These pictures were taken in October of 2012 and record a first contact experience of a Christian missionary to an unreached tribe of people in the Amazon jungle of Colombia. If the images look primitive that is because it was. This village meeting arbor is constructed 100% with materials from the jungle. No rope, glue or nails were used. The tribe built it the same way they have built it for thousands of years. This particular tribe was once a hunting tribe but the hunting had gone away and so they migrated a few years ago toward a tributary of the Amazon River and have morphed into a fishing tribe. That is how they were discovered. I was there to see the work of the missionary in the picture and to encourage and pray for him. On this day in question we were working with another tribe about half a mile away. They told us about this new tribe and made arrangements for us to meet with them. We had spent a whole day trekking up the rivers of Amazonia to get to our destination so another half mile to make first contact with a new tribe was an easy decision.
The meeting depicted in this picture was amazing. An elder from our host tribe introduced us in the native language and told the people that the stories they have heard of the white man coming to kidnap their children and cut their heads off were not true. We were stunned! We had no idea such superstition floated around the jungles and it reminded us of the potential danger our missionaries face dealing with such dangerous and false beliefs.
The people were so receptive and we listened as our host missionary shared a story from the Bible, interacted with the people, laughed and shared information about his family, and ultimately was invited back. It was an unbelievable, first contact, God moment.
I found myself praying today for this people and for this missionary. My trip in October was brief and filled with memories I will not soon forget. But the work of the mission goes on. And so today I am reminded…
- There are STILL 3,133 unreached and unengaged people groups in the world today. Just like this tribe once was.
- Even tribes that have been engaged still have far to go before they are reached.
- Our missionaries are heroes. They have lives and names and families that I cannot talk about on this blog lest I jeopardize their mission.
- There is so much left to do to fulfill the Great Commission.
- THIS is the mission of the church. Let us not be distracted.
“This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” – Jesus