To the world, operation Auca was a failed mission.
But for the missionaries, it was a mission accomplished.
This the first book I finished this year, and what makes it even more special is that I finished it in less than ten days! My librarian, my memory, would present a lousy reading record for my 2017, and I hope that this would be the start of a healthy reading habit.
I am not sure if I should call it “bias” or based on preference, but this book, unlike any other publication, thrilled me to read each chapter. It was probably because, first of all, the first chapters totally blew me away. The testimony of the five missionary men and their wives challenged and inspired me. There were also parts where I just scanned it through and hadn’t understood and others I was dragging myself into. But it was faced with excitement to reach the next chapter and wait for the moments. Thank God for Betty (Elisabeth’s nickname as written in the book) didn’t write prologue or introduction because I am often stuck on this part of the book, primarily if it’s poorly written.
“I dare not stay home” was the first chapter’s title I fell in love with, like handling a rose with its thorns. I was astonished by reading Jim Elliot’s principles and reasoning that are no doubt from God. He said that he would not dare stay home while Quichuas (any group of Indian tribes in Ecuador) perish. It surely had been a long time because today, most of the Christians think differently from him. Instead, we say, “I’d rather stay at home than reach out to my neighbor.” Of which, I am guilty. I was really rebuked of how self-centered I had become, which was the opposite of what Christianity looks like.
It was also evident in the life of these men that they got their priorities right. I was awakened by the fact that our youth ministry was in this kind of state. The young people, sadly even as leaders, were so preoccupied with things that aren’t necessary and miss out on some of the important essences of life. I have nothing against excelling in studies or a specific field, but maybe we had crossed the line and put these on the top list.
Faith and compassion were the driving force that fuels this mission. They believe that called them to reach one of the dangerous tribes in Ecuador. They could stand doing nothing, especially when they know that the root of such behaviors came from fear and ignorance of the Truth.
This bravery of the missionaries came from their confidence in God. As Ed Mc Cully said, “We’ve already put our trust in Him (God) for salvation, so why do we not do it as far as our life is concerned?” This is faith in action. They believe God not just a Savior but their Lord and Master, well.
One of the things I love about classic books like this is that it is refreshing to read their perspective on love because I believe it was in their time when love was not yet perverted as ours. Before pursuing the ladies, the gentlemen prayed for the will of God and even considered its effect on the mission God gave them. Oh, how pure their intentions are. As a result, their wives also played an essential role in their lives and their mission.
I knew that their new friends would kill these men as our preachers used to share their stories. It must have been a tragedy giving yourself to the people who would soon take it savagely. However, reading it from the perspective of the missionary families, it was as if they finished a race. They did what God called them to do and returned home with the Father.
I first thought that the title of the book, Through Gates of Splendor, was just about these men entering into the pearly gates of heaven as they had fulfilled their mission here on earth. At the end of the book, I realized that they didn’t just enter through the gates, but they opened that gates for the Auca or Waorani people.
After reading and thinking through the book, I can help but ask myself, what am I doing with my life? What am I running after? What am I doing with my mission?