The Prayer of the Five Widows

An account after the Auca ambush in Ecuador, from CT's seventh issue.
The Prayer of the Five Widows
Image: Hulton Archive / Getty
11th November 1966: Kimo, one of the Auca Indians of Ecuador who killed five visiting missionaries, visits London in the company of Rachel Saint, the sister of one of the victims. Kimo is now a converted Christian, although he still displays the large holes in his earlobes which his tribe believe will keep them faithful to their wives.
1957This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

This article originally appeared in the January 7, 1957, issue of Christianity Today—less than three months after the magazine's launch. It was posted June 15, 2015, to commemorate the death of Elisabeth Elliot.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon a year ago, five young women were asking God for two things regarding their husbands: that they might be permitted to contact the Auca Indians again, and that they might be protected. As we sat in our jungle homes here in Ecuador, two in Arajuno, one in Shandia and two in Shell Mera, we little dreamed of the answer God was then giving. He answered both of those prayers, but, as is often the case with him whose thoughts are as far above ours as the heavens are high above the earth, his answer far transcended what we had in mind.

Silence on a Sand Strip

The second contact was given. Probably at about two-thirty in the afternoon at least ten Aucas arrived at the strip of sand where the men had set up their little camp. Having seen them some time earlier from the airplane, approaching the beach, the pilot had reported to his wife the anticipated contact. We can imagine the five, then, as the forest rang with their praises. They sang hymns together, committed themselves to the Lord once more and eagerly prepared for their longed for visitors. It was not long before savage yells, instead of hymns of praise, echoed through the forest, polished wooden spears slashed through the air and five young men lay dead on the Rio Curaray. Silence closed once more over the stand strip, and those beloved Indians returned nonchalantly to their thatched homes, to recount another killing to their waiting families.

The asked-for contact had been given. But what about the protection?

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