“The ground ate men’s blood and was never satisfied.”
This was how the men at the Kuldamung groundbreaking ceremony described the land upon which they were standing. During a five-year tribal war in the late 90’s between two small tribes, 26 men died fighting over this land. They were killed in close hand-to-hand combat with spears and machetes. These tribes hated each other. I listened as one man after another recalled watching their brothers and cousins die fighting over, and on, this land. This war had torn their communities apart and destroyed their lives.
The war ended when missionaries from Kudjip visited these two tribes and peoples’ hearts were changed with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In 2016, a small church was started just next to the uninhabited land, the Kuldamung Nazarene Church. This church has a special place in our family’s life as we have visited many times since coming to Papua New Guinea in 2017. It is a short walk from Kudjip and has a fantastic view of the Waghi Valley. This view, which overlooks the former battleground, helps me to gain perspective after a difficult day.
In a five-day ceremony, the Kurupka and neighboring tribes handed over the land to the Kuldamung Church. It was a gathering of peace, of reconciliation, and of trust that God is going to do something amazing with this ground that was previously, as the men said, “filled with demons.” The ground that could not be satiated no matter how much blood was spilt, will now be used for God’s glory.