Deep in the Amazon jungle, the Wilo people waited for a missionary to come teach them “God’s Talk.” They’d heard bits of it in Spanish and other tribal languages (which none of them spoke fluently) and they’d been asking for twenty-five years for someone to come explain it to them. Davey Jank was the answer to their request, and over time he was joined by several other people, including his wife, Marie, intent on learning the Wilo language and culture. There’s no Rosetta Stone for Wilo! Davey and his partners had to learn it the hard way, and it took ten years before they understood well enough to begin teaching “God’s Talk.” New Tribes Mission advocates chronological teaching from Genesis onward, laying the groundwork for understanding what Jesus’ sacrifice really means.
The tribal people found the strangers to be extremely interesting and spent hours peering in the windows and doors. Early on, Davey records:
I was like a TV set for these tribal people, a window through which they could gaze upon a limitless amount of curious and foreign scenes. No doubt they would be ecstatic when my co-workers arrived, as it would provide them the option of changing channels.
Davey and Marie’s story, Our Witchdoctors are too Weak: The Rebirth of an Amazon Tribe, is told in an anecdotal style with a wry sense of humor. If you’re interested in reading a contemporary tale of primitive people seeking truth, you will enjoy this true account.
Davey and Marie Jank are New Tribes Mission representatives to the Wilo people. Davey, a Canadian, was raised as a missionary kid and attended boarding school. He claims his “teachers and dorm parents suffered little lasting damage and today lead fairly normal and healthy lives.” Having grown up seeing firsthand the hunger that many tribal people have for Godâ€™s Word, it wasnâ€™t a stretch for him to decide to be a missionary himself. After attending New Tribes Bible Institute for two years, he went on to study linguistics and cross-cultural communications before joining in the effort to bring Godâ€™s Word to the Wilo people.
A Miami girl, Marie didnâ€™t even know any missionaries until she was 33 years old. She got her degree in journalism. After several years in journalism and PR, she was convicted that the work of her hands should be for eternal things. She turned to teaching and earned a masterâ€™s degree in TESOL. When the opportunity came to visit the Amazon she didnâ€™t hesitate; adventure and travel were right down her ally. But once she stepped off the Cessna airplane and came face to face with the Wilo people, she knew her destiny was tied to theirs and that her life would gloriously never be the same.
**This story is particularly dear to my heart, as three of my four sisters are career missionaries with New Tribes Mission and are now on home assignments. Three of their adult children are following in their footsteps, taking “God’s Talk” to remote areas around the world.