Well, actually it started way before that...with a young girl who learned about five missionaries who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel. She then began to read about their story, very inspired by men who would choose to lay down their lives in order to keep from sending unsaved men to eternity without a chance to have a personal relationship with God.
And really if you want to get technical, it all started way before that, with the five missionaries themselves. Five men who had a burden to take the Gospel to an unreached tribe in the jungles of Ecuador. It is a story that took place in the 1950's, of five men who loved God and loved others more than they loved themselves, and it is beautifully recorded in the book Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the five massacred missionaries.
I remember first hearing the story as a young lady in high school, and then reading everything I could about these men who were willing to give all for other men to come to know Christ, and about the wife and sister who returned to the very people who murdered their loved ones. I was fascinated that the men would put themselves in such danger in the first place, and then challenged and amazed that the wife of one and the sister of another would go back to the very people who killed their husband and brother to try to reach them for Christ. The great news, is that the women actually were able to finish what the men had started, and many of the people of the Auca tribe actually accepted Christ as their personal Savior.
One of the first known Christian converts of the Auca tribe was Dayuma. She escaped from her jungle tribe when she was in her mid-teens, after a family dispute. She helped the missionaries learn much about the Aucas, their language and their way of life.
After the men were killed, Dayuma joined Rachel Saint and Elizabeth Elliot in returning to the Auca tribe to tell them about Christ. One of the Aucas who received Christ was Mincayane (not completely positive about the spelling of his name), one of the men who actually, participated in the massacre of the missionaries.
Fast forward quite a few years. I was grown and married and teaching fifth grade. I had a boy in my class who had a tender heart and a hunger to do something great for the Lord. That boy happened to be my son (the Young Prince). So when it came time to do our research paper, I encouraged him to do his paper on Jim Elliot, one of the five missionaries. He did. And like me many years before, he became fascinated by the story. Not too long after that, one of the martyred missionary's sons, Steve Saint came out with a movie about the story, titled, The End of the Spear. We, of course went to see the movie. It helped us to learn more about the story and Dayuma and the man named Mincayane.
Recently, my father in law, was able to visit and work with some missionaries in Ecuador. He was talking of a return trip, and said how neat it would be if the Young Prince could go with him. God totally worked it out for the Young Prince to be able to go last month. As part of his 16th birthday present, his Poppy arranged for them to charter a small plane and fly over the area where the missionaries were trying to minister. They actually landed and were able to have two young men act as guides and take them to "Palm Beach" the very spot where there missionaries were killed.
While on the beach, their talk naturally turned to the five missionaries, and in talking to the two young men who were their guides, they realized that one was a Christian, and one was not. William, the one who was not a Christian explained that Dayuma, the first Christian convert from the Auca tribe, the one who helped the missionaries learn about the Aucas, was his grandmother. Sadly, she had passed away a few months earlier. The men all took turns praying (except for William), and then they left the beach.
Left to right: Tepenia, one of the guides, the Young Prince, William, and Miguel, a Dominican Christian
Oh, and Flat Stanley in the center.
The Young Prince was being a great big brother and helped his little sister out with a coming forth grade project by taking Flat Stanley on his trip to Ecuador.
As they were walking back to the village and Poppy asked William what was keeping him from being a Christian. He explained that he was worried about what his friends would think, and afraid of ridicule or persecution by his friends. Poppy then asked William if he wanted to be a Christian. He said yes, that he did want to be a Christian. Poppy called over Miguel, a Dominican Christian on the trip with them, and Miguel explained in Spanish to William how to become a Christian. There on the trail, William bowed his head and prayed in his native Auca tongue and asked Christ to be his personal Savior. Praise the Lord!
The group then continued on to the village. One of the men asked if they could see the grave of Rachel Saint (the sister who spent the rest of her life with the Auca tribe teaching them of Jesus). William said yes, and took them to her grave. And just a few feet from her grave, was another grave. William explained that it was his grandmother's (Dayuma's) grave.
It was then time for them to go. The Young Prince said he hugged William and told him, "Adios." Then they got back on the plane and headed back to Shell Mera. When they got to a place where they had internet service the Young Prince messaged us to tell us what had happened. After explaining it, he said, "I'm a part of the story now!" As a high school girl reading the story, I never would have dreamed that one day, my father-in-law, and my son would visit the very place where the story happened, and actually get to continue the story by having a part in leading Dayuma's grandson to the Lord!
I have no doubt that it was all orchestrated by God. The trip probably never would have happened if the Young Prince had not been so interested in the story and seeing where it all took place. They were supposed to take the flight the day before, but arrived at Shell Mera too late to get a flight out, so they had to wait until the next day. I truly believe that it was all orchestrated by God, so that William would be with their group, so that he would be able to hear the Gospel one more time and have another chance to accept Christ. I also believe it is just like God, to allow the Young Prince to be a small part of a big story that he has admired for years. And it is just like God to let the Young Prince's mother get the exciting news all the way from Ecuador, that a story she loves continues still, and God continues to move and work through the sacrifice of five men. Five men who loved God and loved others more than they loved themselves.