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    Love in Action – Papua New Guinea

    Posted on February 8, 2012 by Paul | 33 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below

    When I travel to lead worship in places other than my home church, I feel privileged to meet people who tell me amazing life stories about God changing their lives.  Occasionally, I hear an extraordinary story, one that moves me to tears.

    Not too long ago, I was in Edmonton, Canada, at the Breakforth conference.  After a songwriting session, a young woman came up to me and showed me some beautiful photos from Papua New Guinea.  She had been involved in medical work in several villages.  She told me how singing and songwriting had become an integral part of activities the villagers were involved in.  Then, a few days later, she emailed me the story behind the story….

    Dear Mr. Baloche,

    I realized that I didn’t explain the story about the child with the painted face.


    The child with the painted face’s name is David, but it wasn’t that originally. He actually didn’t really have a name. See, he was born with Cerebral Palsy, and couldn’t move his limbs and doesn’t know how to talk. When his mother had him, the village thought he was born that way because he was cursed, and wanted to drown him in the river to lift the curse. His mother refused to kill him. She was the second of her husband’s three wives and was cast out of the family because they were afraid all their children would be cursed because of her act of defiance against the spirits.

    So she was cast out of the village, and had to care for herself and her son across one of the rivers in a very small hut. No one would speak to her or interact with her, and when we arrived at the village they warned us not to cross the river because they thought we would be cursed too if we helped her.  It’s sadly not an uncommon occurrence.

    So I ignored the villager’s protests and concerns and traveled across the river to see what I could do for her. When I arrived, even she was afraid to let me see her son because she believed he was cursed as well. When I convinced her it would be okay for me to see him and discovered he had CP and there was nothing I could do to cure him, I spent some time talking to his mother about her situation. The little boy was so helpless and small, and I was so proud of her for choosing to take care of him despite what she lost. She clearly loved him, but it was obviously hard for her.

    I told her – and the other curious villagers starting to arrive to see if I’d be cursed – about how it was a medical condition, not a curse, that made him the way he was, as well as how it doesn’t mean he is stupid or unable to learn. You could tell just by looking into his eyes that he knew exactly what was going on. It was hard to convince them all though. They kept getting upset and insisting that even if it wasn’t a curse he was still useless and just took food and water they had so little of to begin with. They said it would be better for him to die to save the rest of the village even just one more meal. If you knew how little food they have you’d understand that this kind of thinking really isn’t as callous and terrible as it sounds. It broke my heart to see their desperation and to look into that beautiful face and into his mother’s tearful eyes and not know how to explain the value of this precious child to God’s eyes and plans.

    So I did what I always seem to do when I’m at a loss for words. I started singing.

    “Open the Eyes of My Heart” was the only song that came to me on the spot, so I sang it as I exercised his limbs… and then, the next thing I knew, he was singing along in harmony. He couldn’t say the words, but he hit every note. The whole village stared in amazement. He had the sweetest little voice. And his eyes were so incredibly bright.

    So I kept singing with him, song after song… and in the end it saved his life. It’s amazing what God chooses to use. I couldn’t do anything medically, but a simple song convinced the entire village that this boy was special. They were all touched by his singing, and I talked to them for hours about how God loves him and every single one of them, and He gave this boy this beautiful gift.

    Now that little boy and his mother live in the center of the village, a place of honor, and he helps with patients. I somehow got the idea that when I was treating people who were in a lot of pain or were frightened that he could sing to them to keep them calm… and it worked.  They call on him for everything, and he sings all the time now. He always looks so determined and so happy when someone asks if he can sing for them.

    His mother gladly carries him all over the village, and though he’s still learning how to speak, he can answer most questions with different signals. That’s when we named him David. Everyone said he needed a good name, a special name. So I told them about the warrior king David, and how he would write music and sing songs. His mother had become a Christian, and I believe that he believes in Jesus too. When I told him the story he kept signaling “yes” over and over, so we named him David, to remind him that he’s a prince in God’s kingdom, and that his songs are very special to God as well.

    I have so many stories where music was able to do what I couldn’t, and I hope it really encourages you, Paul, that God is using your music to all purposes, not just here in North America, but even in faraway places. :)


    Beatrice Davis 08/02/12

    Absolutely beautiful story……I was watching a video clip last night about a blind boy with Autism and he was singing a christian song at a conference. I used to work with people with intellectual disabilities, and remembered the different gifts they all had that maybe other people overlooked due to their disability, and was thinking about how God has a plan and a purpose for everyone…….no-one is overlooked by Him.

    Angela 08/02/12

    Hi Paul, I enjoyed reading this post LOVE IN ACTION – PNG. The pictures are priceless. My husband and I live on a tiny island in Asia. We have been so blessed by your worship songs as well. God’s anointing is in your songs … and we can’t help but feel so touched by God whenever we sing or listen to them.

    Rebecca Pratt 09/02/12

    That is such a beautiful story Paul. Thanks for sharing. We love seeing the impact of your songs in Africa too. So many are blessed through your music.

    Dee 09/02/12

    What a beautiful story… and how awesome is the God we have the privilege of serving…

    Tine Simanjuntak 09/02/12

    Thank you so much! This really encourages me. I have some students with CP in my class and I can see how God really love each of them. I believe God will open the eyes of their hearts to see how good God is!

