Friday, January 27, 2006

Baptism near 'Palm Beach' of a believer by Waodani church leaders. At right in the foreground is Kimo, a participant in the Waodani attack of the missionaries
50 years earlier in the same place.

Photo by Mike Bishop

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Waodani Baptisms

The Lord is still at work in Ecuador!

Waodani Baptized Where Missionaries Were Slain 50 Years Ago

by Ralph Kurtenbach, missionary, HCJB World Radio.

Christian believers of the once-feared Waodani Indians were baptized in Ecuador’s Curaray River exactly 50 years after their forebears speared to death five missionaries attempting to reach the tribe with the gospel.
Ten young people were immersed by Waodani church leaders on Sunday, Jan. 8. The baptisms were accompanied by choruses of “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” sung by 200 onlookers. Alternating between Spanish and Waodani, the crowd earlier sang in English and languages indigenous to Ecuador—Quichua, Shuar and Cofán.
A Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) plane circled overhead briefly during the two-hour service at Toñampari in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest. The baptisms took place on the opposite shore near the beach where Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian were killed on Jan. 8, 1956, by the Waodani (then known by the Quichua term “Auca,” meaning “savage”). The Indians later recounted that they believed the outsiders to be cannibals.
One baptismal candidate had received Christ through Tementa whose father, Nenquiwui “George,” had misinformed the tribe about the missionaries’ intentions, leading to their martyrdom. Tementa was later instrumental in helping translators produce the Waodani New Testament.
Two aging Waodani from the raiding party in 1956, Dyuwi and Kimo, attended the baptisms, as did family members of the missionary martyrs. Christian communion followed the baptisms with morsels of ripe plantain and fruit drink used as the elements.

Fleming, 79, traveled from Iowa for the Sunday service and the 2½-day Waodani conference earlier. Upon meeting Kimo, the two embraced and got acquainted through a translator. In 1956 Fleming was teaching the Zulus of South Africa when he learned of his brother’s death. Amid the loss, his missionary work continued.
“Kimo, we now know, is the man who definitely speared my brother,” Fleming said later. “It’s just been an absolute delight for me to see the glow of Christ in his face. He and his wife, Dawa, are leaders in the church and have gone on well for the Lord.”
Summarizing Waodani culture before the introduction of the gospel, Kimo said, “We had killings day after day, week after week, and year after year. Now things are different.” His comments were translated to Spanish, then to English.
Warmth and friendship also characterized conversations between the Waodani and missionary Bert Elliot, 81, whose brother was killed. He traveled from Trujillo, Peru, with his wife, Colleen, 77, a foster son and another missionary. “I think that forgiveness for others comes with the knowledge of our own forgiveness before God,” Elliot said. Since 1949 the Elliots have served with a mission agency called Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML).
Of the transformation that began in the Waodani with the five missionaries’ deaths, former Wycliffe anthropologist Jim Yost used a metaphor. “Satan takes a big rock and slams it into a pool of quiet water, hoping for destruction,” said Yost, known as Wadika among the Waodani. Having lived with them on and off since 1973, he said he’s enjoyed the privilege of experiencing firsthand the resulting ripples that reflect God’s light, joy, beauty and love.
“These are some of the most beautiful people on earth,” Yost told his audience. “I love them.”
Other martyrs’ family members were also there, including a couple from Montana with ties to both Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, and the grandson of Nate Saint.

