Title: End of the Spear
Author: Steve Saint
Major Themes: Airplanes, Amazon, Ecuador, Missionaries, Nate Saint, Rachel Saint, Steve Saint, Waodani
Synopsis: After Rachel Saint’s death in 1996, what happened to the Waodani Indians, who had killed her brother and four of his fellow missionaries in 1956?
Some 10 or 15 years ago, I noticed the book End of the Spear in a catalog, and wanted to read it. I tried to order it through our public library, which was able to find almost any book I wanted, but they couldn’t find this one; maybe it was too new. Finally, a few weeks ago I was visiting a friend and noticed it on her coffee table. Voila! Finally I was able to read the book I had wanted to for so long! And it was worth reading.
Anyone who knows anything about missions in the 20th century will have heard about Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and their three friends who were martyred by the Auca Indians in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador in 1956. It’s also fairly common knowledge that Nate’s sister Rachel moved in with the tribe after her brother’s tragic death, and that many of the tribe became Christians. But what happened next? End of the Spear tells the next chapter of the story of the Waodani, which is the proper name for the tribe (Auca was a derogatory name given by other tribes around them).
When Rachel Saint died, Steve had to quickly fly from his home in Florida to Ecuador to make sure his aunt was buried where she wanted to be, with the Waodani. What he didn’t expect when he arrived with the tribe was their expectation that he would take his aunt’s place and come live with and help them! How would his wife and four teenage children react to that news—especially his daughter who screamed as if she was being killed at the sight of a cockroach?
You will be amazed as you read this thick book at the way a tribe of killers was transformed, and literally kept from killing each other into extinction, by the power of the Gospel. You will learn about the challenges of a Stone-Age tribe trying to live in the 20th century. You will laugh at the funny things Steve Saint remembers (what fun you can have with a piece of string and a friend who has big holes in his ears from the plugs he used to wear). And you will cry about the tragedies described. It is not only people in the rain forest, far from a hospital, who die.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was sad to come to the end of it. I appreciated Steve’s sensitivity to God’s leading in his life and his desire to help the Waodani to help themselves. It would have been very easy for him to take over leadership of the tribe himself—and the Waodani wanted him to—but he knew it would not be best for them in the long run. How he handled that dilemma is very interesting and thought-provoking.
WARNING: Not for children without parental pre-reading; spearing, nakedness, and bodily functions are frequently discussed.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults