Friday, May 2, 2008
The difference one person can make
During my stay in New Zealand I had a terrific day out with my friend David Moxon, and we went to visit the grave of Tarore. As I remember the story as he told me, she was a 12 year old Maori girl who studied with a pakeha (white) woman who taught her the Gospel in Maori .She learned to read it, and shared it with her family. They were so impressed by hearing her read in Maori of events from the Gospel of St. Luke which were so extraordinary to them, yet deeply compelling, that they accepted the Gospel. Tarore went around and read the Gospel to neighboring tribes. It was after one of these meetings that she was murdered during a raid by a rival tribe. She was asleep with her head resting on the Gospel book. The book was taken as a prize, but unappreciated because the warrior couldn't read. It turned up later for sale, it was recognized as the Gospel Tarore used, and it was read again. This time the warrior who killed her heard the story and was so filled with remorse that he converted to Christianity and then went to her family and asked for their forgiveness. They forgave him. Christianity spread throughout this region of the Northern Island of New Zealand; the first white missionaries were amazed to discover these Christian Maori's. Here, Wairere Falls, where Tarore was martyred, marked by a rainbow on the day of our visit. Both her place of martyrdom and her grave are places of pilgrimage and continue to inspire all Christians. It is extraordinary to think about the impact one young woman had in sharing the Gospel story.