A Training Center for Indian Tribes
Our First Contact with New Tribes
Bro. Sam is a go getter and soon after getting back wanted to conduct a vacation Bible school. It was while taking our children to VBS at their place that we met Wellington, a New Tribes missionary. We spoke briefly about their work, but knew we would be in contact again in the near future.
Shortly after this, Wellington’s wife Juliana gave birth to their second baby girl. Being in town not long after that, I had a chance to visit with them in their home for a few hours. We had a great time learning and finding out more about their work and where the Lord had called them.
I also met another New Tribes missionary while we were at their house. Though I did not remember this, I had previously been in contact with this missionary, Adilton. We had communicated by email nearly two years before this encounter.
Because of their knowledge about the Indian tribes and my curiosity and desire to learn more about them, we began conversations of how we could get more involved and visit some of these tribes. Adilton told us about a training center for Indian tribes that had just started in our state. He volunteered to take us to the training center when road conditions were better.
Friendships From the Lord
Being right in the middle of the rainy season, we put off our trip until after the rains would slow down quite a bit. We also had plans for traveling set up in June and my parents began talking about a visit in May. So, about the best time we found to go was right around the middle of May before my parents arrived. The date was set and we were excited about the trip.
The training center was in the city of Pimenta Bueno. This city has hit our radar several times as we have taken an interest in different cities around the state. It is a city of about 30,000 people. A few months ago I wrote about getting in contact with a missionary family in India who’s family members lived in our state. They were from this city.
We also learned through this family that there is a good Baptist church in that city. It is a Regular Baptist Church whose pastor was acquainted with many of the pastors and missionaries that we know. He was raised in the state of Amazonas, but recently came to Rondônia to pastor this church. His name is Pr. Dino. Since we had never met personally, we decided that it would be good to meet this pastor on our trip to the training center.
The Training Center
Now, let me try to connect all of these pieces for you! When the trip finally came, I drove down to Ji-Paraná and picked up Sam Rogers and the two New Tribes missionaries, Adilton and Wellington. We then drove the four hours to Pimenta Bueno. This trip under good road conditions would have taken about two and a half hours. Due to more holes than pavement and sometimes no pavement at all, delays were expected.
At the present, there are around 35 Indians living there. They come from several different places around the area and represent eight or nine different ethnic groups. Most of these are from 16-30 years old. Among this group there are two married couples.
This training center is set up for one main reason, but kills several birds at one time. The main purpose of the center is to train the Indians to become evangelists to their own people. It is a simplified Bible institute for the indigenous people.
Each morning these students sit in Bible classes and practical classes in which they learn how to share the Gospel with other people. They are taught how to draw their own stories in order to illustrate Bible truths to people who have no Bibles and in some cases, no written language at all.
In the afternoons all the students are put to work. The men work on construction of dormitory buildings, gardening, and are also taught a variety of other skills that will be very useful to them in the future. The ladies are taught how to cook and also take care of cleaning all the buildings and houses.
At night all of these students study in the public schools to increase their knowledge of Portuguese, Math, Science and other such subjects.
Transportation is very difficult, but the leadership is trying to get these students into different churches around the area for ministry on the weekends. They want them to get hands on training before they are sent back to their tribes.
Keeping in mind who these people are and the need to get the Gospel back into the tribes, the goal is to do what you can while you have them. Most of these students do not even have an elementary education. Therefore, this is only a two year program that attempts to give them a high school level Bible teaching enough to help them return to their tribes and share the good news of the Gospel.
One of the most interesting things to me was meeting a young man who calls himself “Phillip”. He comes from very far away. As a matter of fact, he is the one that came from the furthest distance. Yet, he knew other Indians that I have met before. I have met some of his relatives and also some of his friends. He knows other missionary friends of ours also.
It is amazing that even being hundreds of miles away from home in a place where no one speaks your native tongue, you can meet people that know your family. God is doing a work in this young man’s life. Though his family is somewhat against him, he knows that God has a great purpose for him. Since he has arrived at the training center, he has been notified that he would be next in line to be tribal chief and needs to return to help his family. However, he knows the Lord wants him to be trained and wishes to learn more before he goes back to his tribe.
Please pray for these students! This is one of the dreams I had before coming to Brazil – training the Indians to send them back to their own people to share the Gospel. God is at work answering prayers! Though these people may not be exactly like us in every way, we are able to encourage and help them in some ways. Who knows what the Lord may do through this.
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