Through Gates of Splendor

Last updated
Through Gates of Splendor
First edition
Author Elisabeth Elliot
CountryUnited States
Publisher Harper & Brothers
(1st edition)
Tyndale House
(subsequent editions)
Publication date
28021st ed.)
1975 (2nd ed.)
June 3, 1981
(25th anniv. ed.)
1996 (40th anniv. ed.)
August 5, 2005
(50th anniv. ed.)
Pages208 (1st ed)
(25th anniversary ed.) 303
ISBN 0-8423-7152-4
OCLC 20746425

Through Gates of Splendor is a 1957 best selling book written by Elisabeth Elliot. The book tells the story of Operation Auca, an attempt by five American missionaries – Jim Elliot (the author's husband), Pete Flemming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian – to reach the Huaorani tribe of eastern Ecuador. All five of the men were killed by the tribe. The book is Elliot's first book, and arguably her most well known work.[ citation needed ]


The title of the book is derived from the fourth stanza of the hymn "We Rest on Thee". This hymn was famously sung by the missionaries before the men left for Waodaoni territory in September 1955. The lines read: [1]

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 splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

Elliot wrote the book while still a missionary in Ecuador. She wrote the book at the request and with cooperation from the families of the five men. She was given copies of letters, and other writings which were extensively quoted from in the book. The original edition of the book was published in 1957, one year before the first peaceful contact with the Huaorani was made. In subsequent publications of the book, epilogues have been added to tell about what has happened to the Huaorani tribe since Operation Auca, and what has happened to the missionaries' families. [2]


Through Gates of Splendor DVD Through Gates of Splendor DVD.jpg
Through Gates of Splendor DVD

In 1967, a documentary film of the same name was produced which included much of the film footage shot by Nate Saint at "Palm Beach". Elisabeth Elliot narrated the film. It was based on Through Gates of Splendor as well as her later book, The Savage My Kinsman.

In 2005 a docudrama was produced, End of the Spear. The film recounts the story of Through Gates of Splendor, but from the perspective of Steve Saint (the son of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries killed in the encounter) as well as from Mincavani, one of the tribesmen who took part in the attack. The two eventually form a bond that continues to this day.

See also

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Elisabeth Elliot was a Christian author and speaker. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca of eastern Ecuador. She later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. Returning to the United States after many years in South America, she became widely known as the author of over twenty books and as a speaker. Elliot toured the country, sharing her knowledge and experience, well into her seventies.

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Operation Auca was an attempt by five Evangelical Christian missionaries from the United States to bring Christianity to the Huaorani people of the rain forest of Ecuador. The Huaorani, also known pejoratively as Aucas, were an isolated tribe known for their violence, against both their own people and outsiders who entered their territory. With the intention of being the first Christians to evangelize the previously uncontacted Huaorani, the missionaries began making regular flights over Huaorani settlements in September 1955, dropping gifts, which were reciprocated. After several months of exchanging gifts, on January 3, 1956, the missionaries established a camp at "Palm Beach", a sandbar along the Curaray River, a few kilometers from Huaorani settlements. Their efforts came to an end on January 8, 1956, when all five—Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian—were attacked and speared by a group of Huaorani warriors. The news of their deaths was broadcast around the world, and Life magazine covered the event with a photo essay.

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Pete Fleming American missionary

Peter Sillence Fleming was an evangelical Christian who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador.

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Beyond the Gates of Splendor is a feature-length documentary film that was released in 2004. It chronicles the events leading up to and following Operation Auca, an attempt to contact the Huaorani tribe of Ecuador in which five American missionaries were killed. The film was produced by Bearing Fruit Productions and distributed by Every Tribe Entertainment.

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Avant Ministries is a non-profit, Christian mission agency focused on planting and developing churches worldwide. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Avant missionaries serve in church planting and church support ministries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America.