Bautista Cajcuwä, lovingly known to the outside world as Chief Shoefoot, was once a powerful and feared shaman in Amazonas, Venezuela. He came to the Lord through missionaries who he would one day help form Mission Padamo. Below is an interview between between Bauista and his fellow missionary, Gary Dawson.
Bautista, what was your life like before you came to Christ?
“I was in bondage to Satan and his demons. I had so many evil spirits living within me that I was in total darkness filled with hate for everyone. I was a Shaman healer of my people but my demonic Spirits were at their happiest when through my spells we were trying to kill someone. They would scream with joy when ever I would abuse or rape some woman. The darkness that I wondered in, there was no way out for me. Even my own people began to fear me and would only whisper my name. Then God sent your father (Joe Dawson) to my village and he presented Christ to me and Jesus gloriously set me free.”
How did Jesus change you?
“All the things of my old life became filthy to me, the drugs that I took, the bone drinking orgies of my people, the dances, the spirit songs, even my precious tobacco became filthy to me and I began to abhor all the things of my culture that had been introduced to my people by Satan himself. The verse that has become my life’s verse where God specifically tells us what to do is found in 2nd Corinthians 6:17. This verse says this: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. Verse 18 then tells us if we obey God, and do what he told us, then he says. ‘And I will be a father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’”
Bautista, I have heard other people even other missionaries say that you have only changed because my dad gave you coffee to drink, gave you clothes and other things that you and your people so desperately needed. How do you answer them?
“First off, I just say ‘shädayai’ (Oh me oh my)! They do not know what they are talking about at all. Your dad told me about Jesus Christ one day when I was naked and in a drug induced stupor sitting on a log your mother and father set down beside me one on either side. I stunk because I had vomited all over myself, but these two beautiful clean people put their arms around me and your father told me that he two had been in bondage that he too had been filthy with sin but that he had cried out to Jesus, God’s son, to set him free. That day he told me the truth about the God; that we all feared the God who terrifies Satan and his demons. Even I had been terrified of him in the Spirit world. He told me how this God creator of everything loved me so much that he sent his son to this earth to become a person and to take the punishment of my sin and that he died in my place. That he rose again and was waiting for me to cry out to him and that he would set me free and that he would cleanse me. But not only that but, wonder of wonder, he would drive out the demonic forces from me and set me free from their power.”
“I staggered away from that encounter with your parents and went off into the jungles by myself. I found this huge log that had been blown over by the wind and I sat down and began to talk to God. ‘God I know you from a far, my demons fear you. God you see me and you know how filthy I am. You know the hate and anger in my heart. You know that I am completely controlled by the demons, even now they are clamoring for me to stop talking to you, making so much noise that I can hardly think. Oh God if you can please set me free.’ I looked up and for the first time I saw Satan himself come running through the jungles towards me he grabbed my arms and began to chant the old demonic chants and began to make me dance. Once again I cried out, ‘Jesus if you can set me free I want you oh set me free.’ There was a blinding flash of light between me and Satan I felt some one grab me away and a voice of total authority say, ‘Leave him alone and never come back he is mine now.’ That day Satan and his demons left and have never come back.”
“So for those who think I am a Christian just because your father loved to share with the Yanomamö just don’t get the fact that Joe and Millie Dawson shared the greatest gift of all with us Yanomamö and that is Jesus Christ the Son of God. Once again I say to Pepiwä and Milimi (Joe and Millie Dawson) thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing the gospel with me.”
Bautista, since you were saved what are some of the things that God has allowed you to do to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ?
“The first thing has to be the privilege that he gave me the job of working with my dear friends Joe and Millie in the translation of the New Testament into our language. The word of God in our own tongue has blessed and continues to bless many many Yanomamö. Even though we are old now Millie and I continue to work on getting the Old Testament completed, and I thank God for raising you up to continue and to finish where we will leave off. He has also given me the privilege to share the Gospel all over this jungle and even allowed me, an old ex-shaman, ex-devil worshiper the joy and the honor to go as a missionary to your father’s country many times. I was able to talk about Jesus Christ, the son of God, in many many universities all over that beautiful country. And guess what, I found out that the demonic forces are there also and that your dear people are being blinded by them also. Many many of them are also in darkness and do not realize the very one they curse every day is the only one that can truly give them peace of mind. I saw a beautiful great country with beautiful people being sucked into the darkness that we have come out of. A people who knew and many still know the truth but prefer to swallow Satan’s lies, and refuse to stand on the facts of the word of God. I always wanted to make one more trip to that country but it never worked out for me to go again. I have many fond memories though.”
