For the Love of the Master

In the late 1950’s or early 1960’s I read an article in either Post or Life Magazine about the Auca Indians of Ecuador. I was deeply touched by the article because even at that age I was aware of a calling on my heart and life to do God’s work.

The actual story begins in 1955 when five missionaries spent several months trying to make contact with this Indian tribe that others in Ecuador considered “very savage.” They dropped gifts from the missionary plane and actually received gifts in return. By early 1956 they made physical contact and spent several days exchanging gifts and filming the natives. And then suddenly home base lost all contact.

When another plane was sent out it was discovered that all five of them had been killed. The most poignant part of the article was that a few years later two women: one  a widow to one of the men and one a sister to one of the men, went back and finally made contact and lived with the tribe. How much love and courage that must have taken! They must have had such a burden on their hearts for the souls of these people that they moved beyond their own loss and let the love of God work through them. Many of the men who participated in the killings were converted to Christianity.

Why am I telling you all this today? Two days ago I watched the documentary Through Gates of Splendor about this event. This story has stayed with me through 53 years of my life. A picture from that magazine article has stayed with me all these years as the bittersweet end of the story. And that picture just as I remembered it was the last shot in the documentary. The picture’s of a tall, bronzed, practically naked warrior holding the hand of a tiny blond child, Valerie Elliot, whose father this man had killed.

What love for Christ and His kingdom these women showed.



Filed under Christianity, Family, Living, Relationships

4 responses to “For the Love of the Master

  1. I read the book, probably in the early 1970’s. Just as memorable.

  2. Peg

    Hi Susan – I loved this post! I had the privilege once, of providing special music with my daughter at a conference at which Elizabeth Elliot was speaking. She is a sweet, amazing, strong Christian woman who I admire greatly. She has remarried and at the time that we saw her, quite a few years ago, her husband, Lars, was traveling with her as she continued to share her testimony. I guess they are no longer doing conferences now. She’s been a a great inspiration for many. Thanks for sharing this post. I’m looking forward to following your blog! – Peg

  3. John Westenhaver

    Power story Susan, very interesting read and yes, it must have taken tremendous strength and faith in Jesus to do what those women did. I am looking for this documentary on YouTube, if I find it I will share it with you so you post it here.

  4. John Westenhaver

    Should have read powerful for some reason it removed the ‘ful’

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