Dawa, the first Waodani to believe God (the Creator) had marked a trail He wanted all people to follow, has just died from complications of gallbladder surgery.

When Dayuma first went back into Waodani territory just two years after Dad, Roger, Jim, Pete, and Ed were speared; Dawa insisted that Dayuma carefully explain all she knew about Wangongi (the creator) and the Good Trail Itota (Jesus) had marked with His blood.

Dayuma said she would invite aunt Rachel and Jim’s wife, Elizabeth, to explain the new way of living that pleased Wangongi. Dawa insisted that Dayuma explain everything she knew about God to her. She said that if Dayuma and the two foreigners did not return, she would teach her people about this new way of living that Wangongi saw well.

It was Kimo, Dawa’s husband, who built a house for aunt Rachel to live in, that the other Waodani warriors said would be his grave (as seen in End of the Spear).

Dawa was my tribal grandmother. Not many people will mourn her death, but she was a key figure in the Waodani / Auca story that has impacted millions of Christ followers for over 60 years.

~ Steve


  • Mary Buchanan says:

    I am sorry to read about the loss of this remarkable woman. Praise God that she was a Christian and I am sure your Dad and the other 4 men were among the first to greet her when she entered Heaven. I hope to meet her and them someday too.

  • Al Parry says:

    Steve, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It seems she has answered a higher calling, and did a lot of good while she was here. May you be blessed with the comfort of her memory and all the good times you shared.

  • Beth Heiney says:

    While we mourn this temporary separation here on earth I can’t help but imagine her first step into the presence of her Savior. In my human mind I imagine those 5 martyrs seeing many Waodani saints as they enter one by one and knowing their sacrifice was far from in vain! Praise to Jesus!

  • Roy E. Joy says:

    Praise the Lord for the Waodanis who took to Waengongi’s trail! They have reached their destination. Praying for ITEC. Who else is there from the first generation believers? Dayuma? Mincaye?

  • Karen says:

    May Dawa’s memory be eternal! Her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

  • Darryl Holliday says:

    Brother Steve, the news of your tribal grandmother passing away is bittersweet. I shared the story of your dad, Jim Elliot and the other missionaries three years ago during VBS at my church. Grandmothers mean a lot to me as my own grandmother officially adopted me and raised me in the admonition and love of the Lord Jesus. Take comfort my friend as Dawa is home with your dad and the others. WOW! How amazing is our God’s grace!!!

  • Sheila Roberts says:

    Steve, I am so sorry for your loss. I know you must have wonderful memories of Dawa. I pray you will hold on to the memories and that the Lord will give you peace and comfort. Praying for the Waodoni people.

  • Kimberly Permenter says:

    If Dawa is not mourned by millions, it is only because our world is imperfect. The disappointments in this fallen world serve as constant reminders that we are aliens in a foreign land – a land which, at best, is still just a shadow of what God has in store for us. Hebrews 11:13-16 makes this clear. Dawa put her faith in God and glorified Him – and He saw fit to share her story – one which has spread the gospel and inspired countless people. Now, even as we speak, she is in the presence of God! What a powerful example she has set for us all. I hope your memories of her will soon be a comfort to you instead of bringing you grief.