From the Pastor,
In 2 Samuel 10, the passage we’ll be covering this morning, we’ll see some ambassadors treated terribly. It reminded me of Operation Auca, when some other “ambassadors” were treated terribly. Five Christian missionaries from the United States wanted to “show kindness” to the Waodoni people of the rainforest of Ecuador by bringing them the Gospel.
The Waodani, also known by the pejorative Aucas (a modification of awqa, the word for “enemies”), were an isolated tribe known for their violence, against both their own people and outsiders who entered their territory. Up to 60% of all Waodani died from being murdered by another member of their tribe, making them one of the most violent cultures ever documented.
With the intention of being the first Christians to evangelize the previously uncontacted Waodoni, the missionaries began dropping gifts while flying over their settlements in September 1955. After several months of exchanging gifts, on January 3, 1956, the missionaries established a camp at a sandbar along the Curaray River a few kilometers from their settlements.
The missionaries’ efforts came to an end on January 8, 1956, when all five of them (Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian) were murdered by a group of Waodani warriors. The news of their deaths was broadcast around the world and Life magazine covered the event with a photo essay.
In 2002, the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor was released and in 2006 a theatrical movie, End of the Spear, was released based on the story of the pilot, Nate Saint, and the return trip of Nate’s son Steve to reach the Waodani. I’ve seen and would recommend both movies, but found the documentary to be the best of the two. Steve ends up befriending the man who murdered his father, and brings him to the United States with him.
The entire tragedy stemmed from a misunderstanding within the Waodani tribe, which is exactly what we’re going to be reading about today with the Ammonites. When the same misunderstandings take place in the church there are “casualties” of a different sort.