The story is known to Christians around the globe:
Five Christian missionaries who brought the gospel to the deep jungles of Ecuador were savagely speared to death by violent native warriors.
But one of the natives later became a Christian, demonstrating God’s amazing redemptive power.
This murderer-turned-Christian recently passed away – and his stunning obituary was written by the son of one of the missionaries he killed. And it will leave you speechless.
In 1956, Nate Saint and his fellow missionaries landed in the jungles of Ecuador.
Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and their wives had come to bring the good news of the Gospel to the remote Waodani tribe.
But their arrival was not cause for rejoicing. In fact, many of the Ecuadorian natives viewed them with suspicion and prepared to attack them.
When the five men went missing in the jungle, millions of people across North America and Europe waited with bated breath to find out what had become of their Gospel mission.
After a week, a search party discovered the five men dead on a sandbar. They had been speared to death by a group of Waodani warriors, including a man named Mincaye, which means “wasp” in the Waodani language.
But the world could never have predicted what would come of the missionaries tragic death!
The now-famous story of forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation has touched millions around the world. But it influenced no one more than Mincaye himself, who became a Christian soon after murdering the missionaries.
Mincaye recently passed away “of natural causes related to old age,” but was memorialized in a touching obituary written by Steve Saint – the son of Nate Saint.
Even though Mincaye killed his father, Steve Saint wrote emotionally about the loss of a man who had become one of the most important people in his life, truly demonstrating the forgiveness of Christ.
“When ‘Grandfather Mincaye,’ as we affectionately knew him, helped five other Waodani warriors spear my father [and the others]…there was no reason to believe anyone outside of his small clan…would ever take note of that incident,” Saint wrote.
“When a search party finally found their five, spear-riddled bodies the question was, ‘Why?’”
Saint continued, “But sixty-four long years later, it seems clear that Genesis 50:20 was about to come true…‘What man meant for evil, God meant for good.’”
Saint went on to reflect on Mincaye’s amazing conversion to Christianity—and his impact on the world after that conversion.
“There has been no greater ambassador of [the Gospel] than the life of Grandfather Wasp,” Saint wrote.
“This amazing jungle warrior who counted only up to twenty on his fingers and toes, personally impacted hundreds of thousands of people in audiences as large as forty-five thousand.”
According to Saint, Mincaye spoke frequently about his former life as a warrior, highlighting how Christ changed his heart.
“We lived angry, hating and killing, ‘ononque’ (for no reason), until [the missionaries] brought us God’s markings,” Mincaye often said. “Now, those of us who walk God’s trail live happily and in peace.”
Mincaye often added, “Maybe if we had known sooner that ‘Waengongi’ (the Creator) did not see it well that people should live angry, hating and killing for no reason, we could have walked God’s trail sooner.”
In his obituary, Saint praised God for Mincaye’s incredible witness and story of transformation.
He also reflected emotionally on the relationship that he himself had with “Grandfather Mincaye” after that fateful day on the sandbar.
“There are people who question the motives of the five missionaries…there are some who question Mincaye’s motives in [preaching],” Saint wrote.
“I can only answer that I [knew Mincaye well,” he added. “We traveled together, ate together, shared the same room, and spoke together.”
“I have known Mincaye since I was a little boy when he took me under his wing and had his sons teach me to blowgun hunt. He was one of my dearest friends in the world.”
“Yes, he killed my father,” Saint admitted. “But he loved me and my family. One of my grandsons is named Mincaye.”
“We will miss you, Maemae Mincaye, but we hold onto the certain hope that we will soon see you again (John 3:16),” Saint concluded.
What an incredible story of God’s powerful love! Praise God for the amazing witness of this warrior-turned-Christian, and for the witness of the Saint family.
Read the full obituary here.