Nate Saint's sister, Rachel Saint, worked among the Waodani until her death of cancer in 1994. She is buried in Toñampari—home to the elderly Dayuma who as a teenager fled the violence. Dayuma later translated Waodani phrases that the five missionaries used in the attempted friendly contact, and afterwards served as a valuable liaison for the peaceful entry of Rachel and Elisabeth into the Waodani area.
Retired Wycliffe missionaries Bub Borman and Don Johnson recalled their part in a hasty burial of their friends days after the killings. They were thrilled to see what God has done among the Waodani. An Argentine Bible institute director traveled from Ukraine for the event, called “Conference of Thanksgiving,” which culminated with the baptisms. CMML missionary Lloyd Rogers said the Waodani initiated the event, and his staff helped implement the plans.
A church leader, Kawi, reminded the crowd at the riverside of a sixth martyr killed by the Waodani. Accounts during the conference told how Toña (the village later was later named for him) intended to reach out in Christian love to rival Waodani living downriver in the mid-1960s. He too was killed, but the descendants of that downriver group were among the crowd. “We’ll continue to see results of that fruit of what Toña did and what the five [missionary martyrs] did,” Kawi said.
Waodani came by canoe and on foot from half a dozen villages, some walking for three days. Conference speakers spoke pointedly to the third generation since Christianity entered the tribe, challenging teens about their lukewarm response to Jesus Christ.
Preaching from the Gospel of Matthew, Dyuwi’s son, Pegonka, said that "possessing a Bible or being baptized alone” does not constitute salvation. At the baptisms days later, Rogers echoed this, calling baptism an “important step" following one's decision to receive Christ as Savior.
Another conference speaker said youth must learn to read the Scriptures in Waodani, not just in Spanish. The first New Testament in Waodani, translated by Rosie Jung and Catherine Peeke of Wycliffe, was dedicated in 1992. Some Old Testament stories also have been translated.
Concerns also surfaced for the salvation of the Taromenane and the Tagaeri—small hostile groups of Waodani who still have not heard the gospel.

Young love...

Here's a photo of our wedding...35 years ago! As you can see, sideburns were the "in" style in 1971. I've been feeling really nostalgic lately, so I decided to post this photo on my blog. I'm still very in love with John and feel very blessed that the Lord has given us 35 years together!

Monday, January 23, 2006

That smile is worth a million bucks!

End of the Spear

We went to see "End of the Spear" Saturday night with Joel and Wendy. As far as Christian movies go, this was one of the best independent Christian films I've seen. Filmed on location in Ecuador and Peru the film combines beautiful cinematography with a well-written script that touchingly presents its message of forgiveness. The cinematography was really beautiful. The aerials of the jungle with Nate's plane buzzing close over the turquoise river, and the early shots of him and Steve in the workshop are very compelling . The violence, though difficult to watch, is shot in a tasteful manner that captures the drama and fear of the moment without being overdone. The End of the Spear follows the story of Nate Saint as he is searching for the Waodani people in order to save them from killing themselves off - and being killed.
"We don't have much time. The Waodani are killing too many people. The government will send troops down soon - we have to act now."
(Nate Saint to Jim Elliot)
Interestingly enough the movie emphasized this concern for the Waodani on the part of the missionaries, instead of a desire to convert them, which would have probably turned off the secular audience. That was one thing that bothered me though...I think the name of Christ needed to have a vital part of the story...that was the ultimate goal of these men. One aspect of the story really struck me...the Waodani's belief that a man's children should be buried with the father when he died. They often sacrificed their children in this way. It made me think of the way we're sacrificing the future of our civilization through abortion...killing the potential for the next generation to satisfy the "gods" of selfish desire or convenience. The story also tells us the Saint's story from the Waodani perspective following Mincayani, the warrior that killed Nate Saint, and his journey to reconciliation with his own conscience. After Nate and his friends are killed the story turns to the women -- white and Waodani -- who are used by God to show true forgiveness and introduce them to God's son. It is the women, who have little or no status in the Waodani culture, who are able to bridge the cultural gaps between the missionaries and the indians. The willingness of Rachel Saint and Elizabeth Eliot to go and live with the tribe that killed their family is simply unbelievable to the warriors - and it is this that ultimately heals the pain of the past. Here again, the missionaries are not portrayed as preachy but genuinely concerned. The only overt presentation of the gospel is made to the Waodani by a Waodani woman who had become a Christian. Joel and Wendy really seemed to enjoy the movie too, although Joel felt the music was trying too hard to manipulate the emotions of the viewer. I'll let him elaborate on his view of the story.

