Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Be sure to stop by Renee Ann's blog for GIVEAWAY of END OF THE SPEAR DVD.  This movie is outstanding...see my review here

Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and Ed McCully initiated Operation Auca in autumn 1955.  Five men sharing one common goal: to share the Gospel with the Waodani Indians in Ecuador.

In Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot, one of the widows, chronicles the saga of the five men by collecting their documents and journals.

The result is an impacting firsthand account of a saga that changed missions forever.

I loved this read from start to finish.  It is definitely a five-star read and one I will pick up again and again.  I not only enjoyed this book, but enjoyed two recent films and have enjoyed listening to sermons by Steve Saint and Mincaye (more on that later).

One of my favorite quotes is when Nate Saint says, "The old life of chasing things that are of a temporal sort seemed absolutely insane." (56)

I was inspired by how these men gave everything they had for the cause of Christ. Not only did they give it all up to the point of sacrificing their human lives forthe cause, but the sacrifices of their wives and children leaves me breathless.

The photos included in this book were black and white but captured raw emotion and realness...the amazement at going to the Island for the first time...the surprise of the Waodani women at having their pictures taken...the shock of the widows who were just told for the first time their husbands had been killed. 

The simple form of this story is drama-free...it doesn't glamourize as we are so accustomed to seeing in news stories and TV today.  It is told in the simple words of five men who love the Lord and are excited to be used by Him.

I am anxious to read more about Elisabeth Elliot's journey with the Waodani as she continues to minister after her young husband was speared to death.  The Savage My Kinsmen is her continuing saga among the Waodani.

Shadow of the Almighty is the saga of Jim Elliot which I am giving away to one lucky commentor.

Some discussion questions to spark thought....

Feel free to participate even if you haven't read the book.

1) What was your general opinion of the book, if you read it?  Do you like reading journals?

2) Of the five men, was there one whose story particularly resonated with you?  What special characteristics did each man bring to the team?

3) Knowing God's will was of primary concern to each of the missionaries.  In what ways did the missionaries discover God's will?  When you are unsure of a decision how do you find God shows his will to you?  Is it easy or hard for you to trust in His will?

4) Another theme in this book is rejoicing through suffering.  The widows are quick to embrace God's will. Barbara Youderian says, "The Lord has closed our hearts to grief and hysteria and filled it with his perfect peace."  (236)  What did you think of the widows?  Is there a time in your life where you have embraced suffering and found God's joy or have you seen this in the life of someone you know?

5) "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" is a famous quote by Jim Elliot.  What does this statement mean to you?

6) Has this book affected your thinking on missions, suffering, or following God's call and seeking his direction?

The most exciting thing about this story is that God has continued to work behind the scenes through it all. 

As shared in the movie The Grandfathers, Steve Saint and Mincaye (one of the men who killed his father) now travel the country sharing about God's love and forgiveness. 

Here is the start of a six part video of a Chapel service given at Liberty University.  It is well-worth watching in its entirety.  I think for our "Americanized" culture sometimes its neat to hear the Gospel shared in a fresh way which Mincaye certainly does here.


I would like to bless a commenter with The Grandfathers DVD and another commenter with Jim Elliot's hardcover biography, Shadow of the Almighty. 

Simply share your thoughts on one of the given questions and include your email in the question.

For extra points:
1) Become a follower (+1)
2) If you read the book (+2 entries)
3) Tweet about this giveaway (+1)

On May 6th I will draw names.

Oh and be sure to share in the comments if you have any ideas for our June read!

Recently I was thrilled to have the opportunity to view two movies about the missionaries to the Waodanis featured in Through Gates of Splendor.

End of the Spear was provided by Renee Ann in a giveaway and is based on a book of the same name by Steve Saint.

Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, the missionary pilot of the group in Through Gates of Splendor.

This tale is powerfully told through the perspective of Steve as he deals with his father's death.  This movie doesn't make light of the sacrifices of the five missionaries.

I was particularly captivated by the young boy who doesn't understand the situation.  The narrator says in the beginning, "When I was a boy I cried, but now I see it well."

The other focal character in the movie is Mincaye, a young Waodani man who has only known violence and anger.

