The Amahuaca people are located in the southeast part of the Amazon in Peru and Brazil. They are a Panoan tribe within the Yaminawa-Cashinawa language group which ties them linguistically with other tribes, such as the Cashinahua, Yaminahua, and Yoranahua. Originally the Amahuaca lived in the Urubamba Valley, but rubber trappers forced the people to move to other regions. Also, stronger neighboring tribes compelled them to seek more remote locations in the Amazon for safety. The challenges facing today’s Amahuaca are issues of disease and illegal logging.
Dominican missionaries came in the 1700s but were met with resistance. Today, there are 400 Amahuaca and only .30 percent have a relationship with Jesus. They practice an animistic religion, which means they believe spirits inhabit all material things and have shamans who are mediators between them and the spiritual world.
Engagement // What’s Happening Now
Bryan Webb recounts the journey of missionary Steve Ford who seeks to reach the unreached tribes in the Amazon. He states,
“Yet telling them is our responsibility. Christ gave the Church one overarching mandate: to go and keep going until every nation, tribe, language and kindred has heard the gospel. Steve and his team are doing all they can to reach these remote Amazon people. But for every village they contact, there are many more that remain untouched by the gospel.”
“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Luke 10:2, NIV).
Sustainability // The Bigger Story
The Amahuaca do not have a written New Testament in their language and the literacy rate in their primary language is only 30 percent. Pray that a Bible will be written in their language as well as other resources such as audio and the JESUS film.
Partnership // Move Beyond
Please spend a few minutes in prayer for:
- Pray for missionaries like Steve Ford whose life calling is to share the gospel with the unreached tribes of the Amazon.
- The difficulty in reaching these tribes is the lack of longevity. Pray for workers who will not only commit to engaging the Amahuaca but will stay to disciple and build lasting relationships with them.
- In the past, missionaries have been met with resistance, pray for open hearts and attitudes as workers come to share the gospel.
Pray the church in Peru will develop a vision for planting churches among the Amazon tribes.