"You have heard that it was
said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for
tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an
evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the
also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have
cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who
borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor
hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those
persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes
to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and
unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your
are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect,
as your heavenly Father is perfect.
you feel? What would you do if your father, your brother, your husband,
son had been killed without provocation, killed simply because someone
to be killed, they were outnumbered but
it wouldnft have mattered they were ready for death and did not fight
instead reached out to their killers in love. As there love flowed so
blood just as Jesusf blood flowed for all of us as he cried out to us
Today we will recall such a story. Perhaps many of you already know it.
do you will not mind hearing it again, if you havenft heard it, it will
you and humble you. This is a story of Gods love and a story of
carry this love without regard to his own life. It was a suicide
mission but so
was Christfs It was a mission of love. It was a story that shocked and
a generation. I hope it will also inspire this generation and all of
stories have a beginning and an end, but the story of the Woarani is
flowing. It didn't end even when the 5 Hero missionaries were slain by
spear-throwing natives while daring to contact one of the world's most
and isolated tribes along a jungle river in Ecuador.
deaths - 50 years ago this month - got international attention and
generations of evangelical missionaries.
"End of the Spear," a feature-length movie based on their story, is
scheduled for release in the United States Jan. 20 in
1,200 theaters. It comes
on the heels of "Beyond the Gates of Splendor," a documentary on the
story that was released on DVD this past fall. The original story told
book through the gates of splendor the video based upon this is in the
makes the story more compelling is that a widow and a sister of the
daringly went to the tribal settlement nearly three years after the
converted the killers to Christianity, and largely stopped a
cycle of revenge slayings.
widows and their children have since visited the group. Video and
of broadly smiling tribesmen with their victims' family members present
riveting images of friendship and forgiveness.
think it's fair to say that this story of the five men was probably the
defining missionary martyr story for American evangelicalism in the
of the 20th century,"
a dramatic search for the missing men and a spread in Life magazine,
missionaries drew broad public attention because they were young,
looking and deeply spiritual, and they died at a time when Americans
seeking heroes, she said.
of the story are;
Elliot was from Portland,
was president of the Student
Foreign Missions Fellowship. A perceptive thinker and writer, he wrote
college: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he
cannot lose." He was married to Elisabeth Howard, from a prominent
Christian publishing family in Philadelphia.
The Elliots had an infant daughter.
Fleming was from Seattle,
and at twenty-seven was a year
younger than his friend Jim Elliot. Pete had recently received his M.A.
literature. He was married to his childhood sweetheart, Olive, and they
three young children.
McCully, the oldest son of a Milwaukee
bakery executive, attended Wheaton
and starred on the football team. He
had won the National Hearst Oratorical Contest in San
Francisco in 1949 and studied at Marquette University
He and his wife, Marilou, had an eight month-old son.
Youderian was raised on a Montana
attended Northwestern schools in Minneapolis
where he met his wife, Barbara. They joined the Gospel Missionary Union
were working with Mr. and Mrs. Frank Drown among the head-hunting
the Elliots, Flemings, and McCullys arrived.
Saint, the most animated of the lot, had
been flying missionaries in and out of stations in the Ecuadorean
1948 for Missionary Aviation Fellowship. Builder, inventor, and skilled
had devised an alternate fuel system for single-engine planes and an
method of lowering a bucket by using a spiraling line to the ground.
"During the last war, we had to be willing to be expendable," he
wrote. "A missionary constantly faces expendability." Nate was
married to a nurse, Marj, whom he had met in the service. They had
McCullys, who then had two sons, lived in a makeshift home on the
of the Arajuno
Quichuas they were working
with refused to remain with them after 4 p.m. because of lingering
Waodani attacks, according to "Through the Gates of Splendor," a
bestselling book by Elliot's widow, Elisabeth, that has become an
classic. An electric fence 30 yards from the home, beyond accurate
range, provided a warning system.
missionary families had long heard of the feared Waodani, then known as
a pejorative Quichua term meaning gnaked savages.h Anthropologists who
the tribe called it the most violent group they had ever seen; six of
Waodani adults died due to homicide. Neighboring tribes, as well as oil
workers in the region, feared the Waodani. The many stories of violence
the region included the fatal spearings of three Shell employees at
1942. The first known missionary to the Waodani, Jesuit Father Pedro
was slain with spears in 1667, Elisabeth Elliot wrote. Later, violent
intrusions by rubber traders and others heightened the tribe's distrust
outsiders, especially whites.
missionaries felt a strong call to save souls, regardless of the
dangers, according to the book, the missionaries' diaries and family
Their excitement surged when Nate Saint and another missionary spotted
Waodani settlement from the air about a 15-minute flight from the
outpost on Sept. 29, 1955.
