Life Magazine - the Martyrs' story

Life Magazine - the Martyrs' story

'In the Jungles of eastern Ecuador lives a tribe of Stone Age Indians called Aucas' wrote world renown photojournalist Cornell Capa - just days after news of the Palm Beach tragedy reached the world.

'Little known even to anthropologists and until less than a month ago never photographed in their own surroundings. The young American missionary who wrote the story on the opposite page is dead - murdered by the Aucas.'

On 8th January 1956 MAF pilot Nate Saint along with four other Missionaries Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, lost their lives at the hands of the Waodani Indian tribe they were trying to reach. Five days later their bodies were discovered and a recovery operation began.

Cornell Capa sat in the kitchen and listened as the wives heard the report from the search party of how their husbands had died. He shared a glimpse into how events unfolded in an article published in LIFE magazine, the foremost publication of its day, just a few weeks later.  

Capa based his account on the photos and diaries of three of the five missionaries, writing about their inspiring lives and untimely deaths for all the world to read. 

Read the incredible story of Nate Saint in 'Jungle Pilot'

Five Do and Die 

16 months late Capa returned to follow the lives of the four widows, Barbara Youderian, Betty Elliot, Marilou McCully and Marjorie Saint as they continued their missionary work from Quito.

'Today the Aucas are still in their pagan state' Capa writes introducing the theme of his second article. 'But almost uninterruptedly since the missionaries' murder, Christian hearts nearby where reaching out to them. They were the hearts and prayers of missionaries' widowswho are gallantly carrying on in Ecuador the work for which their husbands died.'    

'There can be no greater joy,' said Betty Elliot, looking hopefully ahead, 'than to know that the blood of our husbands has been the seed of the Auca church.' 

Martyrs' widows return to teach in jungle

Have you seen 'End of the Spear' movie?