Although there were several men involved in the death of the missionaries Mincaye struck the spear in Nate Saint's side. 

The Grandfathers introduces a new side to Nate's killer.  Jesse Saint is Steve Saint's son.

When Steve visited the Waodani's after his Aunt Rachel's death, they asked him to stay on in Ecuador. Rachel Saint spent years studying the language of the Waodani's and ministering to them both before and after the death of the missionaries.  She was beloved by the tribe and many in the tribe came to know Christ as a result of her ministry (along with Elisabeth Elliot, author of Through Gates of Splendor). 

While Jesse lost his grandfather before his birth, Mincaye has become a grandfather figure in his life. 

In fact, Mincaye and Steve Saint travel together often preachingi the Gospel.  What a legacy!

Both of these movies touched me deeply.  Not easy viewing they demonstrate the true power of forgiveness and bring joy to the reader as you watch the reverberations of the events over 50 years later.  Only God can bring such beauty and grace from tragedy.

Click on the following video to watch Mincaye and Steve share the power of the Gospel. 

Have you ever watched a movie that had a strong spiritual or emotional impact on you?

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for discussion on Through Gates of Splendor and a giveaway of The Grandfathers DVD along with Shadow of the Almighty (Jim Elliot's testimony) by Elisabeth Elliot.

**Thank you to The B and B Media Group for providing a copy of The Grandfathers for review.**

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

WaterBrook Press (March 15, 2011)
***Special thanks to Cindy Brovsky of Random House Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of 28 books with three million copies in print, including: her best-selling historical novels, Here Burns My Candle, Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Christy Award-winner Whence Came a Prince, Grace in Thine Eyes, a Christy Award finalist, and Here Burns My Candle, a RT Book Reviews Award finalist; My Heart’s in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland, an armchair travel guide to Galloway; and her contemporary novels, Mixed Signals, a Rita Award finalist, and Bookends, a Christy Award finalist.

Visit the author's website. You’ll also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


The emotional and spiritual journey that began with Here Burns My Candle (WaterBrook Press, 2010) soars to a triumphant finish in Mine Is the Night (WaterBrook Press, March 15, 2011) a dramatic and decidedly Scottish retelling of the biblical love story of Boaz and Ruth. A compelling tale of redemption and restoration, the latest novel from best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs transports both story and reader to 18th century Scotland, where two widows are forced to begin anew.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400070023
ISBN-13: 978-1400070022


Foul whisperings are abroad.



26 April 1746

The distant hoofbeats were growing louder.

Elisabeth Kerr quickly pushed aside the curtain and leaned out the carriage window. A cool spring rain, borne on a blustery wind, stung her cheeks. She could not see the riders on horseback, hidden by the steep hill behind her. But she could hear them galloping hard, closing the gap.

Her mother-in-law seemed unconcerned, her attention drawn to the puddle forming at their feet. A frown creased her brow. “Do you mean for us to arrive in Selkirk even more disheveled than we already are?” Three long days of being jostled about in a cramped and dirty coach had left Marjory Kerr in a mood as foul as the weather.

“’Tis not the rain that concerns me.” Elisabeth resumed her seat, feeling a bit unsteady. “No ordinary traveling party would ride with such haste.”

Marjory’s breath caught. “Surely you do not think—”

“I do.”

Had they not heard the rumors at every inn and coaching halt? King George’s men were scouring the countryside for anyone who’d aided bonny Prince Charlie in his disastrous bid to reclaim the British throne for the long-deposed Stuarts. Each whispered account was worse than the last. Wounded rebel soldiers clubbed to death. Houses burned with entire families inside. Wives and daughters ravished by British dragoons.

Help us, Lord. Please. Elisabeth slipped her arm round her mother-in-law’s shoulders as she heard the riders crest the hill and bear down on them.

“We were almost home,” Marjory fretted.

“The Lord will rescue us,” Elisabeth said firmly, and then they were overtaken. A male voice cut through the rain-soaked air, and the carriage jarred to a halt.

Mr. Dewar, their round-bellied coachman, dropped from his perch and landed by the window with a grunt. He rocked back on his heels until he found his balance, then yanked open the carriage door without ceremony. “Beg yer pardon, leddies. The captain here would have a wird with ye.”

