Wisdom in the Jungle

I have written before about the work of Joe and Mildred Dawson in the Amazonian jungles of Venezuela. While Joe Dawson has gone to be with the Lord, some of his children are still there, working with the Yanomamö people. Michael Dawson, whose abilities with words far exceed my own, has written two books about his life in the jungle.

The first book, Growing Up Yanomamö, contains an interesting insight from a Christian Brother who was born in the jungle and was living in what we would call the stone age. The Yanomamö wear few, if any, clothes and their implements and weapons are made of wood and stone.

Michael Dawson relates a conversation that took place on a hunting trip after the sun had gone down. He and some native men were talking around the campfire. Michael was describing an airplane he had just read about that could take off vertically, hover, and then fly as fast as sound.

A Brother called Agusto (the Yanomamö take Spanish names) asked why Michael’s people could make anything they needed. If they needed to fly, they made an airplane. If they needed to cross the great water, they made large canoes. If they needed clothes, they made clothes. This was particularly troublesome to Agusto because his children had no clothes and were plagued by insect bites and sores all the time.

Michael said the conversation lapsed into silence as the men thought about the question. He wondered, “what made us so different?” Then Agusto said, “I know. You have told us how your ancestors came across the great water to serve Yai Bada as His Word says to do, and they obeyed Him. Yai Bada’s Word says that He is the source of all wisdom. This must be true because your people are very wise. My people have followed Satan and his jecula (demons) and they have taught us nothing! They have kept us blinded here in the jungle. That has to be the difference.”

So here is a Christian Brother with no education, no credentials, no letters after his name, that understands the deep truth of the blessings of God. I might add that the people of America may be well educated, but they do not exhibit the simple wisdom of our Brother, Agusto.

Recently, a Yanomamö woman was beaten to death by her husband at the insistence of her family. Only punishment was intended. The death was a shock, and immediately the Yanomamö culture of retribution called for the one family to kill someone from the other. (Before the Dawson’s came, there were no grandparents among the Yanomamö. They never lived that long.)

Another Yanomamö Brother, Timoteo (Timothy), called for peace. “We have all heard the message of love and forgiveness that our missionary (Joe Dawson) brought us and that his sons are still teaching. Today, we all have to decide if this message is real or do we only mouth the words. For me, the message is real. God's word speaks of love, speaks of justice and the wages of sin, but it also speaks of compassion. This is what we all need today.”

Timoteo had been taught Christian love, and he exhorted his fellow villagers to reconcile. And that they did that same day. Not only have the Dawsons saved many souls, that day someone’s life was saved by their teaching.

Pray for the Yanomamö, and for Michael and Gary Dawson and their family working in the Amazonian jungle. And pray for the people of Venezuela who are starving because of the wretched socialist government of that country.

Growing Up Yanomamö is an interesting and worthwhile read. The book can be ordered online from Christianbook.com and Amazon.com.

BACK to Lesson Archive.