On my recent mission trip to Ecuador my son, Hector preached for the first time in a church in Puya. At the meeting was a lady who travels among the tribal people and she liked his message so much that she invited him to come and preach for one of the Huaorani communities in the jungle. He was the only white man, 23 years old, and she wanted him to share his testimony with the young people in the tribe. He had to be there at sunset which meant that she would come and pick him up from our hotel at 3 am in the morning!
Going to bed after the meeting he was so tired that he wished she would not be there, but he was still excited to go when she came and knocked on the door. They went an hour by car until they came to a small village. People in the community were sitting around the fire waiting for him, and he was received as a king. First, they painted his face and gave him a crown on his head. Then they gave him a necklace and an armband and a drum around his neck. Together with the other guests this morning, he started strumming the drum and walking around the fire. He had no clue what was going on since he did not speak their language, everything he said was translated, first from English to Spanish and then to their tribal language. At one point they wiped his arms with a plant to welcome him. Later he had an allergic reaction on his skin and found it that it was a poisonous plant! As the ceremony went on, he got served chicha, a fermented drink made of spit and yucca. He was served by each family and like this, he officially became a part of the Huaorani family.
As they were sitting around the fire, they all had their bible study with prayer and worship. For breakfast, they were served fish and banana wrapped in banana leaves. After breakfast, they took him to the river. They use bongos as transportation which are boats carved out of wooden trunks. Quite impressing how these bongos are able to float and transport people through the enormous Amazon delta!
Visiting the Huaorani people was a “one in a lifetime” experience. Hector was the only gringo invited to take part in this adventure, the rest of the team had to stay behind. When he came back before noon and I saw the painting on his face, the pictures of the tribal people, and the videos, we had a good laugh together, this was so unexpected, one of those things that God puts together for his people to enjoy.
When we came to the crusade in the evening, God and the Huaorani people had another surprise for us. Now it was my turn to receive the honour, and for this, I still give God the glory. My son and I received a crown and a necklace as a sign of respect, one more time, and now I rightly can call myself Warrior of the Huaorani …
If you click on this link you can see how Hector and I were crowned by our hosts at the last night of the crusade!