Marjory’s temper flared. “He cannot expect us to stand in the rain.”

“On the contrary, madam.” A British dragoon dismounted and rolled into view like a loaded cannon. His shoulders were broad, his legs short, his neck invisible. “I insist upon it. At once, if you please.”

With a silent prayer for strength, Elisabeth gathered her hoops and maneuvered through the narrow carriage doorway. She was grateful for Mr. Dewar’s hand as she stepped down, trying not to drag her skirts through the mud. Despite the evening gloom, her eyes traced the outline of a hillside town not far south. Almost home.

The captain, whom Elisabeth guessed to be about five-and-forty years, watched in stony silence as Marjory disembarked. His scarlet coat was drenched, his cuffed, black boots were covered with filth, and the soggy brim of his cocked hat bore a noticeable wave.

He was also shorter than Elisabeth had first imagined. When she lifted her head, making the most of her long neck, she was fully two inches taller than he. Some days she bemoaned her height but not this day.

By the time Marjory joined her on the roadside, a half-dozen uniformed men had crowded round. Broadswords hung at their sides, yet their scowls were far more menacing.

“Come now,” Mr. Dewar said gruffly. “Ye’ve nae need to frighten my passengers. State yer business, and be done with it. We’ve little daylight left and less than a mile to travel.”

“Selkirk is your destination?” The captain seemed disappointed. “Not many Highland rebels to be found there.”

“’Tis a royal burgh,” Marjory told him, her irritation showing. “Our townsfolk have been loyal to the crown for centuries.”

Elisabeth shot her a guarded look. Have a care, dear Marjory.

The captain ignored her mother-in-law’s comments, all the while studying their plain black gowns, a curious light in his eyes. “In mourning, are we? For husbands, I’ll wager.” He took a brazen step toward Elisabeth, standing entirely too close. “Tell me, lass. Did your men give their lives in service to King George? At Falkirk perhaps? Or Culloden?”

She could not risk a lie. Yet she could not speak the truth.

Please, Lord, give me the right words.

Elisabeth took a long, slow breath, then spoke from her heart. “Our brave men died at Falkirk honoring the King who has no equal.”

He cocked one eyebrow. “Did they now?”

“Aye.” She met the captain’s gaze without flinching, well aware of which sovereign she had in mind. I am God, and there is none like me. She’d not lied. Nor had the dragoon grasped the truth behind her words: by divine right the crown belonged to Prince Charlie.

“No one compares to His Royal Highness, King George,” he said expansively. “Though I am sorry for your loss. No doubt your men died heroes.”

Elisabeth merely nodded, praying he’d not ask their names. A list of royalist soldiers killed at Falkirk had circulated round Edinburgh for weeks. The captain might recall that Lord Donald and Andrew Kerr were not named among the British casualties. Instead, her handsome husband and his younger brother were counted among the fallen rebels on that stormy January evening.

My sweet Donald. However grievous his sins, however much he’d wounded her, she’d loved him once and mourned him still.

Her courage bolstered by the thought of Donald in his dark blue uniform, Elisabeth squared her shoulders and ignored the rain sluicing down her neck. “My mother-in-law and I are eager to resume our journey. If we are done here—”

“We are not.” Still lingering too near, the captain inclined his head, measuring her. “A shame your husband left such a bonny widow. Though if you fancy another soldier in your bed, one of my men will gladly oblige—”

“Sir!” Marjory protested. “How dare you address a lady in so coarse a manner.”

His dragoons quickly closed ranks. “A lady?” one of them grumbled. “She sounds more like a Highlander to my ear.”

The captain’s expression darkened. “Aye, so she does.” Without warning he grasped the belled cuff of Elisabeth’s sleeve and turned back the fabric. “Where is it, lass? Where is your silk Jacobite rose?”

“You’ve no need to look.” Elisabeth tried to wrest free of him. “I haven’t one.”

Ignoring her objections, he roughly examined the other cuff, nearly tearing apart the seam. “The white rose of Scotland was Prince Charlie’s favorite, was it not? I’ve plucked them off many a Highland rebel.”

