The story of the martyrdom of five missionaries in the Ecuadorean jungle in 1956 has always intrigued me. The sacrificial service of Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, and Roger Youderian is inspirational. Yet every time I finish a biography detailing the events of their lives and deaths, I am left with many questions.
What really happened on Palm Beach when the “Aucas” came back to kill the men? What provoked the “Aucas” to massacre the men after having established friendly contact with the five men? What were the life stories of the three “Aucas” who were friendly with the missionaries? What did Nate, Jim, Ed, Pete, and Roger do during the attack? And what became of the “Acuas” who killed these men?
All of these questions are answered by Nate Saint’s son, Steve, in End of the Spear. Steve picks up where all of the other biographies left off. Steve describes his own personal encounters with the Waodani people. (Waodani is the actual name of the “Aucas”; “Auca” is a derogatory name.)In 1995, Steve and his family moved down to the Ecuadorean jungle, living among the very people who were responsible for his dad’s death. While living with the Waodani, Steve dedicated himself to helping the Waodani. He taught them things they needed to know about the outside world. He provided medical care. He helped them establish an elder council to make corporate decisions. Steve tried to teach the Waodani to care for themselves and take responsibility for their own decisions.
After a year or so, Steve knew the Waodani had learned a lot but they still depended on him too much. As long as he lived among these people, they would expect him to make decisions for them. Steve knew it was time to leave.After Steve and his family move back to the States, two Waodani men came to visit in America. Mincaye, the man who speared Steve’s father, and Tementa, whose father provoked the Waodani into spearing the five missionaries, were able to share with many Americans how God had touched and changed their lives and what He was doing for their people now.After reading many biographies about the missionaries, it was amazing to hear the other side of the story…the Waodani side.
All of my questions about what really happened on Palm Beach were answered. God’s hand was evident in the story of the lives of those missionaries. End of the Spear is full of stories, some serious and some humorous, stories that clearly demonstrate the awesome power of God. The love and forgiveness demonstrated by Steve and his family and the acceptance of the Waodani toward the Saint family is a testament to the amazing hand of God.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has been enthralled by the lives of Ed, Nate, Pete, Roger, and Jim. This book completes their story.
“This isn’t the end of the story. As long as there are players willing to accept their parts and a Master to write the script, it will go on. After all, life is a story.”End of the Spear p. 331
~ Melinda ~