Andrés— In Jungle Tribe of 35,000, Church Planter to Be Next Chief
Imagine you are a member of the Awajún* tribe. Twilight has arrived. The whole village has received orders from the chief’s family to assemble at this time. You and everyone else are present. Even your dogs and chickens have come. You look around and see your fellow tribesmen. Each dressed in a grass skirt and a sporting a painted face. Some wear necklaces or headdresses made of guacamayo feathers. Children play in the dust at your feet.
You are curious. What is this meeting about? Then the chief’s son, Andrés, lifts his voice and addresses the assembly. “It is time,” he says with authority in his voice, “to open God’s Word!”
A reverent hush falls over the group. Andrés begins to read from The Book. The Bible. The words of the One True God. He has said that you all must listen. And when he gives orders, everyone obeys.
Okay, you can journey back from the jungle now. I just wanted you to get a tiny taste of what it’s really like in some of the far away tribes here. At least, in the ones that you are reaching with the gospel through Arimborgo Ministries. For you see, the Awajún tribe is real. And Andrés, the chief’s son, graduated from our Pastors’ School a few years ago.
When Andrés came to us in 2004, he spoke hardly any Spanish at all--only his own native language. We did not know who he was. His eyes stayed glued to the floor when we attempted to engage him in conversation. He wore the simplest of clothing. It was tempting to think he would never amount to much as a student. But the Holy Spirit prompted us to love on him, to invest in him, to believe in him. We did so, receiving him as if he were sent from Jesus Himself. It was not until he was close to graduating that we found out what an amazing place of influence he came from and was heading for!
Right now, Andrés is in his mid twenties. When he wears the official headdress that represents his authority, all tribe members bow their heads in respect as he passes. There are 35,000 members of the Awajún tribe. When Andrés’ father dies, Andrés will become the chief over fully half of those Awajúns. Do you grasp the magnitude of that?
Already since he graduated, Andrés has planted two churches in his tribe. Each one has around eighty members in it already. In the years to come, there will be many, many more churches planted in Andrés’ tribe. After all, not only is he a deeply respected pastor now. He is the chief’s son, and will be chief!