Cannibalism is not dead. The practice of killing—and devouring—enemies sometimes raises its ugly head even today, even among what appears to be peaceful people.
Daniel is a Dayak, the main tribal group on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. Daniel had been baptized as an infant, but Christianity had not changed him. One day after he had been drinking, Daniel got into an argument with his wife. He picked up the Bible and challenged her. “If this Bible is really God’s Word,” he shouted, “then let God show me the right path, and I will follow it.”
Several days later Daniel met his old friend, Jaki. The two men had once been members of a gang, but Jaki had changed. When Daniel offered him some wine, Jaki asked for water instead. “What has gotten into you?” Daniel asked.
Jaki explained that since he had accepted Jesus as his Savior, he no longer wanted alcohol. Jaki challenged Daniel. “If you really want to follow God, then go with me to the Adventist church.” Soon Daniel began attending church with Jaki.
A few months later war broke out between the Dayaks and the Madurese tribes. At first Daniel protected some Madurese people in his home so they would not be killed. But when his uncle was killed, Daniel went crazy with anger. He sent the people he had been protecting out of his home and went to join the Dayak warriors.
But before the Dayak would fight, they visited the house of the ancestor spirits to ask for advice. Armed with assurance, Daniel and the other warriors took up their primitive knives and wooden shields and set out to fight their enemies.
For three weeks the Dayak warriors fought under the influence of the spirits. They ate nothing but the flesh of their enemies.
Daniel returned home when the fighting ended, but he was no longer the loving man his family had known. He was restless, often staring with a glazed look in his eyes. His wife was afraid that the evil spirits had possessed him. She prayed that God would free him from the demon spirits and bring peace to their home.
Daniel knew that something was wrong. The weight of his deeds wore him down. He wondered how God could ever forgive him. “Heaven is not mine anymore,” he moaned.
The pastor visited Daniel and heard his confession. “You must confess to the church and to God,” he said.
“Pastor,” Daniel replied, “I’ve asked God many times to forgive me. But the weight on my heart grows heavier. I want to know that I am forgiven.” Daniel took the pastor’s advice and confessed his sin to the church. He asked those he had harmed to forgive him. Then he asked the pastor to baptize him.
Daniel offered his life to God. “If it is Your will, God, I am willing to work among the people whom I persecuted,” he prayed. Today Daniel’s sword is the Bible, and his shield is his faith in God. He became a Global Mission pioneer and planted a church among his own people in an area not far from where he once lived. In the first six months of his work seven people were baptized and 20 more are preparing for baptism.
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Daniel Batuah lives and works for God in a village near Pontianak, Kalimantan, on the western coast of Borneo.
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