In 1948, a young 21-year-old Wheaton College student named James wrote in his journal, “I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.” A year later, against all advice, he became convinced that God was calling him as a missionary to Ecuador. That year he wrote in his diary, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’ Jim spent most of 1952 in Quito, Ecuador, learning Spanish and orientating to a new culture… Since college days he had been fascinated by a remote Stone Age tribe known as the Aucas. Jim knew that they had a deserved reputation for killing anyone, Indian or white, who dared to intrude into their land. Nevertheless, he began praying for them and was determined to reach out to them. In September 1955 a pilot with the Mission Aviation Fellowship, Nate Saint, spotted from the air a small Aucas settlement. On Sunday morning January 8th 1956 Nate went up alone and spotted a group of Auca men walking towards their camp. He flew back to the beach with the good news and radioed their wives. “A commission of ten is coming. Pray for us This is the day.” Together they all sung the hymn:
“We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender,
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendour.
Victors, we rest with Thee through endless days.“