"Beyond the Gates" -- Murder, Forgiveness and Transformation
- Monday, August 08, 2005
The story is also, Green insists, about reconciliation and adventure.
“God has an adventure for each of our lives, and if we step out, He’ll take us to another level,” he says. “God will take us places that we don’t expect to go.”
The irony of the missionaries’ adventure among the Waodani, interestingly enough, is not the tribe’s dramatic conversion to Christianity, nor even their peaceful coexistence, which continues five decades later. It’s not even the fact that Steve Saint, who was five years old when his father was killed, grew up befriending the men who had killed his father, but also came to love them, to regard them as family, to be baptized by their hands and to be embraced as a son in their tribe.
The ultimate irony is that the Waodani only agreed to participate in the making of these films after the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in 1999. When the tribesmen heard how children had been killed by other children for no apparent reason, they concluded that the gunmen were “savages,” as they had once been, who desperately needed to hear the message of the gospel.
“The way the Waodani express their faith is compelling,” says Saint, who now lives in the U.S. but travels back and forth to Ecuador, working with the Waodani to reach out to neighboring tribes through his nonprofit organization, the Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center. “It’s free from a lot of the churchiness and expressions we use. They aren’t as sophisticated, so it comes across as more palatable.”
This is one of the reasons Saint wanted to tell this story, which is based on Elisabeth Elliot’s book, “Through the Gates of Splendor.” Produced by Every Tribe Entertainment and a top-notch team of directors, actors and cinematographers, “End of the Spear” will be a full-length feature film that will debut in theaters across the nation in January of next year, on the 50th anniversary of the killings.
Green hopes that the Christian community will not only make it a success, but allow the story to transform the lives of family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
“Our goal was to speak to a broad audience, like “Chariots of Fire,” in the style of Mark 4:11,” he says. “The film, we hope, will create readiness and nudge people toward insight. Christians can share the film, then go deeper if they want. People don’t want to be hit over the head [with the Gospel.]”
Churches interested in requesting a “Beyond the Gates” church screening kit, which includes advertising materials, study guides and even sermon notes, can order one at www.beyondthegatesthemovie.com or by calling (800) 695-9847.
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