Nate Saint was one of the five missionaries martyred by the Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956. His son Steve remembers standing on the bank of dirt as a young boy and watching his dad take off to fly in the jungle each morning, and then anxiously waiting for his return.
Steve was nearly five years old the day his mother told him that his father would never return.
Steve made his first trip with his aunt to live with that tribe when he was nine years old. He learned about living in the jungle, and also developed relationships with many members of the tribe. In June 1965, he was baptized by two of his father's killers who had since converted to Christianity.
Steve eventually learned that the man who delivered the spear that ultimately killed his father was Mincaye. Today Steve and Mincaye consider themselves family. Steve harbors no resentment.
Steve says he has never forgotten the pain and heartache of losing his dad. "But I can't imagine not loving Mincaye, a man who has adopted me as his own."
He believes that all of the men died as part of God's plan. "I know that might offend some," says Steve. "But I don't think what happened to my dad and his four friends caught God by surprise."
The Israelites believed the ultimate success was to be blessed in their children. So perhaps the greatest blessing God could give to Nate Saint for paying the ultimate price, was to bless his son Steve. God blessed Steve with a spirit of forgiveness and a passion to help them. Today Steve is still caring for these people who brutally killed his father.
Thank you, Lord, that You reward faithfulness by blessing our children.
"Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed" (Psalm 112:1-2).