Land dispute threatens building plans

POSTED ON 2009-07-24
  by Christina Johnson

The Pal people in a village in Papua New Guinea have expressed a strong desire for missionaries to come live with them, and the missionaries will be relying on them to help gather materials so they can begin building houses.

Missionaries Mason Lockwood and Nate Claasen will be on a two-day hike into the village so work can begin on clearing ground for the house plots. They will also be asking the Pals to help find bush poles for the house posts, beams, and rafters.

But a land dispute among the Pals and a neighboring tribe has the missionaries worried that the Pals wont recognize the urgency in finding the materials needed to begin building.

The land dispute escalated in the neighboring tribe, where people accused four Pal men of working sorcery on them. Sorcery is a jailable offense in Papua New Guinea.

Although the four men were released from jail, tension is rising between the two tribes and the missionaries fear it will be a distraction that could delay building plans.

Mason and Nates’ families will be flying into the Pal village with a building team in six weeks, ready to start the construction on the houses.

"If we don’t have posts or beams, there will be no way to get done what we hope to on that trip -- delaying our move-in," Elizabeth, Nate’s wife, wrote.

Please pray for understanding among the Pal people and that they will be able to put differences aside long enough to aid the missionaries they have been waiting for.

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