Monday, March 17, 2014

Wayumi: Tribal Missions Retreat

I want to share an experience my family was blessed to have at a place called Wayumi. A few weeks ago I was busy packing for six people for the weekend. On Friday morning a couple from church came by after we took Hunter and Natalie to my dad's and we loaded into their van for the five hour trip. We left the other two with family because they would have had a hard time sitting through the sessions at the retreat.

Once we got to Jersey Shore PA we checked in, found our room and relaxed until dinner. Then started the real fun! After dinner we had our first session. We learned a little more about the workers and why Wayumi was started. Wayumi is a way for New Tribes Missions to teach people about tribal missions. We also got to hear about the Yanomamo tribe in Venezuela that night and tried a yucca root that they often eat. I couldn't get Chelsea to try more than a tiny bite. As those of us who did try it chatted I heard lots of comments that it tasted like Shredded Wheat which I think is pretty accurate description of this strange looking stuff.

Yucca root.

Saturday morning was spent learning about the different languages and how our culture effects everything we do. We had quite a few laughs imagining eating pie "backwards". A favorite story of mine was when Gary told about having some men over from the tribe and making coffee for them. He invites them in and tells them to sit in the dining table. After some confused looks the men end up squatting on the chairs. I never realized even the way we SIT is effected by our culture! This entire tribe, he came to realize never sits like we do, they squat and can stay that way for long periods of time too!

In the language session we learned how difficult it can be to learn some of these languages. In the Joti tribe the word creation can be said five different ways and each one means something different! They say that English is the hardest language to learn but after seeing some of the examples of things like that I'm not so sure.

Saturday afternoon was the best experience of the retreat and I think many who went would agree.. We had the opportunity to experience going into a tribal village without knowing the language and trying to communicate! We met a Joti tribesman and a woman from the Yanomamo tribe. We instantly noticed the differences in how they acted and responded. It was quite difficult to figure out what to say when you had no idea what they were telling you! After a few minutes with the Joti man we were given a little help with a phrase to use to ask "What is it?" That helped some but we still felt quite lost because he spoke very quietly and we had a hard time catching what was said.

 When we met the Yanomamo woman she asked my husband to sit in the hammock next to her and was outspoken and seemed very friendly. We had been given a few phrases ahead of time and that helped us out a lot!  Her outgoing, boisterous personality helped us relax a lot more. She was helping us repeat the words so we could learn them and we had a lot of fun with her. After meeting both tribeswe were shown some pictures and videos of how these tribes really live.Once everyone had the chance to experience "the village" we tried to remember how to pronounce the words we'd learned and had an opportunity to ask questions.

After dinner we had another session to learn about all of the different jobs missionaries do. They don't all just translate or live in the jungles. Many of them live in the cities and buy supplies, are dorm parents for the visionaries children who go to the schools there, take care of finances, pilots and a bunch of other jobs. My husband and I were both surprised that it's not just the translating and jungle living that missionaries can do!

Sunday morning was interesting with the threat of a giant snow storm! We had breakfast and then got to learn more about the Joti tribe's story. It's amazing how much work it takes to learn and translate and then teach the people! Scott said they started with Genesis because the people had no idea who God even was. They built on that and worked through the old testament and the idea that a Savior would be coming. I'm amazed at the excitement these people have for God's word! They were eagerly waiting for the next teaching and once they had their own Bibles or lessons on tape that's what the people did in the evenings. They'd be listening or reading out loud and just had such desire for God's word that it really makes you think about your own desire for God's spiritual nourishment,

This was an absolutely amazing weekend and a life changing one too. This past Sunday we learned that there's talk of going again in a few years and I can't wait! Wayumi offers open weekends, youth retreats and other events. If you have the chance make the trip to Wayumi! You'll be glad you dd.

Have you had any experience with missions? 

More pictures because I couldn't fit all of them above.

All pictures courtesy of Joy Miller. Thanks Joy!

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