Forgiveness and Redemption

by | Mar 29, 2024

Kashi and Kirk’s Journey in the Papuan Highlands
by Lucie Howell

We really are disconnected from places like the Papuan Highlands, where age-long tribal customs reign in isolated villages up in the mountains far from our ‘civilization.’ A letter from Kashi, TransformNation alumna and the principal of a village school, tells of too-typical circumstances in which Mustard Seed sets its heart on shedding the light and love of Christ.

“When I was teaching a leadership class, I encountered the transformed life of Kirk, one of my junior high school students. He came from a little village in the Papuan Highlands and at 16-years old, Kirk was loving and gentle, a vibrant gifted young man. He enjoyed working with his dad in their garden. When I met him, Kirk was broken-hearted. He was devastated by the news that his dad had taken a new wife, left his mother, moved to the city, and abandoned their family. In the Highland Papuan culture, women have no right to decide, and polygamy is allowed. Fueled by anger, Kirk planned in his heart that he would teach his dad ‘a lesson’ by beating him up.

Forgiveness and self-control were topics covered in our leadership class, and after one semester, Kirk told me that he wanted to forgive his father and that he prayed that God would draw his father to faith. Kirk accepted that only God could change his father’s heart, and he wanted to love his mother better. Kirk also told me that, should God ever entrust him with a wife, he would love her and be a good friend to her.


Not long after that, Kirk graduated from junior high school. Due to the recent situation in his family, he had to move to another school. He had to sacrifice his desire for education to take care of his four younger siblings. We maintained a good relationship with him.

Later, I heard that he was very sick with tuberculosis. Since his family didn’t have any money, and there was no clinic or doctor around, they kept him in their hut for some time. When we saw his condition, our school tried to find a car that could transport him to the city to get proper medication. It was a three-hour journey on a muddy, damaged road and Kirk didn’t make it. He passed away while we were trying to help him.

(Kirk's little sister)

It’s been a year since he passed, but our school is still in mourning. Every time Kirk’s name is mentioned someone will surely cry. I remember him each time I see the flowers he planted in front of our dorm. I thank God for the opportunity I had to know him and to see how God changed his heart. I admire his decision to obey God and choose forgiveness even though it was hard. From Kirk, I learned how to love and sacrifice for others. His life story and transformation encourage me to go on.”

These are the changes that Mustard Seed exists to bring about through the TransformNation Teacher-Training Program. We’d love to have you join us in praying for Kashi, Kirk’s family, and the entire Mustard Seed community as we work to see lives set free through the power of transformative education.

Main photo: Kirk holding a sign he created for his teacher’s office.