    Sarah Lois 09/02/12

    Amazing~!! Praise the Lord for His people going the distance to reflect His love for all mankind! :)

    Scott Harrison 09/02/12

    You should blog more often Paul. Great story of courage and faith. Thank you for sharing.

    DL 09/02/12

    wow…what an amazing story of God’s power, grace and wisdom! i’m so moved by this! praise God for your ministry and life…and praise God for how others are living the call of Christ!

    Sharon 09/02/12

    What an amazing story! There is such power in worship music! Thank you for your God given talent!

    Laurie 10/02/12

    I sat in silence for awhile after reading this, it will be a distraction throughout my day and in days to come (in a good way). Thanks for sharing Paul, stories like this remind me this is what it’s all about and continue to pull me in a certain direction :) .

    Marty Lewis 12/02/12

    Paul, just prepping for worship in the morning and somehow ended up on the story of this little boy. Wow! Wrecked me! Incredible how God works through someone that is willing to show up and make a joyful noise :) There’s hope for me!

    Oscar 14/02/12

    Wow! That’s all I can say. How amazing is it that I’m reading this story about Love on Valentines day??

    Cristal Paniagua 14/02/12

    Amazing! that story moves hearts to praise and praise to The Lord. His Grace and Favor shine like the sun and are present everywhere.

    Natalie 19/02/12

    I am a worship leader in San Antonio and just bawled my eyes out reading that amazing story. Wow. What an incredible reminder to me. So blessed to have read that!

    Mhoonoi 25/02/12

    Nice job on your post. Thanks for sarihng your experience at the workshop. The thing I love about these worship times is how refreshing it is to just worship and not have to do anything!!Blessings to you!

    Pernell 05/03/12

    Thank you for sharing, I love hearing how our Father uses the gifts He gives his people, to bring HONOUR AND Glory TO His name!
    Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
    Thank you both for allowing the Lord to use you, in sharing Christ love to this very broken world!

    Deb Lukensmeyer 08/03/12

    Wow. A new young music therapist! Amazing story! See you in Des Moines!

    Imke 01/07/12

    I nearly cried when I read this story. God is truly good! Paul, take this as an encouragement from our heavenly Father. You are precious to Him and this little boy too!
    Thank you for sharing!

    Jeff Misener 15/08/12

    Heart-wrenching story of God’s redemptive purposes at work. Each one of His children has a purpose and a plan because of God’s image placed inside them. I’m just reaching for more kleenex before I meditate on God’s unfathomable love for this little boy, his mother … and all of us.

    Mariecon Saligumba 15/11/12

    What a wonderful story. It did touch my heart too. Having such kind of people around you brings tears to me. My prayer is that God, in accordance to His grace, will provide grace and love through me..
    May i give hug and care to those whose in need especially those who are the hardest to love..:)

    Earl Swigert 31/01/13

    What a cool story. What we have done for the least of these we have done for Jesus Christ himself. We should all be affected in this same way by needs that our neighbors have and, our friends, our families. Our hearts should break to see people hurting around us even if we don’t know them.

    God is good, keep one doing what he has called you to.

    Suba InChrist 18/02/13

    Woww….. God is Simply the Great Master of Transforming not only a person but the Whole area… :) God Bless youu more Paul and ur Family…

    Karen Smith 02/06/13

    I am preparing to lead a weekend (Kairos Outside) for women who have been impacted by incarceration of loved ones. The theme song of the weekend is Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord and I was overwhelmed to find this story. I plan to use the story in the formation phase of training the team who will minister to the women who will be our guests. Thank you for sharing the power of worship!

    Lew King 08/06/13

    Amazing story, Paul! Thanks so much for sharing it. Isn’t God so good to give us this wonderful gift of music that, according to this story, has Holy Spirit powers that we often fail to realize. I want to share this story with my Facebook friends, too. I hope it’s ok if I tell them about it and give the weblink. I glad God reminds us often that we’re just clay pots with a treasure inside – Jesus! To God be the glory!

    Lauren Settle 26/06/13

    Wow, I stumbled across your blog while searching for specifics on why you wrote certain songs, and found this instead. I’m so glad I did! This is such an amazing story; it gave me chills. God is great and His love endures forever! Thank you for sharing, and the photos are beautiful too! I hope you can look back on events like this and see why God placed you in music ministry with your gifts. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    [...] The following is a excerpt reblogged from Paul Baloche’s blog on You can find the entire original post here. [...]

    Lauren Settle 26/06/13

    This story stuck with me all day, so much so that I shared an excerpt of the story on my blog with a link to this article. Thank you again for sharing this!

    Sheila 28/06/13

    This story touched my heart in so many ways. Using singing as a way of soothing and healing to turn hearts from anger towards this little one into rejoicing, this is one of these awesome moments of how God can turn our lives around just as He did that families life around and to bless them. It is indeed a miracle and blessing to see that little David is being used for His glory!

    Elizabeth Stein 19/07/13

    Wow. What a blessing all around!

    mary snider 01/11/13

    Beautiful story of hope! Music and love can break down barriers!
    I will hold this story in my heart! Thank you for sharing.

    Jason Morgan 09/12/13

    This story brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. God is so good and His goodness goes so far beyond our music. But it’s so incredible that He uses music in ways like this. God is incredible.

    Susan Gibson 11/11/14

    This story is very touching.
    God Is a loving and caring father..
    He never let go by his sight…

    Emem 21/07/15

    This is such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this. Your songs are such a blessing Paul. God bless you

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