Childhood victim of tribal violence seeks peace among his people

Papua New Guinea

Thirty years ago, a new surgeon named Jim Radcliffe arrived at the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital station. He was getting ready to bring the evening devotion to the Nazarene missionary community when he was interrupted by news of an injured boy in desperate need of reparative surgery. There had been a fight among enemy family lines at the road junction market area, and 11-year-old Masa, who did not belong to either family, was caught in the crossfire. He had been found under the tea bushes on the other side of the road with a machete wound in his back and was carried to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital by a local Christian man.

Radcliffe rushed to the small hospital’s operating theatre where surgery began immediately. There was no discernible blood pressure, and anesthesia was not needed since Masa was comatose. There was intense bleeding but they could not find the source. What they did find was a huge blood clot in the back of the abdomen. Out of desperation, the doctors stopped and prayed, asking God “Where do we go?” The team turned back to Masa trying to follow the trail of blood. Another surgeon immediately discovered the severed renal artery, and the affected kidney and blood clot were both removed. Masa's wounds were stitched, and he was sent to the recovery ward.

Masa stayed unconscious for three days. The staff prayed constantly for his recovery, recognizing that God had already gone before them. When Masa regained consciousness, the hospital chaplains and medical staff shared with Masa the good news of God’s love and redemptive plan.

Just a week after Masa's surgery, he was released. At home in his village, he made a decision to follow Christ when two missionary women from the Evangelical Brotherhood Church visited him. He started attending school, entering first grade at the age of 11. Later, as a young man, he attended vocational school to study animal husbandry and carpentry, and he also enrolled in various Bible classes.

During this time, Radcliffe and his family stayed in contact with Masa, visiting him in his village when possible. Eventually, Masa began lay preaching in new Nazarene churches. He married a young woman named Elizabeth, and they had two boys and an adopted a girl. Masa had his ups and downs on his spiritual journey, but the continued support of the Radcliff family helped him to stay the course. Today, his two boys, now in 10th and 12th grade, respectively, are at the top of their classes and are active in the church, and Masa is pastoring a church restart in an area that is plagued by heavy tribal fighting.

In October 2017, after several years of study, Masa was ordained as a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene. For some reason, his ordination certificate listed his name as Moses instead of Masa. As the general superintendent laid his hands on Masa, he prayed that Pastor “Moses” would save his nation. Masa was inspired by this name change and claimed it as his own.

Masa now has a new name and a new purpose — to save his people from the bloody conflicts that nearly took his life by sharing God’s love with them.

--Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific

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