NTM Baptizes Over 100 from Unreached Indigenous Tribe in Venezuela

Last week, over 100 indigenous people from a tribe in Venezuela were baptized by a tribal-focused mission organization.

New Tribes Mission (NTM) – an international association of missionaries concentrated on indigenous, unreached tribal groups in the world – baptized more than 100 Macos in the Ventuare River of Venezuela, on Sunday, Sept. 11.

“I was just thrilled,” NTM Nita Zelenak spokesperson told the Christian Post on Wednesday. “That is what we are here for – to see that the gospel goes out to people who don’t have a chance to hear it.”

According to NTM, the Maco people live in Southern Venezuela in both the jungle and savannah areas along the Ventuare River. They survive by planting gardens of jungle fruits and by fishing, relying on fish and yucca as their main source of nourishment.

Prior to the arrival of NTM, the Macos had some knowledge of Christianity, learning from the Piaroa, one of approximately 12 surrounding villages around the Maco tribe. Yet because of the language barrier, the Maco only had a “garbled understanding” of Christianity from the knowledge they gained through the Piaroa.

NTM had first presented the Gospel to the Piarao village, and when NTM missionaries started to evangelize in the Maco village, they brought believers from the Piarao tribe to help teach the Maco tribe.

“Typically,” Zelenak explained, “we go in and we do it (evangelize) for a period after our missionaries have learned the language and culture well so that when they present the message they have a good idea how it will be understood and interpreted and they teach accordingly.”

“What we try to do is work ourselves out of a job,” she continued, “so initially a missionary is doing the teaching, but after a while the native leaders are doing the teaching, and as the Bible is translated into their language they can be reading and studying on their own as they grow in their understanding.”

The team of missionaries working with the Maco tribe – Davey and Marie Jank, Joe and Jackie Bruce, Bruce and Cindy Higham, Phyllis Gordon, and Elivia Ulacio – press toward the goal of seeing the Maco form a self-run church. They hope that the Macos will soon be able to assume the position of the missionaries and spread the Gospel to other native tribes.

“Our long term goal for the Macos is to see them with a well-established church where they are the leaders and they are reaching out to others, taking the gospel to others – first, groups within their tribal groups and then to others beyond their tribal groups.”

Zelenak concluded her interview with the Christian Post voicing NTM’s vision, goal, and mission when sharing the Gospel to the unreached tribal people of the world.

“There are so many people in the world today, it is not that they rejected Christianity,” she said. “They just don’t know it exist.”

“I see our responsibility making that choice to other people, we are not out to make people believe something but just let people know what is available.”

Currently, NTM missionaries are officially planting tribal churches in more than 18 "Explore" countries and also involved in vital support roles – including training and administration, supply buying and Bible translation. They also serve in nine other sending countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.