Thursday, March 17, 2005

Beyond the Gates of Splendor

I'm not sure precisely when it came out, but there's now a docu-drama entitled Beyond the Gate of Splendor (based on Elisabeth Elliot's book), playing in a some theatres across the US. At the link above you can watch the trailer and see a flash presentation.

Set in the Basin of Ecuador, the docu-drama tells the story of the Waodani, one of the most violent tribes the world has ever known. The primitive customs of this isolated tribe demanded that the Waodani kill not only their enemies and outsiders, but also their fellow tribes-people. Fueled by fearful superstition, they sometimes even buried their own children alive. The Waodani were the most violent society ever documented. Six of every 10 deaths of Waodani adults were homicides. In 1956, following a promising initial exchange, five young missionaries further attempted to make peaceful contact with the notorious tribe, but were brutally speared to death. However, the violent end of the missionaries' lives was only the beginning of the Waodani story. Shortly after the killings, the wife of one of the fallen men and the sister of another went into the jungle to live with the Waodani. Two years later their message of peace and forgiveness had transformed the tribe. The homicide rate fell by 90%. Nearly forty years after the death of his father, Steve Saint returned to the jungle to live with the killers of his father. His new life with the tribesmen answered many childhood questions about his father's death. The irony of the story is revealed as the very same Waodani, who killed the five missionaries in 1956, now share in their incredible story of how their lives--and those of their people--have been changed forever.

In 2006, a feature-length dramatic film, End of the Spear, should hit the theatres. It focuses on the story of Mincayani, a Waodani tribesman. You can see which actors are in the film at the IMDB website. (For example, Beth Bailey plays Elisabeth Elliot, Sean McGowan plays Jim Elliot, and Chad Allen plays Nate and Steve Saint.)

Melinda Ledman recently interviewed Steve Saint--whose father was killed by the Waodani--and Mart Green, the CEO, founder, and executive producer of Every Tribe Entertainment.

By the way, Steve Saint will join Joni Eareckson Tada and others at the Desiring God National Conference this fall to talk about Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.