Day 23 - Visit to the Waroni Tribe
Today was our scheduled flight into the Jungle to meet some of the Waroni villagers at the place they live. Our flight, scheduled to take off at 9 was delayed until about 2 because of weather. So instead of waiting around, I walked across town back to Casa de Fe, got some work done, then ate lunch, and headed back for the flight. Once we took off, I got to see another side of Ecuador that I hadn't seen yet, the view from above. It was awesome. We flew in a 5 passenger plane over all the trees and mountains until we landed in a small extremely muddy grass field right next to a Waroni village.
Now if you haven't seen End of the Spear, watch it or better yet, read the book. It is an incredible story and today I got to meet one of the main characters. Dewey (sp?) was one of the original Waroni men that around the age of 20, killed the group of missionary men going to witness to them. Dewey is now completely different. Almost 80 years old we think, he greeted us at the plane and almost immediately began praying out loud for us. We didn't understand him because he speaks Waroni, not even Spanish, but none the less, we appreciated the prayer. He then walked us into the woods up a big hill and to the place where they lived. It was beautiful and so simple. They didn't have much at all but were overjoyed to see us and share a part of their culture with us.
Other members of the community quickly went and changed into their traditional clothing and then came out and welcomed us. Dewey told us that he was so thankful we were there and that he couldn't wait until we were all in Heaven together and no longer have a language barrier. I thought that was awesome. The locals sang a couple songs, painted our faces, put a crown thing on our head and then took us around the village. Oh yeah, the other people that went were Darnell, my friend from New Zealand who works at Casa and an older really fun couple from Holland that I met this morning.
Visiting with the tribe was so much fun. We threw spears first which was fun because I already kinda new how to do it. Since I threw javelin at Asbury, it was pretty easy and they commented that if I lived in the jungle I would not starve. They told me, after seeing me throw, that I would have no problem killing a wild bore. I thought that was pretty high praise from them. :) I then tried to show them how we throw javelin here which was pretty much similar. They didn't really get it but were impressed at how far I could throw (If only they new I got beat by everybody and their mother at conference this year, they wouldn't have been so impressed. haha). Then, they showed us how to shoot a blow gun. They had one that was probably 5 feet long and they were shooting it at a banana hanging from a tree. I shot twice and stuck the dart in the banana on the second one. They were really impressed with that too.
Aside from the weaponry, they also greeted us with a traditional Waroni greeting. They all huddled together then walked around in the mud chanting whatever the lead guy would make up. It was really fun to watch and it went on quite a while. Apparently, that is how they welcome other tribes too. At the end, they came right in front of us and finished the chants before backing away again. I was super impressed with how well they mingled though. They never once seemed threatened or annoyed that we were there. They were all smiling the entire time and everybody wanted to shake our hands or give us a hug.
It was an awesome experience getting to see that. Please read the book or watch the movie because it really is a great story. One quick note about it though. When the missionaries were killed, they had a gun but chose not to use it because this is what they said: "We are prepared for eternity, but they are not". Because of those men and their bravery, the tribe I visited today is now full of believers on fire for God and sharing his word with all the other tribes around them. It was truly amazing to be able to go to a place and meet an unreached people group who are now out there doing the reaching themselves. God is so great and he used those men's deaths to save the eternal lives of so many people. I don't ever want to give God any push back or complaints on what He wants to use me for, ever.
The other cool thing about the people of the tribe is that they really don't have much at all but their quality of life I am sure is much much better than lots of wealthier people that I know. The joy of the Lord is truly their strength and it just radiates out of them! I would count myself blessed to be as happy as they are with as little as they have. I don't ever want to forget the blessings God has given me and I don't ever want to stop giving back to people in need.
On the flight home I sat up front and got to fly the plane. I didn't take off or land but I got to fly for a good 30 minutes which was pretty fun. Once I got back, I walked home, got a salad and a smoothie from the pizza place and chowed down. Then, I did an hour of P90X and am now sitting down uploading pictures and writing my blog. Speaking of Pictures, I know this blog can be a bit dry or boring at times and I also know that pictures make it much more readable, however, it is a real pain to upload pictures here. For this reason, I have uploaded many more photos that I would be able to load here, on to my facebook. Feel free to get on there and check those out. I have a lot more but I think I got the highlights uploaded so please check them out. I think some of them are pretty cool looking.
Today has been another great blessing. God just keeps them coming! I cannot say thanks enough for His provisions. Thanks God. Also, I bought a blow gun. Hope I can get it back to the States.