Steve Saint lost his father in what is one of the most well-known stories of martyrdom in the modern missions movement. Steve’s father Nate and four of his friends, Roger Youderian, Jim Elliot, Pete Flemming, and Ed McCully were at the forefront of missions efforts to reach a violent tribe known then as the Auca, “savages”, who called the Ecuadorian jungle home. After establishing friendly contact, the five men were speared to death on a small beach in the Amazon.
Many would consider this to be the tragic end of the story. However, Steve often refers to this as only the “first chapter” in a redemptive story that only God could write. The wives of the martyrs continued the work started by their husbands. Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister) and Elizabeth Elliot eventually moved to the jungles to live among the Auca, whose true name is “Waodani”. Through their testimony, many in the tribe began “walking God’s trail”, coming to a saving faith in Jesus who also willingly gave his life for them.
As a result of God’s relentless grace and redemptive love, the Waodani who had killed his father became Steve’s family. He would often travel with Mincaye, the same man who speared his father, sharing the story of God’s grace and love and inspiring many to dedicate their lives to taking the Gospel to the unreached around the world.
In this video, Steve recalls one of these trips where a journalist angrily asked him, “How can you stay in the same room with him?… How could you forgive the man who killed your father? It’s not natural!” The journalist made a good point—that kind of love is not natural. It is supernatural. In response to the journalist’s questions, Steve realized that forgiving Mincaye had never occurred to him because Mincaye would first have needed to offend him.