God’s Word is powerful
Blessed are those who die in the Lord…They are blessed indeed, for they will rest from all their toils and trials; for their good deeds follow them!
From killers to converts
In January 1956 the news media told the world how five missionaries had been martyred by members of a primitive Ecuadorian tribe, the Waodani, popularly known until recently as the “Aucas.” What happened to the tribe after that fateful day?
Rachel Saint, the sister of slain missionary Nate Saint, had already learned their language from Dayuma, who had fled from her tribe ten years earlier. As Rachel learned the language, Dayuma learned more and more of what Christ’s love could mean for her personally. She finally confessed her faith in Christ to become the first convert. In 1957 Betty Elliot, who continued serving in Ecuador after the death of her husband, Jim, made contact with two women who had left the tribe, looking for Dayuma.
Over time, Dayuma was able to return and share the gospel with her fellow Waodani. One by one they began to put their trust in the Lord Jesus (including the five men who had murdered the missionaries).
Rachel Saint began the translation of the New Testament into Waorani, the official language of the tribe. It was completed by Catherine Peake and Rose Jung. On June 11, 1992, the Waodani finally received the New Testament in their language. The “Auca Five” did not die in vain.
Adapted from The One Year® Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale, 2003), entry for June 11.
Digging Deeper: End of the Spear by Steve Saint (Tyndale, 2005), son of Nate Saint, chronicles the story of the encounter with the Ecuadorian tribe, which also became a major motion picture. Also read Through Gates of Splendor, the original telling of the story by Elizabeth Elliot (Tyndale, 1986).