" He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot
In 1956, Elisabeth Elliot became a widow after her 28-year-old husband, Jim Elliot, was killed, leaving her to raise their young daughter alone. Jim Elliot, along with fellow missionaries, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Peter Fleming and Nate Saint were attempting to minister to the Huaorani tribe, a previously unreached people group who lived in the jungle of Ecuador.
The initial plan to reach the tribe was to earn trust through bucket-dropping gifts from the missionary airplane and delivering friendly messages via loudspeaker. After several months of gift giving, members of the tribe began giving gifts in return and the men felt the time was right to begin meeting face-to-face. As the missionaries entered the tribal territory, Elisabeth Elliot and the other wives waited anxiously by the radio for the update that never came, as all five men had been speared to death. The guns they carried were never fired as the missionaries had made the decision not to defend themselves.
As you can imagine, the world was shocked when the story began to unfold. Life magazine ran a ten-page article, titled "GO YE AND PREACH," that included pictures of the massacre. Undoubtedly people wondered not only "why did this happen?", but also "why would God allow such a tragedy to occur?"
On this side of Heaven, we won't know the answers to these questions, but we can rest assured that God has a divine plan. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV).
In the aftermath of the tragedy, there was renewed focus on the plight of missionaries and many felt led to join the mission field. Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint decided to remain in the jungle and eventually came to live with the Aucas. Over time, they were able to share the gospel and many tribesmen converted to Christianity. Elisabeth also went on to write several books, including "Through Gates of Splendor," which chronicles Operation Auca.
To see the original article titled, "GO YE AND PREACH THE GOSPEL," published by Life Magazine, January 30, 1956, pages 10-19, click on the link below.