The Matses live between the Javari and Galves rivers which are on the dividing line of Peru and Brazil. Their name means “people” and their other name, Mayoruna, means ‘River people.” Their language is a Panoan family language, and some speak Spanish or Portuguese. Spanish Jesuit missionaries worked among them and eventually some Franciscans. The native people drove them out in 1866 by gaining a reputation as cannibals. It was not till the 1960’s that a group of SIL missionaries would come and contact them.

In order to earn a living, they hunt with bows and arrows and sell meat. They also plant crops such as manioc, maize, bananas, and many other plants. They are Animists and worship both human and animal spirits. Each village has a village shaman who acts as their spirit mediator.

Partnership // Move Beyond

  • Pray for those working to reach the Matses that they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be an effective witness to the Matses
  • There are only 1700 Matses and issues of illegal logging and poaching are endangering their people. Pray God would bring strong faith-filled believers alongside them to help and encourage them.
  • Pray for open hearts to the message of the gospel.
  • They do not have a complete Bible translation and the literacy rate is only 1-5 percent. Pray for creative ways of sharing God’s Word with them.

Photo source: Joshua Project