Posted by: calloftheandes | May 16, 2019

God’s Call to the Yanomamö Indians in the Amazonas

by Jeff Thompson. Used with Permission of ASSIST News Service

Michael Dawson is a missionary to the Yanomamö Indians in the Amazonas region of Venezuela. Michael was born in the middle of the Amazon jungle at TamaTama, a small mission base hacked out of the rainforest on the banks of the Orinoco river. He is the fifth of 10 children born to Joe and Millie Dawson who were among the first missionaries to the Yanomamo tribe. His first language was Yanomamö and he learned English when he was seven years old.

After graduating high school he worked for two years on the upper Orinoco river system, taking portions of the New Testament to remote villages. The Yanomamö language contains many dialects and his purpose was to determine which regions could understand the dialect of the Bible translation.

He returned to the US for Bible School training in 1976 and finished missionary training three years later. He then spent a year in flight training. Michael married Renée Pintor in September, 1980 and they left for Venezuela in January of 1981. They made disciples among the new Yanomamö believers, traveling with them to different villages showing them how to evangelize their own people. They have three boys, Joshua, Ryan, and Stephen.

In June of 1992, Renée went to be with the Lord after an attack of cerebral malaria. Michael was also stricken at the same time. They were both evacuated to Caracas, but Renée did not recover. She is buried in the base village of Coshilowäteli. On her headstone are the words “She lives in our hearts as a penetrating reminder that not only is Christ worth living for, He is worth dying for.”

Mike continued working with the Yanomamö. In Oct of 1994, he married Keila and they now have two daughters. Mikeila and Mia. In 1998 they began working on an experimental airplane to be used as a part of an integrated outreach plan to reach the entire Yanomamo people. Travel is difficult and, many times dangerous in the jungle. While distances are not
that great, it can take days to get from one village to the next. The airplane was put in service in January of 2002 and has been a tremendous blessing to the outreach ministry, allowing contact with remote villages that would never have been reached any other way. In 2006, however, all flight operations in the jungle were halted due to political pressures. All jungle airstrips remain closed to date.

A Venezuelan follower of Jesus is baptized by immersion. by two evangelical church leaders.


On the 12th of January, 2006, Mikeila Reneé, the five-year-old daughter of Michael and Keila went to be with the Lord. She became ill at about 1:00 a.m. and went unconscious at 9 a.m. She passed away at about 2 p.m. Normal radio contact is had with the mission base in town every morning at 6:30. However, on that morning for some reason, no radio contact could be established. Once again. Michael understood the need to have aircraft based right in their jungle base. Michael continues working with the Yanomamö in Amazonas Venezuela. He is involved in the outreach ministry and in the Bible school. Along with the rest of the team, he also helps in community development.

In 2017, Michael’s son, Ryan, contacted MMS about the possibility of helping to prepare another aircraft for service in Venezuela. Even though the government has not reopened the airspace, the Dawsons are trusting God to open the door in His time. They want to be ready when that door opens.

Loss of life is a tragic consequence of illness and injury in remote areas of the world, and a reliable airplane with good radios will be a precious tool to those it serves. Please pray for political stability and an open door for the gospel in Venezuela!

Learn more about the good work of MMS Aviation to keep the missionaries in the air!

Jeff Thompson

In 1978 at the age of 21 Jeff Thompson moved to Vienna, Austria to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. His book, “Leaving The American Sector” available from chronicles many stories from that time period. He leads Mercy Projects in Murrieta, CA assisting vulnerable children and families in Ukraine, Kosovo, and Armenia. He enjoys expresso from around the world, and this gives him the energy to tell his grandchildren stories of being banned from Russia twice in his lifetime.



  1. Very inspiring!

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