11 January 2016

Five 'fools' for Christ; a tribute on the 60th anniversary of their deaths

Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian were martyred 60 years ago this month. They died on January 8, 1956 during an effort to make peaceful contact with the Waodani people of Ecuador.

Wow, I was only 6 months old when that happened... and now I'm a missionary. Interesting to put it into that perspective.

Ed, Roger, and Jim on the beach where where they were speared by Waodani warriors.

Roger Youderian, Peter Fleming, and Ed McCully with their wives and children

The tragedy became a defining moment in the history of evangelical missions. Hundreds of young people were inspired to take up missionary work and thousands were moved to deeper commitment to Christ.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch this video! Steve, son of Nate Saint, shares how God has continued to the write the story that began in the jungles 60 years ago.

Jim Elliot's now famous quote, handwritten in his journal in 1949
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

A few months after penning the above comment, a former missionary to Ecuador told Elliot about the Waodani (Auca) Indians, a small and fierce unreached people in the jungle. Elliot sensed a call from the Lord to reach this people for Christ and arrived in Ecuador in 1952.

I must not think it strange if God takes in youth those whom I would have kept on earth till they were older. God is peopling Eternity, and I must not restrict Him to old men and women. ~ Jim Elliot, 1950

Many of you are familiar with Elisabeth Elliot, widow to Jim. After his death, she and her three-year-old daughter, Valerie, continued to live with the Waodoni for two years. She later became the author of over 20 books and was a speaker in high demand. I posted a tribute about her after her death in June 2015.

Nate Saint with Mincaye, one of the men that speared his father

After the death of Nate Saint, his the family moved to Quito where young Steve attended school. Meanwhile, Rachel Saint (sister to Nate Saint) and Elisabeth Elliot successfully made peaceful contact with the Waodani and lived with them in the jungle. At 10 years of age, Steve Saint began staying with the Waodani during the summers and became friends with many members of the tribe.

In 1994, Rachel Saint died after spending 36 years with the Waodani. When Nate traveled to Ecuador for her burial, the Waodani invited him and his family to live with them. During the 18 months they were there, they helped the Waodani develop a desperately needed economy.

In 1996 he founded Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center (based in Florida), whose purpose is to "enable indigenous churches to overcome the technological and educational hurdles that stand in the way of their independence." Among I-TEC's notable projects is the development of the I-Fly Maverick "flying car."

Saint appeared in and narrated the 2004 documentary film Beyond the Gates of Splendor. In 2005 he published his memoirs, End of the Spear, which was made into a movie in 2006.

Poignant quote from the movie, End of the Spear

Missions is not something we pray for, support, or even go on. It’s a way of life. 
~ Steve Saint

The will of God is always a bigger thing than we bargain for.
~ Jim Elliot, 1952


Anonymous said...

As usual, your sharing touched me. Thank you. Bless you. Joanne

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I have the movie, "The End of the Spear", at home on my DVR. They truly were no fools... to give up all for that which is imperishable. People are so motivated by their senses, what they can see, touch, taste, feel and smell. I think that is the greatest temptation of the flesh. To forget that all important directive. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. That which we cannot see is more real than that what we cannot and without faith, it is impossible to please God. Everything is based on faith. I believe God answers our prayers to give us faith to believe for the unanswered. But once a prayer is answered, it isn't faith anymore in that particular thing. We can SEE that now. :) Just some reflections on how your blog encouraged me today to keep investing in the things that are not temporal but that which is eternal!

Love & hugs, Kathy

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the article about the 5 Missionaries. I understand they all went to Wheaton College where I went. I have enjoyed listening to Elizabeth Elliott for years. Carole

Anonymous said...

As I write,the time just clocked 12:33am,Sunday,January 8,2017...61yrs ago today these 5 missionaries were murdered in the jungles of Equador.In my quiet time with the Lord at this moment,I humbly bow before His throne and give Him thanks for their lives which has greatly impacted the life of this 70yr old Fijian man.To God be the glory!!! Tawake Baravilala.

deb said...

Tawake, what a fantastic tribute! Thanks for sharing it on my blog. To God be the glory! -deb