1/16/2006

Mission of Love-Son befriends father’s murderer on the mission field

AUBURN — Six Auca men emerged from the Ecuador jungle one January day in 1956, spearing five Americans to death and throwing their bodies in the river. It was a normal event for them, since the Aucas were part of the most violent civilization in anthropological history. The homicide rate within their jungle tribe had hovered around 60 percent for years.

Stevie Saint was 5 years old and his father Nate was dead. So were Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian. The story, made famous in Life magazine and the book, "Through the Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot, was recently recounted during a talk at Grace Community Church.

“We acted badly, badly, until they brought us God’s carvings (Bible)," said tribal elder Mincaye—one of the six responsible for the murder spree—during the talk. "Before, we didn’t know how to live. Our people, true people, were just angry and hating each other, killing each other and other tribes, too. Now we walk His trail.”

Appearing with Mincaye was a now-grown Steve Saint who, like his father, ministers in the jungles of Ecuador.

“We can see how God did use those five Americans, 45 years ago, not so much to reach the natives, but to wake-up the apathetic Western world to the needs of indigenous peoples,” said Saint, speaking with wisdom gained by walking with God for a half century.

Saint found himself on the same soil where his father died after the death of his aunt, who served among the Waodani, or "the people." Rachel worked alongside her sister, Elisabeth Elliot. Forty years after his father's death, Saint went to the jungle to bury his aunt, who was affectionately renamed “Star” and had spent her life teaching the stone-age tribes...

“When Star came, she taught us to live God’s way," Mincaye said...

Teaching them to fish
In an effort to equip the natives, Saint began Indigenous People’s Technology & Education Center known as “I-tec.”

“Our mission at I-tec is not to evangelize, but to plant churches so they can evangelize their world themselves,” Saint said.

The non-profit missions organization provides donated tools and training by volunteers in underdeveloped areas of the world, where electricity and roads often do not exist. The ultimate goal is empowering native peoples to help their own with medicine and dental services.

“We don’t want you do for us, said Mincaye, with all the authority he could display with his 5-foot body. "We want you teach us, so we ourselves will teach our people to walk God’s trail.”

Though he cannot read a single English word of “God’s carvings,” he can drill and fill hurting teeth, then tell others how God says to live well, as he has been taught by missionaries.

"When I’m fixing their mouth and talking about the creator, they can’t even talk back,” he said with a face-splitting grin.

Mission of Love-Son befriends father’s murderer on the mission field

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