My Chest Got Excited

This morning on a re-broadcast of a James Dobson radio program I heard a most interesting testimonial from an upper Amazon tribal chief named "Shoemaker". (Yanomamo tribe.)

This man in a clicking dialect spoke through an American missionary and friend to give an account of his journey to Christ. Presently the majority of his village are Christian. Coming from a culture of violence, drug abuse, tribal raids, brutal sports, feats of endurance, abuse of women and children and overwhelming involvement in witchcraft.

Shoemaker acknowledged that he had studied the arts of the shaman to gain power and advantage in this violent society. A senior shaman encouraged him to become a heavy drug user and to spend hours chanting for the arrival and input of evil spirits. Entire nights were given to this process and he began to have visions which were both seductive and terrifying.

A sick uncle called for his healing power, but he found that the more he chanted the closer the man got to death. The uncle did not recover. Other villagers suffering malnutrition, malaria and other diseases called for his help. He met with only mixed success. But the sensations of the trances, visions and notoriety kept him at it. He found that this ministration caused him to hate the patients and their infirmities. No compassion there.

Bottom line, he knew that these practices were wicked and in direct conflict with the influences of a great and good Spirit in Heaven. He said that all shamans know this. He was addicted in so many evil ways. He also knew that he was courting death.

A missionary family arrived in very humble circumstances. They launched into helping wherever possible around the village. They had bouts of sickness and hunger. He saw both children and parents crying occasionally about the straightness of their lives.

Shoemaker began to have conversations with the pastor, hearing of that greatest of all Spirits, Jesus. The pastor assured that the slate of sins and demonic bondage could be wiped clean. Shoemaker stated, "my chest got excited".

A struggle of conviction and hope followed for a few days, and then the weary man went out into the jungle, found himself an old dead-fall tree for a resting place and cried out to Jesus for deliverance. Immediately he had a vivid vision in which he seemed to be surrounded by a fascinating cage. A major demon approached him, laughing and inviting him to dance. Shoemaker tried in every way to avoid his advances, and finally and inarticulately cried out to Jesus.

He testifies that he saw the Lord and observed Him facing off with the demon and commanding him to "go from this brother and never to return". The release was swift and total. Everything about this man's highly tuned spiritual nature told him that he had indeed been rescued by indomitable goodness.

Two weeks before Shoemaker's visit to the States, a telling episode had occurred in his village. Four men had gone hunting on the river, and one was grabbed by an anaconda. With every exhalation of the victim, the snake tightened its choking death hold. The man passed out. Finally one of his friends got up the nerve to swing his machete. Once. Twice. Thrice. A dull weapon. But finally with backbone severed the snake fell limp. Over the next few minutes the three were able to revive their friend.

"And that, my American friends was the death grip evil spirits had on me. I will never experience that again. Praise to Jesus."


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