In the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Wycliffe Australia’s Matt Torrens organized a trauma healing workshop in 2020. The course, which helps traumatized people apply God’s Word to their pain and brokenness, brought together people from two warring villages in PNG. A ceasefire had been in place, but it had been broken. Many lives had been lost on both sides.
The future for the region looked grim. Yet, when the village leaders heard what God’s Word says about His mercy and forgiveness, their hearts were transformed. Two verses in Romans brought revelation to both sides, instructing them to “never pay back evil with more evil” but to “do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:17-18, NLT).
“As they were taking their burdens to the cross,” says Matt, “leaders from both sides stood up and said, ‘Now we know that retribution is in God’s hands.'”
Leaders from a local church involved in new ceasefire agreements have been trained in using the Healing the Wounds of Trauma material, should any tensions arise in the future. The community also recognized that the healing between the tribes took place during the time that PNG’s new prime minister, James Marape, called for three weeks of prayer and fasting for the nation.
“We all agreed that it was God’s timing that they were completing the workshop,” says Matt, “and were now able to reconcile as a community.”
Matt says that after reconciliation had taken place, a brilliant rainbow appeared and stretched out across the two villages.
“It was like God was smiling on us, reminding us all of his mercy and faithfulness.”
Matt and his wife Andrea say they are thankful for everyone who prays and supports the work of Bible translation and enable them to serve in PNG.
“We are privileged to see firsthand how much God’s Word impacts people’s lives,” he says. “So many people here have suffered incredible hardships and yet, because of our amazing God, we can bring them a message of hope, love and forgiveness.”
Source: Adapted from an article at wycliffe.org.au
Learn more: Trauma healing