Many years ago, I had the opportunity to go to a christian boarding school in Zellwood, Florida. My dad was a minister, and this school was loaded with PK's and MK's. One of the MK's (missionary kids) was the younger brother of Elisabeth Elliot.
Jim & Elisabeth Elliott and 4 other missionary families had flown into the remote area of Ecuador where the Auca Indians lived, and there they began to live among the indians and share their faith in Jesus with these natives.
During that school year, Elisabeth's husband, Jim Elliott, and the other 4 other missionaries were murdered by some of the Auca's. I remember clearly the day we all got that news during a chapel service.
This is a round about memory, so bear with me...
Fast forward from those days, to a Billy Graham World Congress on Evangelism, Amsterdam 2000, which my dad was a part of.
The story that still gives me goose bumps, is dad coming home and sharing with us the most memorable thing of that conference... the riveting testimonies from 2 of those Auca Indians whose spears had murdered the 5 missionaries years earlier. They stood and told their stories, their hearts and voices full of emotion, as they shared how their lives were completely changed, because of Jesus. Dad said it was utterly amazing...there was not a dry eye among those 1000's of ministers and leaders in the audience that day.
Some of the wives & families of the men who were killed, Elisabeth Elliott, Rachel Saint, and others, had returned to that land after their deaths, to continue to minister to the Auca's. They saw God's life changing power transform many of them, including these 2 who stood and emotionally told their stories, and gave praise to God with the story that never gets old... the story of redemption!
Doesn't it build your faith when you read about the testimonies of how God has intervened and changed lives and made the old new... just like He's done for us.
You've probably read their story, and seen some of the movies on their lives. Still... in this day and age when we elevate people to hero status over so little, I love to read and re-read the stories of those who really lived what they claimed, and were willing to die for their faith, as Jim Elliott said...
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
We have been reading a lot of missionary stories as the result of meeting Gwen from the blog Gwendolyn's Guests. My husband had just sat down as I started to read this post so he got it read aloud to him. We are both touched by what you shared. Thank you. It really does build one's faith to hear the testimonies of redeemed men and women.
(I also wanted to thank you for the fun in Lea's blog with Janette and you on one side and Lea on the...ahem...winning side. Too much fun!)
That brought back memories of when we started our walk with the Lord.
They were real hero's, not make believe like today.
When I lived in Massachusetts, I remember hearing Elizabeth Elliott speak and I knew where she lived. She lived in the same town where I worked. What a chilling story, but more so, her GRACE to carry on the work of God with dignity and LOVE for all....Anita
Oh Sonja...Amen, Amen, Amen...now that just puts the icing on the cake from my post earlier this week - "Bible Best Seller List" Those are the books we should be reading...not the "how to: because some had a small victory.
Again your heritage is so rich. Thanks for sharing...I was so blessed and it just stirs me to read more about those who walked out their faith in such power....power that could only have come from Him.
I love it so much when you share about the people you knew or your family knew because these stories are what shaped my faith in the early years. I hate to think what kind of wife I would have been without Elisabeth Elliot and Gateway to Joy, or on Monday's when Rachel would talk about missionary's on Back to the Bible. ALL of it has become the foundation of my faith.
It just gives me chills the wonderful stories that you have.
I consider myself very blessed to have been given the opportunity to get to know you.
I wish I could just sit at your feet and listen.
I so enjoyed reading this Sonja and hearing a little bit more about these real Christian hereos who died for the Gospel message and their spouses who lived on to share the Gospel still. I saw one of the movies when we lived in VA. I learned more about their story then. Incredible!
I loved when you said: "Still... in this day and age when we elevate people to hero status over so little, I love to read and re-read the stories of those who really lived what they claimed, and were willing to die for their faith, as Jim Elliott said..."
Oh, I heard Elizabeth Elliott speak several years ago and have read her books and what a spiritual hero! Truly, Elizabeth, Jim and those like them were "world changers."
Thanks for another inspiring post!
Hallelujah indeed, my friend...thank you for always visiting!!!!! HAVE A SPLENDID DAY, Anita
Yes, what an amazing story of love that is. You have quite a background Sonja. I love it when you share true stories like this of amazing grace. I read Elisabeth Elliott's book about this.
I took a brief trip to blogland tonight after getting home late from a revival.
I just want you to know that THIS POST was more reviving to me than the service I just attended. I had never heard this redemption story. What a treat for me before I head to bed.
I have tears in my eyes... what more can I say, than that this has deeply touched my heart.
Love to you.
I clearly remember reading about the missionaries and about their wives bravely returning to the mission field.
What I have not heard is the testimony of the Acua Indians.
God indeed has such a long perspective and we barely see tomorrow come.
What did the disciples say? "Increase our faith."
I remember one sentence from church history, which used to be a subject in Norwegian elementary school.
"The blood of the Martyrs became the seed of the church."
It is all happening over again.
"He whoo tries to save his life shall loose it," Jesus said.
I sadly doubt I am that brave.
Oh Sonja this was such an inspiring post. You have such a rich heritage to draw from and how blessed we all are that you share it with us! This was a great way to start my morning! Have a wonderful day!
This was so inspirational.
My mom met Jim Elliot once. He spent an evening with some other young people at her parents' house. My grandparents used to entertain young missionaries. I think it was before Jim was even married. But, my mom always remembered that dynamic young man, so on fire for the Lord - and it broke her heart when he was killed.
Years and years later, I had the privilege of meeting two men from Papua New Guinea in my own mother's living room. They were visiting America with a friend of my parents who worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators. I'm not sure they were Auca Indians - but they were from the same country.
As long as I live, I will NEVER forget their wide, bright, toothsome smiles - and the glittering of the Holy Spirit that poured out from their eyes.
God works in mysterious ways - and He finds His lost sheep.
you are so right. sometimes i think we don't hear about true heroes anymore, because the world elevates something altogether different.
we should search out more stories about the faithful and shout them from the rooftops . . . or blog pages.
i see you got your feedjit. isn't it fun to see where people come from who never comment and you would never have known about?
I bawled like a baby at "The End of the Spear" movie. I had read some of Elisabeth Elliot's writings, but the story left me very humbled.
Oh that we'd have a crop of those "greats" once again - - men & women who sought no glory other than to boast in the Lord.
Thank you for sharing.
Wow, Sonja! I am so glad the Lord directed me here this night. I have heard the story many times and enjoyed "The End of the Spear." It rivets my soul! I am so inspired by these lives who gave all, and I am so moved to give more.
Thank you for sharing! And, I love, love, love the Jim Elliot quote. "what he cannot lose" is the only thing that really matters.
I love this story... have ever since seeing the movie. My sons also heard from one of the Auca Indians responsible for the deaths at a youth rally several years ago. He traveled with Steve Saint and shared his story. So very powerful!
Elisabeth Elliot is one of my favorite authors of all times. Such a real, honest heart for Jesus.
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