Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Meet Simeon and Victor. These two men are Ye'kwana Christians. Victor is now the Pastor of the Good Hope Baptist Church and Simeon is a deacon at the same church. I would like to share with you some of their zeal in sharing their faith with their tribesmen.
Victor and Simeon had decided to take the gospel to a small village far up in the mountains. This village was so resistant to outsiders , they had purposely chosen to live in a difficult to reach area of the jungle. Victor and Simeon have family members living in this village and both felt responsible with taking their family the knowledge of Christ which has so changed their own lives.
Both of these men were reached by missionaries with the gospel as children. They had eagerly awaited some 25 years for a missionary to return to their village as they were now adults and had the desire to learn more. Both men were able to read in their language, thanks to missionaries! They were able to read the New testament in their own language, thanks to missionaries.
We were able to aid these two on their missions trip by giving them a lift in the Cessna to the closest airstrip to the village they intended to hike to. This allowed them to spend a few days preaching and teaching in the village with the airstrip as well, before heading to the more remote village.
From the village by the airstrip, the two men canoed for two days. At that point, they proceeded by foot, uphill, towards the village of their family members for another two days. For a non-indian, it would take at least three days!
Victor and Simeon found their family to be receptive and they were able to begin with some "pre-evangelism". This is the term we use to prepare an illiterate people with no understanding of the Bible for the gospel message. One must first begin by teaching through the Old Testament, to show our need for an atonement and redemption, leading up to the birth of Christ and His ministry here on earth. We call this the Chronological Bible Teaching . Basically, the goal is to help the "people walk backwards, in to the future".
After a month of daily teaching, the two Ye'kwana missionaries returned to the airstrip where there was a ham radio to allow for communication with us. We had planned to send the plane for them. Unfortunately, the Venezuelan government was not allowing us to fly at the time, by denying permits to purchase gasoline for the plane. This left Victor and Simeon stranded in the village for two more weeks. They used this time wisely by continuing with their teaching at the village.
After two weeks, they became concerned for their families left back in Chajudaña, who would be out of meat, and in need of hunters. The two decided to hike back home via an old hunting trail rarely used. By speaking with old timers, they received directions and were told it would take about three weeks to reach our village. The two set out into the jungle with no means of communication, no canoe, and only a machete and one shot gun with a few shells.
We eagerly awaited word of them. Finally they arrived. They had made a small rough raft on which they placed their hammocks, provisions, and weapons in order to keep them dry. They could not ride on the raft themselves or else it would sink. They were swimming along behind it and were very water logged! Both were very weak and had open sores on them from the rough trail and lack of nourishment, along with malaria!
They told us of the great joy they had in preaching to these villages that had never before heard the good news of the gospel. Believe it or not, they were anxious to return and preach more!
They had suffered hunger, sickness, and great discomfort, but they knew their suffering for a time here on earth would be worth it if they could reach some of their tribesmen for Christ. They also knew that Christ had suffered much more while bringing the message and way of Salvation to us all.
These two men may not look like missionaries to you, but they are the true un-sung heroes of the faith. No one will ever hear of them or their ministry. They will continue to be two indians from a small village in a small country. But they are the kind of men God uses to carry forth His word. They are akin to the men of the New Testament who went forth and spread the gospel so that, eventually , one day it reached ME!