Angels Prepare the Way for Gospel
to Reach Indians in South America
By Bob Norton, Adventist Medical Aviation Mission Pilot in
This is a story I have pieced together from talking with the
descendants of Chief Auka and tribal leader Francisco. Also I’ve read
in Francisco’s diary. It is a story of God reaching out to a remote
people so they could know about Jesus and the Bible truths.
Auka lived in the late 1800 to early 1900’s. (See photo at left,
which was taken in 1912, probably by National Geographic, as he’s
dressed differently than his usual attire. I have found two copies
in the hands of his family, probably the only photos of this Chief.)
Chief Auka ruled over the Indians in a large part of Venezuela,
Brazil, and Guyana. Wanting to make things better for his people and
be a better ruler Auka asked the Big Spirit for help, and in answer
to his plea he began receiving visions.
The first time Auka went
into vision the people thought he had died, but yet he was still
standing up. They tried to lay him down but couldn’t move him. Then
they discovered that he was still breathing, but very slowly.
Something strange which had never happened before was occurring.
After coming out of vision, Auka told his people what God had shown
him. He explained, “A person like a bright light came and talked to
me, telling me things we should do.”
Auka received many visions, and as he traveled around governing his
people he would teach them about the God in Heaven and things we can
read in our Bibles. Auka, the name he came to be known by because of
the visions, means "shining light." In these visions he was taught
many things, including abstaining from eating unclean meats, the
seventh-day Sabbath, and prayer. Angels taught him songs and
multi-part harmony so they could sing as a choir. One of the songs
they learned in English was “Shall we Gather at the River.” Auka spoke English, Spanish, and several Indian dialects.
He was also told not to rule by force and killing, but not knowing
how else to rule, Auka asked God to tell him. So the next time a big
problem came up, instead of fighting he had a special bed made to lay
on while he waited for the Angel to tell him what to do. While lying
there he would go into vision and an angel would give him guidance
on how to fix the problem. Every time Auka needed help he would go
lie on this special bed and wait for the angel to talk to him. Each
time he would receive a vision and then would do whatever the angel
told him to do. It always worked!
Auka told his people, “An angel has told me that a white man will
come with a black book to teach us more about God's ways.” Eagerly Auka waited for the man of his vision to appear. Before he died he
told his people not to give up, that soon a white man would come and
teach them more.
O.E. Davis was a missionary living and working in Georgetown,
Guyana. One day a man who worked as a miner came into town with a
note for Elder Davis. On the piece of paper was written a request
that he go out to where these Indians lived and teach them about
God. This message troubled him, but he was too busy to leave his
work and travel that distance not even knowing where to find these
Sometime later this miner again came to Georgetown bringing
a similar note. Elder Davis asked the miner who was giving him the
notes with the request to come. The miner told him, “A big man sent
them, but that’s all I know.” (I’ve not been able to find out who
sent the notes, but think it was probably an angel.) As time passed
Elder Davis accumulated many of these notes, and he felt troubled
about how to respond. One day his wife found all these notes in one
of his pockets and asked her husband about them. After Davis
explained how he received them she stated, “You must go.” Her
Shortly afterward, Elder Davis left to go find these Indians (about
1910). During the journey, before arriving at Mount Roraima where he
would find the Indians, he became ill with malaria and stopped at a
miner’s camp to gain his strength back. One day as he was sitting
outside reading his Bible he saw a group of Indians running toward
him. The miner yelled, “Run!” then took off.
However, Davis just
stood there with his Bible behind his back, trying to protect it. As
the Indians ran up and circled him, Davis quickly realized that they
didn’t want to hurt him. Instead they seemed happy to see him and
asked him to show them his black book. Davis, afraid these Indians
would take away his precious Bible, was reluctant to show it to
When Davis showed them his Bible they rejoiced. “We have been
waiting many years for you to come!” they exclaimed.
“How did you know I would come?” Davis asked.
“An angel told Auka our Chief that a white man with a black book
would come and teach us more, so sit down and teach us now!”
Even though Elder Davis tried to put them off until later, they
insisted that they had waited long enough and wanted to know more
now. “Sit down right now! We want to hear from the black book.”
Davis had no choice but to sit down, and he began with the plan of
salvation and the simple Bible truths. “No,” the Indians declared.
“We know all that. Tell us more.”
Next Davis started to share about the Bible Sabbath, but again he was
interrupted. “No. We understand about the true Sabbath. We know all
that. Tell us more.”
So Davis went on to the Sanctuary and it’s meaning, only to
discover that these Indians even knew that! Eventually he found
things they didn’t understand. How long this group of Indians stayed
with Elder Davis studying the Bible I don’t know. Hours? Days? They
were traveling and on their way back to their village when they’d
come upon the white man with the black book. They returned to tell
their village people about the white man with the black book. Elder
Davis returned to Georgetown to get well, but promised he would come
back as soon as he could.
Elder Davis did go back and spent
more time teaching these
Indians, but again he became sick and never made it back home. His
grave is at the base of the great Mount Roraima, where it can still
be seen today.
There are several stories about why Davis died,
perhaps of malaria. However, I have discovered that he liked to fix
his own food while living with the Indians, and suspect that he got
bitter yuca thinking it was the sweet yuca. The Indians make
cassava bread with the bitter yuca, but must be sure to squeeze out
all the juice because it is poisonous. It’s my theory that’s what
caused Davis’ death. Incidentally, they are now known as the Davis
During the last weeks Davis was with the Indians before he died, two
young boys were put in charge of helping him and to learn all they
could from him. One of these boys was Francisco, probably the son of another chief. Auka was the last big chief
over such a large part of the country. Francisco’s father was a
chief over a much smaller section.
