In July 2010, I went with a mission team from our church to Shell, Ecuador. It’s too incredible of a memory for me to forget so allow me to share some of that story and some pictures. I hope you find it interesting…

Shell, Ecuador is where the incredible missionary story played out as told in the movie “End of the Spear” and the book “Through Gates of Splendor” by Elisabeth Eliot. Jim Eliot, Nate Saint and 3 other missionaries took their wives to Ecuador to share the Gospel with a militant tribe, called the “Waodoni,” who lived deep in the Amazon jungle. Unfortunately, on January 8, 1956, those five men were speared to death by the very tribe they were trying to reach with the Gospel.

lifemagazine_elliot_original
The moment the three missionary wives heard that they were now widows (in Nate Saint House in Shell, Ecuador). This picture was spread around the world in Life Magazine.

The story continued as Elisabeth Eliot (Jim’s wife) and Rachel Saint (Nate’s sister) went back to that tribe. Showing God’s love to the very ones who took the lives of their loved ones, these women evangelized that tribe. Because of what they did, the Waodoni are now primarily Christians.

On my mission trip to Ecuador, we found out that a MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) plane was planning a flight into “Terminal City” to deliver needed supplies. (“Terminal City” is where Jim Elliot and Nate Saint dropped the bucket of trinkets from their plane in an attempt to befriend the warriors before they dared to land their plane in the jungle.) If we quickly purchased the ticket, we could get a chance to visit the tribe at the center of this incredible missionary story. I jumped at the opportunity with some others on our team.

Here are some of the pictures I took on this unforgettable trip:

MAF does an incredible job around the world taking care of people groups who live away from civilization. They provide transportation for food, medicines, necessities and evacuations for people in medical distress.
MAF does an incredible job around the world taking care of people groups who live away from civilization. They provide transportation for food, medicines, necessities and evacuations for people in medical distress.
Here's a copy of my plane ticket to Terminal City and back.
Here’s a copy of my plane ticket to Terminal City and back.
Getting ready to take our ride from Shell to "Terminal City."
Getting ready to take our ride from Shell to “Terminal City.”
I got to sit in the back row. We're waiting our turn on the runway to take off. Chris Stringer is riding shotgun. Syretha Bates is in the second row on the left.
I got to sit in the back row. We’re waiting our turn on the runway to take off. Chris Stringer is riding shotgun. Syretha Bates is in the second row on the left.
And we're off!
And we’re off!
About 10-15 minutes into our flight, we leave behind civilization. Amazon jungle, here we come!
About 10-15 minutes into our flight, we leave civilization behind (Puyo, Ecuador). Amazon jungle, here we come!
High above the Amazon jungle. We were miles from anything that resembled civilization.
High above the Amazon jungle. We were miles from anything that resembled civilization.
After about 30 minutes, we saw "Terminal City" on the left side of our plane. The runway is the dirt/grass/gravel path.
After about 30 minutes (a little more than 50 miles from Shell), we saw “Terminal City” on the left side of our plane. The runway is the dirt/grass/gravel path in the center of this picture.
Terminal City
Shell, Ecuador (where we took off) is in the bottom left of this picture. The red pin is where “Terminal City” is.
In "Terminal City."
In “Terminal City.”
Some precious children in "Terminal City."
Some precious children in “Terminal City.”
I wish that I could have spoke "Wao."
I wish that I could have spoken “Wao.”
We're standing on the runway. A traditional hut is seen in the background.
We’re standing on the runway. A traditional hut is seen in the background.
MAF's airplane.
MAF’s airplane.
This is the runway ... and I use that term loosely.
This is the runway … and I use that term loosely.
And we're off!
And we’re off! We stayed in “Terminal City” for probably an hour or so. The primary reason for this trip was so that MAF could fly some supplies to the Waodani. Our presence (and payment for the trip) made the trip less costly for MAF.
This is the Curaray River. It was on this river that the lives of the five missionaries were taken in 1956. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curaray_River
This is the Curaray River. It was on this river that the lives of the five missionaries were taken in 1956.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curaray_River
The Curaray River. Because of erosion, locating "Palm Beach" would have been impossible for us. But the fact that God used such a remote spot of Earth to create a story that has motivated so many men and women to pursue missions was overwhelming.
The Curaray River. Because of erosion, locating “Palm Beach” would have been impossible for us. But the fact that God used such a remote spot of Earth to create a story that has motivated so many men and women to pursue missions was overwhelming.
This full-sized model of the plane that Nate Saint flew graces a park in the center of Shell, Ecuador. The story lives on...
This full-sized model of the plane that Nate Saint flew graces a park in the center of Shell, Ecuador. The story lives on…