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article imageReview: God's man in the jungle

By Kelly Jadon     Feb 7, 2014 in World
At age 14 Bruce Olson asked himself, "Who is my God?" Feeling lost, his desire to know God led Olson to read his Bible. There he found the answer, "If you will believe in your heart that God raised Him (Christ) from the dead, you will be saved."
"Saved is the opposite of lost," writes Olson in his autobiography, Bruchko.
This was the point of change in the young man. He began to follow God's purpose for his life by believing.
Love. Purpose. Endurance. Submission to God’s Will. Patience. Faith.
These are the characteristics of a modern day missionary, one who has pioneered and set the standard for the next generation.
Bruce Olson went into the jungle interior, bordering Venezuela and Colombia as a young man. He knew the risks; he knew the goal. And yet, he went anyway.
He endured hunger, an arrow in the leg, and illness. His story isn’t a walk in the park. It was difficult work.
God had begun to prepare Olson many years prior through education and direction. Withdrawing early from university, he flew to South America to begin a new life as God’s man in the jungle.
Bruce simply obeyed the Will of God and took the Truth of God and Jesus to the Motilones (also known as the Bari), a South American tribe living as if in the Stone Age in the deepest parts of Colombia’s jungle. The Motilones knew that they had been deceived and lost God and His Way. They knew that in the past they had known God, but had chosen to follow a false prophet. What the tribe didn’t know was how to find God again.
Bruce Olson was the instrument used by the Lord to tell them about Jesus. The Motilones recognized what he had brought the tribe and adopted Bruchko as one of their own.
The book, [i]Bruchko,[/i] the name the Motilones call Bruce, is dedicated to Bobarishora, the first Motilone who befriended Olson. The two became close. One day, Bobarishora dedicated his life to Christ. And through him and the Motilone language, God spoke to the tribe.
His people pulled the Blood of Christ over their deception. They had found the Way back to God.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.~John 14:6 (NASB)
An estimated 70 percent of the Motilones are believers in Jesus Christ today.
They run their own health centers, schools and have educated their own as lawyers, providing themselves legal representation in land disputes and native rights.The proceeds of Olson's autobiography, Bruchko, go to help fund these schools and clinics.
While preserving the culture of the Motilones, the Gospel of Christ was shared and received.
Bruce Olson was able to do what others could not because he followed in the footsteps of Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, who took his gospel to other cultures. Paul did not seek to create new Jews from the Ephesians, Greeks, and Colossians. Instead he showed them the way to God through Christ. He said, “And I show you still a more excellent way.” 1 Cor 12:31(NASB)
And that way was the way of love.
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NASB)
Olson cared not to change the culture of the tribe, nor did he seek to Westernize the Motilones. He sought to show them the better way. And they began to follow the trail of Jesus, caring with love for their own.
God enters a culture, making it better.
Bruce Olson has taken the Motilone language, put it into written words and then translated the New Testament language into Motilone.
Bruce Olson has come to speak 15 languages, spoken before the United Nations and the Organization of American States. He has been recognized and been befriended by several presidents of Colombia. Indeed, man has honored Bruce for his work, but it is truly God Who has honored him more so. God has used Bruce Olson to change the world.
The youth today are no different than Olson's youth of the 1960s. They desire to know what life’s purpose is. Bruce Olson found his purpose. He found adventure and came to know the leading of the Holy Spirit.
No one can know the plans He has for them unless he follows Him.
To follow Him, one must become like Him.
To become like Him, one must know Him.
He is known through His Word.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.~ Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
God knew the hearts of the Motilones and he knew the heart of Bruce Olson. He knew the Motilones desire to know Him and Bruce's desire to serve Him.
This autobiography, Bruchko,(Creation House, Altamonte Springs, Florida, 1973) is recommended for anyone, especially youth, who hears God calling and wishes to dedicate his or her life to His purposes. Not everyone is called to go into the jungle, but all believers are called to service for Him in some capacity, sharing their gifts. Bruce Olson had a delight for Biblical languages and had studied them in high school. This prepared him for learning more native languages and for translating the Word into the Motilone language.
It is through the carrying of the cross daily, His purpose put into action day-by-day, that God establishes and fulfills a human’s deepest desires in this life on earth.
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)
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