By Alexia Hess –
Ride or die. This Argentinian is no Hell’s Angel.
In fact, he’s just the opposite, an angel, a messenger sent from Heaven. His ride is bringing new life in Christ to tribal people lost in the jungle.
The native missionary – whose story is documented by Christian Aid Mission anonymously for his safety – rides his motorcycle into the most remote, dense jungle of Argentina to bring the gospel to native peoples largely cut off from civilization.
While the journey is daunting, the results have been spectacular.
“They worship Christ regardless of whether the heat or the cold hits them,” he is quoted as saying. “Many people, broken and crying, received Christ in their hearts after the message and evangelistic materials were delivered.”
In a previous generation, Jim Elliot lost his life attempting to reach jungle people for Christ. Today, much of that dangerous field work is being carried on by native missionaries, such as this Argentinian worker.
The evangelist works in Chaco Province of Argentina in a jungle called “El Impenetrable,” the Impenetrable. He puts his motorcycle on a canoe and navigates the Bermejo River. It’s no small feat to avoid capsizing in the rough currents.
After navigating the river, he disembarks for a journey of another 10 hours. The road narrows to a trail – too slender for a 4×4. You could walk it, but it would take a long time and expose you to other dangers.
“It’s wild and has dense vegetation,” the evangelist says. “It’s a risky journey. The abundance of cacti, bushes and animals like jaguars, pumas and vipers are a threat to anyone who walks.”
His journey through the jungle evokes 100 Years of Solitude, in which Jose Arcadio Buendia forays through the dense undergrowth. As he and his fellow explorers hack their way forward with machetes, they can see the foliage growing behind them, enclosing them in a bubble.
The Argentinian started reaching out to tribes in El Impenetrable simply because he believed no one else could or would. A small congregation with one tribe has been established. They have hewn benches they set up under trees to receive the preaching of the Word.
Through rainstorms and intense heat, the evangelist trudges on, reaching groups scattered throughout. They eke out a subsistence existence, waging war with the wild animals, the insects and disease.
The nearest hospital is grateful for his work as a courier bringing medicine to people who are sick, Christian Aid Mission reports.
“The hospital authorities and staff, moved and grateful, thanked God for this, since medicines are scarce, and patients otherwise cannot continue their treatments,” one area leader says.
The raising up of aboriginal leaders has also brought an unexpected impulse to the church outside the jungle. Normally, Argentinians of mostly European descent don’t give much credence to Argentinians of native blood, a form of discrimination in the developing world.
But Christian Aid workers recently witnessed a 49-year-old Argentinian of Spanish descent reach out to a tribal missionary and ask for help with depression. The man received Christ into his heart.
“The testimony is very important because in the region where our ethnic missionary serves it is very difficult for a person who is not an aboriginal to seek advice from an indigenous person,” the area leader says. “The Holy Spirit worked in the life of this man, opening his heart without distinction of race or color. It was a double miracle! Hallelujah!”
If he doesn’t ride, people will die without Christ.
He’s a Heaven’s Angel.
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About the writer of this article: Alexia Hess studies at Lighthouse Christian Academy near Brentwood in Los Angeles.