Essay on The End Of The Spear

Essay on The End Of The Spear

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Did Nate Saint die at “the end of the spear” in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956 because he was an unsafe pilot and pushed beyond the limits of both himself and his aircraft in an unfamiliar environment? Did he properly analyze the risk and manage it prior to his final flight into the word’s largest tropical rainforest with unparalleled biodiversity? By all means, he was a safe pilot by evidence that he safety landed a single-engine Piper PA-14 “Family Cruiser” aircraft on a narrow beach next to a river, deep in the jungles of the Amazon basin where no-one from our world had ever been. In my opinion, he managed his risk after carefully assessing potential places to land on multiple flights where he had created a bond with a world others had never heard or seen. However, his heart-driven pursuit of forming trustworthy relationships with people, in the name of Christ, failed with the Auca Indian’s Waodani tribe. Fortunately, God used this event to open the door so that others could create successful networks to impact the Amazon rainforest for God with multiple Bible translations, western clothing, and guns to replace spears. Regardless, his pursuit of forming a relationship ended in the death of himself and others. Using today’s safety system standards, Nate Saint failed. But, we all know he didn’t by evidence of all the lives impacted by those who followed his lead.

On 12 May 2016, I took off from Shell Mera, Ecuador with Richard Morales, an Ecuadorian commercial pilot for Alas de Socorro Ecuador (ADSE), in a Cessna 206 flying in support of Compassion International. We flew IFR through several rainstorms over the dense jungle of “Amazonia" and then landed safely on two airstrips that were small cut-outs in the rain...


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...ough Christ, every flight went smooth with conservative and sound decision making. The passengers were complexly comfortable in that old airplane and even the rooster was at peace in the cargo bin.

I believe the spirit of Nate Saint is alive. But, it’s not risk free. Any miscalculations or impulsive behavior within an affiliation creates a failure within the safety system. If we surrender daily to the Spirit, God will change our hearts to safely impact the world with compassion, respect, obedience, and the power of God to lavishly meet needs with trustworthy relationships. He can only change us through a bond with Him because all else is impossible just like the impossibility of turning water into the finest wine. And, only He can make an operation safe by working through our surrendered hearts to live out His Spirit in, you guessed it, relationships.

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