Thursday, April 29, 2010
Day Three - Evening Worship and a New Baptist Church...
The celebration events were to be held on a large area adjacent to the camp where there was a soccer field and volleyball net. The Huaorani school teacher was not from this particular village and was placed there by the government to provide the most basic of skills to the children. As a young man in his mid-twenties, he had lived in the city where he received his education – he was also quite an athlete. When he found out that we would be competing he changed into his uniform, cleats and all and prepared to take on us Gringos. It was about then that I fully realized we were in trouble. Not withstanding the fact that every single Indian in the camp could eclipse all of the missionary team in a footrace, they could easily out maneuver us on the soccer field. Not only that, but most of us were still trying to recover from the hike into the jungle and we didn’t want to do anything that would cause more pain on the hike out on Thursday. So, most of the “celebrating” was left to only a couple in our group. As for me, and several others, we celebrated the river for an hour or so while they sweated on the soccer field. I personally liked that particular arrangement.
First we sang songs in Quichua and Huaorani, Spanish and English. (Earlier we had sung Jesus Loves Me in all four languages at once – beautiful!) I then shared on the necessity of the Huaorani’s continuing to evangelize other Huaorani tribes deeper in the jungle. I gave them the scriptural mandates of why this was important and emphasized that these people would not hear the Gospel from an Anglo but would receive it from them. I pray that they are more responsive to evangelism than the average North American church member.
Upon my completion Pastor Timothy said that his people would dance like their ancient elders. He then called for several men and women to gather in the middle of the circle and they performed a shuffling movement as they raised their hands to God. Steve Thompson interpreted that they were giving praise to God the Father. This gave evidence of their animistic heritage where they recognized a divine creator but did not know God through Jesus, His Son. I think this was probably for our entertainment more than anything else, but it was a privilege to witness their culture and history up close. After a couple of these dances we moved into the official commissioning service.
The night ended with us purchasing all of the artisan work the ladies of the village had made. There were bread plates, beads, carrying sacks, and other items, all made by the women for the purpose of sale.
We went to bed that night thankful for being allowed to be part of a rare and special event. We also went to bed thinking about the grueling hike we faced in the morning. I will save that for tomorrow.