Mike & Bev Creiglow

Missionaries to Brazil

Meet the Ashaninka Indians

Who are they?



Situated on the Brazilian-Peruvian border is a small village called Foz do Breu. The name translations as; "mouth of the Pitch (river)". Mike preached there for the first time in 1967, as a teenager. In fact, he was the first person to take the gospel to that stretch of the Juruá River.

In 1995, AMDE*, a Christian Brazilian medical-dental mission outreach, visited Foz do Breu for the first time. Mike was in charge of this mission trip and every evening held services. The medical-dental group would make the trip once a year. In the first five years there were 23 professions of faith.

The young Christians that live there had been praying for someone to come and live in their village and teach them the Bible. In April of 1999 a young man named Aésio, went with Mike to visit Foz do Breu. He felt the Lord was calling him to work there. Soon after the birth of his first child in September, he and his family made the move. In just a few months they had a congregation of almost 40 believers.

During the time that Aésio was living at Foz do Breu, a group of Ashaninka Indians visited. He told them about "Pastor Miguel", as Mike is known.

In March of 2004, Mike made a trip up to Foz do Breu. It was about three in the afternoon when Mike arrived.  He’d not eaten yet, and had stretched out on the floor to rest a bit when a group of Ashaninka Indians walked in.  They wanted to talk with him. Mike knew there were indian tribes beyond Foz do Breu into Peru. He had been praying for years for an opportunity to meet and witness to them.

These Indians were from a village called Dulce Glória on the Peruvian side of the river. One of the men had lived in Pucallpa, Peru for a short time and was saved while there.  Returning to his village, he witnessed to his people and twenty-two of them accepted Christ, too!

When these Indians heard Mike was going to be in Foz do Breu in January, two of them paddled five days downstream to talk with Mike. To their disappointment, Mike was not there, having rescheduled his trip for March. The two men got in their boat and paddled back upstream. The return trip took ten days!

When Mike returned to Foz do Breu in March, fourteen of the Ashaninka Indians traveled downstream to talk with him. They begged him for help organizing a church at their village.  They also wanted him to help them reach four more groups of Ashaninka Indians located in other villages.

Mike enjoyed meeting with these men. Speaking to them, however, was challenging - and even comical at times. You see, Mike speaks English, Portuguese and a little bit of Spanish. The native tongue of these Peruvian Indians is Ashaninka. Some also spoke a little Spanish and even less Portugues. Somehow, they managed to communicate, using a mixture of these three languages!

The Ashaninka of Foz do Breu had already built a church building in their main village of about 300 people and had a New Testament translated into their native language. That night, Mike preached for them. The visiting Ashaninka Indians from Peru came dressed in their native clothing and painted faces. Some of them sang in their native tongue, and during the service they sat together in a group. During Mike‘s sermon, one of them did his best to translate the message from Portuguese into their native language.

On Sunday morning, Mike baptized twelve more people from the Foz do Breu village. Three of the Indians from Peru wanted to know if they could be baptized, too. They said they understood the reason for baptism and wanted to be immersed in their “Sunday go to meeting” woven robes. The three Mike was privileged to baptize were a father and his two sons.


After a big meal at Foz do Breu, Mike stretched out to rest. A few moments later, in came the Brazilian Ashaninka chief with the Indians from Peru.  He spoke Portuguese, so the Peruvian Ashaninkas wanted him to translate for them. After making a fifteen day trip paddling up and down the river, they wanted to be very sure Mike understood the reason they came to see him. They asked Mike to come help their church in Peru. It was amusing to Mike that once they knew he understood this, they left as abruptly as they had come!

Mike’s first trip to visit their village, Dulce Glória, was scheduled for May.

 

* "What is AMDE?"