Guest / Limited Access /

The crowd in the echoing hall of the airport ebbs and flows like flotsam and jetsam in a dirty river. I keep my eye on the red feather in the bird-breast headpiece worn by an elfin man. He still seems more legend than reality. I am following Mincaye, a leader of the formerly "stone age" Waodani people of Ecuador's Amazon jungle. He is following Babae, Steve Saint. Steve's baseball-capped head bobs up and down with his gait, like that of a lanky teenager. I think Mincaye would follow him anywhere, but here, in Hyderabad, India, Mincaye follows especially closely.

This is the latest chapter in a story that began 50 years ago on a remote sandbar in the jungles of Ecuador. Then Mincaye and fellow tribesmen used spears and machetes to slaughter Saint's father, Nate Saint, a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot, along with missionaries Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian.

The story, first recounted in Life magazine and now retold in End of the Spear, a motion picture released this month, has inspired many Christians to consider a missionary calling and sparked dozens of books (including Elisabeth Elliot's Through Gates of Splendor), movies, radio programs, and articles. More importantly, the violent, short lives of the Waodani—called "Auca," or savages, at the time—were transformed. Mincaye, once a murderer of missionaries, has become a missionary himself. That's why he is here.

Also remarkable is how well Mincaye represents where the missions movement is headed.

"I came to speak God's carvings," Mincaye says, as Steve translates from Wao tededö into English. "Carvings" is the term the Waodani use for the Bible. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only The 'Judicial Philosophy' Dodge
Why opposing 'activist judges' isn't as straightforward as you'd think.
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only Did They Have to Die?
Forty years after five missionaries lost their lives in the Ecuadorian jungle, the killers explain what really happened.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickWomen’s March Sets Out to Exclude 40 Percent of American Women
Women’s March Sets Out to Exclude 40 Percent of American Women
What pro-life feminists actually have in common with their pro-choice counterparts.
Christianity Today
The Rest of the Story
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.