Bautista, you now are one of the oldest living Yanomamö. What is it that you want most for your tribe?
“I want my people as a whole to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I want God’s word to become the new foundation of our culture. This will offend some people even some missionaries but there is nothing good in our old culture. It is a culture based on self, a culture saturated by Satan and his demons. I want it all to be changed for a culture based on God’s word. The Bible is so clear, it says that if we are in Christ we become a new creature; old things are past away and all things have become new. How can any one claim to know God and his word and then want the Yanomamö to hold on to an evil demonic culture. To me this is just plain stupidity. My people need Jesus Christ and they need his cleansing power and they need to be changed by the power of his word. If you do not believe that then don’t come to my people because we are looking for a new and better way.”
Bautista I have heard a lot of missionaries say that the Yanomamö are different, that they are not easily changed and that they have not readily accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why is this so and what is the answer?
“The Yanomamö people have a culture that is based on a lie. Their hero and the one they want to emulate is Satan. God says he was a liar from the beginning. So because our culture is based on a lie and the father of lies we can only come to the gospel by truth. That truth is the word of God. I am frustrated by the very missionaries that have come to our people, especially those that came after the first group of missionaries. Here is why. They come in telling us all that we had been taught was wrong and they are going to teach us right. The next thing I know they are telling my people how good our culture is and that we don’t need to change. I was shocked by what they were teaching. Colossians, the third chapter, talks about the change that we need to experience. It names all of the sins that so dominated my old life, but here they are those who are supposed to be God’s sent ones telling me that our way of life was fine. I am thinking to myself “what arrogance, for those who do not know the bondage that I was in to try and tell me that my old Satanic life was ok.” Maybe they did not mean it that way but the Yanomamö heard it that way and so many of them falsely professed Christ while holding on to a destructive demonic way of life. Missionaries argued with me about our old dances, completely Satanic, trying to tell me they meant nothing. They argued with me about tobacco because I said it was no good for the believer. I still believe that. In our old stories Satan is the first one to use tobacco and we Yanomamö copied him. Why would I still want to hold on to something that was given to my people by Satan, it just doesn’t make sense. No wonder the gospel floundered every where. They denied the very power of God to set us free from bondage and to make us NEW CREATURES in Christ. This topic just makes my old blood boil because I wonder how many Yanomamö could have and would have been saved had they been shown clearly that the old way is done away with by the new and better way in Jesus Christ.”
I stopped here for a bit as I really had the old chief worked up. Wow what a lesson to me to just continue to preach the simplicity of the gospel and let God change their hearts.
Bautista my last question really got a rise out of you and I understand where you are coming from, but in defense of the missionaries, I believe their desire is to see the Yanomamö come to Christ but they, maybe in ignorance, went about it wrong.
“Gary that is where I disagree with you, many of us leaders had too many discussions with them to believe they were talking in ignorance. When I traveled your country and spoke in many, many universities, the foremost question was why I couldn’t be a Christian and still hold on to my old culture. When I would tell it like it is, the university students always seemed to get it. I believe that the missionaries, because of pressure from the world, wanted to be able to claim that they were not changing culture. I believe that in their own minds they convinced themselves that they were right because they themselves were holding on to so much of their old way of life. They forgot that the Bible says that if you are in Christ your are a new creature. You can not hold on to a culture saturated by Satan and his demons and claim that you know Jesus Christ.”
“If those of you who are reading this are preparing for service as a missionary, be sure that you have your sights based on the Word of God. If you are only concerned about learning and preserving another culture we do not need you. We want people who will stand up for the Word of God and be proud of the change that He brings. I was lost and undone without God or His Son until He came and reached way, way down into the pit of despair that I was in; cleansed me, set me up on high ground and gave me a position in heaven. Yes, I am a changed man by the power of what Jesus did for me on the cross. Yes, my culture is being changed and new foundations are being laid, the foundation of the word of God and the power of the resurrected Lord.”
Bautista, if you could talk to pastors again in the USA what would be your words to them?
“Stand up like men, stop compromising the Word of God. Stop worrying about offending the world. The world hated Jesus and if you are doing your job the way God wants you to do it, the world is going to hate you too. Be kind and gentle but firm on the principles of the Word of God. Let your congregation see Jesus in you but never, never water down the gospel and it’s saving power just to make it appealing. Remember you are just the mouth piece; it is God and God alone who can save a lost soul.”
Thank you Bautista for sitting here with me and allowing me to put your words on my computer so that many can read your words of wisdom.