Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Through Gates of Splendor

While we were at Seneca Lake, we had a few days where there wasn't much to do. If the lake is rough or it is raining, it usually means that we have to entertain ourselves by playing board games or reading whatever is on hand. One day, I was rummaging through old magazines when I stumbled upon a classic from 1974. It was an old comic book based on the book, "Through the Gates of Splendor."

I quickly grabbed the comic and read it in about ten minutes. You probably know the story. The comic, like the book, tells the account of the five missionaries who were martyred in Ecuador in 1956 while trying to reach the Huaorani Indians with the gospel. The most well-known of the five are probably Jim Elliot and Nate Saint. Even in comic form, it continues to be a story that grips and moves me.

Why is this the case? First, these five men (and their wives) were completely committed to take the gospel to these Indians no matter what the cost. They were willing to risk their lives to take the gift of Christ to people who were thought of as savages by the neighboring Indian tribes. They let nothing stand in their way.

Second, the men trusted God's sovereignty completely. They were well-aware of the fact that they could be killed while on "Operation Auca." In both their words and actions, they illustrated that they rested in God's control over the situation.

Third, and finally, God used their martyrdom for something amazing. The wives of the martyrs continued to try to reach these Indians with the gospel. The tribe eventually came to Christ. Also, their deaths led many people back in the USA to commit their lives to foreign missions.

I am amazed every time I read the account of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian. They not only committed to give their all to reach the lost world, but they backed it up with action. God used them in a mighty way.

Can we measure up to their example?


Nicholas said...

Even more amazing -- At least one (maybe more) of Saint's kids were baptized by one of the Aucas that killed him after they came to faith in Christ. What an incredible display of grace and forgiveness.

Frank (or Chip) said...

I came across your blog looking to see if anyone else had this comic. It was very formative and I have hung on to it since the mid 70s. It is here at my house in Quito, Ecuador!

Eric said...

Frank (or Chip),

That comic really is a classic. I was thrilled to find it just lying there in our old cabin. I wanted to save it both because of its message, and because of its age. I'm glad you have a copy, too.

God bless you in your missions work.