When I was in the 8th grade, I transferred to a Christian school. I vividly remember reading an abridged version of Through Gates of Splendor in our English class. I think that’s the only thing I remember from actual classes. The story is written by Elisabeth Elliot, and is the true account of her husband and four other men who went to the jungles of Ecuador to reach a dangerous people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the story, the five men were violently killed. Elisabeth Elliot, with the help of Rachel Saint (the sister of another man who was killed), and Dayuma (a native of the tribe who had helped them translate and had become a believer), went back to this same tribe and reached many of them with the Gospel, including the man who had killed her husband.
The famous quote from this book is something Jim Elliot said, as states my title: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
I think the power of his quote lives on because he lived and died by these words. He gave his life to gain something greater, the salvation of these people. And the salvation of many to follow.
God used this story to burden me for missions, to give what I cannot keep to gain what I cannot lose.
Our Dominican pastor took a mission trip to Ecuador, and tonight he shared testimony of his trip. While on the trip, he and 2 American missionaries took a trip up to the place where these 5 missionaries were killed. As I was listening, I was thinking of how amazing it would be to visit that place. They had 2 Ecuadorians (?) with them. Through conversation they learned that one was a Christian and one was not.
(Pardon any inaccuracies in this story, as I listened to the whole thing in Spanish)
Somewhere along the trip, Douglas, one of the American missionaries, and William, one of the guides, were separated from the group. They conversed about why William was not a believer, and he confessed that there was pressure from his friends. After more discussion, Douglas called over Miguel (my pastor), and told Miguel that William said he was ready. He was ready to receive Christ. Miguel had the privilege of explaining the Gospel in Spanish, and then the other guide explained in their native tongue, and there, on that trip, William accepted Christ.
I just couldn’t get over how cool that would be, to be on that trip, and to lead a native to Christ, and on a trip to the place where the first missionaries had come, and had given their lives for these people. Wow.
On the return trip, they came across a temple, and someone asked if they wanted to see the grave site of Rachel Saint. Of course they did! Then, next to her grave was another fresh grave, no plaque had even been placed. Someone said, “This is the grave of Dayuma. She died in February.”
Then William explained that Dayuma was his grandma.
Not only had Miguel been given the privilege of leading this young man to Christ, but this young man was the grandson of the very first person from this tribe to receive Christ. Wow! What a gift. What an experience.
I still have tears in my eyes thinking about who must’ve been praying for William. And then I think about how Miguel is from a completely different country and was only there short time, but it was God’s timing.
Here I am in a foreign country. Maybe God will use me to help someone know him. And I pray that those who are in the states, near my loved ones, will be the ones to witness salvation for those I love who don’t know Jesus. We are all part of the plan. We just have to listen and follow.
I’m praying for my loved ones to know Jesus. Now I am reminded also to pray for those who carry the Gospel to them.
(I’m sure the story was much more powerful when told in person by Miguel, but I still wanted to share!)