The shrill yell of an elderly woman announced another fight was about to begin. Most of the village ran to the opening in the jungle in anticipation of the blood bath which was about to take place.
Monica shook her head, "It amazes me how the older women are always the first to know when a fight breaks out. Better get the medical supplies."
"Yeah, there will be bodies to stitch up for sure," Bryan said while walking towards their hut.
Few outsiders were invited to live in this area of the jungle; even fewer were able to survive the difficult jungle life. Bryan and Monica Cooper were medical missionaries who found this primitive part of the Amazon rain forest by accident. While traveling from Brazil to Venezuela, their boat had sunk on the Uranicoera River. Waiting to be rescued, they fell in love with the Yanomami Indian tribes who lived in the area. They decided to stay.
Bryan was surprised to see a fight break out. Steam rose from the jungle floor. Moisture from the humidity was catching in the large plantain leaves, dripping water on their heads as if it was raining. "There must have been a serious infraction to cause this much commotion on such a hot afternoon," he said. "I wonder what it's about this time."
"Who knows," Monica replied. "It doesn't take much to set someone off. Our work would be much easier if they weren't such fierce warriors. How far will they take the fighting today?"
When they reached the clearing, two men were already attacking one another using chest pounds. They ran as fast as they could, jumping and slamming into each others' chests. After impact, they picked themselves up to charge at full speed once again.
Realizing the men were strong and able to withstand the pounding, someone threw them machetes. Flinging machetes at each other, the men began to inflict serious injury. The older of the two men, taking the worst of the beating, had blood dripping from several wounds. Flies were already buzzing around his cuts.
Using the Yonamamian dialect, Bryan was able to piece together why the two men were fighting. The younger man was interested in marrying the older man's daughter. He made the mistake of mentioning his intentions by using the girl's name publicly. It was tribal taboo to say anyone's name openly; it was considered an insult to the person and their family.
Shouts and laughter were coming from the crowd. The more blood that was shed, the louder the people yelled.
"Bryan, will we ever make a difference in the lives of these people?" Monica asked. "They can be so loving and generous when they want to be but so blood-thirsty vicious at other times. What can we do?"
"There's not much we can do. This is part of their culture. We're not here to change their culture, we're here to change their hearts," Bryan answered.
"What will it take for them to open their spiritual eyes to see the truth of Jesus' love for them? We've been at this a long time and have only a handful of converts to show for all our years of labor."
Not able to stomach anymore of the fight, Monica walked to their hut near the main compound. "Lord, I don't know how much more of this I can take. I don't know if I can cope with further disappointments. I love these people but they are steeped in their own dark magic and spirit world, they can't seem to see the Truth of Jesus we have to offer them. I don't know what else to do, Lord. I'm ready to give up."
A couple of the younger mothers, lacking seniority, stayed at the tribal compound to care for the infants and toddlers. One mother looked up at Monica and smiled. She was their last convert from over two years ago.
Monica remembered the day this young woman was baptized. It had cost her dearly. She was pregnant at the time. After giving birth to her only child, a daughter, her polygamist husband never came to visit her again at night. She was ridiculed by the other women and considered an outcast. Yet, she faithfully attended meetings and always had a song of praise on her lips.
Monica wiped away steamy tears as they fell to her cheeks. Opening HER spiritual eyes, in that moment, she saw how precious indeed one sweet soul was worth to her Lord.
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