Columbia City, Indiana
Pilot basketball player
Xtreme teaching in the Amazon
A Life Uncommon: Stepping into the jungle with the Yänomämo
How do you begin to describe an experience that leaves you speechless? There is really no way I can adequately explain our trip to the Amazon, but I will try, so here I go. The best way to describe our work while in the jungle of Venezuela? My fellow Task Force Team member Josh Schwartz described it as "Indirect Effect." We were the vessel serving the vessel serving the Yänomämo (Bethel’s adopted people group).
After our two-hour plane ride hovering above the jungle, we finally saw a clearing through the trees where we would spend the next two weeks living in a village with a people group untouched by civilization. You can call it "poverty," but I think a better word to describe their conditions is "survival."
The vessel serving the vessel
Although we did not have a lot of direct contact with the Indians, communication wise, we were able to serve them in ways that we were not able to physically see. To be able to live with the Dawsons (the missionaries) and see all the behind-the-scenes, day-in, day-out work that they always deal with was fascinating.
While half of the group worked on various works projects, a few of us had the opportunity to teach five of the missionary kids, which was amazing. I have never felt so blessed to have all the resources we have. I will never forget the day when I taught them the game Catch Phrase. It was so difficult for them to play, because they did not know so many words that are common to our everyday lives.
God's word at work in the jungle
Because they have no access to the materials that we do, most of the missionaries’ outreach is by word of mouth. It just goes to show how powerful the Holy Spirit is and how being faithful and obedient to God's leading has forever changed a people group desperate for redemption. The Yänomämo have a history and culture of revenge and warrior mentality, so to see how the Gospel has penetrated the hearts of these people and sparked a desire to change their ways is amazing.
The hardest thing about being there is that we knew now matter how challenging it was when we were there, ultimately we would be returning to our comfortable lifestyle, and they would remain in an environment prone to deprivation. I feel so blessed to have been part of Kingdom work in an area of the world that many people do not know exists. I will be forever grateful for my encounter with the Yänomämo.