ECUADOR – On April 29, 2020, Steve Saint reported that “A kind, gentle, fun-loving man has just died deep in the Amazon jungles of Ecuador.” Saint, who has spent years as a missionary in those jungles called Mincaye “his best friend in the world.”
No doubt, if you have seen the film “Beyond the Spear” or read the book upon which the movie is based, you will remember Mincaye. For those who are not familiar with the late Mincaye, allow us to introduce you to him.
In 1956, Mincaye murdered Steve Saint’s father.
I have never forgotten the black and white photo essay in Life magazine that told the story of five young missionary men. They had been speared to death by a group of the unreached tribe of Ecuadoran Indians known then as the Aucas. The incident shocked the entire world. However, not as much as when some of the families of the slain missionaries announced that they would return to continue the work in the jungle. Steve’s aunt Racheal was one of them. She was accompanied by Elizabeth Elliot, whose husband was one of the five. (Elliot authored the best-selling book, Through Gates of Spendor, detailing what was known then about the mission behind and before them.
Nate’s son, Steve, was born in Quito and attended school there, visiting his aunt Racheal during the summers. He learned the language and made some lasting friendships among tribal people, many of whom had come to know Christ.
Steve moved to the U.S. to attend Wheaton College, after which he pursued a successful business career. He returned to Ecuador in 1994 for his aunt Racheal’s funeral. By this time, there was a thriving Christian community. Friends he had made in the jungle as a child invited him to return and to live with them. A year later, Steve and his family settled in with the Huaorani.
It was during those later years that Steve learned that Mincaye, his “best friend in the world,” had been the one who had speared his father. Some would consider that a miracle. If so, it is perhaps a greater miracle that Mincaye had become a Christian – one with a burning desire to share the comfort and joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with many others.
Greater still, although few here knew him or of his passing, when Mincaye closed his eyes in death, he opened them to see to open arms of his Savior, the heavenly host, and his brother-in-Christ, Nate Saint. Now that’s a miracle.
Read about Steve’s father, Nate Saint, in the Missionaries section of Missions Box.
To read more news on World Missions on Missions Box, go here.
- Assist News Service, Mincaye from “End of the Spear” Breathes His Last at Home in Ecuador
- Eternal Perspective Ministries, Mincaye Is Now with Jesus
- ITEC USA, Remembering Mincaye
- ABWE, Mincaye: The World’s Most Famous Hunter-Gatherer, Changed by Jesus
- Screenshot from YouTube courtesy of ITEC