Francisco grew up traveling
around with his father and was very well liked by the people. His
father was forceful, but Francisco was kind. When his father was old
and nearing death he begged his son to take over and become the next
chief. Francisco didn’t want to be chief. He just wanted to teach
others about the Bible and of Jesus who would soon return.
father continued begging him until finally Francisco accepted the
position of chief and put on his father’s ring. After his father was
buried he took off the ring and threw it away saying, “I will not be
the chief. I am going to travel and teach others about the Bible.
However, he was respected and treated as the chief by his people.
During this time there was a lot of persecution by the Catholic
Church and the National Guard, who were given their orders by the
church. One day as Francisco was traveling with a companion he came
over the top of a mountain and exclaimed, “This is the mountain!”
“Which mountain?” his friend asked.
“The one in my dreams,” Francisco replied.
“And how do you know it is?” his companion persisted questioning.
“Because there are three smaller humps. Yes, I know for sure because
look, here in the valley are three hills in a row which I also saw
in my dream.”
“So, what is the meaning?”
Francisco answered, “I’m not sure, but I’ve been looking for
somewhere to start a village where we can build a church where the
Catholics and National Guard won’t come bothering us. I think God is
telling me that this is the place.”
Seeing a small hut down below the men made there way to it and
inquired of the man living there if he’d seen the guards or a
Catholic priest. “No, they don’t come and bother us out here,” the
man assured his visitors. Then Francisco asked if he could stay
there for awhile to rest as he wasn’t feeling well. Also he
explained about his desire to build a church and have a village
where people could worship God in peace.
The man agreed to allow him to stay, and it was during this time
that Francisco received visions. He was very sick, coughing up
blood. While he rested, trying to get well, Francisco would pray.
One night he was shown in a dream or vision a mountain with a bright
light coming up from it, lighting up the sky. Several times he had
this vision and asked God to show him what it meant. “God, I know
you are trying to tell me something, but I don’t get the message.
You need to make it clearer. What does this light mean?” (See
picture above drawn in his diary).
Then one night the vision came again, but this time after the light
came up from the mountain to the sky it formed the letters E N D,
and then the letters came down with the light into the valley.
(Francisco spoke Spanish and English as well as other dialects)
“Thank you God,” he prayed. “Now I know that this place is going to
be a great light in the end times to all around this area!”
Francisco arranged for a village to be built, making the people
promise that the first building to be erected would be a church. He
drew up the plans on how to lay out the village with the church at
the end of the main street (see picture at left).
getting worse, so friends decided to try to find help. Carrying him
in a hammock they headed for Georgetown. Francisco didn’t make it
out to where he could get medical help, but died on the trail after
two weeks of travel. (From what I’ve found his illness was caused
from a spider. Some woman had given him something to drink with this
certain kind of dried spider ground up in it, causing a long, slow
It is the mountain which is standing behind the school and in front
of AMA base which Francisco saw in his dream. The village was built,
and like the people promised, the church building was first. The
place where the hut Francisco stayed in is just off the end of the
air strip. I have seen and photographed his diary, which is written
in English and Piman. I have also talked with his youngest daughter
who is still living and now an old grandmother..
For awhile before we could build our house we rented a little house
from this Grandmother. I say rented, but we couldn’t tell her that
we were renting because she would get very upset. “I just want you
to stay here,” she’d tell us. So we would give money to her
daughter, who would give it to her mother as money to help her. That
One day she told us, “I was one of Alfred Cott’s students.
I was just a little girl, but I still remember well how we kids
would gather and he would teach us. (Alfred Cott came to teach these
Indians after Elder Davis died.)
One day this Grandmother came to see us at her house where we were
living, bringing her daughter along to translate. She doesn’t speak
Spanish, just Piman and a tad of English. “Sit down, my kids,
(that’s what she calls us) I have something to tell you. So we all
sat down and she began. “I want to tell you about a dream I’ve had.
In my dream I saw a well kept clearing with a big spring of water.
The water was good—clear and clean. People came from all over to
drink from the spring. I saw a big pool of water where they would
come and fill containers. The spring I saw in my dream is right
where you have started building your house. I don’t know what my
dream means, but I just wanted you to know about it.” Well, the
house is completed and we are living in it now.
Grandmother desperately wants to fly with me in the plane, but her
children are afraid she’ll have a heart attack so they won’t let
her. Smiling, she motions to me with her hand about wanting to fly.
“I want to go way up and dive down, then swoop up again like a
bird,” she chuckles. But since I’ve sternly been told not to tell
her that I will take her flying she will have to wait until Jesus
returns and gives her wings.
Today AMA is endeavoring to continue the purpose God had when He
gave visions and dreams to the Indian leaders. As Grandmother’s
dream seems to indicate, our base here is to be a source of water to
those thirsting for something better. Because of the airplane we are
able to save weeks of travel and transport lay workers with “the
black book” to teach others about Jesus.
Learning about Chief Auka
and how angels instructed him makes one realize that God will use
His messengers to finish His work, but He also uses people who are
willing to give their lives to carry the gospel to the uttermost
parts of the earth.
Thank you for your prayers and support for Adventist Mission
In His Service,