The house in Shell Mera, Ecuador, that MAF missionary martyr Nate Saint built in 1948 still stands, but it’s crumbling from termites and the daily inch of rain that deluges the eastern Andean foothills.
According to a news release distributed by Christian Newswire, Chris Nevins of the non-profit construction ministry Fuel the Mission (www.fuelthemission.org) has started to change that.
On June 15 Nevins and teams of Ecuadoran and North American workers began the loving labor of restoring the historic building.
“MAF holds so dear the history of Nate Saint’s work,” said MAF President John Boyd. “This major undertaking to restore the house that Nate built with a team of missionaries is so meaningful to MAF, not just for today, but for the future.
“Young people are taking an interest in Nate Saint and his sacrifice. I know the Lord is going to use this project to inspire the next generation to serve the cause of Christ to the ends of the earth.”
“Life” magazine brought the story to millions of readers in 1956 with photographs of Marj Saint and the wives of the four other missionaries in the house’s kitchen, receiving word their husbands had been killed by Auca [now known as Waorani] Indian spears. [Also killed were Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian.]
Nevins had read “Jungle Pilot,” Saint’s biography, which included photos of the house. Photos are also in “The Savage, My Kinsman,” a book by missionary widow Elisabeth Elliot.
“Saint designed the 4,000-square-foot facility as a guesthouse, radio center and his family’s living quarters. He supervised the five-missionary construction team that built it in September and October of 1948,” said the news release.
“As the house aged, its problems became too costly to fix. In addition to moisture and termites, earthquakes, volcanic ash and shifting soil were its perpetual enemies. In 2002, MAF ceased using it.”
Today as many as six van loads of visitors may stop at the house in a single day. “People come from all over the world to see it because of what God did with ordinary men,” Nevins said.
So far Nevins has raised half of the $75,000 needed to complete the Nate Saint house project. He will rely on the labor of Ecuadorans and North American volunteers.
”]”]The kitchen and radio room will be restored to their original state. The rest of the house will be dismantled and rebuilt into mission offices and a training room, with an apartment for a missionary family in the back. Reusable materials, like the termite-resistant jungle mahogany used to build the house, will go into the new facility. The house’s electric and plumbing systems will be redone. It will be wired for Internet. A “wall of remembrance” will trace the history of the house.
Nevins says that the tentative date for the 90-day project’s completion is September 15, 2010. This depends on funding and the availability of volunteers. Those interested in helping with the project are invited to contact Nevins at www.fuelthemission.org.
Note: Founded in the U.S. in 1945, MAF (www.maf.org) missionary teams of aviation, communications, technology and education specialists overcome barriers in remote areas, transform lives and build God’s Kingdom by enabling the work of more than 1,000 partner organizations. With its fleet of 58 bush aircraft — including the new KODIAK — MAF serves in 42 countries across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. MAF pilots transport missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conduct thousands of emergency medical evacuations in remote areas. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems.
Assist News Service
For more information contact: Nicole Aptekar