Sunday, January 08, 2006

Beyond Splendid

The Auca society was the most violent ever documented. Six out of every ten deaths were due to homicide. In 1956, five American missionaries dared to make contact with this tribe of natives in Ecuador and found death at the end of a spear. The missionaries were armed when they were attacked, but they refused to use their weapons against the Aucas. The missionaries knew they were prepared for Heaven, but the Aucas were not.

Beyond the Gates of Splendor documents the lives of these missionaries and their families. The stories are told by family members and members of the Waodani (formerly known as Auca) tribe. Theirs is an amazing, true tale of the power of love and forgiveness to transform lives.

The documentary is extremely moving, so keep the tissues handy. But the tone is not grim, and there are several moments of laughter. The Waodanis did not wear clothing, and the documentary shows footage of village life. There are also black and white photos of the murdered missionaries. Some of the story is told in the Waodani language with subtitles. I wouldn’t recommend this for very young children, but our nine-year old daughter watched, laughed and cried with us.

A theatrical version of this story, titled End of the Spear, will be released on January 20th. Both the documentary and the movie tell how God’s love transformed a society. Buy or rent the DVD of Beyond the Gates of Splendor, then join our family at the theater to enjoy End of the Spear. The summer blockbusters will include heroes like Superman and the X-Men. This winter, learn about real heroes, whose sacrifices impacted a whole society for eternity.

No comments: