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How Did SPAM Come to Be?!

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2022 3:00 am

How Did SPAM Come to Be?!

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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August 29, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, author of The Book of Spam: A Most Glorious and Definitive Compendium of the World’s Favorite Canned Meat, Dustin Black, tells the story of this often speculated household name product. Elisabeth Elliot tells the story of Operation Auca, an attempt by five American missionaries to reach the Auca tribe (considered the most dangerous in the world) of eastern Ecuador. All five of the men (including her husband) were killed by the tribe. What happened next is nothing short of miraculous.

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Time Codes:

00:00 - How Did SPAM Come to Be?!

23:00 - Elisabeth Elliot: Through the Gates of Splendor

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This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show, including your story.

Send them to They're some of our favorites. Dustin Black is a group creative director for an ad agency in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2007, he published The Book of Spam, a most glorious and definitive compendium of the world's favorite canned meat.

He was a collaboration with his advertising partner at the time, Dan Armstrong, when they worked for Hormel as advertisers. Shortly after the book was published, it was internationally recognized and distributed. Here is Dustin Black with the story of Spam. Right off the bat, it was a lot of interesting.

You'd be going to work and you'd pull over and call a Korean radio show or something like that to talk about it. You know, what's great about Spam, and I think why it had the appeal, is it's got that, it's been around for forever and everybody has a story about it. There's nobody in the world that you can't spark up a conversation around Spam.

Any corner of the globe, there's an experience with it. I was on production with Tim Gunn a couple years ago, and he and I bonded over Spam stories growing up because that was part of his heritage. I mean, Spam is fascinating, and I think that what Hormel maybe doesn't even get as much credit for as they should is sort of revolutionizing the meat process or the meat packing process.

Spam itself is a result of, you know, 100 years of technology of trying to preserve meat to get it shelf stable for longer periods of time. And strangely enough, Napoleon, when he was moving his armies, was really fascinated with how do I feed these armies through really cold Russian winters and keep them fed, and they're getting tired of salted and dried out food. So he started playing around with some of his scientists, I guess you can call them, with packing meat in glass jars and putting fat on top of it. And they would boil it for an hour, and that boiling was basically an early version of pasteurization. And from there, it went to cans, metal, thick metal cans, and it got to the point where the cans were larger and heavier than the meat itself. And so it wasn't very easy to transport.

It was very difficult to open. There are stories of the war when they would use their guns and muskets to shoot open the cans. And there was a lot of problems back then because they would make the cans too big, and so they couldn't cook the middle, so there was botulism and there was problems with, you know, spoiled middle and the outside was good. And so eventually, through sort of, I don't know, his brilliance, Hormel, he came back during World War II and said basically, like, we put it in this smaller size, cook it for three hours, you get a top that you can open.

It's a way of preserving the meat of pasteurization that keeps it shelf stable. And that was really like revolutionary and kind of in 1937 was the start of this sort of processed meat. And for him, too, it was at the time, like in World War I and when he was serving in World War I, they were shipping meat with bone in it. They would ship the cow or they'd ship the pork and it would have bones in it. That's not very efficient for weight.

It's not very efficient because there's a lot of scrap pieces left over. So he said, look, if we take the bones out, if we grind it up, we put it in a smaller can, we pasteurize it, it'll ship. And in 1937, that was kind of the start of Spam was born. So what was fascinating in 1937, then he helped revolutionize, you know, World War II was just on the verge of starting up. It was kind of Spam was sprinkling in.

It wasn't as ubiquitous as it is today or it wasn't quite as popular. So quickly, you know, the military recognized the advantage of it. And so they started shipping it to all the military overseas.

And what's fascinating is they I think that's kind of where the reputation of Spam started and was solidified. You had, you know, people on these bases in Guam and, you know, around the world and they're getting fed Spam constantly because it was kind of such an easy food to send. But also what happened is the government had them overcook it essentially for safety. Like they wanted instead of just cooking it for three hours, they cook it for five.

And that kind of mushed the meat. So they're getting fed this lesser quality processed meat around the world. And then because the idea and because it's during the war, they needed as much protein sent over as possible. Other manufacturers were doing it in sizes that weren't as reliable.

So you'd get 12 pound sizes and six pound sizes and that flexing up of different quality standards and of different processing and of different cooking. You kind of ended up with a perfect storm of these soldiers that that were stationed around the world getting overfed, something they were tired of eating, getting mixed quality, getting bad quality. And then, you know, in a perfect marketing storm, then they were all sent home to spread the word. And so that's how we ended up with Spam so popular in Guam and Spam so popular in Hawaii. But also, I think what started the bad name and reputation for Spam was because it was such a mixed bag.

