by Tom Hoey, Pioneer Missionary to the Biami People, New Guinea
with an introduction by John Mackay, B.Sc.
The Biami people, numbering between four and five thousand, live in the western province of Papua New Guinea. Fourteen years ago they were the last cannibal tribe of Papua New Guinea. Thirteen years ago Tom Hoey and two other missionaries trekked into this area. After learning the language they discovered that much of the Biami folklore contained traces of the stories of Creation and Noah’s Flood as found in Genesis. Not only did Tom Hoey and the other workers find that the Biami people had preserved evidence that they were the descendants of those who left the Tower of Babel up to four millennia ago; they also found that these stories had prepared the natives to receive the good news about that Creator, Jesus Christ.
During the past thirteen years, many of the Biami people have become Christians. They have abandoned their cannibalism and heathen ways and in those thirteen years since missionaries entered the area, the Biami church has grown so strong that at present over fifteen outreach churches have been formed. The current leader of the church was the leading head-hunter of the tribe before he became a Christian.
At first the world was populated only by men.1 The first man2 in the world heard a small palm tree crying and crying. The man came to the small palm tree and it was put into his mind to begin to make a companion for himself. He took a knife3 and he carved the little palm tree into the shape of a woman.4 He carved all the woman’ organs,5 and then he breathed the breath of life6 into the nostrils that he had carved in the palm tree. The woman became alive.
Once a great flood came which covered the whole earth and wiped out everyone on earth except for the ancestors of the Biami people.1 Those ancestors climbed up into the Gobia Tree the bark of which they make into string for their string bags. They took up into the tree their planting materials for crops, all their animals, their dogs and their pigs and everything else necessary for life. As the flood waters rose up on the face of the earth the people climbed further up the tree. They were safe in the branches of this tree because the tree grew up above the waters as the waters rose up.
When the waters went down from the surface of the whole earth, the people were able to climb down the tree. The ground was very muddy, but eventually they planted their crops and their animals began to reproduce. They moved away from the tree and began to repopulate the earth. Those who had climbed down out of the tree were the ancestors of the Samos, the Kubos, the Gobasis, and the Etoro.