It was so much fun having them home...even though it was a short weekend. Their furnace quit on Saturday so they weren't able to get here until Saturday evening. After the repairman fixed the furnace...again...they decided they need to get a new one this spring. Oh the joys of home ownership! It was really fun having them go to our church and Sunday school class. They hadn't been to church with us in a long time so all our friends were really happy to see them! I think John was really nervous with them in our Sunday school class...he was starting the study of Romans and felt so humbled to be leading that group of young marrieds when so many of them are even more knowledgeable about the Bible than we are...especially Joel and Wendy! But I know God will use us despite our inadequacies...He doesn't call the equipped...He equips the called!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Grandma in 7th grade...Hula Peak Hoffman

Random thoughts...

I haven't blogged for gets hectic! I have really enjoyed reading the blogs of others online. There are so many really deep thinkers out there who give me ideas to ponder. Sometimes I think my blog is so shallow and inconsequential. I have difficulty putting into words the things that really matter to me. This weekend has been very encouraging. We met the man who is our candidate for pastor. He and his wife and son drove here from North Carolina and joined a group of us for dinner Friday evening. His enthusiasm for the Word and for the Lord was really contagious. He preached today and it was such a breath of fresh air. I'm really hoping and praying that he is the man that God has chosen for our church. We have a wonderful church with a core group of really passionate believers...but we've gotten stale and set in our ways. I'm hoping he will help us get our small group plan on the move and that the Lord will use him to get all of us motivated!
On a totally different vein...when I get a little time to just surf the net, I like to look for interesting sites. I found the website for the little town in Kentucky where my dad was born. What was really interesting to me was a file that had a picture of my grandma in 7th grade! That would have been around 1915! Grandma is the one on the very left of the front row. I think genealogy is so fascinating. I wish I had more time to pursue it as a hobby. It's so interesting to see where I came from and think of those relatives and what their lives must have been like. I have the Whitenack genealogy way back to Martin Weidknecht in Adelshofen, Germany who was born in 1601. That was my Mom's maiden name. Her mother's maiden name was Ross and she traced her family back to the brother of Betsy Ross's husband. It's just really neat to think of the circumstances that shape our past and how that has affected our personalities and lives. When I was researching the Whitenack side a few years ago I found that my husband was in the same line...about 4 generations back. Isn't is amazing the way God brings us together!

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Today I didn't have to go to work until 3:00 so...instead of cleaning house I downloaded music to my computer. I love all kinds of music so I'm making a CD to listen to in the car. Here's a sample of my recent favorites:

Psalm 3 by my son...he actually wrote and recorded this song for his church's worship CD called Farther
Bluer by Over the Rhine (didn't download this one...have the CD)
Amazing Grace by the Blind Boys of Alabama
Power of Your Love by Hillsong
Rejoice by Il Divo
Flown Free by Over the Rhine
Prayer for Taylor by Michael W. Smith
Indescribable by Chris Tomlin
Little Did I Know by Over the Rhine
Wizards in Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

I know...that's quite an eclectic selection...I just really like a lot of different artists! I challenge "my readers" to make your own list!

Betsy & her Daddy!

My walker makes me so sleepy...zzzzzz!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Five Perfectly Weird Things About Myself

A fellow blogger challenged me to write about 5 perfectly weird things about myself. I had to give it some thought...I'm such a boring person. But here goes:

1. I take the computer games home from the library where I work and play them so I can help the kids when they get stuck on a game. They think I'm cool...but weird. ;)
2. I constantly dream that I'm pregnant...and I'm thrilled about it in my dreams. I always wake up disappointed. (I'm 57!)
3. When we go on long drives I feel a deep longing to do all the things I've never done...especially when I realize that I have more yesterdays than tomorrows.
4. In college I took a judo class and loved it...until I broke my foot during the final.
5. My husband and I grew up 3 miles from each other but didn't meet until we were both out of high school...years later when looking up my genealogy...his name appeared. We're 4th cousins!