Janet and Geoff Benge have written a series of books called Christian Heroes: Then and Now.
They tell the story of missionaries all over the world
The first book I picked up was Rachel Saint.
I’ve heard the story of Jim Elliot, and Nate Saint, Rachel’s brother.
I had never learned about Rachel’s life.
I have been challenged and inspired by her story.
Here’s just a few highlights to recount what I read.
In 1931, Rachel was turning 18 years old when millionaire, Mrs. Parmalee, took her to England to celebrate. On the trip Mrs. Parmalee, who was without children, asked Rachel to become her “daughter” and naturally, her heiress. Although Rachel was enamored with the idea of living a life of wealth and luxury, God had other plans. As she considered Mrs. Parmalee’s offer, she had a vision. “It was as if she were not standing on the deck of the ship anymore but was instead standing in a jungle clearing, looking at a group of brown-skinned, half-naked people. The people beckoned for her to come to them.” It was then that Rachel knew she would be a missionary and was determined to find the people she had seen in her vision.
Her journey to find those people was long and slow. For the next 16 years, she attended Bible schools and worked at a half way house for alcoholics. With fighting in World War II, the problem of alcohol abuse was out of control.
It wasn’t until 1948 that Rachel went to an Institute of Linguistics, followed by Jungle Camp. In 1950, Rachel had her first assignment! She would be working with Wycliffe in Peru, among the Shapras, translating the New Testament. She did so for 3 years. Then in 1953, God opened the doors for Wycliffe to work in Ecuador, where Rachel knew she would find the people she had seen in her vision 22 years before!
Rachel set out on a very long road of learning the Auca/ Waorani language with the help of Dayuma, a runaway Auca. It was the tragedy of 1956 that began to open wide the door to the Aucans. Rachel not only suffered great loss with the spearing of her brother, Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian. Rachel felt betrayed, especially since Nate and Jim had been involved in planning for over three months to go into Auca territory.
For the first time, in 1958, Rachel set foot in Waorani territory. It wasn’t until Easter Sunday in 1960 that the first of the Waorani’s came to faith in Jesus. Rachel lived among the Waorani’s until about 1977. She only returned again briefly in 1992 for the presenting of the entire New Testament. God called her home in 1994.
What amazed me the most about her story was her patient endurance. It was 27 years from the time she had a vision to the time that she first set foot inside Waorani territory.
I don’t know that I could wait for 27 years. It’s hard enough to wait for a month, let alone one year. May God use the story of Rachel Saint to bring about heart change in my own life!