I have known Marcos for a few years now and have heard his testimony a couple of times. I had always heard the version that started at his redemption in Christ. It was December 24, 1999 when Eli Ticuna took the Gospel to him in his village. I had always assumed (which we all know is a bad idea) that Marcos had a "standard" Javari childhood. I had never really thought about the fact that he had family members that were a huge part of his upbringing. Well, that changed the other night as I heard Marcos' testimony from the early years. It has humbled me even more. As I share his testimony below, please know that I cannot make this up. This is something ONLY the Sovereign God of the universe could orchestrate for His glory. Here it is. Put yourself in his shoes - what would you do?
Marcos was born in a Mayoruna village, within their culture and beliefs. He also happened to be born as a twin. He and a twin brother were both born into a culture were twins are considered demonic. Even though he was a twin, his family loved him and hid the fact that there were 2 of them.
It wasn't long, however, before it was discovered that an "evil" set of twins was living among the village. You see, in most of these tribes, a twin represents an evil that cannot be overcome without the death of one or both of the children. Most tribes believe these are not actually babies but evil spirits that cause most of the bad that befalls the tribe. (By the way, as an intermission here, there is a reason why these beliefs are held strongly--his name is satan.) So, once it was discovered that Marcos was a twin, the chief made the proclamation that there had to be a death. By the time this all took place Marcos was a 9-10 year old boy. This is were the story takes a very sad turn.
Marcos father, intent on saving his sons, put himself up to die for them (sound familiar?). Marcos did not realize what was going on because his mother hid it from him. Soon he found out that there was going to be a murder in the village. Without going into too much detail, Marcos, as a young boy, watched his people burn his father and twin brother alive. His fathers departing words were, "I love you and my spirit will always be with you." He watched his father and twin brother be burned alive. Do you realize that? This young boy watched his family die because a chief said it had to happen because of their belief system.
After that, his mother saved his life by getting him out of the village so he would not have to try and defend himself. He grew up for several years in a Brazilian town, and at the age of 18, now a man able to defend himself, Marcos returned. Just a short while after that is when the Lord sent Eli to give the Gospel to him. Because he had lived in a Brazilian town, he spoke good portuguese and readily accepted the Gospel. After that, he was discipled and spent 4 years at a Brazilian seminary.
Now, Marcos sole passion in life is to get the Gospel to the people of the Javari. He has started a discipleship program and is teaching several different tribes the Gospel. He has learned 3 other languages to teach them in their OWN language. In less than one month, 2 young Matis men (one is the son of a Witchdoctor) will be traveling with Marcos to give the Gospel for the first time to their people.
This is what Marcos says, "After I returned, the drug traffickers had given us a lot of things, especially guns. Many people thought that I would kill chief Jose because he had killed my dad. At this point he was about 100 years old. But because of the forgiveness that Christ had shown me, I was able to forget my anger and hate, I was able to look at him like a dad. Many indians are not brave when it comes to dealing with authority, but authority needs the Gospel too! I am ready to die for the Gospel of Jesus. If that time comes, I will not have any difficulty."
People, this is a man that watched his father and brother BURNED alive over a STUPID belief, and he understands that this man was just a sinner acting as a sinner and does NOT harbor hate in his heart towards him.
Marcos passion is Christ, he is teaching the young men who Christ is and how to follow him. He is simply doing what the Lord has called him to do. He watched his earthly father give his life for him, and then the Lord brought someone to share how his heavenly Father did the same - and now his whole life revolves around getting that news to people like the chief that murdered his father.
If you would like more information on how to support Marcos and his ministry, please email me at B.firstname.lastname@example.org
(Marcos is on the far left.)