The story of five missionaries martyred 50 years ago hits the big screen tomorrow.

By January 19, 2006

USA (MNN) — 50 years ago missionaries Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and Ed McCully were speared to death in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador. They were attempting to reach a tribal group known as the Waorani. Their hopes were to befriend them and eventually share the Gospel. That story is coming to life in theaters across the United States tomorrow in a film called, “End of the Spear.”

Nate Saint’s son, Steve, says one of the men responsible for his father’s death, Minkei, has come to Christ and is now considered family. Saint explains how the idea for the film came about. “Somebody heard us speaking, the first time that Minkei came to the states with me for my son’s graduation, and said ‘this story ought to be told to a much broader audience’ and here we are seven years later.”

Saint says the goal of the film is to tell the story, but he hopes it will do even more. He hopes people say, “If those two guys there, after terrible disillusionment and violence separated them, like it does people everywhere. If those two guys can be reconciled to each other then maybe I can start talking to my mom or dad or my sister or brother because all of us have been severed in our relationship with other people and that’s what this story demonstrates.”

Mission Network News asked Saint if he thought the movie could act as a missionary recruiting tool for viewing Christians. “I think it will happen, but that wasn’t the intent of this movie. The intent was to tell the story and just see what happens. When the story first took place it wasn’t intended to be a recruiting tool either, but it did.”

Saint recreated the flights his father flew 50 years ago. He says it was emotional. “I’d go relive the things that my Dad was doing, doing bucket drops over the little village, seeing the Indians running out and around the houses down below. Then, I would land the plane and I’d go back to the apartment and live with the very people that Dad had seen 50 years ago down on the ground.”

But, the most emotional part was reliving the spearing scene. “I realize in a much more graphic way the pain and the agony physically that Dad and Roger and Pete and Ed and Jim went through, but even more than that I could sense finally what it must have been like emotionally for them to realize — did we misunderstand the assignment, did we goof someplace along the line, did we not take the proper precautions? And, regardless of what the answer was to those issues, they knew that they were leaving five women as widows and nine children fatherless.”

However, the reenactment also did something else. “It also cemented in my mind they knew what they were doing. They had guns. They could have lived if they wanted to, but they had decided that they would rather die than kill Waorani because the whole reason for going was so that the Waorani could live.”

The film opens in theaters January 20 and it’s rated PG-13 for its violence. Go to www.endofthespear.com for more information.

To hear the full interview MNN did with Steve Saint, click on the Interviews tab on the sidebar.

Leave a Reply