The churchgoers were in awe as to how this group survived in the Amazon jungle and Arnold also presented a very informative slideshow as to what their Amazon Missions actually is all about.
On Sunday, 20 January, Arnold and his wife, Heidi, visited Piet Retief and delivered a powerful sermon at the AGS Fontana Church.
According to Amazon Missions website, he started his mission at the age of 33 when he reached out to people in various Amazon tribes. He travelled to South America in 1993 and still continues his mission to this day. Arnold mentioned that people are often challenged by two things in life: “where will you get the money to do this” and “is it not dangerous”.
He added that if these two things are holding you back in life, you should rethink your faith in the Lord as He will make a way for you to accomplish His work, when you might think it can never be possible.
This is also a reason why the Amazon region has mainly never been in contact with Western structures and the tribes are often referred to as “stone age” people. They don’t wear clothing; they make their own weapons out of things they can find in the jungle such as tree glue, wild cotton or bamboo.
These people know exactly how to make a very sharp arrow, dip it in frog or spider poison, which will kill its target almost instantly – all this without any form of training or technology, it’s all basic instinct, passed down. If these tribes don’t have any access to modern day living, let alone ever saw a can of Coca-Cola, they most certainly never heard of Jesus.
Imagine yourself living in one of the most remote areas of the world, where you have no access to technology, lack of basic sanitation and face a daily struggle to gather enough food to survive – that is exactly what Arnold van der Spuy, his wife and a dynamic team of Christians do to spread the Gospel and hand out Bibles to people who have never even seen a piece of clothing!
Arnold and his team visit these tribes, supply them with clothing, teach them basic medical skills and educate them on the word of Christ. During his visit on Sunday, he mentioned that the Amazon tribal people believe that they should worship the “spirits of the jungle” as they have never been able to find the “one large spirit”.
They also believe that if they don’t worship these spirits, bad things will happen to them. Is it not amazing that we, as educated people, have learned so much over the decades through religion, education and much more, yet there are still people that only survive on their basic human instinct.
The audience found Arnold’s explanation as to how these people live very interesting. He mentioned that in some cases, they travel by canoe for about nine hours at a time to reach a specific tribe. A Tribal Chief does not always welcome them with open arms and incidents such as these, present its own danger.
These people will not hesitate to kill you and it takes a long time to gain their trust so you can achieve what you set out to do. This takes courage and determination – all while you pray for guidance the entire time! In the Amazon jungle, you have to survive on meals such as snakes (and they are huge), spiders (of about 30 cm in size) and sometimes turtles.
There are no other source of food. You have to hunt for your next meal. Fathers go out and if they have to, will hunt monkeys in order for their wives and children to receive the much needed nutrition. Life in the jungle sure seems like an adventure, but you have to be built for it! Sunday’s sermon was one to remember and so much was learned through the eyes of someone else.
One often lives day by day and do what needs to be done, only to get through that day/week or to survive that day, but when you sit and listen to the fulfillment of what another person’s mission in life brings him, it makes you ask yourself the question, am I doing enough?
Thank you to everyone who was involved in the organisation and execution of Arnold and his wife’s visit. It surely made a huge difference in many people’s lives. If you would like to find out more about the Amazon Missions, please visit their website on www.amazonmissions.com or contact Arnold on 074 227 3224.