Story by Adam Boyd, photos Newbreak Church and Nete Talian
As we were nearing the completion of building our house in the village, we realized that we needed to build a drain field for our septic tank. A drain field is basically a long, deep trench that is filled with large stones to give the septic water overflow a place to drain. We needed to collect a large number of stones from a river for the drain field. So our friend Benjamin told me to drive the truck down the road a short ways to a stream.
The river was on the land of another tribe, and as we began pulling stones out, Malo, one of the local landowners, forbid us from taking any stones. Benjamin, and those who had come to help us, argued with the landowner trying to get him to change his mind. But no matter what they said, he wouldn’t budge.
In my flesh, I began contemplating what I could say to him. I began thinking negative thoughts and as I stood there, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and reminded me, “If you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have?” So, when it became clear that Malo wasn’t going to allow us to take any stones, I went to him and said the opposite of what I had been thinking. I told him, “You don’t want to help us, but that is okay. When I go to town, I will still stop and pick you up and take you if you want to go to town. There are no hard feelings.” I repeated myself and then shook his hand with a smile.
As we were walking back to the truck, Malo called to us, “Kuki mendalapo nyalapa,” which literally means, “Take just a few,” but in practical application means, “Go ahead and take whatever you want.” So we started filling up the truck with stones, and he even got into the river and helped us. Later Malo came by the house to see the progress, and I gave him a can of Coke, which is a sign of friendship in Enga. God is good!