Does it really work that way? Absolutely. Consider the Wadani tribe of Ecuador. The Wadani (formerly known as the Aucas) lived for generations in an endless cycle of murder and revenge. Then in 1956, five missionaries and their families were led by God to take the gospel to this violent culture. While attempting to make contact, the five men were speared to death. I felt that loss personally, because one of those men was Jim Elliot, who was assigned to be my “little brother” while he was a freshman at Wheaton College, where I was an upperclassman.
The killing of Jim and his companions would seem to have been a defeat for the gospel. But instead, it opened a door for the wives and children of the missionaries to live among the Wadanis—and do what? Yes, show them the transforming power of Christ. Over time, a number of the Wadanis began to turn to Christ. Eventually the killings stopped. A church was planted. Those who once killed their enemies now prayed for them instead. A transformation had taken place.
But the story does not end there. Remember that God uses His people to penetrate the world with His grace. So it is with the Wadanis. In 2006, members of the tribe agreed to participate in the making of a major motion picture, The End of the Spear, which tells the story of reconciliation between Steve Saint, son of one of the missionaries, and Mincayani, the Wadani warrior who killed Steve’s father. Few films have ever communicated the gospel so powerfully and convincingly.
But here’s what you need to know: the Wadani Christians decided to be part of the film because they had heard about neighborhoods in America where revenge killings are the norm. They reasoned that if God could change their society, perhaps He could use their story to change American society.
Now that’s transformation! The Word of God lived out in my life first, then lived out together with other believers so that we make an impact on our world for Christ. — Living By the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible (Howard Hendricks)