And so, you know, here we are 80 years later and it still kind of has that reputation of being something that's like weird or strange. Animal parts are gross, which is which is really interesting and unfortunate because at the end of the day, Spam is actually a really good cuts of meat. Like it's really just ham, pork shoulder, salt, water and a little sodium nitrate and sodium nitrates found in any processed meat just keeps it safe. But it's the better cuts of meat that the byproducts that you don't use go into hot dogs and sausages. Like that's the real like if you eat a hot dog or a sausage, you should really have no problem with Spam because it's actually better cuts in quality of meat. And for years, it got the reputation of like the gel.

Right. Like that's one of the first things people a little bit less less so now. But like people are like, oh, it's got the gross gel on the outside and it makes that funny noise. And what's interesting is that was actually that's pure protein.

That's actually not that bad for you. And it's a byproduct of the cooking process. Protein goes towards heat. If you're pasteurizing meat in a can, the heat draws the protein out.

It stays there. But then people open it up and it looks gross and looks like petroleum jelly or whatever. So back in 2001, they ground up a little bit of potato starch, stuck that in there. The potato starch traps the protein and you don't have any gel anymore.

So since 2001, it got rid of the gel, which has helped with the reputation of it. And you're listening to Dustin Black tell the story of Spam. And I'm a big hot dog lover.

I also love liverwurst and bologna. So, of course, I can eat Spam when we come back. More of the incredible story of Spam with someone who knows a lot about it and wrote the book of Spam. We continue with Dustin Black's story about this inimitable American product here on Our American Story. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation.

A monthly gift of seventeen dollars and seventy six cents is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories dot com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming. That's our American stories dot com. And we return to our American stories and the story of Spam. Yes, the canned meat. We've been listening to Dustin Black, author of The Book of Spam, a most glorious and definitive compendium of the world's favorite canned meat. And he's telling the story of the creation of Spam. During World War Two, Hormel realized that there was a great need for shelf stable meats to be sent to our troops. And thus, Spam was created. We left off with Dustin talking about people's hesitation with buying the canned meat product.

Let's return to Dustin Black. But I still think people have trouble thinking about buying meat off a shelf. But, you know, it's it's a state of mind because there's so many, you know, cans of soup, you know, have meat in it. And, you know, there's plenty of examples of shelf stable. And I'll just goes back to that pasteurization, back to that idea of, you know, two hundred, three hundred year old technology of if you cook it and kill everything and don't let any air and bacteria in there, it's shelf stable for a long amount of time.

And Hormel's actually continued. And I think they don't get the credit they deserve for, you know, revolutionizing a lot of the packaging processes they do there. A lot of their lunch meats are now high pressure pasteurized. And that kills, it basically squishes all the bad stuff in there.

And so it can be all natural without having to add a lot of extra preservatives. But they do it through pressure and technology, you know, like just shelf technology, which is really interesting. The book, we go through a lot of different chapters of how it's made, the origins of spam, the origins of processed meat. It goes through the spam museum.

It goes through the spam mobile that used to travel around the country giving out samples. But throughout there, we weave in a lot of photos from people that get sent into Hormel. That was one of the more interesting parts about working on the ads is we had access to their archive and to the people down there that were getting the fan mail. And, you know, you would have people that would send in the fan art. They would make costumes out of spam cans. They would do weddings with a spam themed, you know, cake.

From around the world, you get people that would send in, you know, just their rooms that are painted like spam or their car is spam painted. And it's just, you know, it's had such for such a long time, a devoted fan base. And whether you love or hate spam, you know, you kind of have a story or you kind of know about it and have an affinity. You know, it's a brand that I think you sort of have to unabashedly love. You know, I know that there's a bit of a stigma out there with it. So if you're a spam fan and you're proud to wear a shirt, you sort of take that as a, you know, a badge of honor that you're someone that thinks differently. You're someone that is not scared to go against the grain.

And, you know, you have your taste and you're not scared to share it. You know, in Korea, it for a while was used as a wedding gift. It was an acceptable wedding gift because it was sort of something of such great esteem and honor. It's that universal sort of story device that I think was most interesting. You know, for years with the advertising, we had the tagline, we did crazy tasty.

It's not around anymore, but I really loved it when we did it because it was all that to me, it walked that line. As someone who loves it thinks, yeah, it is crazy tasty. Like I really, you know, I can put it in between two slices of bread.

I can cook it with eggs or put it, you know, and then I spam sushi and it's amazing. It's tasty. And then the people that didn't like it or didn't get it kind of related to the crazy part. Like it's crazy tasty like and the crazy was like, I don't get it, but it's kind of fun and it's weird.

And I see people, you know, wear a shirt and I can strike up a conversation. So we kind of walk the line with that. But at the end of the day, like it's, you know, when it's prepared and cooked properly, like it's really good. And I think we're starting to see a resurgence of that. There's a lot of fancy restaurants that are using it as an addition to a protein option. And, you know, we've seen food trucks pop up with it. It's kind of has a bit of a resurgence in that sort of way that like PBR has a resurgence.

You know, it's that nostalgic sort of brand that people love and kind of has a familiarity to them. So, yeah, you can see a lot of menus and you look at like French cuisine. You go to a really fancy French restaurant and you're going to get served pork roulette. But essentially it's a fancy French version of spam. It's the same thing.

They grind it up, you know, they put it into a can or, you know, often into a dish, cook it, slice it and serve it. And it's exactly what spam is. It's just, you know, not pasteurized for as long. It's a classic brand that's been around for 80, 90 years.

And it's gone through all the same phases that advertising has gone through. So it came back was, you know, the sort of solution to dinnertime problems. So for a really long time, that was the sort of like, let me show you different ways to cook it.

Let me let me give you recipe ideas. You know, I love the classic 60s casserole recipes and things like that where it's like spam jello. And, you know, just things that like probably shouldn't have ever seen the light of day. So it went through that phase. You know, they did, you know, some soap opera and sort of that like detergent soap, sort of like sponsorships. And in the 80s, it was all about, you know, helping, helping solve dinner.

You know, what are we going to have for dinner tonight? It's a spam night. And they went then through a phase of the sort of spam a lot where they kind of leaned into the can nature of it, where they had that little character that kind of popped up.

He was on the cans and he gave you recipe ideas and told you to don't forget spam. Pre-2001, there was a lot of hacks or sort of urban wives tales around like what to do with the gel. So use it on a squeaky hinge. You know, you could use it to buff a table, like all sorts of things like that. You know, and then I think there's a whole culture and art around the cans. You know, they're these nice little tin cans. You can use them for painting or pot.

You know, put some some flowers in or something like that. And so there's kind of a whole art collective around what happens with the cans. And now I from what I see, they're in kind of a classic mode. It's been through all the phases of food advertising from, you know, weird ads. You probably shouldn't have seen the light of day to sponsorships. You know, thousands of products you can buy today with, you know, if you need spam keychains or spam flip flops, you know, they got you covered. I mean, because everybody's got a connection to it.

Like you would get on the phone with someone in Korea and they would talk about, you know, getting it as a wedding gift or you get on a phone and they talk about making it as a kid or, you know, how much they loved eating it in college. And it's it's one of those brands that just sparks, you know, it. And I think it's because of its its lore in pop culture right back in the 70s when Monty Python did the spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam. Like that continued to ratchet up the lore. And it you know, now we call, you know, email junk email spam email.

And that kind of comes a little bit off of the Monty Python. And Jim Henson had a spammy character in some of the movies and saw spam a lot. Eric Idle came out with the version of the Holy Grail that went to Broadway, which was brilliant.

It was a lot of fun. But he recognized the value of the spam brand. And at the time, you know, Hormel recognized value in branded content. They partnered with Eric Idle and they had spam a lot and it toured the globe and was very, very successful and a lot of fun. For years, they had the spam mobile that toured. You know, they gave out, I think, one point seven million samples in 2007 or something like that.

And there's five of them. And they would go around and you get lines two blocks long and people could get a little sample of spam because it's one of those things that like if it's cooked properly, it's really good. Like you don't take hamburger and just like, hey, let me cook hamburger and just give you a spoonful of hamburger. Like that would be weird. But like that's what people often think about or do with spam. They're like, here, put a fork in it and try it.

It's like, no, it's not right. Like grill it. You're going to get the Juilliard effect and get some nice caramelization and you're going to put it between two buns or put it between two slices of bread.

And it's really good. You know, you put it with some pineapple and rice and it's really tasty. Or put it with some mashed potatoes like that. You know, you just have to prepare it properly. And I think that's why we're seeing a resurgence in food trucks and in some sort of boutique sort of restaurants, because the chefs realize it's, you know, it's easy.

