There are moments in time when you hear something, and suddenly…..everything around you stills and quiets, your chest tightens just a bit, your heart squeezes, and then the memories begin to flow right down your cheeks in a rushing river of tears.
I think every single person that served as a missionary in Ecuador, or was a missionary kid in Ecuador, claims the story of the 5 Missionary Martyrs as their own. And it was. For each of us, we all had a claim, a tie to those brave and selfless men and their beautiful families, as well as the tribe they loved, ministered to and ultimately, gave their lives for. Yes, we all claim that their story was a part of our own. But somehow, tonight, in the face of the news I just received, it is even more mine than it ever was. Because tonight, when I heard that Mincaye died, I finally understood and knew in a split second that I am at a place in my walk with the Lord, that I would surrender my life in exchange for someone else having the opportunity to start theirs with Jesus as their savior. I was startled to realize that until that very moment, I might have said it, but I might not have exactly been so confident in carrying it out if the situation presented itself.
Allow me to give you a little bit of a back story, the Morris family story, and how we went to Ecuador as missionaries. So, grab a glass of tea, or a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and go with me down memory lane.
The year was 1962. My daddy, Brad Morris, was 12 years old. He was at church on a Sunday night at Southside Assembly of God in Greenville, SC. As I was told the story, he was at the altar praying, when he had a vision. In his vision, he was in a canoe and there was someone standing behind him paddling the canoe. He said that in his vision, even though he had never seen one personally, he knew he was in the jungle. The canoe was gliding down a river. The canoe came to a rest on a white sandy beach, and people began to come out of the jungle and stand on the beach. My dad said the person behind him spoke out loud and he instantly knew it was Jesus. My dad asked, “Where are we?” Jesus said, “Brad, this is Ecuador.” My dad then asked, “Who are these people?” Jesus answered, “These are my people. I want you to come and tell them about me.” My dad said the first thing he did when he got home from church, to his little mill-house on Chipley Lane, was to ask my grandfather where Ecuador was. My grandfather wasn’t sure, so they looked it up in the Encyclopedia together. From that day forward, my dad knew that he was going to Ecuador, in South America to serve the people and tell them about Jesus.
Fast forward to approximately 1970. My dad was in college at Southeastern Bible College. He met my mama. Her name was Cherryl Hardy and guess what? When she was 12 years old, in the little tiny Florida Panhandle town of Chipley, Florida, she was in Missionettes (a Bible study for pre-teen girls) on a Wednesday night at First Assembly of God. During that Bible study, they were learning about missionaries, and as they bowed their heads to pray, my mama heard a voice loud and clear and it said, “Cherryl, I want you to be a missionary and tell others about me.” Long story short, they finished Bible college, got married and pastored a church before being appointed as missionaries with the Assemblies of God in 1979.
We moved to Ecuador, and my daddy says that the first time he went into the jungle and saw “Palm Beach” where the missionaries were killed, it dropped him to his knees, because it was the same sandy beach he saw in his vision when he was 12 years old.
I think this is the point where I need to get you to read a little background information, or even to watch the movie, “End of the Spear”. It is on Amazon Prime. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing and watch it. Now. You will never be the same again. If you don’t have access to Amazon Prime or a TV, then jump on over to the Gospel Coalition and watch a few video clips and read a brief history. I promise you. It is time you will not regret.
If you have watched the movie or read the article on the Gospel Coalition link above, then you will know and be familiar with the names: Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Mincaye. You will understand that Mincaye was one of the men that helped spear those defenseless missionaries to death on that sandy beach. Mincaye slaughtered those men. Those men went willingly, knowing that they might be killed. Because, as Jim Elliot so famously said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Today, Mincaye breathed his last breath on this earth and was immediately ushered into heaven, where he saw first-hand exactly why they gave their lives so unselfishly.
What caught me so unaware, was not the immediate release of tears or the torrent of memories that flooded my brain, it was the visual image that was so clear it was almost a movie, (maybe I had my own vision?) of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian seeing Mincaye when he stepped into the heavenly realm. In the moving image I saw, I literally saw them jumping up and down around Mincaye in a circle. Whooping and celebrating. I saw them hugging him tight and thumping him on the back. I saw them REJOICING that he was there. Mincaye was overcome with emotion and all 5 of those men, they one by one, told him, or rather shouted joyfully and with glee, “It was all worth it, Mincaye! It was worth it! We would do it all over again! It was worth it so that you and your people could come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior! YES!! Mincaye!!! We would absolutely do it again. Without hesitation.”
As my visual image faded away, the tears flowed freely. I was not sad that Mincaye is no longer here on earth. He lived a long life and faithfully served his Heavenly Father telling others about Him. My tears came because I was so overcome by my vision. It was at that moment that I realized; I don’t want anyone to perish without Jesus. If I knew that my dying would give someone else a chance to know him? I would offer my life as a sacrifice in a second. I know Him. Do you?