How Did the Wayuu in Northern Colombia Resist the Spanish for Centuries?

How Did the Wayuu in Northern Colombia Resist the Spanish for Centuries?

How Did the Wayuu in Northern Colombia Resist the Spanish for Centuries?

Why should we hold the Bravo families in our prayers right now? The parents, Hernan and Rosa Bravo have been working among the Wayuu indigenous people for several years. Daniel, their son, and Helen, their daughter-in-law, face dangers and difficulties during their six-hour trip to the arid Wayuu homeland areas.

The Wayuu people are the only indigenous people in Colombia who never submitted to the Spanish. Incredibly, they successfully actively resisted all attempts to subjugate them. In one famous event in 1769, Wayuu raiders invaded the Spanish military’s fort to take back the 22 Wayuu men forced to build a military fort. The incredible ability of the Wayuu to fight then is still a topic spoken about today.  Repeated rebellions occurred until 1887 when the Roman Catholic church finally made successful attempts to evangelize them by creating orphanages for girls.

The Wayuu number about 420,000 in northern Colombia and 390,000 in neighboring Venezuela. Families in the Wayuu culture belong to one of about 13 different clans. A 2018 movie about them, Birds of Passage, tells the story of drug dealing, murder, and revenge. The movie was considered the 2018 Best Foreign Language Film. It was one of President Obama’s most impactful stories. Overall, the movie presents people’s hopelessness, lostness, and darkened minds without the Lord.

The culture of the Wayuu is highly developed. Women are proud of their knitting skills, and their products are sold around the world. 

When Hernan and Rosa Bravo learned about the poor dental health of the Wayuu people, they made an initial trip to investigate. That journey led to many more, even though the trip involved going through police barricades and passing dangerous areas on the road. 

Gradually, the gentle, caring work of this dentist, his wife, and his son created many deep friendships. Scores of people were ready to hear the Gospel. With each additional trip, the impact of the life of Jesus Christ became more evident. 

As in all well-planned mission activities, there is a careful blend of exercises to strengthen the church. Training church leaders and supporting them through their initial steps is fundamental. Providing for children’s activities is balanced with training women in leadership. One day, the emphasis is on youth activities; the next day, it is on health, hygiene, and growing nutritious food. 

Please continue to pray for Hernan, Rosa, Daniel, and Helen Bravo in this strategic ministry of strengthening the Wayuu believers.