A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for September, 2018

Revival in the Amazon among the “Skull Splitters”

How the Gospel reached the brutal “Skull Splitters” tribe in the Amazon

By Mark Ellis —

The warriors from the Skull Splitter tribe walked 10 days on foot from a village deep in the Amazon jungle because they wanted to find someone who would tell them about the Son of God.

They sent out five guys,” says Larry Buckman, a veteran missionary with Renew Outreach. “The old men in the tribe said they were too old to go, so they sent the young guys out.

“Why did they decide to trek 10 days straight north to find somebody? They had no way of knowing there was anybody even up there. Of course the Holy Spirit was leading them.”

The Yanomami group that walked out of the jungle were among the worst Skull Splitters in the entire Amazon, from the Hakoma area, according to Larry. While there were a few Yanomami believers, the Hakoma area was unreached. Fifty-five years earlier, two missionaries named Bob and Steve had attempted to take the gospel to them.

When Bob and Steve first went to the Hakoma area in the Sixties they reported that almost everyone was drugged, they had unsightly green mucous coming out of their noses, and they were vomiting all the time. “At night they would get possessed by demons, they would beat up on their wives and split their heads open with their clubs.

“The tradition was if a girl was going to get married to another man, the oldest man in the tribe had her first. If she let the young man have her first, they beat up on her,” Bob reported to Larry.

“They almost killed us then,” Bob said.

The five warriors arrived at the Palimi-ú River in September 2012, after their 10-day journey.

They happened to enter a village where two Brazilian Christians, Paulo and Bethany had been living for 14 years, learning the language and translating the New Testament.

Remarkably, the five arrived at the height of a celebration by the local church that involved food, dances, the Lord’s Supper and baptisms.

The believers immediately recognized them as the dreaded Skull Splitters, enemies of the village. The warriors were dressed in loincloths, armed with bows and arrows, blowguns and deadly poison darts. The celebratory mood suddenly shifted.

Are they going to kill us? they wondered. Surprisingly, the five got into the baptism line with 32 other new believers.

“I did not ask if they wanted Jesus; I baptized the five along with the others,” Paulo recounted.

He and Bethany invited the warriors into their house and spent the next five hours talking to them.

The men explained the reason they had traveled such a distance. “We are tired of living the way we have always lived,” they told Paulo and Bethany. “We have been killing people and drugging ourselves. We want to live a different life. Somebody told us about the Son of God. Do you know who that is?”

Paulo told them about the Creator God—the Father, Jesus the Savior, and the Holy Spirit, the friend, comforter and guide. “We saw their eyes sparkle with wonder about everything we said,” Paulo recounted.

After several days, Paulo asked an MAF pilot to fly the men back to their village. “There was only one MAF pilot who dared to go in there,” Larry notes.

The pilot managed to locate a small opening in the jungle, an old gold miner’s airstrip that was very short and overgrown, but it was still a four-day journey through thick jungle for the warriors to reach their home.

Before they left the men begged Paulo and Bethany to come to their village soon and tell their people more about Jesus.

Months went by and God continued to impel their hearts about reaching the Yanomami in the Hakoma area. In early 2013, Paulo and Bethany began to plan an expedition to find their village. “It was a time of much prayer seeking the direction of God,” Paulo recounted.

A couple months later, they received news that members of the same tribe had exterminated an entire village of other Yanomamis whom they considered to be enemies.

Then in October they learned that 46 gold miners had been killed in that region – also by the same tribe!

“Eighteen days after this massacre, on November 9, 2013, we were inside a small plane going in search of this people,” Paulo recounted. “Many said do not go, others called us saying ‘this is suicide,’ ‘they are too dangerous.’”

After two hours in the air, their pilot found the same airstrip. The missionary expedition group included Paulo, Bethany, and three other mature Yanomami believers that spoke different languages. “We did not know for sure what awaited us; we were fearful, very afraid, but confident in the care of God.”

Air strip carved out of the jungle

The small plane deposited the passengers and left. “As the roar of the airplane engine disappeared on the horizon, fear and dread filled our hearts. We were literally alone, isolated and left in the dense jungle.”

