Authors: Davey and Marie Jank

Imagine living for years in an Amazon jungle village that doesn’t have the luxury of running water (except in an alligator-infested river). Home is a wattle-and-daub hut with a mud floor and thatched roof. The people speak a language you don’t know – a language that has never been written down or translated. Snacks? Thumb-sized white grubs. And you have to eat them to be polite.

Your only link to the outside world, and to anyone who speaks your language, is a radio with poor reception. Your transportation is by foot or in a hand-hewn boat, or by plane. Except you have to build a runway before the plane can get to you.

Imagine doing all of this, and facing these hardships, because you know that God wants you there to translate their language and to teach these people to read.

I’m a Christian. My faith is central to my life, but I am so very glad that God didn’t ask me to eat grubs. I’m really not sure I could. (Which is probably why He didn’t ask me.)

Davey Jank not only imagined himself in that remote village. He went there. He did that for the Wilo people who had begged for years and years to have “God’s Talk” – what they call the Bible – translated into their own language. So they could know about God. So they could free themselves from the despair of fear and the inability of their witchdoctors to appease the spirits.

Eventually, Davey married. His wife and several other missionaries joined him to help translate the Bible into the Wilo language. Fortunately for Davey, his wife doesn’t whine about wanting a dishwasher, or a bathroom, or not having a fast-food restaurant in the neighborhood (except for that rotten tree full of thumb-sized grubs).

In a delightfully humorous yet heart-touching memoir – Our Witchdoctors are Too Weak – Davey and his wife Marie relate their adventures in the Wilo village. They were, and are, successful  in their mission. One village man – newly literate and a new Christian – puts it like this: “The things that we are saying today [about faith and God] are not things that you have taught us; they are things that God’s Spirit has taught our spirit.”

Davey Jank says, “I was never more happy to be rendered irrelevant.”

Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak by Davey and Marie Jank is available from most online booksellers. Order from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Our-Witchdoctors-Are-Too-Weak/dp/0857210084/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1301679342&sr=1-1.  Or Barnes & Noble at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Our-Witchdoctors-Are-Too-Weak/Davey-Jank/e/9780857210081/?itm=1&USRI=our+witchdoctors+are+too+weak.

I’m also giving away two copies. Just post a reply to this review.

I’ll draw two names from those who post on this review and those who post on this week’s Wild Word Friday (April 08), which will feature a word from the Wilo language.  If your name is drawn, I’ll send you a book. Reply on both posts and you’ll have two chances to win!

Q4U: Anybody for a grub? What’s your most UNfavorite food?



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6 Responses to Witchdoctors

  1. jackie doran says:

    that sounds like a good book Sue.

    “Grub” here in Ireland actually means food, people often say: Let’s get some grub.
    In pubs the food is called : pubgrub.

    My most unfavourite food must be olives.. just cant stand them.

  2. Hi, Sue. The Janks’ book is turning up in lots of places! I reviewed it on my blog today with a draw for a copy, too, so you needn’t include my name in your draw. 🙂 I’m so glad God has never asked me to minister in the Amazon… don’t think I could manage those grubs. Even oysters and sardines set my stomach to churning.

  3. suehar says:

    @Jackie, pubgrub! That’s neat. My father-in-law calls food ‘grub’ and also ‘eats’. I’m not surprised that ‘grub’ is an Irish thing. His grandmother was an O’Neill, very Irish. My husband’s least favorite food is probably olives, esp. green olives. I don’t like molasses. With my father’s family being from the south molasses was always on the table and usually served with pancakes. I’d much rather have maple syrup instead!

    @Carol, Thank you for the comment, Carol! I’m with you about the grubs. I don’t mind oysters if they’re not raw and sardines are okay but yucky. In Japan I once ate raw whale meat. That was interesting, but I also found in Japan that I really enjoy raw fish. Hmmm who would have guessed? Not me!

  4. I also reviewed this book, so it was fun to read your review–especially since several of my family members are career missionaries with New Tribes. I even visited a mission station in the Amazon jungle many years ago (not the Wilos). Thankfully no one offered me a grub!

  5. suehar says:

    Thank you, Valerie. Wow, they have all my admiration. What a wonderful way to serve the Lord.

  6. Sue, I was pleased to read your review since I have seen this title listed in various places but hadn’t had a chance to look into it yet. It sounds like such a marvellous story.
    I admire people who can eat things that for me may not ‘stay down’. I won’t eat clams or oysters, and I really don’t think I could eat any kind of ‘bugs’ unless I didn’t know about it. 🙂
    I very much enjoyed this review.

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