Tuesday, December 05, 2006
He Still Comes
As part of our Advent celebrations, my family is reading aloud The End of the Spear, the account of how Jesus' coming to the Waodani people of the Amazon is transforming their culture.
Steve Saint, the son of one of the five missionaries killed by the Waodani in the Through Gates of Splendor massacre in the '50's, tells how his second-generation family was invited by the Waodani to help them learn how to interface with the modern world. Though Saint's style is unsentimental, the tale is incredibly moving.
I was struck with his concern to encourage the Waodani to take up responsibility for themselves and to take initiative to produce their own economy, to provide their own tribal leadership, etc. He walked the fine line of showing them the way and then getting out of the way, lest they become just another exploitable welfare-state waif tribe.
I found it very encouraging for times when I feel deserted by God, who could make everything alright for me. Isn't this what God is doing for us? He has shown us the way to holiness, to sanctification, to becomming more and more conformed to His image, and then He has left us with the subtle 'radio contact' of the Holy Spirit - so that we won't become Heaven's welfare cases. So that we will be able to take our places among the strong, shining ones we admire among His saints.
(I-TEC is the "Indigenous Peoples' Technology and Education Center", an organization creatied by Steve Saint and the Waodani to help other tribal peoples enter the 21st century without entering a slave-like dependency on first-world peoples.)