Heroes for many, were the five men that died in Ecuador trying to reach the Acua Indians. Ed McCully, Peter Flemming, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian were true men of God. I want to focus on Nate Saint and Jim Elliot, partly because of their families. I’ll start with Jim Elliot.
Jim Elliot was born in 1927, grew up in Portland Organ and was raised in a strong Christian Home. From a young age he was a professing Christian and as a teenager and young man, he stood firm to his beliefs and convictions. He had an intense passion for the word of God and loved studying the Bible. He went to Wheaten college where he met his wife Elisabeth. I love the fact that at the time he thought that a romantic relationship would distract from his call the be a missionary, when Elisabeth actually was almost an influential as he was (I’ll talk more about her later). Later Jim and Elisabeth married in Ecuador in 1953. They had one child, Valarie in 1955.
The five men started to try to make contact with the Acua Indians. A tribe that was known for violence (as were a lot of other tribes) and they would send down gifts via airplane (Nate Saint was the pilot) and the people would even send gifts in return. The contact went great and after three months they decided to go down and meet the people. That even went good. At first that is. Ten men from the tribe ended up turning violent and spearing the 5 missionaries. They died January 8th, 1956, there bodies floated down the river. Nate was 32 and Jim 28.
Jim Elliot had written in his journal, shorty before his death, his most famous quote, “He is no fool to give what he can’t keep to gain what he can’t loose.” It is one of my favorite quotes, and is a favorite to many people. Take a look at my previous post on the beauty of death to find out more of what this all means.
After the death of these men something amazing happened. Elisabeth Elliot and Nate Saint’s sister, Rachel Saint, went back to these people, made friends with them, and ended leading a lot of them to Christ, including some of the men who had killed their husband, brother, and friends. They have shown me the power of forgiveness and of love.
Nate Saints son, Steve, when he turned ten, would often spend summers with his aunt and Elisabeth. When he was 14 he was baptized by the very men who killed his father, who had since became Christians. Steve went to America after high school and returned after college to be a tour guide. Then after he met and married his wife Ginny and had their first son, they moved to Minnesota and then to Florida. When he returned to bury his aunt Rachel, the tribal people asked him to come back, so he ended up moving his family to Ecuador.
The Elliots and the Saints were amazing people that feared God more than man and knew how to forgive. They knew that God had forgiven them of so much that they could forgive the people that had harmed them. They are some of my heroes and role models. Elisabeth Elliot and I share the common bond of having a love for Amy Carmichael, you could have imagined my joy that “THEE” Elisabeth Elliot had written a book about “MY” Amy!
If you want more information on these two families I would recommend the books, “Through the Gates of Splendor” by Elisabeth Elliot, “Shadow of the Almighty” by Elisabeth Elliot, “The Journals of Jim Elliot” by Jim Elliot and Elisabeth Elliot, “The End of the Spear” by Steve Saint. Also the movie, “End Of the Spear”, is a great movie and Steve worked along side the makers to make sure it was accurate. I remember sitting in my cousin’s house a few years ago, crying with him when we were watching the movie. The forgiveness of Steve Saint, to the men who had killed his father moved us to the extreme. I hope these men and their families will make an impact in you lives by their faith, courage, love, and forgiveness. May God bless you all.
~~~Soli Deo Gloria~~~