News – Spiritual need in Indonesia

ET staff writer
ET staff writer
01 November, 2010 2 min read

Spiritual need in Indonesia

Towards the end of 2007, New Tribes Mission missionaries were invited by the Arimtap people of Indonesia to live and work among them. There are currently two missionary families working there. The following event happened at the beginning of August 2010.

‘The baby has died! The baby has died!’

Melissa Williamson was cooking lunch one day last week when the daughter of the village leader came running and shouting. The girl’s baby brother (nearly 3 years old) had come down with a fever earlier that day.

Melissa dropped everything and ran to check out the situation. As she got close to the village she could hear the distinct and sorrowful sound of the mother wailing, ‘My child! My child!’

Upon entering the house, Melissa discovered the boy was unconscious but breathing rapidly. She quickly checked his vital signs and found his temperature to be more than 106 degrees F. The mother told her that he had had a seizure and was now unresponsive.

Melissa’s husband Dave arrived and they began bathing the child in cold water to get his temperature down. They gave him medicine for the fever and rehydration fluids. A test showed that the boy had falciparum malaria, which can turn into life-threatening cerebral malaria.

They got the temperature under control – 101 degrees – and gave the first dose of malaria medication. Then they left for a couple of hours to take care of their own family. ‘We went back to the house a little later and were disappointed to find that the boy was still unresponsive, and now had a temperature of 103.5’, Melissa wrote.


‘The family had not been bathing the boy at all, and the rehydration fluid was still there, unused. We again showed them how to care for the fever, and had them try and do all the bathing, temperature-taking, and so on, themselves, with us present to help if needed’.

Just as the Williamsons were getting ready to leave the house, the father said, ‘We know that what you are doing is your kind of sorcery (he pointed to the thermometer, stethoscope and medicines they had been administering), and now we will do our own kind. We are scared’.

Several men came with different ‘tools’ which the father, who is one of the witchdoctors in our village, used to perform sorcery on the child. The remedy involved a pig-leg bone with a vine tied around it being stuck in the floor of the house just below where the boy lay sleeping.

The man then took a piece of bark, chewed it, and began spitting on the boy. Everyone in the house was hopeful that these incantations would appease the spirits that are making him sick. The Williamsons just sat there praying for the poor boy.

When they went back later to check on the baby, they were sad to see that the father and other men from the village had brought a lot of other things from the jungle into the house with which to perform more rituals over the child.

This time, they were not even allowed into the house. They were told that they didn’t need to come anymore.

Please pray that the Arimtap people of Indonesia will soon come to understand the way of salvation. (More information on Arimtap work:

ET staff writer
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