Introduction / History
The Setaman people live in an extremely isolated area of the rugged Star Mountains of western Papua New Guinea. In three villages high in the mountains, they live much as their ancestors did in generations past. They live in houses built from traditional materials, cook food harvested in their gardens over wood fires, and carry their water from nearby streams. They have had some contact with outsiders and now wear western-style clothing and occasionally make the four-day hike to the nearest town to buy rice, salt or soap.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Setaman people's first contact with Christianity came in the mid 1960s, and now each of the three Setaman villages has a Catholic Church. However, the absence of Scripture in the Setaman language and lack of trained church leaders makes it difficult for the believers to grow and easy for them to fall back on their traditional beliefs. There are no health facilities or schools in the Setaman area. As a result, overall health is poor, life expectancy is low, and education levels are very low.
Missionaries, both Papua New Guineans and expatriates, could make a big difference in the lives of the Setaman people by translating the Bible, teaching in the church, training local church leaders, and helping establish schools, community literacy programs, and health facilities.
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