Friday, November 10, 2006

The Damal and the Hai

The Damal people are located in Irian Jaya. Just a couple of decades ago, they were living in the Stone Age. There is a much more politically powerful tribe called the Dani. The Damal lived as a subservient tribe.

For who knows how long, the Damal people spoke longingly of a concept called hai. Hai was a long-anticipated golden age; a sort of Stone Age utopia where there would be no more fighting, no wars, men would stop oppressing one another, and sickness would have all but disappeared.

A Damal leader named Mugumenday had yearned all of his life to see the advent of hai. Finally he grew old, and near the end of his life, he called his son Dem to his side. He told him, "My son, hai has not come during my lifetime. Now you must watch for hai. Perhaps it will come before you die."

Completely oblivious to all of this, several years later, some missionary couples entered the Damal valley where Dem lived. They first spent time learning the Damal language, and then began to teach the gospel. Many of the Damal people thought it was polite to at least listen to their message.

One day as they were preaching to them, Dem--now a grown man--stood up and spoke, "Oh, my people, how long our forefathers waited for hai. How sadly my father died without seeing it. But now, don't you understand, these strangers have brought hai to us! We must believe their words, or we will miss the fulfillment of our ancient expectation."

As a result, nearly the entire population welcomed the Gospel. Within a few years, there was a congregation in every Damal village.

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