Saturday, November 15, 2014

"Through Gates of Splendor", by Elizabeth Elliot

After watching a children's animation by the Voice of the Martyrs on Jim Elliot, I picked up this book and began to read it. It was so good, I finished it in just a few days, which is unusual for me lately, as I don't read as much as I used to!

The story of five young couples who came from different backgrounds and came together to use their strengths, the book shares how each couple was called to the mission field, how they learned to minister to the Indians, and how they found the "hidden" home of the Aucas, an Indian tribe so filled with fear that frequently lead to killings that nobody dared to interact with them. These five young couples - Nate and Marj Saint, Roger and Barbara Yuoderian, Ed and Marilou McCully, Pete and Olive Fleming, and Jim and Elizabeth Elliot- felt a burden to witness to them, and started Operation Auca. At first it was dropping gifts out of an airplane, then, after receiving gifts in return, they thought it was time to drop photos of themselves to familiarize the Indians with their faces. The men then set up a camp near the Auca's site, and tried several tactics to lure the Aucas to them, including calling out Auca phrases that an escaped Auca women, named Dayuma, had taught them. They had a visit from three Aucas, and felt that it went so well that they were sure to have a visit from the rest of the tribe quickly.

Two days later, they did have a visit from seven Auca men. Nate Saint informed his wife by radio that they had company, and he would call back later. That was the last time the women ever heard from them.

A rescue mission was set up, in hopes that at least some of the men were still alive, and just couldn't make contact. It was soon clear that this was not so. All five men were speared, and their plane was destroyed.

Though all five women had lost their husbands for the Aucas, and several of them were left with very small children to raise, they worked with another pilot to continue the gift flights with no thought of revenge. Their efforts were rewarded when one day the two Auca women who had been in the party of three on that one encouraging day when the missionaries thought that their fear was over, ended up in the village where Dayuma lived. She talked to them of the incident, went home with them, and soon they came back with seven other Aucas to ask for the missionaries to talk to them of God's word. Elizabeth Elliot, her daughter, and Nate Saint's sister Rachel went and worked with them for several years.

This story was so touching. One of the things that impressed me while I was reading it was that, while written by Jim Elliot's wife, she humbly did not give any more account of her and her husband's work then she did the other missionaries- or even just of her husband. She obviously saw their work and results as a whole, and would not be biased just by being closer to one of the members of "Operation Auca".

There are pictures (at least in our copy) included in the book... some of the pics of the Indians had already been colored over in our book when I got to it. Just throwing that out there, haha :).

This was Elizabeth Elliot's first book. She has written several others, including "A Chance to Die".

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