very happy fellow, always smiling, often whistling or singing. So when he came to the house one day with a long face I knew something bad had happened. He told me his wife’s “papa,” (probably her maternal uncle), had been attacked on the trail to their village. Men from a nearby tribe had hacked his legs and back with a machete. He was in the hospital. That was indeed bad news. You don’t go to the hospital to get well in PNG, you go there to die.
Iya told me the men in his village were preparing their weapons - sharpening their machetes and making spears and arrows to retaliate against the people who had attacked the man. You see in PNG there is a system of pay-back that must be followed. Good for good, bad for bad.
I was upset at this news and wanted to call in the cavalry - send the police, send an army of missionaries to stop the violence that was going to happen. But Iya said no.
“Yu mus tok long Bikpela, tasol,” You must pray to God, that’s all, he said.
So I prayed. A few days later Iya came to work. He was smiling. He was whistling. And he had a story to tell. He said when his wife’s papa heard that the men in the village were preparing for war he insisted that he be taken home. He could not walk so they carried him through the jungle and when they got to the edge of the village he told them to put him down. He crawled to the centre of the village where the men were making arrows and he told them they had to stop. “Jesus does not want this,” he said. “Jesus told us to love our enemies. Put your arrows away.”
And they did.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day, from an illiterate man in a stone age culture. Sometimes you pray. That’s all.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, as I launch a new fantasy series and ponder all the marketing I am expected to do. I’ve been through this before and just the thought of doing it all again makes me tired, especially since most of what I tried last time did not work very well. So I've been praying about it and it seems the Lord is leading me to do just that.
So I’ve decided to take Iya’s advice once again. I’m going to pray. That’s all. Yes, I know it’s risky. And it’s hard. I keep thinking of all the things I should be doing and I’m tempted to once again jump into the marketing maze with both feet. But then I remember what God has done in the past, how He has changed lives with my writing and spread my words further than I ever thought possible.
****Marcia Laycock is a prolific writer and Christian speaker living in central Alberta Canada. Her work has been published in local and national newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Canada and the U.S. Her devotional book, Spur of the Moment won her the Award of Merit at Write Canada.
Her most recent release is A Traveler's Advisory, available in ebook and paperback on Amazon.