Friday, January 8, 2016

60 years ago: Five American missionaries are martyred by natives in Ecuador

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

On January 8, 1956, what was popularly labelled Operation Auca--an evangelistic effort among the with the isolated and hostile Huaorani people--also known as Auca--in Ecuador ended when missionaries Nate Saint, 32; Roger Youdarian, 31; Ed McCully, 28; Jim Elliot, 28; and Pete Fleming, 27 were speared to death by Huarani tribesmen. It seems hard to believe now, but the martyrdom of the missionaries was a major news item in the secular press at the time.

From a worldy perspective, the missionary effort was a failure--but not from God's perspective. The deaths of the martyrs in Operation Auca served to galvanize missionary efforts elsewhere. Jim Elliot's wife Elisabeth and Mr. Saint's sister Rachel later returned to the area, and many of the Huaorani people came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The story was told in Mrs. Elliot's book Through Gates of Splendor, which was originally published in 1957, and was published in several revised editions through 2005. Mrs. Elliot went to be with the Lord on June 15, 2015 at the age of 88.

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