23 April 2006

End of the Spear, 8 January 1956.

Fifty years ago Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian, after befriending Auca Indians in Ecuador, seeking to freely offer them the bread of life, were each met with spears and machetes and died in the service of their Lord Jesus Christ.  They were each aged between 27 and 32 and left behind wives and children.
Having just read a biography of Jim Elliot, I am encouraged by his great passionate love for Jesus Christ and also by the weaknesses that he struggled with.  Although he had weaknesses that many could relate to, the Lord used him powerfully in His service.
Jim desired not only to go to the mission field himself but was passionate about exhorting others to go also.  Prior to leaving for missions himself, Jim used his giftedness in preaching to tour churches, and campuses, to exhort many to head to the mission field to reach out to those who had never heard the gospel of the free grace of Christ.
One time Jim bailed up a friend, Ed McCully, in the sports locker room after Ed won a national speaking contest.  "Hey, McCully, so you won the national oratory contest.  Great stuff, McCully.  You have a lot of talent, don't you?  Where'd you get that ability?  You know where you got it.  God gave it to you.  So what are you going to do with it, McCully?  Spend it on yourself all your life making money for yourself?  You have no business doing that.  You ought to be a missionary.  I'm praying that God will make you one".  (From Jim Elliot, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.  Used by permission).  Jim was also a persistent man of prayer that regularly had the ear of our Lord.  After this conversation Ed followed through with his plans to go to law school but didn't complete his studies.  Rather, Ed ended up dying along side Jim on the mission field. 
Although viewed as tragic by many, Jim Elliot would have never agreed.  If you were able to ask him today he would speak from heaven saying, "It was worth it!".  The Lord used Jim's death to reach more lost than Jim could have done if he'd lived.  Jim's death raised awareness to the missionary cause and inspired many to head to the mission field.  Our Lord brought Jim and the others to their eternal home early and abundantly gave them their hearts' desire: the manifest joy of their Lord in heaven; the Aucas were later reached and many saved; awareness for the need of missions increased in the church;  and many more missionaries heard the call. 
Among the immediate response, more than twenty fliers from the United States promptly applied to take Nate's place. More than 1000 college students volunteered for foreign missions in direct response to the story of the Five Martyrs. In Ecuador, at the mission stations, attendance by Indians at schools and church services reached record levels, and the number of conversions skyrocketed. A Jivaro undertook to go at once to another Jivaro tribe that had been at war with his own tribe for years, bearing the Christian message, and his visit brought peace between the two tribes. 
The wives of these men and sister of Nate must also be included among the heroes of the story.  Each of them returned to the mission field afterwards or served mission work in some capacity.  Marilou McCulley returned to Quito, in Ecuador, to set up a home for missionary children who attended school in the city.  Olive Fleming helped her set up the school before returning to the States.  Barbara Youderian returned to work among the Jivaro Indians.  Marj Saint (Nate's wife) took up a new post in Quito, Ecuador.  Racheal Saint (Nate's sister) and Elizabeth Elliot continued to work among the Indians in Ecuador. 
A few years later Racheal and Elizabeth were able to make contact with Aucas and amazingly lived for years among the very people that had killed the ones they loved, living even among the very men that committed the act.  Ironically, during Jim's college years he believed the riggers of pioneer missionary work was to be undertaken by single men unencumbered by the domestic responsibilities associated with married life.  It was the women these men brought with them that saw the realisation of their vision.
Dawa, an Auca Indian who had witnessed the killings, thirty years later shared, with Olive Fleming, how she had been amazed that the missionaries didn't use their guns to defend themselves.  They had fired into the air, trying to frighten their attackers, didn't hurt a single Auca, but rather let themselves be killed.
Jim understood that which all believers ultimately receive in the service of their Lord: great gain!  Jim's famous quote reads, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose".  Our Lord put it this way,  "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor" (John 12:25-26).  Whether your service be great or small, you will receive honor from your heavenly Father in your service of Jesus Christ! To God be the glory, to us be the gain!  Our Lord is good.
Below I have included some links that may be of interest and an article that gives a more detailed outline of the events leading up to their deaths.
   Your brother in Christ- 
"Father, take my life, even my blood if You will, and consume it with Your enveloping fire.  I would not save it for it is not mine to save.  Have it, Lord, have it all.  Pour out my life as an oblation for the world.  Blood is only of value as it flows before Your alters".  Jim Elliot.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints".  Psalm 116:15
Link to Movie Site:
Check out the 'Path of the Spear' link for Steve Saint's story (son of Nate).
Photo of Jim & 2 sermons:                 
Famous quote from his Journal:         
Stamps commemorating the slain missionaries, issued by the Ecuador government:


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