What if there were no books written in your language? Not a single one. What if your language had no written form at all?
Most of us, especially if we are writers, take the written word for granted. Not everyone in our country can read, of course, but there are opportunities to learn, and books are always there, waiting to share their messages. Deep in the Amazon jungle, however, the remote Wilo tribe spoke a language that had never been deciphered. They lived in fear of evil spirits and witchcraft, unaware of the freedom offered by a loving God.
*OUR WITCHDOCTORS ARE TOO WEAK: The Rebirth of an Amazon Tribe is the personal story of Davey and Marie Jank, missionaries who ventured into the jungle to the village of Pakali on the Balawa River, braved snakes, alligators, hordes of gnats, and ten years of life in a mud and thatch hut to live with the Wilos. Challenged to learn their language and create a written version, Davey first had to build a relationship with them and learn the intricacies of their culture. His goal was to be able to transcribe scripture into understandable lessons of the Christian faith.
The Janks’ biography is a series of anecdotes written with humour and humility, illustrating the complexity of a primitive lifestyle mixed with the inner strength of a people anxious to discover the mystery of “God’s Talk”… the Bible.
I admit to some skepticism about how a tribe who managed to have matches to light their fires, aluminum pots for cooking, outboard motors on their dugout canoes, and store-bought clothes to wear could have remained isolated enough to miss out on other benefits of what we think of as civilization. I wonder, too, why Davey chose to wait ten years until he could use the Wilo language to create written lessons before he began sharing basics of the faith to help dispel the fear and superstition.
But despite my questions, this account of the Janks’ experiences blazes with authenticity. They write with an easy-to-read conversational style that takes us with them on a remarkable journey — an adventure of faith, sacrifice, and determination.
I’m offering a free copy of the Janks’ OUR WITCHDOCTORS ARE TOO WEAK to someone who comments on this post between now and the end of the weekend… Sunday evening, 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. The winner will be determined by a random number draw. So c’mon, say hello, and you might win yourself a good read!
UPDATE MAY 2, 2011
For those who have been captivated by Davey and Marie Jank’s story, here is a link to the video of their May 2nd interview on the television show 100 Huntley Street. (I’m not sure how long the video will be available.) http://www.100huntley.com/video.php?id=bo54RHhc17o
Others also reviewing on this blog tour:
Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak
Davey and Marie Jank
Monarch Books (2010)