Jungle Pilot


In 1960, I read the book, “Jungle Pilot,” by Russell T. Hitt. The book chronicled the life and witness of Nate Saint, a pilot with Missionary Aviation Fellowship. The focus of this book was on the sacrifice Nate made to share Christ with the Auca tribe who lived in the jungles of Ecuador.


The Auca, now known as Huaorani, are native to the Amazon region. Their ancestral home is located between the Curaray and Napo rivers. In his book “Strangers On The Earth,” author John Cowart cites this quote from Time Magazine regarding the Auca tribe: “A pure Stone Age people, they hate all strangers, live only to hunt, fight and kill. Their most notable products are needle-sharp, 9-foot, hardwood spears for use against human foes. . . . Even their neighbors, the Jivaros, famous for shrinking human heads, live in constant fear of the fierce Aucas.”


While Nate and his team did all they could to share Christ with the Auca, they were killed by the very people they came to save. Their story is disappointing and inspiring at the same time. The loss of a brilliant and Godly man like Nate Saint is difficult to accept.


But before his death, Nate said, "And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives, and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”


In the book “Jungle Pilot,” the reader was introduced to missionary Jim Elliot. Jim and three others partnered with Nate Saint to reach the Auca by using a small airplane. While the story seemed to end in failure, God used their sacrifices to bring many souls of the Auca Tribe to Jesus. The full story was provided in the book, “Through Gates of Splendor,” by Elliot’s widow, Elisabeth Elliot.


Jim Elliot made these three statements that have impacted my life. Please prayerfully consider each one in light of what you have accomplished so far for Christ:

1. Saturate me with the oil of your Spirit that I might be aflame for you.

2. Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork in the road, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.

3. God, I pray to you, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for you. Consume my life, my God, for it belongs to you. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.


It is not for me to judge your life. This is a personal accounting between you and Christ. As it states in Ecclesiastes 12:14 NLT, “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”


Think it over!

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