They can get a lot of it and store it and have it ready right there. But you grill it up or cook it properly and it makes a dish really tasty. I mean, next time you're in the store, pick up, you know, a 12 ounce can or, you know, they do singles now, a three ounce, which is a little bit easier to get into. You don't have to, you know, have the commitment of a 12 ounce can and you can get a little slice and try it. Like, you know, put it, grill it up, put it between two pieces of bread or, you know, put it with some buns and some American cheese and have yourself a tasty little sandwich.

Because, you know, it's it's you that had it, you know, it's good or you are scared of it and you get over and try it. And great job on that piece, as always, by Faith and a special thanks to Dustin Black. The story of Spam here on Our American Story. And we continue here on Our American Stories, and we love to tell stories about every facet of American life. And periodically those are faith stories because we know that faith animates so many Americans in their walk and in their day to day lives. Elizabeth Elliott has been described as one of the most influential Christian women of the 20th century. Let's get right into the story.

Here's Greg Henglaar. Through Gates of Splendor is a 1957 bestselling book written by Elizabeth Elliott. Upon release, the book was so popular that it competed with John F. Kennedy's profiles and courage in terms of sales. Through Gates of Splendor tells the story of Operation Alka, an attempt by five American missionaries, Jim Elliott, the author's husband, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, pilot Nate Saint, and Roger Udarian, a participant at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, to reach the Alka tribe of eastern Ecuador.

All five men were killed by the tribe. In 1967, a documentary film, also titled Through Gates of Splendor, was narrated by Elizabeth Elliott herself. Thanks to the folks at Vision Video, we are about to hear this story. Here's Elizabeth Elliott. The Republic of Ecuador, 3,000 air miles due south of New York City, is one of our friendly South American neighbor nations.

Quito, its capital city, is just below the equator, 9,000 feet up in the Andes. This is where the story began. At one time or another, all of us jungle missionaries stayed with Nate and Marge Saint in their rustic and thoroughly functional house. Marge managed to find time to take care of her three children and supply the jungle missionaries with everything from fresh beef and fruits to screens and nails. Whenever Nate took off with supplies, it was Marge who bought, stored, packed, weighed, and even helped Nate load them into the plane. She kept his ground log, knew his position in the air, and stood by at all times with shortwave radio. The friendly Quechua's, with whom Jim, Pete, and Ed worked, all knew Nate's little yellow plane and weren't afraid of it. They even begged for rides.

Even some of the well-known tribe of head shrinkers, called jiberos, had heard the words of the Lord Jesus from Marge and others, and some had come to believe. Nate was very ingenious. He invented a sort of pod on the wing struts, which would release a parachute with supplies. When Jim and I were just married, we opened a new station at a place called Puyo Pungu.

Within five months, we had no airstrip, and Nate dropped some of our supplies to us by parachute. When the airstrip at Puyo Pungu finally passed Nate's testing procedure and he made his first landing with us, we were as excited as the Indians. It gave us hopes of opening more stations, of getting around more often to visit the Indians. It was one group of Indians no one had ever visited and come out alive. They were the Aucas, feared even by neighboring Indian tribes. One day when Nate had flown into Arahuno, where Ed Mary Lou lived, they decided to make another search. Everyone knew they were there, somewhere in the jungle. Aucas had killed a Quechua Indian near Ed's station only a few months before. Aucas fellows had talked and prayed a lot about reaching these people, but it seemed a very remote possibility until that day in September 1955. Ed and Nate were just about to turn around and fly for home when they saw the house. They didn't see any people, but there was no question about it.

It was an Aucas house. Long before this, Nate had devised an air-to-ground exchange by means of a bucket suspended on a long cord from the plane. He even dropped a telephone so we could talk back and forth with the plane. As the plane circled slowly in the air, the bucket dropped to the vortex of the cone.

