From Savages to Saints:
A Story of Gospel-Powered
Forgiveness in Ecuador, and Our Story
From Savages to Saints:
A Story of Gospel-Powered
Forgiveness in Ecuador, and Our Story
The Saint family of Pennsylvania had 2 children
who became missionaries in Ecuador in 1950s.
Below is Rachel Saint, a Bible translator.
Rachel’s brother Nate Saint (a missionary
pilot in Ecuador) with his family; wife Marj
and their children Kathy and Steve Saint
The Story of Dayuma’s Family
• She was born in Ecuador deep in the South
American rainforest in 1930s (pictured in 1960)
• She was part of the Huaorani or Waodani tribe
(known to outsiders then as “Auca Indians” –the
most feared savage violent society any knew)
• When Dayuma’s family was being murdered by
a warrior from their people, she fled for her life
• She was accepted by the Quechua indians, and
years later met the missionary Rachel Saint
who began to learn the Waodani language from
her in hopes of one day reaching those people
• Dayuma became the first Waodani Christian!
• In 1955, Rachel’s brother Nate Saint (a pilot)
and Jim Elliot and 3 other missionaries met with
Dayuma to learn her language so they could try
to fly in and make a friendly visit to her people
to tell them about the gospel of grace in Jesus
• In 1956, they flew into the jungle and were met
by 3 Waodani, including Dayuma’s sister
Gimade for a friendly visit on a river beach
Nate Saint trying to explain an
airplane to a man who had never
seen anything modern before
The 5 men who had a heart to reach
these unreached savages of South
America deep in Amazon jungle and
made contact with them in 1956
Jim Elliot’s journal, October 28:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot
keep to gain what he cannot lose”
This man later went to his people and lied, telling
them the missionaries were bad men and they
should kill them. The Waodani (led by Dayuma’s
uncle Gikita and cousin Mencaye) attacked and
killed all 5 missionaries on the beach
Nate Saint’s son Steve was 4 years
old at the time
How would this affect Steve growing up?
Nate’s wife Marj Saint back at
camp waiting for radio contact
How would she feel towards her husband’s killer?
Jesus said “Love your enemies, do good to
those who hate you, bless those who curse
you, pray for those who mistreat you … for
He Himself [God] is kind to ungrateful and
evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is
merciful … pardon…” (Luke 6:27-28, 35-37)
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another,
tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as
God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
What if they killed your brother, husband, or
father? Does the gospel give us power to
obey the Lord’s commands even then?
• In 1958, two women came out of the jungle to
find Dayuma and ask her to come back
• Dayuma did go back to the people who killed
her family to tell them the gospel she learned
from the missionaries, the way of forgiveness
rather than violence, the way of Jesus, not man
• Dayuma forgave and gave what she knew to
her people, but needed help to teach more
• Dayuma went back to the Quechua village and
invited Rachel Saint and Elisabeth Elliot to go
back with her to teach the Waodoni the Bible
• Rachel Saint was moved by the gospel to risk
her life to reach those who took her brother’s
• Elisabeth Elliot with 3-year-old daughter Valerie
moved to the jungle as well, risking their lives to
reach the people who had killed her husband!
Elisabeth Elliot and daughter Valerie
walking into the jungle
Rachel Saint and the Waodani
• By the power of the gospel many of Dayuma’s
family were saved and many more Waodani
• Christianity changed their culture of death
• Dayuma’s uncle Gikita and cousin Mencaye
(the murderers of the missionaries) both were
saved and are leaders of the Waodani church!
Rachel Saint spent the entire rest
of her life with the Waodoni people
They renamed Rachel “Star” as the one who
showed them how to “walk God’s trail”
Marj Saint in 1997 embracing Mencaye,
former murderer or her husband Nate
Saint, now forgiven friend in Christ!
What happened to the children of Marj and
the late Nate Saint (Steve and Kathy)?
Nate Saint’s children Steve and Kathy
also became close to the Waodani
Nate Saint’s daughter Kathy baptized by Waodani
tribesmen Kim & Dyuwi (now saved, but before Christ
they had murdered the missionaries). Her brother
Steve Saint is waiting in the background for his turn.
Date: June 1965 (9 years after their dad was
murdered near this very spot)
The third generation: Steve Saint’s children Shaun,
Stephenie and Jesse Saint were also baptized by
Waodani where their dad Steve and Aunt Kathy were
years before (where their grandpa Nate Saint had
died). 7 other Waodani were also baptized that day.
Right: Steve Saint (Nate Saint’s son)
Left: Mencaye (Dayuma’s cousin, former killer
of Steve’s dad, now forgiven brother in Christ!)
Mencaye says:
"We acted badly,
badly, until they
brought us God's
carvings [their
word for Bible].
Then, seeing His
carvings and
following His good
trail, now we live
happily and in
peace.”
Mincaye and Jesse Saint (Son of
Steve Saint). Jesse considers
Mincaye his “adopted grandfather”
I got to travel to Ecuador in 2002 with Steve Saint
(standing) to hear him first-hand tell this story of
God’s grace in that very place in that river
I got to meet Dayuma on this trip,
one of the great heroes of the
faith in missionary stories, one of
the great moments of my life!
Me and Mencaye,
an unforgettable
time with an
unforgettable man
who God’s forgiving
grace had changed
from savage to saint
(and whose story
changed my life and
still has a big impact
on me)
Right to left on stage: Steve Saint,
Mencaye, John MacArthur (2003
Shepherd’s Conference in Southern CA)
Beloved brothers in Christ
.
Mencaye and my daughter Ella in
Southern California (2003)
Mencaye (Dayuma’s cousin) and
Steve Saint (Nate Saint’s son)
Steve truly deeply loves
this man who once killed
his father. Steve chose to
move his own family to
live with them in the
jungle. I have rarely seen
2 men as close as them.
Mencaye is the most
joyful man I’ve ever met
and the love these 2 have
can only be explained by
power of the gospel
Jesus said “Love your enemies, do good to
those who hate you, bless those who curse
you, pray for those who mistreat you … love
your enemies, and do good … for He Himself
is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be
merciful, just as your Father is merciful …
pardon [or forgive] …” (Luke 6:27-28, 35-37)
“ … forgiving each other, just as God in
Christ also has forgiven you. Be imitators of
God as beloved children, and walk in love,
just as Christ also loved you and gave
Himself up for us …” (Ephesians 4:32-5:2)
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