Book Reviews, Memoir

End of the Spear – review

One of the riveting stores of my youth was of the five missionaries killed by the Auca Indians of Ecuador. So when I found End of the Spear by Steve Saint in our church library, I eagerly plucked it off the shelf. Author Steve Saint is the son of pilot Nate Saint, who flew the missionaries into Auca territory. End of the Spear is a continuation of the Waodani (Auca) story.

The book begins with Steve returning to Educador to bury his aunt Rachel Saint, translator and missionary who had lived with the Waodani for decades after the conversion of many of them to Christianity. Steve Saint himself stayed with his aunt for periods of time during his youth and so this 1994 visit is a reunion with old friends.

During that visit the Waodani plead with him to return to live with them and teach them how to do for themselves what they are becoming increasingly dependent on the government and industry (e.g. the oil companies) to do for them. End of the Spear is the story of Steve’s struggle over whether or not to uproot himself and his family and move to the Ecuadorian jungle and help his old friends. Then, after a year plus of living with them, he wrestles with how to leave these people who he and his family love so much, to keep them from becoming dependent on him. 

End of the Spear is a fascinating true story of danger, adventure, courage, wisdom, loyalty, humour, and love. Readers with a sociology background will find it particularly interesting as they see how this American family, living a typical 1990s American lifestyle, adapts to the customs and lifestyle of these jungle Indians.

God’s transforming power is in plain view as well, as we witness the love between Steve and his family for Mincaye and others who speared his father back in 1956. Also inspirational is the maturing of these once brutal savages into faith-filled, loving Christ followers as they seek to ”walk the trail set out in God’s carvings.”

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