Renowned missionary, author to speak locally

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2016

AMERICUS — After completing training at Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Summer Institute of Linguistics, Don Richardson and his late wife spent 15 years serving among the Sawi people of New Guinea, a Stone Age tribe of cannibal-headhunters who valued treachery as an ideal. During that time, he designed an alphabet suited to their language, authored 19 primers, taught the villagers to read, and translated the New Testament into Sawi. As a result, more than half of the Sawi came to Christ, engendering a major cultural shift as the gospel replaced warfare and cannibalism with peace and good will.
One day paraphrasing John 1:29 to the Sawi people, Richardson  said, “Behold the child of peace God gave to atone for the wrongs of the past and to reconcile us fully to him.”
This was an illustration the Sawi people could truly relate to. In their culture before the gospel arrived, if a man genuinely wanted to reconcile with his enemy and secure lasting peace, he was required to hand over his own baby son as a peace offering. The anguish the man experienced from this great sacrifice was seen as atonement for the wrongs of the past. And his enemy, by reaching out and touching the “peace child,” signified his acceptance of the offering. From that point forward, neither side would even consider renewing the slightest hostility as long as the child lived.
Soon after hearing Richardson’s words, hundreds of Sawi people began reaching out to “touch” Jesus through faith. Wars ended, peace blossomed, and entire communities began to experience transformation and to share the Good News with their neighbors.
Today, Don Richarson is a sought-after speaker at churches and conferences across the U.S. and worldwide, and is a frequent instructor on various seminary and college campuses. Now remarried — to his second wife, also named Carol. He is excited to share with others how God is using people of various backgrounds and skills to accelerate Bible translation for men, women and children who are still waiting to read the Scriptures in their own languages.
The public is invited to a complimentary dinner at 7 p.m. April 28 at The Carnegie, 111 S. Jackson St., Americus. While there is no charge, donations for Bible translation will be gratefully accepted. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Call Brent Nelson at 866-461-0197 or email no later than April 24.