Spreading the Gospel in Ecuador's Jungles

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The sight and sound of a most unusual aircraft is turning heads in the jungles of Ecuador these days.

But it's not just the parachute-plane, it's the pilot. He's one of them. Tementa is a Waorani tribesman, and in a remarkable role reversal the passenger is the missionary.

Tementa's coach and mentor is Steve Saint, and nobody is a greater supporter of the Waorani.

"These people have the want to. They know the Gospel. They love the Lord. They've proven that they're able to face persecution, much more than we have," he said.

That's a big change from 1956 when Steve's father, Nate Saint, flew four other American missionaries to a fateful encounter with the Aucas, as the Waorani were known to outsiders. Tementa's father was one of the killers in a massacre that shocked the world.

But today, many Waorani are committed christians, with a passion for taking the message of God's love to other tribes deeper in the jungle.

Steve was determined to assist the Waronis in their quest so he and some friends got together and formed a group called the Indigenous Technology Center.

"If we would spend at least a little bit of time and some of our resources, in re-inventing these tools that we have found to make sharing the Gospel efficient so that we can pass the torch, I think that's one of the big challenges, and I think that is one of the most efficient things we can do," he said.

Steve's interests were not limited to flying. He and his friends developed a portable dental operation unit and also a video system. Both could be carried like backpacks and operated on solar charged batteries.

Then Steve came across the powered parachute, a fairly new technology which he quickly adapted to jungle conditions. He also increased the capacity to carry two passengers and cargo.

Tementa had been in training for months, developing repair and maintenance skills. Minkai learned to use the portable dental unit. together they made quite a team.

For a savage people who once delighted in deceiving and murdering the unsuspecting, the transformation couldn't be more dramatic. They're now missionaries themselves, reaching others by using a tailor-made set of technology tools.

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Stan Jeter

Christian World News

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