Indigenous Tribes

30 09 2012

 

I am on my way to Colombia again, and I am extremely excited! I love our families that serve there, and I love the people that they are serving. It is extremely difficult work, though. I have had many people question my sanity because of the places that we are traveling, but there is a good reason. The people groups that are left unreached are either a hard-hearted people or very difficult to get to. When Jesus called us to go reach the nations, he did not add an “only if it is safe” clause. The Indigenous Tribes of the Amazon River Basin happen to be both difficult to reach and extremely hard find. Many of them speak Spanish, but their heart language is a little-known tribal language that few outsiders know. The only way to reach them is to travel up the rivers and streams which is expensive and can be dangerous. The environment is hot and humid. There are mosquitoes everywhere. There is disease, hunger, water problems, flooding, etc. On top of all of this, they are very resistant to the gospel. In many cases, they know just enough to know how to refuse you. In every village along the river there is an abandoned Catholic Church. I have heard that the priests show up at the churches a couple of times a year. The rest of the time, the buildings sit empty, rotting in the humid air. In addition to all of this, there is pressure from governments, who have been encouraged by popular anthropologists, to leave these tribes alone, because their culture is being destroyed. Of course, we believe that their culture is already destroyed by sin, and that by sharing with them the love of Jesus, we are allowing them to move toward the perfect culture in which God created them to be.

Please be in prayer for these tribes. Jeff and I will be traveling to visit a couple of villages. One of the strategies that the missionaries have found to be effective is to share Bible stories with the tribes, and we will be doing this during our visit.





Storytellers

20 06 2012

I had the privilege of spending the last two weeks in the country of Colombia with a great group of missionaries. One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to go up the river and visit with the indigenous tribes. For the particular trip that we went on, the purpose was to bring food to two different villages. ┬áThis past spring they experienced a 100-year flood. Most homes were filled with water, and all of their crops were destroyed leaving most of them with nothing. We were just going to bring them some food to get them through a difficult time. (Our very own Baptist Global Response footed the bill for this trip.) What I was most impressed by was that our missionaries were not “The Bringers of Food,” but were “The Storytellers” coming to bring some food. There is a HUGE difference between the two.

Our tendency, as wealthy Americans, is to just throw money at the problems of the world. Our philosophy is that if we can get enough money to the problem then it will solve itself. Yes, money is needed to help and to solve certain problems, but it is naive and possibly sinful to think that money is the most important thing needed. When we arrived at the first village, it was obvious that relationships between the indigenous people and the missionary had already been established. It was equally obvious that our missionary was known as one who comes and tells us stories from the Bible. This is what I want to be known as. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul talks about all of our works being revealed by fire as either wood, hay, and straw, or gold, silver, and precious stones. When I am judged by God for my works, I want my works to be gold, silver, and precious stones, not burned up in an instant. Food will fill the belly for a time, but the Gospel saves for all eternity. Food in the present will ease the cravings enough to hear the stories, but we will all die in the end and face an eternity with or without God. It is not enough to just give food or money or build a church building or dig a well or teach them English. We must open our mouths and share the Good News of God’s Kingdom. In the end, that is all that matters.

When someone steps up to the podium in church one day to tell about your life at your funeral, what will they say? How will they describe your life? Who will they say that you were? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be be called another “great guy.” I want to be called “The Storyteller” who changed the world for the glory of God.





Colombia

31 05 2012

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Central Asia, and I’m now preparing to leave out for Colombia in the next few days. It will be my first time to visit there, and I’m extremely excited about it. The purpose for our visit is twofold. Firstly, we will be hosting a prayer retreat for some missionary families. I consider this a huge blessing to be able to meet and encourage our families serving around the world. They have a very difficult job, and my prayer is that we can ease the burden for a little while by giving them some rest and spiritual nourishment. The second purpose of this trip is to see if this might be a place that our church can partner. We would eventually be working with them to reach the Indigenous Indian Tribes of the Amazon River Basin.

Please be in prayer for us and the missionary families. The part of Colombia that we are going to is a very spiritually dark place, but the evil one has had a hold on it for far too long. These families our the frontline soldiers, and it is our responsibility back home to support them in anyway that we can.

One of the missionaries and myself will be going on a long trip up the river to visit with four small tribes that are currently experiencing a severe famine. Our intention is to bring them some food and to continue to build relationships in each of the villages. They have just recently experienced the worst flooding in over 70 years in the area and food is scarce. Our missionary asked us to be praying for his family, because every time he leaves to go to this area something happens with his family. Pray protection for his family as we travel into enemy territory.

I will certainly get back to this blog when I get back from this trip in another couple of weeks. Thanks for keeping up and praying for me.








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