"Are They Going to Kill Us?"

I will never forget December 23,1991.

Fay Stafford and her mother, from Papua New Guinea, share in writing this story. This article appeared in the South Pacific Di­vision Record, May 8, 1993. Used with permission.

Hi! I'm Fay. My daddy and mummy are missionaries in Papua New Guinea. I want to tell you how Jesus looked after me and my family in a very special way.

We were living in the Omaura Bible School, which is in Papua New Guinea. It was two days be­fore Christmas and I woke up very happy because Daddy was coming home. I hadn't seen much of him for nearly a month because he was flying the mission plane.

Mummy, my big sister, little brother and I had worship to­gether before breakfast. Mummy read a story about some mission­aries in South America and all the hard times they went through. Before we prayed Mummy said, "Being a missionary is not always easy, is it?"

I agreed. The three nearby villages were fighting each other. Several times in the past few weeks they'd fought on the mis­sion station and right around our house. It was really scary!

After breakfast I went to my room and shut the door. I was making Christmas presents for my family and didn't want any­one to see. Mummy was at the gate trying to help a village fam­ily with a very sick baby. Suddenly I heard shouting and the twanging of bows. Another fight had started! More and more villagers joined in and the fight moved onto the airstrip at the front of our house. We could see arrows raining down, a few landed in our yard.

Then suddenly the warriors started running back to their vil­lages with their big black shields and bows and arrows. I wondered why. On the ridge we saw police vehicles coming slowly down the bumpy, boggy dirt road. There were so many I lost count.

It was the riot squad! I knew the police had warned the villag­ers to stop fighting. What would happen now?

The riot squad went down a back road to the village behind the Bible school. The sky became black with smoke, and we could hear gunshots, warning the vil­lagers to keep away. Hundreds of bamboo houses were burned to the ground.

Why do they fight? I thought. It is so silly and hurts everybody. I watched the police leave for the second village.

Without warning, an angry mob of villagers ran onto the mission station. They came straight for our house, shooting arrows as they ran. Mummy told us to get under abed in the back bedroom. The door into the house was wide open, so she locked the hallway door and stood close beside us.

I've never been so scared be­fore. We could hear windows smashing, rocks tumbling down the roof and terrible yelling. It went on and on.

"Mummy," I cried, "are they going to kill us?"

"I don't know," she an­swered. She crouched beside the bed and prayed. "We are very scared, Jesus. Please save us . . . please save us."

We found out later that the village people thought Daddy had called in the riot squad. They had come to kill him in revenge.

The noise got worse. Angry men were around the house now, breaking windows and throwing rocks. Mummy kept praying, and do you know what? Not one arrow or rock came through the windows of the room we were in. Then it became very quiet. We could hear someone coming into the house. Who was it? We heard one of our Bible teachers calling Mummy's name. Mummy unlocked the door and we came out from under the bed.

Broken glass was every­where. Arrows and rocks were stuck in the walls. All the Christ­mas decorations we had made were wrecked. We didn't know what to do. We were scared the mob would come back.

Mummy found my thongs in the wardrobe and crunched through the glass to the radio. She called "Mayday. Mayday. Can any station hear me?" A woman hundreds of kilometers away an­swered the call. Soon Daddy had been told of the trouble and warned not to come home.

Mummy asked some staff and students to help nail plywood over the broken windows. I went to find our pets. Our cat was high up in the garage looking really wild. Our big dog was under the house, trembling all over, and wouldn't come out. She had been hit by lots of arrows. Our puppy had a bleeding paw, but was still bouncy. I couldn't find our gin­ger kitten anywhere.

Late in the afternoon the mob did come back. Then the police came armed with guns. Two heli­copters came to evacuate us. I took only a few clothes, my Bible and Zipper, my toy seal. We flew over mountains and rivers, vil­lages and towns. When we landed, Daddy was there! I hugged him tightly and we all talked and talked and just felt so happy to be together and safe.

I will never forget December 23,1991, and how Jesus cared for me. It has been hard for us, but I am willing to work for Jesus wherever He asks my family to go, even if it means to go back to Omaura.


We have not been able to go back to Omaura. We have another home, and Daddy has another job in Papua New Guinea.

Fay Stafford and her mother, from Papua New Guinea, share in writing this story. This article appeared in the South Pacific Di­vision Record, May 8, 1993. Used with permission.