Operation Auca (January 8, 1956) – Sixty Years Later

guest post by Larry Dinkins

Map of the area where Operation Auca took place, in EcuadorThis week, 60 years ago, five missionaries made contact with the Auca (literally “savage”) tribal group in the Ecuadorian jungle. Previously, no one had ever engaged this tribe without being killed. The previous year, gifts had been exchanged paving the way for this encounter. On January 3rd, the five married men, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Peter Fleming, Nate Saint (oldest at 32), and Ed McCully established a camp at “Palm Beach” along the Curaray River and waited. On January 6, two naked women and a man emerged from the jungle and made friendly contact, even agreeing to take a ride in the yellow Piper. By January 8, the anxious wives got word that all five of the missionaries had been slaughtered on that lonely beach. The coverage of the event by Life Magazine and its photo essay broadcast the news around the world culminating in what has become one of the most inspirational missionary stories of the 20th century. 

Two years later,  Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister) and Elisabeth Elliot with her 3-year-old daughter went to live among the Auca for a period of three years. Eventually most of the village, including six in the murder party, turned to Christ.  Elisabeth returned to the states as a writer and speaker, producing a total of 28 books over the next fifty years, including Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty and The Savage, My Kinsmen.

In 1969 Elisabeth married Addison Leitch, a professor of theology at Gordon Conwell Seminary. He died of cancer in 1973. After his death, she married yet again in 1977 to a hospital chaplain named Lars Glen, a former lodger at the rented room at her home. That marriage lasted until her death at 88 in June, 2015.

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot have stepped “Through Gates of Splendor” into their reward, yet their words and influence remain six decades later. Elisabeth is a particular inspiration to me, especially how she handled suffering at multiple points in her life, first through the high risks of ministry in Ecuador and the wrenching experience of seeing cancer take her second spouse within only four years. Her last decade was a constant battle with dementia, a condition that she endured with godly acceptance as she had previously done with the passing of her husbands.

10 Ways to Promote Missionary Attrition

Overall missionary attrition may not be sky rocketing, but it sure seems like it.   Every time I turn around, there is someone else packing up and going home.

Some attrition is normal as people enter different stages of life, and family or ministry circumstances / callings change.

But some attrition is unfortunate and preventable.

Although it is sometimes the missionaries themselves who have issues, other times it is their mission agency and/or supporting church(es) who have failed them. And in the messiness of real life, sometimes it is a combination of both missionary and agency, of uncontrollable and controllable factors.

In the past, I have written some positive posts about language study, the importance of friends, pre-field training, etc. But in the current post, I want to approach missionary attrition a bit more negatively, in hopes that a bit of cynicism might help us consider how to prevent attrition. So, without any further ado, here are 10 ways that mission agencies, churches, and others (including missionaries themselves) can speed up unanticipated departures from the mission field.

7 Reasons For Christians to Retire in Thailand

amazing thailand 400pxguest post by Larry Dinkins

How can you make the most of your retirement? I recently read an article by Evan Tarver listing “7 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Thailand" and it got me thinking.  Tarver started his article about the benefits of retiring in Thailand by saying, "If retiring Americans are looking to maximize their retirement, it's a good strategy to retire to Southeast Asia ..."  The maximization of retirement from Tarver's viewpoint related primarily to economic, dietary, exotic location, transportation, language and visas factors.  His 7 reasons included, 1) Low Cost of Living, 2) Delicious Food, 3) Tropical Climate and Exotic Setting, 4) Central Travel Location, 5) Availability of Retirement Visas, 6) High Number of Expats and Foreigners, and 7) Low Language Barrier. You can read full article here.  My official retirement year is on the horizon, so I began to think of how I could entice others (particularly Christians) of retirement age to "maximize their retirement" here in Siam.

1. Need of Seasoned Coaches

My co-worker is 83 years old and is fully involved in both the Thai church and seminary he founded. Dr. Henry Breidenthal is an invaluable source of wisdom for ministry to Thai Buddhists as well as a coach to the hundreds he mentored over his 51 years in this country. There are precious few experienced coaches/mentors for the large numbers of new workers who arrive on Thailand's shore every year.  Retirees with ministry or business experience can make a significant contribution to both expats and Thai alike.

Don’t Expect a Seminary to Do the Church’s Job

As a graduate of two seminaries and as a current seminary instructor, I have often internally cringed at statements like, “Seminary classes need to be more practical” or “The seminary isn’t doing enough to care for the students’ spiritual needs.” On the one hand, a theological education should not be impractical, not should it ignore the spiritual formation of students. After all, the primary purpose of most seminaries is to train people to serve the local church in various capacities. But in the same breath, I fear that statements like those above betray a misunderstanding of the respective roles of both seminaries and the local church.

Many churches (but not all churches!) seem to believe that it is the seminary’s job to train, mentor, educate, and evaluate future ministers, evangelists, church planters, etc. But the seminary is being given an impossible task. Churches often perfunctorily sign-off on a recommendation form, and hand over people who are immature in their faith, expecting the seminary to single-handedly transform them into pastors. The seminary is seen as a pastor factory that should churn out graduates who are academically and practically prepared for full-time ministry, with the requisite personal spiritual maturity and godly character.

When Bombs are Close to Home

When we lived in Central Thailand, and something BIG happened in Bangkok (protest, bomb, coup, etc.), we could always tell people on the homeside, "We are fine. We live very far away from where this happened." Now that we've been in Bangkok for 3 years, we now say, "This was not far from us. We go there sometimes. But we are fine."

You might think that being not far from where a bomb goes off would be frightening and unsettling, but the reality is that we and everyone around us carries on as normal. Yes, there are disturbing things happening, but life goes on. I don't want to say, "It is not a big deal" but I hardly feel like we are in great danger either.

God is our refuge and our shelter, and if something happens.... well, something happens. We can't live life in fear of all the "what if..." possibilities of what might happen. Death by road accident is actually MUCH more likely than death by bomb in Thailand, and danger from vehicular traffic is a daily threat to just about everybody in Bangkok. We are all in this world for all long as God deems that we should be here, not a minute less, and not a minute more.

And please do pray for Bangkok. The nation could use pray for a plethora of complex and long-standing problems.  An occasional bombing is the symptom, not the disease.

 

Bomb Blasts in Bangkok ~ August 17-18, 2015

Breaking news in Bangkok tonight (Aug 17) is that a bomb went off near the popular Erawan Shrine in downtown, not too far from where we live. I actually didn't know anything had happened until someone called me and told me about. Only then did I realize that the loud clap of thunder I heard earlier this evening was a bomb blast, and not thunder.

Please remember in prayer those affected. I'll post an update if there is anything significant to report.

Here is an early report from the BBC.  I've embedded below a CCTV video of the moment of the explosion.

 

UPDATE:

On the afternoon of Tuesday Aug 18, someone threw a grenade from Taksin Bridge to Sathorn Pier below, but the device landed in the water instead of on the pier.  There were no injuries.  This is about a 10-15 minute walk from my home, but I rarely go down to the river.  Embedded below is a video of the explosion.

 

ภาพจากกล้องวงจรปิด วินาทีระเบิดท่าเรือสาทร ช่วง 13.00 น. ที่ผ่านมา เบื้องต้นไร้ผู้บาดเจ็บ-เสียชีวิตขอบคุณคลิปวิดีโอ : อาสาแจ้งข่าว

Posted by Thairath on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

 

Here is a Google map of the locations of the blasts:

 

 

Donation Address

OMF International
10 W. Dry Creek Circle
Littleton, CO 80120

With your check, please include a note indicating support for "Karl & Sun Dahlfred"
You may also give online.