Gary’s Interview With Chief Shoefoot
I have been interviewing Bautista lovingly known as Chief Shoefoot:
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.
*Gary translated his interview with Bautista from Yanomamö to English. To see the rest of their interviews, you can visit the MPAS facebook page (click here) or go to Chief Shoefoot’s missionary bio.
I have a question for Shoefoot or any other former shaman. Well first, thank him and I thank you for sharing the Lord, and for coming to America to teach us nabas. I read an article claiming that people we in the West call mentally ill, would be groomed to become shamans in cultures who have those beliefs. In Mark Ritchie’s book, there are several accounts of shamans meeting other shamans and seeing empty shabonos and trails where the spirits had been before they were thrown away.
Are some people born with a natural ability to contact or observe the spirit world, and this sensitivity can be a curse, if the person is being approached by evil spirits, or a gift if Yai Pada is in his heart, and the person has discernment? Or, do the spirits go around looking for someone to manipulate, and the person they decide on is just someone they can use, because other people will listen to him – not because he has any extraordinary spiritual abilities?
I wondered if Irritating Bee was just pretending to contact the buzzard spirit, not believing that there are demons at all, therefore not realizing the harm he was doing. Or, will anyone who takes ebene make himself vulnerable by entering the spiritual realm by an unsafe, illegitimate way? Or, are both things true? Some people are born able to see the spiritual realm , but anyone who uses ebene or substances like it will make himself able to talk with and see spirits the rest of us don’t see?
To put it another way, are there people you meet now who you think in your old life of misery you would have groomed to become shamans, who you now warn away from the demons, and teach to use their abilities for discernment and deliverance?
Lastly, what about angels? We know they are real. Do Yanomamo shamans ever see their spirits battling God’s holy angels, especially now that Yanomamo are becoming Christians?
Thank you for letting me ask these questions. I pray for your mission, and that more people living in darkness will see that Jesus loves them and will give them His peace.
Hello Julie, I’m sending your message on to one of the missionaries in Venezeula. We hope to have a response to you soon. Thanks for praying and taking an interest in the Yanomamo! God bless.