November 16, 2005

Deep in the Amazon jungle, the Waodani people grew up with this truth: “Spear and live or be speared and die.” No one had ever been face-to-face with the Waodani and lived to tell about it. They were not only hostile to foreigners; over the centuries, the tribe had brought themselves near the point of extinction.

In 1956, after 13 weeks of delivering gifts by airplane to the tribe, five American missionaries decided to meet the Waodani fact-to-face. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian landed on Palm Beach on January day and waited for the Waodani.
They wanted to share the Gospel with people who desperately needed to hear and understand God’s message of love. But it was not to be. When the Waodani came to Palm Beach, they speared all five missionaries to death.

The news of the killings made headlines around the world, but the violent end of the missionaries’ lives was only the beginning of the Waodani story. The families of these five missionaries had also grown up with a truth: “living out God’s Word can change a human heart.”
Instead of abandoning the effort to reach the Waodani, Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the men, and Rachel Saint, the sister of another, went to live with the Waodani. Later, Steve Saint, the son of one of the slain men, moved his family from Florida to live with the same Waodani family that killed his father.

I first read about the death of these missionaries in the early 70’s. The books, “In The Shadow Of The Almighty” and “Through Gates Of Splendor” had a profound impact on my life and ministry, and to a great degree were instrumental in my decision to work in mission areas of the US and abroad.

It is in memory of the sacrifice of these men and their families that I choose the name for this blog. Jim Elliot once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Like the Lord they served, these men gave the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of others.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”, Psalm 91:1


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