On January 8, 1956, on a sandy beach along the Cararay River in the rainforest of Ecuador, Jim Elliot and four other young missionaries met the end of their lives on spear-tips carried by the very people they had spent years preparing to bring the good news of Jesus Christ. Only days before, they had had their first contact with these primitive Auca Indians (today called the Huaorani). It had gone so well. After months of airlifting gifts and shouting Huaorani greetings from a small plane, a young man accompanied by two women emerged from the tree line. They’d spend an exhilarating day together. Nate Saint, the missionary pilot, had even taken “George” up in the plane and flown over his village at his request!
Two days later, Saint spotted a party of Aucas headed back to the beach and radioed to his wife the exciting news from his plane at 12:30pm. By 3:00pm, all five missionaries had perished. What had gone wrong? And what had led Jim and these four young men (three in their twenties and two barely thirty) to pay the ultimate sacrifice on a remote beach in Ecuador?