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The Impact of Missionaries on the Joti Tribe of Venezuela

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Sanford Tyler Sanford Mrs. Hall English 11 W H 9/27/11 Missionaries In Venezuela, South America, lives a native Indian tribe that was the last of thirty tribes found in Venezuela in 1969 (Zent). They had been completely and totally isolated from the rest of the world before their discovery. Soon after, missionaries were able to move in and begin to attempt to help these people. Missionaries around the world have an impact not only on religious beliefs but on everyday life, such as in personal hygiene, literacy, medicinal and health care, as well as in education and farming. One example of a missionary’s impact would be the work of missionaries in the JotÑ tribe of Cano Iguana in Venezuela. The JotÑ, after first being found, were then included in the 1970 census as having a population of 300. That number has now officially climbed to 767 due to a better all-around lifestyle. They live in central Venezuela in two groups: one northern group is on the Kaima River, which is a tributary of the larger Cuchivero River in the state of Bolivar; the other, a more isolated southern group, is in the state of Amazonas on the Iguana, which is a tributary of the Asita River. This southern group is also on the Parucito, a tributary of the Manapiare River. These people are actually known by at least nine different names almost interchangeably. The Chicano, Chikano, Hoti, Jodi, JotÑ, Waruwaru, Yoana, Yuana, and the Yuwana. Their language is unclassified, meaning that little is known about it by the intellectual community (Lewis). Some facts about the Jotï lived in rectangular or round houses with thatched roofs and mud and pole walls or in temporary lean-tos that were made up of several upright posts with a stick framework to support the cover of palm fronds. Their economy is based on agriculture, hunting, gathering, and fishing. ...read more.


Another, and possibly more important, contribution that the missionaries made to the people was some basic training in medicine. In the village were built a small clinic and store that contained medical equipment, items for sale, and a supply of medicine. At first, the missionaries themselves were the doctors and handled all medical problems within the tribe. Any that they could not handle on their own were sent to town by way of airplane to utilize the national healthcare that was free when patients were taken to the government hospital. Then, as time went on, they were able to train three to four of the Indian men to take over this role as the tribe’s doctors. The men learned how to administer medicine, handle snake bites, treat cuts, and treat nearly every common injury. The clinic had a well-supplied amount of medicine, especially a pill to give to patients with malaria, which had been the main killer of the people and is the cause of more deaths in the world than any other cause. Before the missionaries provided the pills, the JotÑ had been ravaged by the malaria parasite perpetually, and, along with hunger, malaria was, most likely their biggest killer and the reason for their low population. Another huge innovation for the people was the ability to deal with snake bites, which were very common in their society. The missionaries were able to provide several ways to handle them like antibiotics and hand-held electric devices to neutralize the venom at its source. These improvements saved countless lives over the years and were very influential in gaining the trust of the JotÑ people (Sanford). In the small village store was also an assortment of other supplies. One of the main items was a supply of soap for the people so the people could have a steady supply to maintain their hygiene. The store also sold things like salt for their food since they really had no other way to spice their food. ...read more.


Many times women lost the majority of their children to various ailments, including malnutrition and especially malaria, which also killed a great many JotÑ people over the years. Then, everything changed for each of them. When the mysterious white people arrived and offered medicines, healthcare, and everyday products that they had never had the luxury of using before, their lives improved dramatically. The fact that now the vast majority of babies now survive to adulthood and they don’t have to worry about dying from malaria because the missionaries could just give them a pill was earth shattering for the JotÑ nation. Being able to get matches, steel products, salt and other things also changed their lives. However, the most important gift that the missionaries gave to the JotÑ was not any of these physical things. That gift was the teaching of the Gospel to them in their own language for the first time ever! Now that is priceless. Without the missionaries’ giving their lives to God to be used in reaching the JotÑ Indians, every one of them would have sadly died and then been judged by the full wrath of God. But, since they have now heard the good news, there is an alternative, and all they have to do is believe it. The Bible says, “You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free!” and that is exactly what happened for the JotÑ who are now a vastly different people (New King James John 8:32). Moreover, just like these missionaries did with the JotÑ, many other missionaries around the world have transformed people’s lives for God. Many “missionaries” from other religions or even some in Christianity are living their lives for the wrong reasons or don’t know how to be a missionary for God, and these hypocrites cause many of the bad notions of missionaries as a whole. Although missionaries tend to get a bad rap in today’s world because of those who have not lived honorably, many are truly saving the world one person at a time out of obedience to our creator. ...read more.

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