Don't ask how he figured it out. Aviation experts are still trying. This, the boys decided, was just what they would use to try and contact the Aucas. Years before, when the shell plane had dropped gifts, the Aucas thought they had fallen from the stomach of the plane because it had been wounded or frightened by the lances they had thrown. So it was important that the Indians see that the new visitors had the power to give or withhold the gift right up to the moment of delivery. For 15 weeks, they made regular flights over the village, dropping gifts free fall with streamers attached so the Indians could find them easily. When the boys began to make bucket drops, the Aucas even built a platform so they could get up nearer the plane. You can imagine the excitement when one day the Indians sent back a roasted monkey in the bucket. Subsequent flights brought feathers, combs, even a live parrot. Encouraged that the Aucas had accepted the gifts and returned offerings of their own, the men searched constantly for some clearing where the plane might land and they could carry out their mission of meeting the Aucas face to face. Each trip the men planned and prayed, and each trip contributed something to their meager store of knowledge as to the habits and attitude of these primitive people. Finally, the day came when they believed God's time had come for them to go and meet the Aucas. Nate had explored the Cordodai River and discovered a patch of beach on which he could land. They called it Palm Beach. Back at Shalmera, Marge had regular contact with the party on the beach, taking down the messages in a code we had devised because we wanted to keep the operation quiet until the men had made the first successful contact. While so far they had seen no Aucas, they believed they were in the area. They were probably watching their every move as the missionary party made camp on the beach.

A shaft with ribbons was stuck in the ground so the Aucas would identify the men as those who had dropped gifts from the air. Jim had prefabricated a treehouse with his electric saw and chandelier. Nate had flown it in piece by piece, and they worked all day getting it up so that they would have a defensible position in case of sudden attack. While Jim and the fellows were on the beach, I was at home in Shandia, listening every chance I got to the radio messages between Palm Beach and Marge.

Marge was indispensable. Whenever Nate was away, she knew where he was every hour. She knew how much gas he had on board. She'd run outside, take a look at the sky, and let him know just what kind of weather he could expect for landing.

Without radio, the flying program would have been impossible. On Friday, January 6, 1956, after three days of waiting on the beach, three Aucas appeared. The fellows called the young man George. Of course, neither party understood the other, except for a few words that Jim had learned from an Auca girl who had left her tribe. George seemed completely at ease, loved our insect repellent, and even asked by signs for a ride in the airplane.

The younger girl, promptly nicknamed Delilah, was fascinated with the texture of the plane, rubbing her body against the fabric and imitating with her hands, when she wasn't scratching, the plane's movement. Then, late in the afternoon, they left. The men waited for them to return. On Sunday at noon, Nate radioed Marge. Looks like they'll be here for the afternoon service. Pray for us. This is the day. We'll contact you at 4.30.

But at 4.30, there was only silence. And when we come back, we continue with this remarkable story, and you're listening to Elizabeth Elliot herself. And we love it when we can find material pulled from archives and hear directly from voices that are from the past. Elizabeth Elliot's story continues here on Our American Stories. And we return to Our American Stories and to Elizabeth Elliot.

And again, we're going to go back to her storytelling and hear her concluding words from our last segment. On Sunday at noon, Nate radioed Marge. Looks like they'll be here for the afternoon service. Pray for us. This is the day.

We'll contact you at 4.30. But at 4.30, there was only silence. That is until the January 30, 1956 issue of Life Magazine hit the newsstands. The magazine cost 20 cents. Life Magazine circulated to 8.5 million American homes every week. But on page 10 of this issue, there's a stark black and white photo of five young women sitting around a kitchen table.

It takes up almost the entire width of the oversized two-page spread. There are half-eaten sandwiches on the plates in front of them and toddlers are wiggling in their laps and on their shoulders. They're listening to a man with his back to the camera. The man is telling them about the search party that found the dead bodies of their five husbands. The Alka had speared them, all of them, to death. The man has just told them that they are now widows. The headline reads, Go ye and preach the gospel.

Five do and die. Within days, the story of their sacrifice had circulated around the world. People were amazed. In an era of peace and prosperity, that Christians were still willing to pursue something bigger than money or the American dream. The story of sacrifice and surrender for the sake of reaching a remote tribe with the gospel was compelling, even to those who questioned or mocked the faith of the missionaries. And they weren't done. Most notably, Elizabeth Elliot and Nate Saint's sister, Rachel Saint.

Here again is Elizabeth Elliot. I went back to Shandia where Jim and I had lived and continued to work with the Quechua's. People all over the world began to pray for the Alka's. I prayed too, but it seemed a faithless prayer at times. I asked God to open a door somehow, but I had no idea what to suggest. I asked him to send somebody in there, somebody who could tell them what the five men had wanted to tell them. That the God who made them actually cared about them and that he was worth trusting. I told the Lord I was willing to go if he wanted me to, but that seemed absurd too. If five men had been killed, who would ever succeed? I knew that God could do it if he wanted to, and that was the reason for prayer.

