Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

June 22, 2012

The Influence of Five

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I have written about six young men that had great influence on my life.  At a time in 1955 when I was seeking to understand my life and purpose, God used those six in a significant way.  Their influence was reinforced by several young ladies that were direct in speaking to me and encouraging me to seek God’s direction for my life.

But there are five other men that impacted by life at that time.  I never met these men, but their story . . . and deaths . . . got my attention, and God certainly used them as an influence in my life.

In 1955 five missionaries, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming,  sought to share the love of God with a tribe in Ecuador.  Known as the Aucas, they were a Stone-age tribe that always responded to outsiders by killing.  These five missionaries planned well and made contact.  Their diaries indicated their excitement.  The world did not know much of their plans and hopes.  But about the second week of January, 1956, the world was shocked with the news that five missionaries had been killed . . . murdered . . .  martyred!

That January was a pivotal point in my life.  I was deeply wrestling with whether or not God was calling me into ministry.  Just a few nights before this world-shocking news, I had indicated to the six young men with whom I was living that perhaps God was calling me.  They rejoiced . . . and I began to be a part of spiritual activities.

Then within days of my admission, a young lady . . . one who had committed her life to missionary service . . . approached me with the news of the death of these missionaries.  She verbally told me the story.  I believe that my reaction was more of a challenge to adventure than recognizing the commitment of those missionaries.  But it would not take long before I began to devour every news item related to their deaths.  I wanted to know more.  This was a new world to me — missionary service . . . commitment to Christ . . . sacrifice . . . surrender!  My heart and mind would retain their story for months to come.

Then I was presented a book, Through Gates of Splendor,  by Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot.  At the encouragement from the other wives, she wrote the story . . . documented with letters and diaries.  And the book contained many photos.  Those printed pages imprinted by heart.  To this very day, there is an inward emotion as I remember these young missionaries.

The goal of these young husbands was not to die —  to become martyrs.  They were not on some suicide mission, but on a committed focus to follow God’s leadership —  whatever the cost!  Their deaths were the result of lives lived with full commitment to Christ.  My God wanted me to understand that  . . . He was not asking any less of me.

During those month following their deaths, I learned something of what it really means to live for Christ.  Committing a life to Christ is total . . . all . . . complete.  There cannot be part-time or occasionally.  And that was the lesson I needed to learn. I truly believe that the incident in Ecuador and the reading of the book touched my life and God used the influence of those five in my life.  I fall short of the commitment that those missionaries exhibited, but I am still a long way from where I was before I heard of them and their story.

There are several quotes from some of these men that I have never forgotten.  Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

The pilot that flew the group into Auca territory, Nate Saint, wrote, “Every time I take off I am ready to deliver up the life I owe to God.” 

Pete Fleming said, “I would gladly give my life for that tribe.”

Robert Youderian wrote, “I want to be a witness for Him, following Him, every day of my life.”

Ed McCully said, “I pray that God will spare the lives of those Indians.”

Imagine if those of us who claim to be following Christ could equal the commitment of those five missionaries what impact we would have on this world!

Be aware of influences God is using in your life today . . . recognize that through your committment, God may be influencing others!  Whatever sacrifice you may assume you are making, it is not a sacrifice, but an evidence of your love for your Lord.

“Therefore, I urge you in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices . . . .”  (Romans 12:1)




  1. Dear Pastor Jolly: Praying for you today. As I’ve been praying for you I know that you will come through this surgery as a missionary to the many people who are involved with your care. With yours and Mrs. Jolly’s illnesses the Lord has used you two so much, touching many lives as you go. You will never know how many hearts have been won over to the kingdom of God through your ministry. There are so many sacrifices and as I think of all the giants in yours and your family’s lives and all the blessings that have resulted I thank God for you and Mrs. Jolly and all of your family for all of these years! Thank you for the ministry & blessings that our family has received through your ministries! God bless you all and may God keep you in HIS perfect care! Love, Doris

    Comment by doriswhite — June 22, 2012 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  2. PS: This is a wonderful inspiration of how God uses others to encourage and teach us as we go through our daily lives. Thank you!

    Comment by doriswhite — June 22, 2012 @ 10:27 am | Reply

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