Monday, January 23, 2012

Top Ten #2: Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

Every culture has its stories. Every Christian generation has its martyrs. We all have stories that inspire us and challenge us. Very few, however, transform hearts as the story of five men speared to death in the Ecuadorian jungle by a savage tribe...and how the story didn't end with their deaths.

Jim Elliot is near the top of my list of "not Bible people" that I can't wait to meet once I get to heaven. His four friends, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming are right up there with him. Nikki first introduced me to the story of their families very early in my Christian faith. This is one story that every Christian MUST know. We have received many more details in recent years through the work of Nate Saint's son, Steve and a documentary and a feature film have been made to continue to tell the story. It was Elisabeth Elliot, however, that stands as the one who first captivated Christians everywhere with God's work among the Waodoni.

The love of the five men, who refused to fight back when attacked, for the Waodoni (then known as Aucas)so that they might know Jesus is amazing...the willingness of the families of these men to continue the work among the same people who murdered their family members is the stuff of Holy Spirit inspired legends.

We know now that many of the Waodoni, once known for being killers, send their own missionaries for Jesus to other tribes. We know that some of the children and grandchildren of the slain missionaries were baptized by the very men who murdered their dads and grandfathers. It was Through Gates of Splendor where I first saw God's heart for missions. It was through this book that I first truly understood that in Jesus, we have a cause that truly is worth paying the ultimate price. It is reported that the five men were asked if they would use their guns if the Aucas attacked. They answered, "No, we are ready for heaven, they are not." It is from Jim Elliot that we get one of our most beloved quotations from the 20th Century, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Related works:

Shadow of the Almighty

Jungle Pilot