has named Bruce Yado, which means "Rising Sun." They chose
the name, they said, because of the light he has brought to their tribe.
Yado, however, is a strange
mixture of a man. He is gentle, tender, and friendly. Yet he
displays an iron will and a steely solidarity with the Motilone people.
Winsome, yet opinionated, he takes a firm and determined stance in the
face oa all authority. With the convictions of a crusader sent to
do God's will, he is not moderated by the opinions of established institutions.
For that reason ... certain
Protestant missionaries [feel] he has [fallen short in the faith by] not
instituting traditional Western forms of Christianity.
The entire tribe considers
itself committed to following Christ [in death and resurrection] to the
horizon. And Bruce has translated the entire New Testament into the
Motilone language. Yet the tribe has no formal expression of its
faith. Eight celibate young men, who are avoiding certain food [and
liberties], currently are being trained as [spiritual] priests, in the
general manner of Motilone customs. But the tribe has no "churches",
no Sunday morning services -- [the Motilone believing community is "church"].
One Motilone explained it
to me saying, "Why should we sit in a line in a building for one hour each
week to worship God, when I worship God daily walking the jungles, singing
my song of faith? It is in the jungles that we expect to hear God.
The wind of prophecy that rustles through the trees has always given us
the answers of life, suffering and death. [Every evening we read
from Scriptures, and every community member comments on what Christ is
teaching us -- and how to align our lives with his compassion!"]
The outside world [accused]
Bruce of either being a gold prospector, an emerald smuggler, or a man
with a messianic complex -- a true lose/lose situation. If he isn't
in it for the money, he must be in it for the glory.
Bruce, however, has spent
[thirty-eight] years enduring incredible hardships and isolation.
Although physically strong, he has gone through bouts of malaria, dysentery,
and hepatitis. The dreaded Chagas disease still periodically attacks
his body, paralyzing and even blinding him for short periods of time.
Although Bruce is under
the care of eminent tropical medicine experts, someday someone else will
have to take over his job. And Bruce is preparing himself and the
Motilone for that day.
I a world where indigenous
peoples are so often robbed, murdered, and inundated by modern civilization,
the story of the Motilone appears to be almost a miracle. Perhaps
the work of Bruce Olsson is a reminder. Perhaps it's a reminder for
us all, that when the liberating, loving power of the gospel is truly released,
justice, freedom, and hope can indeed prevail!
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