“I imagine you have.” Elisabeth freed her sleeve from his grasp. “Are you quite satisfied?”

“Far from it, lass.” The captain eyed the neckline of her gown, his mouth twisting into an ugly sneer. “It seems your flower is well hidden. Nevertheless, I mean to have it.”

Julia's Thoughts:

The breathtaking setting of the eighteenth-century Highlands, compelling characters, and a fresh twist on a biblical tale make Mine is the Night a sparkling read from start to finish.

I was immediately captivated by the chase scene as Elisabeth and Marjory fear imprisonment or worse as traitors to the crown.  Higgs not only knows how to keep the reader's attention, her skill at descriptive writing adds a beautiful lyrical quality to the novel. 

Redemption, restoration, and forgiveness are at the heart of this novel as they are at the heart of the book of Ruth.  This is a skillful retelling which stands on its own merit.  Although the themes of the book of Ruth are followed quite closely the novel was not predictable.

I have not read Here Burns My Candle, although a sequel this book stood well on its own.  I will be anxious to read more of Mrs. Higg's riveting novels.

Road to Damascus
I'm thrilled to be able to offer a guest post by Amanda Stanley today.  I think you'll be blessed.  The Lord has orchestrated a few online spiritual discussions between myself and Amanda that have really blessed me.  And she introduced my husband and I to the Ludys and Eric's wonderfully convicting Ellerslie sermons.  (And I can't pick a favorite so I recommend just starting at the bottom with The 9 Lies and working up to his current sermons, you'll be blessed by all I predict).

As we prepare to discuss Through Gates of Splendor (April 30th),  and prepare our hearts for Easter, I hope you will be blessed.

I would love to hear more about your heroes of the faith in the comments.  Here's the poetic voice of Ms. Stanley:

From the chief of all sinners to a chosen vessel, the life, testimony and transformation of Paul (formerly known as Saul) is astounding and showcases the power of a God who is mighty and strong to save. His living, breathing surrender to Christ not only gave us a hope of what is possible in our walk with the Lord but also gave us 14 beautiful books of the Bible. Including one of my favorites – Romans!

We are introduced to Paul (Saul at this time) in the book of Acts where he is agreeing to Stephen’s death by stoning, while the witnesses were laying their clothes as his feet. Wreaking havoc on the church, hauling Christian men and women off to prison, threatening and slaughtering them, Saul was determined to stamp out any hint of Christianity in Jerusalem and abroad. So determined was he that he set out to Damascus to obtain letters from the high priest that he may bring any Christians he came across back to Jerusalem, bound and with the intent to kill them. But on his way to Damascus, “suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell on the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:3-4). Trembling and astounded, he immediately asks the Lord what He would have him do - total surrender as instant as the total forgiveness offered, this marks the beginning of an incredible relationship between Saviour and saved. For “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20).

What touches me the most about Paul’s life is how the Lord could take someone like him and completely and beautifully transform him. It shows that no matter what you’ve done or where you are, the blood of Jesus Christ flows there and will cover all your sins. As the scales fell from Paul’s eyes, this new man was given new sight and a new name. His is one of the most powerful conversions ever recorded. The Lord said that He would show Paul the great things he must suffer for His name’s sake, and yes, they were great! In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 we are given a rough list: “…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils of the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” YET, Paul joyfully accepted them all, declaring in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” But how could he say this? It was because he stood on the promise of the Lord when He said to him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (v.9). One scholar summed up the life of Paul this way: “Jesus commanded, Paul obeyed.”

What a testimony this man left behind! What a walk for us to follow! What an example for us to mirror! He faced most everything we have or could and then some, and still no complaint fell from his lips. I stand convicted by this hero of the faith. I want a heart like his that breaks for the sinner and seeks after God; I want a faith like his that will trust the Lord at all times and in all things; I want a boldness like his to preach the gospel, forsaking earthly comforts for the glorification of the God of all comfort; and I want a love like his that will gladly spend and be spent for others. I want a testimony worthy of being listed alongside such a hero. May we all desire such things, that one day, by the grace of God, they may be said of us also.



Julia M. Reffner

About Me

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


Contributor at The Writer's Alley:


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