One of the most famous examples of Christian love in the Twentieth Century was Operation Auca in the rainforest of Ecuador. That effort resulted in the martyrdom of all five of the American missionaries - Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian. They were attacked and speared by a group of Huaorani warriors on January 8, 1956. You can read more about it here. Despite their losses, several of the surviving family members continued to minister to the Huaorani tribe, and the tribe was transformed by the love of Jesus Christ.
A new documentary entitled ‘The Grandfathers’ chronicles the life of the Nate Saint’s grandson, Jesse Saint.
Here is the synopsis of this film:
A young man, deep in the Amazon jungle, searches for his identity while living with the primitive tribe that murdered his grandfather. The Grandfathers is a motion-graphics documentary by writer/director Jim Hanon and producer Mart Green. It completes the inspiring trilogy that began with Beyond the Gates of Splendor and was followed by End of the Spear. Jesse Saint struggles to find his place in a world dominated by the memory of a famous grandfather he never knew and a heroic father he cannot understand. Years spent among the Waodani and his friendship with the three men who took part in his grandfather’s murder teach him the healing power of dignity, respect and forgiveness. In the heart of the jungle, Jesse must confront his family’s past as he determines his own future. This documentary is a moving tribute to a young man’s quest for significance and purpose – and his remarkable impact on the three tribal elders who, unwittingly, are on a quest of their own.
Here is the film trailer:
Here is some more information on this interesting and poignant documentary:
From Sacrifice to Reconciliation, a Young Man Discovers His Heritage in The Grandfathers.
The Grandfathers showcases both the burden and benefit of the Saint family’s legacy. Jesse Saint, Steve’s oldest son and Nate’s grandson, was not raised among the tribe like his father. He struggles to find his place under the weight of the memory of a famous grandfather he never knew and a heroic father he does not fully understand. This will all change after Jesse travels to the jungles of Ecuador with his family and gradually forms a special bond with Mincaye, one of the tribesmen who took part in his grandfather’s murder. Only then will he confront his family’s past and come to terms with his own destiny. And there he will find his place in this story.
The Grandfathers chronicles the personal quest for greater connectedness and significance. It is also a moving tribute to ordinary people living extraordinary lives in extreme situations. Jim Hanon, the film’s director, states, “Forgiveness is an awe-inspiring virtue that seems to have been passed on by the Saint family and is shared by many among the Waodani tribe—both demonstrate a profound capacity for forgiveness and healthy self-healing.”
Steve Saint consulted with Jim Hanon and Mart Green, EGM’s producer, to help bring the story of his father, Nate, to screen through the feature film End of the Spear and the companion documentary film Beyond the Gates of Splendor. These films trace events leading up to and including the deaths of these men. More than that, they show the impact these events played on the lives of both their survivors and their killers. When the widows and their children went to live among the Waodani—a tribe regarded as the most violent on earth—they became an integral part of an incredible redemptive journey.
The Grandfathers, completes a trilogy produced by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) that includes End of the Spear and Beyond the Gates of Splendor. These first two films, also from award-winning director Jim Hanon and producer Mart Green, tell the unforgettable and inspiring story of the killing of five missionaries by a stone-age tribe deep in the Amazon jungle. The impact of this tragic event lives on today in families of these slain men as well as among those responsible for their deaths.
I really enjoyed this documentary. It was interesting to see the aftermath of the missionary death from the perspective of the third generation. It was also interesting to see the relationship between Jesse and ‘The Grandfathers.’ I was especially taken by the comment that Jesse made that he would not exchange the death of his grandfather if he had to forfeit his relationship with these gentlemen (the photo at right is of Jesse with Mincaye, the man who killed his grandfather). I highly encourage anyone who has seen ‘End of the Spear’ and ‘Beyond the Gates of Splendor’ to see this last movie in the trilogy. It is not to be missed!
You can order this DVD here.
This DVD was produced by Ethnographic Media and provided by The B & B Media Group for review purposes.