They realized they were in the same place the miners had been killed only a few weeks earlier! The only answer was to turn to God in prayer.

Just as they started to pray, they heard a noise in the woods. “When we raised our heads we saw the most incredible scene. We were surrounded by men, women and children, armed with bows and arrows, blowguns and poison darts, but also rifles, cartridges, watches, tablets, cell phones and a lot of clothes from the miners that they had killed 18 days before us.”

Paulo snapped a quick photo with his digital camera but forgot to turn off the flash.

Interpreting the flash as a hostile sign, the crowd began walking towards the missionaries and lifted their weapons in a menacing fashion. “They took aim. I thought our time had come…” Paulo recounted.

Then a lone voice shouted from the midst of the crowd. “Stop! Stop! Today is not a day of death.”

Another cried out, “Do not hurt them. These are the ones who say there is a True Creator.”

Out from the crowd stepped the five warriors that Paulo baptized the previous year.

As quickly as the large crowd appeared, they disappeared, leaving the same five warriors who now approached with smiles on their faces. “We saw in their eyes the joy with our arrival,” Paulo recounted.

After the tension receded, Paulo communicated via satellite to the believers along the Palimi-ú River and two more planeloads arrived, bearing 10 more Yanomami believers.

The five led the new arrivals along a path and after 20 minutes they found a large structure with a crowd waiting for them.

On the afternoon of November 9, 2013, the 15 took turns preaching, teaching, and telling Bible stories, and the people listened with rapt attention about the history of the Creator.

Paulo delivered the message that Jesus, the Son of God, was already among the Yanomamis. “Everyone was so stunned by what they heard that they began singing the message back and forth, their traditional way to spread news,” Bethany recalled.

“Night after night people were repenting, sometimes going until 5:00 in the morning. This went on day and night. I answered so many questions and at the end we held another baptism. More than 400 Skull Splitters came to Christ!”

Paulo and the other leaders went to a small river nearby and baptized 162 new brothers, then ministered communion, using “the Beijú of cassava and the juice of Açai.”

Baptism among the Yanomami

On November 12th, the team began discussing the idea of ​​planting a church. They had many newly baptized converts, but few mature leaders to stay with them. “We needed to do something, so we choose the five that I had baptized in 2012 as their leaders in the faith,” Paulo recounted.

In 2014 the team returned to the village, bringing solar audio bibles and a small solar projector with the JESUS Film in the Chamatari language. Eighteen villages within a 10-day walk were invited to the screening.

Every night they projected the movie JESUS. At the end of the visit they donated the solar projector and the five leaders said they would take the film and show it in surrounding villages.” There was regular follow-up with the believers every year.

Watching the JESUS Film

Three years later, the film had reached 4,600 people in 21 remote villages. “They report there are now believers in every region, in places where we are not allowed to go,” Bethany noted. “The warriors are doing what we can’t. We are living a true revival in the heart of the jungle!”

Traveling to remote villages

The original missionary to the Yanomami in the Hakoma area, Bob, is amazed by what he sees. “I can’t believe what is happening now!” he exclaimed.

Bob and Steve watch baptisms

He and Steve were asked to serve communion to the new believers, 55 years after they first planted the seeds of the gospel.

“When you see those kinds of things you think, Lord, you are so gracious to let us be here and see these things happen,” says Larry Buckman, with Renew Outreach. “These old guys sacrificed everything and they deserved to see it in their lifetime. It is amazing to see how God has transformed that tribe and somehow is protecting those dear men that truck up and down to take the gospel to the next group of people.”

“There are 200 Yanomami villages that we know of. They plan to take the gospel to every one of those 200.”

To learn more about Renew Outreach and their work, go here

To find out more about the JESUS Film Project, go here

God Reports, September 6, 2018

Added to Mission Index

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES) 

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Storytellers of Good News

Storytellers of good news.

Results in healed families, freedom, love, less violence & addiction, redemption, hope, divine favour, grace. They pray and God moves.

Share to inform and inspire others.

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument, sitting, standing, outdoor and text

West Africa: Dramatic transformation among Muslim peoples.

“Dramatic transformation is the key to rapid multiplication of churches among Muslims,” says Jerry Trousdale of missions organization CityTeam International.

