For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die . . .
– Romans 5:7
Millions of believers have given their lives for the cause of Christ over the past 2,000 years and we proudly, but very humbly, walk along behind each one of them. Yet, there are a handful who have made a direct impact on this ministry and its staff. We honor just a few of these brave men and women whose sacrifices in life – and death – have helped make certain Audio Bible recordings possible.
In the late 1980s, when Faith Comes By Hearing began working with people in various corners of the globe, we became acquainted with Rómulo Sauñe. As a boy, he had traversed the mountains of Peru shepherding sheep; as an adult, he brought his people into God’s fold by translating the Bible into Quechua Ayacucho and became a dear friend of this ministry. From his own printed text, Rómulo recorded an Audio Bible that we then copied onto cassettes.
As pastors and spiritual leaders among their people, Rómulo, his father, and his grandfather got on the radar of a political terrorist organization. Two years after Rómulo’s grandfather was brutally murdered in 1990, a group visit to his gravesite resulted in 21 more deaths at the hands of the same rebels – including Rómulo himself. This amazing man of God is still missed by many.
On January 8, 1956, five American missionaries – Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian – engaged in the Operation Auca initiative to take the Gospel to the Waodani (then known as the Auca). They were attacked and speared by a group of warriors at “Palm Beach” and none survived. Operation Auca was over . . . or was it?
By God’s grace, and the tenacious commitment of several family members of the slain missionaries, the Waodani New Testament translation was finally finished in 1992. This New Testament was later revised and then reprinted in 2009.
In a landmark event, the Waodani people of Ecuador received the Audio New Testament in their heart language on May 15, 2014. A team of three men flew to remote villages in a single-engine Cessna to present God’s Word to the Waodani on Proclaimers provided by our ministry.
Beginning in the late 1960s, God used Fran Tracy to lay a strong foundation among the Wapishana, enabling translation work to begin and move forward. Relocating to the remote southern savannah of Guyana in 1994, Wycliffe missionaries Richard and Charlene Hicks picked up Fran’s baton and continued the translation work.
After more than a decade of work on the project, this faithful couple met a violent death. On April 2, 2005, the Hicks’ bodies were found in their burned out farmhouse near the Brazilian border of Guyana.
However, on November 2, 2013, the Wapishana celebrated the arrival of the printed New Testament. Out of the ashes, through all the pain – and due to the perseverance of many – the Wapishana could finally know that God speaks their language.
In 2014, using Virtual Recording technology, the Wapishana Audio New Testament was completed by Wycliffe missionaries Kaye F. and Bev D. By September, 50 Proclaimers were already in Guyana.
“Rainy season was barely over, but we knew this was God’s timing. We began a blitz – a marathon to get Proclaimers out to all the villages.”
At one of these villages, a church leader shared,
“God’s Word is showing us how special we are, and how we were made for God.”
He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. – Jim Elliot
Image 1: Our friend and brother, Rómulo Sauñe.
Image 2: Tribal elder & church leader, Dyuwi – who participated in the events of Palm Beach in 1956 – joyfully hearing a Waodani Proclaimer for the first time.
Image 3: Wycliffe missionaries Richard and Charlene Hicks.
Image 4: Wapishana pastors receiving training on Proclaimers for ministry to their people.