Thursday, March 24, 2011

Piato Needs To Pray

In this line of work one tends to collect a pretty eclectic bunch of friends.  Perhaps one of my more interesting acquaintances is a fellow named Piato.  His story, from stone-age killer to follower of Jesus, is fascinating and I only know a small fraction of it.  For some interesting backstory to what follows in this blog entry, check out more of Piato's story here.

Last week I found myself back in the little hamlet of Daboto.  Climbing out of the Pilatus Porter at the top of the airstrip, I was delighted to find Piato waiting for the airplane.
Piato and his young son at Daboto last week.

I've brought two missionaries in, and the plan is to fly one of their colleagues out to town.  There's also a pile of fragrant wood we call kayu masohi which the Moi people harvest from the forest as a cash crop.  I'll take those sweet-smelling bundles out to market on the coast to help generate some income for the community.

kayu masohi
But soon the missionaries are telling me of a woman, one of the chief's three wives, who is very ill, hasn't been responding to medication, and this morning has taken a significant turn for the worse.  Under the wing of the airplane, the Moi people conduct a long drawn out discussion amongst themselves and eventually decide that she needs to go out to medical care.  The chief and one of his sons will go with.

Over the years, I've seen Papuan ingenuity produce numerous different types of improvised 'stretchers', but this was a first for me.  They carried this poor woman up to the airplane in a noken.  Woven out of bark fiber, these net bags are incredible strong...but I've never seen a full grown adult carried in one.  

This dear woman, in obvious pain, unable to walk, covered in soot, wearing only a grass skirt.  In her I saw both the image of her Maker, and an image of one of the least of these that Jesus called His followers to pour out our love on.  

We lifted her up into a seat, and as I got things ready to go, I noticed it had become kind of quiet on the opposite side of the airplane.  I walked around to the other side and found Piato earnestly communing with his Creator, asking for healing for this woman.  No one asked him to pray.  None of us 'professional' Christians had gotten around to doing it ourselves yet.  Piato just needed to pray.  The transformation still stuns me...from a man who killed so easily, to one who prays so easily.  

Redemption. Transformation.  Jesus has done these things in Piato's life.  He'll do them in mine as well, if I'll only surrender.