Prayer is not a vain thing. In November 1958, two Alka women came out of their tribe right into a Quechua village. I met them, and they came back to Shandia to live with me. Dayuma, the Alka girl who had given Jim some help on the language, had been with Rachel Saint, Nate's sister, for several years now, and Rachel had some valuable language data which she shared with me. I used this as a basis and began to study with Mintaka and Mankamo, the two who were with me. One day when the three got together, Dayuma, Mintaka, and Mankamo, they said, we're going home. So they went, and Rachel and I waited for them. When they returned, they invited the three of us, including my little girl Valerie, to go and live there. We had prayed for this. Others were praying for it too. We knew that this was God's doing. We went.

It took us three days by foot over jungle trails and streams, by canoe down the Kurarai and up the Anyangu rivers, and then by foot again to the Tiwano. Here, we came face to face with Alkas. The first one we saw was Delilah, Dayuma's younger sister, the very one who had been friendly to the five men on the Kurarai Beach two days before they died. I had to keep reminding myself that these, these very people, were the ones who had killed the men. They were called one of the most savage tribes in the world. What made them savage? They were human beings. They laughed and played.

They bathed. They showed no hostility to us, and yet I learned they had their own strict ideas about right and wrong, even if they were different from ours. They believed it was wrong to kill people, except under certain conditions. Some of them said they thought the five men were cannibals.

All outsiders were cannibals, in fact. And so, of course, if they were coming to eat the Alkas, the obvious thing to do, the noble and right thing to do, was to kill them. But now, Mintaka and Mankamo and Dayuma had succeeded in convincing them that there were outsiders who were quite all right, that these foreigners would come and live in the village and tell them stories about a man named Jesus. They were good men. They should listen to these stories and learn to talk to Jesus, to pray. So, just as Mankamo had promised me months before, her people said, Yes, let them come.

We won't need to kill anymore. And so, I took up life for the Alkas. We decided that the best we could do was simply to live as much like them as we could, to share what they ate and the things they did. They were kind to Valerie and me. They gave Rachel a place to sleep in one of their shelters. They turned over a whole house, they called it a house, to Valerie and me. When the roof began to leak, they mended it for me. None of the houses was any more than a roof.

There were no walls, no floors, no doors, and no privacy. The problem of communication was a constant one. I couldn't put together more than a sentence or two, and those were very short ones. Rachel and I never ceased trying to analyze and classify the language data, trying to reproduce it verbally with the proper intonations and nasalizations and all the other things which make a foreign language, and especially an unwritten language, difficult. Just try pronouncing a W with your tongue flat in the front of your mouth. They do it in a word like mimic, and both the vowels are nasalized besides.

Valerie had no trouble. She did better with a three-year-old's memory and mimicking ability than I did with all my language files, tape recorder, and systems of mnemonics. She showed them picture books and taught them how to hold a crayon and draw.

This was the best kind of language study, the attempt to understand and to be understood. The Aucas rarely counted above three, but Thayuma explained that one day in seven was God's day, and on that day she was going to talk about him. Everyone was told to come and sit down and be quiet.

She told them simple stories from the Old Testament or stories of Jesus from the New. Thayuma told them that Jesus says we must not kill, so right away some of the men stopped making spears. There were occasions when they needed to spear a wild pig, so with careful explanation to us about what they were for, they made new ones. These men received us as their own relatives.

They were the same ones who killed Jim and Nate and Rog and Pete and Ed. They had their reasons. God had His for allowing it to happen when five men had asked Him to guide them and had trusted Him for this guidance and protection.

They had sung before they left home that last morning the hymn to the tune of Finlandia. We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender. We go not forth alone against the foe, strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender.

We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go. They succeeded, not in converting the Alcas, not even in speaking to them of the name of Jesus, which the Alcas had never heard. The Indians could not have imagined the real reason for these white men being on that beach. They simply took them as a threat to their own way of life and speared them. But the men succeeded. They did the thing they had set out to do. They had obeyed God. They had taken literally His words. The world passeth away and the lust thereof. But He that doeth the will of God abideth forever. And great job catching that and snagging it.

That's Greg Hengler catching that piece. And you were listening to Elizabeth Elliot. And what a faith story indeed in the end, so much of a faith walk, if you've had one or taking one or thinking about taking one, has to do merely with obedience and doing what your God commands you to do. And sometimes those are hard things. Terrific storytelling indeed about faith. Elizabeth Elliot's story here on Our American Stories.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-17 14:05:34 / 2023-02-17 14:20:15 / 15

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