September of 1955, the men located a Waodani settlement from the air,
three months regularly flew over the village in Nate Saintfs bush
a loudspeaker to call out friendly greetings and lowering a bucket to
presents. Eventually the Waodani reciprocated by leaving gifts of their
the bucket\a wooden headband, a parrot, carved combs, peanuts, and
trinkets\and the missionaries thought the time seemed right to make
contact. Mindful of the Waodanifs reputation, they took precautions.
packed guns and arranged a schedule of radio contacts with their wives.
landed on a sandbar in the Curaray River, a few miles from the Indian
settlement, set up a camp, nicknamed it Palm Beach and waited for
Several days later, three Waodani\one man and two women\came out of the
and spent the day with the men, riding in the plane and sharing their
There was no indication of what was to come.
contact, with a tribesman named Nenkiwi and two women on Jan. 6, went
They even gave the exuberant tribesman a plane ride. But a raiding
returned on Jan. 8, a Sunday, and killed the missionaries.
Sunday, January 8, the appointed time for a radio contact with the
base came and went with no word. The wives at first held out hope that
radio had broken, but a search the next day found the plane and
been torn apart. A ground party was quickly organized, including
soldiers, Quechuas, and other missionaries in the area. It was soon
that all five missionaries had been speared to death at their camp. A
hole was found in the plane, but there were no fallen Waodani. The
apparently had used their weapons only to fire warning shots.
is a scene in the movie, Nate Saint is about to take off to approach
Waodani and is saying goodbye to his wife and son Steve.
Steve asks his father to promise to use his
gun if they are in danger, Nate turns to his son and says gthe Waodani
ready for Heaven son but we areh and with that said goodbye
after all five cuwoody (foreigner) had been killed and their bodies
the river, the jungle night fell like a black velvet cloak. In the
midst of the
blackness, the sky suddenly became alive and alight with singing
people. Angels? Perhaps so - ushering the five martyrs through the
Pearly Splendour of which they had sung before takeoff for their secret
mission? As suddenly as they had appeared, the heavenly host were lost
but, **"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has
January 13, 1956, as the search party rounded the bend before Palm Beach, they
saw Nate's stripped plane.
Frank cried inwardly to the Lord for grace and strength. Knowing the
used to throw their victims' belongings in the river, the missionaries
the Curaray. They found Nate's and Roger's cameras, broken spears,
sheeting torn from the mens's beach shelter and a shovel. This they
turn to dig their friends' grave.
that blood-soaked beach is not where the story ends. The families,
staggered, recovered quickly to carry on the work. Within two years,
that the tribe might eventually kill itself off if it did not change
several more of the Waodani women left to seek help from gthe
Elliotfs widow, Elisabeth, and Nate Saintfs sister, Rachel, and the
women, were able to take the message of the gospel to the entire tribe.
Elliot and Nate Saint's sister, Rachel Saint, made contact with the
settlement near Palm Beach
with assistance from three Waodani women who had left the group. The
women returned to the tribe, spoke of the foreign women's love and
and returned with an invitation to live with the group. Elisabeth
4-year-old daughter and Rachel Saint arrived in the settlement on Oct.
Elliot lived there until 1961. Rachel Saint remained with the tribe,
the jungle in 1994.
the man who led the raiding party, told Yost that when the two
first spoke of Christ, Gikita replied, "Ah, that's what we have been
told me, 'We had been trying to figure out ways to stop the internal
to have a relationship with the outside world, because we saw goods and
access," said Yost, adding that revenge killings ended quickly.
the brutal killings which had been integral to the tribe for
stopped almost immediately. And those who led the killing party that
day, three of whom are still living, became leaders of the Waodani
about 20% to 25% of the Waodani are Christians, and revenge killings
in their territory except for one group that continues to isolate
and Saint said. Services are non-denominational and informal.
Saintfs son, Steve, and Mincaye now travel around the world to tell of
tribefs transformation. Mincaye says he and his people have learned
gGodfs Carvingsh (the Bible) and how they now walk gHis trailh (Godfs
words od Dayuma the first Waodani to become Christian as she returned
tribe and told them of Jesus
you killed these foreigners on the beach, Jesus was killed for you.h