Saturday, May 24, 2014

Martyr: Jim Elliot

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

(1)Philip James Elliot (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956) was a Christian missionary to Ecuador, where he was killed by Huaorani Indians.

Elliot was born in Portland, Oregon to Fred and Clara Elliot, and became a Christian at a young age. He graduated from Wheaton College in 1949, with a degree in Greek. He arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952, with the purpose of evangelizing Ecuador's Quechua Indians.

 On October 8, 1953, he married fellow Wheaton alumnus and missionary Elisabeth Howard in Quito, Ecuador. Their only child, Valerie, was born February 27, 1955. While working with the Quechua Indians, Elliot began preparing to reach the famously violent Huaorani Indian tribe.

He and four other missionaries, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Peter Fleming and their pilot Nate Saint, made contact from their airplane with the Huaorani Indians, using a loudspeaker and a basket to pass down gifts. After several months, the men decided to build a base a short distance from the Indian tribe, along the Curaray River.

There they were approached several times by small groups of Huaorani Indians, and even gave an airplane ride to one curious Huaorani who they called "George" (his real name was Naenkiwi). Encouraged by these friendly encounters, they began plans to visit the Huaorani, but their plans were preempted by the arrival of a larger group of Huaorani, who killed Elliot and his four companions on January 8, 1956. Elliot's mutilated body was found downstream, along with those of the other men, except that of Ed McCully.

Elliot and his friends became instantly known worldwide as martyrs, and Life Magazine published a 10-page article on their mission and death. They are credited with sparking an interest in Christian missions among the youth of their time, and are still considered an encouragement to Christian missionaries working throughout the world. After her husband's death, Elisabeth Elliot and other missionaries began working among the Auca Indians, where they had a profound impact and won many converts. She later published two books, Shadow of the Almighty : The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot and Through Gates of Splendor, which describe the life and death of her husband.

(2) Make It Real! Questions to make you dig a little deeper and think a little harder.

Jim desired to serve God as a missionary. How do you desire to serve God?

Jim chose not to use a gun to protect himself when attacked by the Aucas. Why? What would you have done and why?

Jim's wife and daughter went to live with the Aucas after Jim was killed. Can you imagine choosing to live in the Auca village after such tragedy?

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