By Russ Turner
I couldn’t tell about Melito…he was about the most stoic Indian that I had encountered thus far. He was in my third-year class, copied everything I wrote on the whiteboard, but never spoke a word nor asked a question…nor ever smiled…never!
On the day that we were burying the water pipe at the Bible Institute, I asked him and several other students to help me dig the trench, lay the pipe, and cover it. It seemed to me that he did it with a scowl and an unwilling attitude. After working for a while, I went to my duffle and got each worker some candy. Each accepted it without a word, but I knew that they enjoyed it. Some things you just can’t hide!
The next day Melito and I were sitting in the shade, watching some of the other students play soccer. I pulled out a small packet of M&Ms, took a few for myself, and handed him the packet. Again, with no expression, he accepted it, ate a couple, and distributed the rest to his friends on the soccer field. “Well, maybe he does have a heart!”, I thought.
The next day in class, I said something funny, and I saw him smile for the first time! Progress! After classes on the last day, he came to me and asked if he could have a study Bible. I said, “Let me think about it.”
I asked Aniceto, the Tikuna-translating pastor, about Melito and if he should have a study Bible. He responded that Melito speaks both Spanish and Portuguese, comes from a remote village, is a great servant and witness for Christ, and could really use a study Bible.
Later I found Melito and handed him his first MacArthur Study Bible in Spanish. I could see the heart-felt gratitude in his eyes. I wanted to give Him a brotherly hug, but instead just smiled and walked away.
When two men from different cultures have God’s Holy Spirit within them, there is a bond that doesn’t require words! I think I am becoming more like an Indian everyday! “Please, Father, help this white boy to understand the Indian’s heart!”