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Friday, January 08, 2016

Jim Elliott

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot, 1949

Jim Elliott
Born as Philip James Elliott on 10/8/1927 to Fred and Clara Elliott. He and his siblings grew up in a Christian home and he professed his faith in Jesus at the age of 6 years old. He learned oratory skills in high school and used his oratory skills to defend his Christian beliefs and witness to others about salvation through Jesus Christ. In 1945 he entered Wheaton College, a private Christian college in Illinois. He saw his time there as an opportunity to grow spiritually, develop discipline, and prepare for future missions work. He selected his activities with these goals in mind. Believing in the value of physical conditioning, he joined the wrestling team during his first year, even though some considered it unnecessary and even ungodly. The following year, he refused a staff position within the college that would have given him a free year of tuition but also a significant time commitment and what he considered foolish responsibilities. He was not even fully convinced of the value of his studies, considering subjects like philosophy, politics, and culture to be distractions to one attempting to follow God. He went on several extended missionary trips during his years at Wheaton. He graduated in 1949. Everything he did after college was to prepare himself for foreign missions. He and some friends moved to Ecuador in 1952 to work with and evangelize the Quichua Indians. While there he married Elisabeth Howard and they had their only child, Valerie, in 1955. He and four other missionaries, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and their pilot, Nate Saint, made contact with the violent Huaorani Indian tribe (which were known at the time as the Aucas) from their airplane using a loudspeaker and a basket to pass down gifts. Historically, every encounter with the Huaorani had ended in death, from the sixteenth-century conquistadors to seventeenth-century Jesuits to nineteenth-century gold and rubber hunters. Toward the end of 1955, the oil companies were closing in on Huaorani territory, an area of about 2,500 square miles. This tribe of unknown size and location was seen to be an irritant to development. Not only had they killed oil company employees who ventured into their territory, but they had even lain in ambush outside the big oil camps and killed unsuspecting employees right outside their own quarters. After several months and 13 gift drops, the men decided to build a base a short distance from the Indian village, along the Curaray River. There they were approached one time by a small group of Huaorani Indians and even gave an airplane ride to one curious Huaorani whom they called "George" (his real name was Naenkiwi). Encouraged by these friendly encounters, they began plans to visit the Huaorani,without knowing that George had lied to the others about the missionaries' intentions. The missionaries radiod to their wives that they intended to make efforts to enter the village and they would radio back at 4:30pm. Their plans were preempted by the arrival of a larger group of 10 Huaorani warriors, who killed Elliot and his four companions in a sudden and brutal attack on January 8, 1956. The missionaries had vowed to one another before God that they would not defend themselves against human attack, even in the face of death. According to the Indians later, the men did not try to fight back. There were warning shots fired by the men and one tried to make it to the plane to radio for help. But they were overcome and martyred. When they missed their checkin the worried wives asked for help. Planes flew over the base camp and saw the signs of attack. Four days later a weary but tense ground party made up of missionaries, Quechua Indians, and military personnel found the other bodies, identifiable only by their watches, rings, and other personal effects. Elliot's mutilated body was found downstream, along with those of the other men, except that of Ed McCully. Their bodies had been brutally pierced with spears and hacked by machetes. All of the plane's fabric had been ripped off as if they had tried to kill the plane. Nate Saint's watch had stopped a 3:12 p.m. Photos developed from film found in Nate's camera at the bottom of the river and a diary fished out of his pocket gave the only record of their last days.

One of the photos found in the camera.

Widows hear the news of their husband's deaths.

Elliot and his friends became instantly known worldwide as martyrs, and Life Magazine published a 10-page article on their mission and death. They are credited with sparking an interest in Christian missions among the American youths of their time, and are still considered an encouragement to Christian missionaries working throughout the world.

After their deaths, there were many conversions to Christianity among the other Indian tribes of Ecuador. Later, Elisabeth Elliot and her daughter Valerie moved to work in the Auca Indian village. They were joined by Rachel Saint (Nate's sister) who also felt a burden to take the Gospel to those who had killed her brother. Their example of forgiveness and love for the ones who murdered their family members allowed them to have amazing success with the once murderous Indians. Many Aucas now live for Christ and are busy sharing the Gospel with others. Nate's son, spent a lot of time with his Aunt Rachel with these Indians. In an unbelievable expression of reconciliation, Steve Saint, Nate’s son, was baptized by two of the men who murdered his father, in the very river where his father died. Steve Saint has worked as a missionary in West Africa, Central America and South America. At the request of the Waodani elders, he returned to the Amazon in 1995 along with his wife and children.

Elisabeth Elliott, had her own ministry as a Christian author, speaker and had a radio program (Gateway to Joy) in her later years.

Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Jim Elliott

Nate Saint and his family

Roger Youderian and his family

Kathy Saint being baptized by Indians from the tribe that killed her father.

Another source was Wikipedia

1 comment:

Pastor Manning said...

Thank you Sharon. It is sad that most Christians know nothing about this event. God bless.

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