He relates the story how one time their West African ministry partners were having their midday prayers, when they suddenly were surrounded by Muslim leaders. The team had been seeing breathtaking breakthroughs among highly resistant Muslim peoples, so they had anticipated opposition. They had reason to be fearful, but kept praying. Surprisingly, the Muslims just stood around them observing the proceedings and making no signs of hostile intentions.

“We beg you: could you please send us the storytellers?”

When the Christian leaders finished praying, the group approached and turned out to be a delegation of Muslim civic leaders from a distant region. They had come with their imam and with a request. They said: “We have not come to harm you, but we beg you – could you please send us the storytellers?” They meant the Christian workers who were making disciples by telling stories. The Muslim leaders from this community had observed other communities in their area that had become Christian, and they had noticed a dramatic change in people’s lives. They wanted the same thing in their community!

After some rearranging of schedules and responsibilities, the ministry was able to send out a team of storytellers to the distant village. Nobody imagined at the time that events like these would be repeated again and again, and that even entire mosques would come to faith in Christ. “When Muslims observe the types of dramatic transformation that only the gospel can bring in individuals, families and whole communities, they are often jealous to experience the same,” explains Trousdale.

MARKS OF TRANSFORMATION

What does transformation look like among Muslim-background believers? These are some of the most common changes seen among Muslims who accept Christ:

1. Healed families.
In families where women and children have been treated almost as slaves, wife beating becomes no longer acceptable, and love begins to heal broken marriages. Children are given permission to attend schools and are treated with new appreciation. Fighting between parents and children diminishes. Polygamy is no longer the choice of Christian men, and prostitution dies out.

2. A Spirit of Freedom.
When people discover freedom, it affects everything in their lives. They find release from fatalism, they are willing to try new things, and they expect God to bless their lives.

3. A Spirit of Love.
Many Muslim people report that God puts love in their hearts for the first time. In many cases, they have a new passion for fellow Muslims who are still in the mosque.

4. Diminished violence.
There have been instances in which, upon becoming Christians, former Muslims refuse to participate in ongoing ethnic warfare. In one case, when the Christian men were called to account for why they no longer ‘supported the tribe’, they shared the message of Jesus. This caused tribal elders to rethink their reasons for fighting, and the fighting stopped. Today, the two men who stood up for their conviction, are church planters.

5. Less addiction.
The levels of addiction to alcohol, khat, and other things that consume people’s lives are greatly diminished as these people receive prayer for deliverance.

6. Redemption and hope.
Historically, when lost people become obedient disciples of Jesus, they typically exchange fatalism for optimism, have new energy and initiative, and become more productive people. In addition, they abandon expensive addictions, and they see the blessings for God on their family situation.

7. Evidences of Divine favour.
Many new Christians share with joy how, after they became followers of Jesus, and during a time of prolonged drought, the Lord caused it to rain on their farms or on the pasture where their livestock was, but not on their neighbors’ land. And it became so obvious that the Muslim neighbors came to them to find out why these Christians had such favor. Farmers in every region that City Team International workers have interviewed report that, since they have become Christians, they have begun praying over their fields and have ceased using Muslim or spiritist blessings on their land, and their harvests have dramatically increased.

8. Grace in persecution.
Many new Christians in Muslim areas face harsh persecution. But these believers, though persecuted in cruel ways, have been transformed so deeply that they find the courage to speak a blessing on their persecutors. This forgiveness in the face of persecution can, over time, be the way that God gets into a persecutor’s heart to transform it as well. Numerous Muslims who formerly persecuted the Muslim-background Christians in their areas have come to faith as a result of those whom they persecuted responding with grace and kindness to the evil things done to them.

9. Freedom from demonic oppression.
Many Muslims have experienced years of torment from demonic powers. But when they repent of sins and receive Jesus as Lord, those spirits are successfully cast out. These deliverances are very tangible witnesses of the power of the gospel in Muslim families.

10. The power of individual prayer.
Common people discover that they can pray and God moves. Even the Muslims see this and thank God for the changes in the communities, as many who used to disturb them are now peaceful Christians.

Source: Jerry Trousdale
Joel News International 872.

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES) 

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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