It’s a different spiritual climate 50 years after missionaries were killed in Ecuador

By January 13, 2006

Ecuador (MNN) — It’s been 50 years since five missionaries died trying to evangelize jungle Indians in Ecuador. A very different scene greeted a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot circling the river beach where they were speared.

About 200 people gathered opposite “Palm Beach” where Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian were speared to death by Waorani Indians, known then as Aucas, or savages. They were there for a service that included baptisms and fellowship. Many of those being baptized were teenagers and they were baptized by church leadership.

Ralph Kurtenbach of HCJB World Radio was there. He says many family members of those who were killed and those who participated in the killings attended. He says after each baptism the group sang “I Have Decicded To Follow Jesus” alternating between Spanish and Waorani.

The conference leading up to the baptism was well attended, says Lloyd Rogers of Christian Missions in Many Lands. He says it was the biggest such gathering of Waorani believers. “Ladies have walked for three days or more and people that came and arrived late at night, and falling out of the canoes downriver. It shows there was some real effort on a lot of people’s part to be here. We really want us to hear God’s Word presented in in a real special way.”

The conference challenged Waorani youth to walk in God’s ways, with some very direct challenges issued by church leaders about the way people are living. Pray that they’ll take this message to heart and continue to grow in their faith.

This story is the focus of a film called, “End of the Spear” which makes its debut in movie theaters January 20 in the United States. For more information, go to www.endofthespear.com.

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