When I began my freshman year of college a movie was released called End of the Spear. This movie is about the truth story of 5 missionaries; all who wanted to live out God’s will to witness to the Waodani, a tribe living in the jungles of Ecuador. The story begins with the missionaries, Jim Elliot being one of them, attempting to find the tribe. The 5 men do finally make contact with the tribe after flying into the area of the jungle the tribe lives in. The missionaries are excited and encouraged that they have made the first steps in witnessing to this tribe. However, this is where the story takes a sad turn. Several of the tribesmen who were the first to come among the missionaries misunderstood the purpose of these men. Due to the tribe’s belief that all foreigners were cannibals, they killed all 5 of the missionaries.
While the death of these men was a devastating tragic for the families, something unthinkable and amazing was about to take place. After learning of their husband’s death, the wives made the decision to live among the tribe in order to share the Gospel. Even among their grief they heard and obeyed God’s calling to give forgiveness and reach out to the same people who killed their husbands. They succeed in making a connection with the tribe members. Through that connection the women transformed the lives of tribe by showing them forgiveness for the murder of their husbands. From seeing the forgiveness that can only come from God, the members of the tribe gave over their lives to Christ, which changed the course of the tribe forever.
Click here for the movie trailer.
For the last few weeks I have been reading a book written by Dr. Larry Crabb, called Connecting. The idea behind this book is a different approach to healing. Dr. Crabb’s belief that pain of the deepest kind can be healed through connection, intimacy, and building a true community with others. Mankind was not meant to go through this world alone, we are meant to have relationships and connections. In his book Dr. Crabb listed what he believes are three elements that are needed in order to connect and in turn find healing through that connection. 1. A taste of Christ delighting in us. 2. A diligent search for what is good. 3. An engaging exposure of what is bad or painful. As I was reading this book, I could not get the story of the End of the Spear out of my mind. The women whose husbands had been killed had every right to hate the Waodani tribe, and no one would blame them. However these women chose to show the tribe a taste of Christ. These women, who had been forgiven by the death of a man who was innocent, decided to show forgiveness for the death of their husbands. They made a diligent search for the good in the Waodani people by living among them. And through the connection these women made with the tribe they exposed the pain from the death of 5 men cause by fear and lies. That connection and forgiven not only changed the Waodani people, but help the wives to heal from one of the most painful experience any one can go through. While this movie is a bit older so it may be harder to find, it is very much worth the search. The story of the End of the Spear is a story of how powerful connecting can be. How the forgiveness and the love that Christ shown us by dying on the cross can change even the hardest of hearts.