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Beyond the Gates of Splendor is a powerful and heart-wrenching film about the Waodani tribe and the power of forgiveness. This film tells the story of five American families who all went through immense loss, due to the cruel killings performed by the Waodani people. However, the love of Christ transformed their hearts and moved in their lives, leading them to do the unspeakable. Instead of simply forgiving the people, they went to them and served them and gave them the love of Christ. This film is emotional and tells the true story of five missionary families and the amazing miracle that took place in their hearts.
Beyond the Gates of Splendor tells the story of the Waodani people, and the transformation that took place in their tribe. Their tribe was once known for being extremely violent and full of hate. They often murdered people senselessly by spearing them. In 1956, five missionaries were martyred due to spearing by the Waodani tribe. All this happened because one member of the tribe told a lie about them that caused great miscommunication. Their lives were lost in a senseless manner, but they died doing what was most important to them—sharing the Gospel.
The Waodani tribe members had no other form of law, other than punishment by spearing. They had no organized system that told them who was guilty and who was not, or who simply had to pay a small price and who had to pay a large price. Their one method of justice was spearing, and this caused many innocents to die. They were a violent people, full of rage and quick to kill. All this changed, however, when the families of the five missionaries did the unspeakable and went above and beyond the simple act of forgiveness. This story is told in Beyond the Gates of Splendor.
Elisabeth Elliott and Rachel Saint were both related to two of the men who were killed. Elisabeth was married to Jim Elliott, and Rachel was the sister of Nate Saint. They knew that the work of the missionaries who had been murdered was far from done, and they could not simply continue on with their lives. Because all five missionaries were speared, their work did not continue. However, Elisabeth and Rachel recognized that there was still so much work to be done among the Waodani people. Knowing this, they did the unthinkable and moved to live among the very tribe that killed their loved ones. Beyond the Gates of Splendor depicts the great fear that came along with this decision, but the peace that was given to them by God himself. This act alone showed them radiating with the love of God, as this was the only thing that could have made them want to live among the Waodani tribe.
Elisabeth and Rachel were scared, as they did not know how much of an impact they would have. They knew very well that their lives could end in the same way the others did—by spearing. However, they still decided to live among the Waodani people and leave the comfortable life they knew behind. Beyond the Gates of Splendor uses real photos, personal interviews with Elisabeth and Rachel, among interviews with other family members of the missionaries to truly show the crazy faith that drove their actions. Had they not taken such drastic actions, Elisabeth and Rachel admitted that it would have been very easy for them to become bitter. The life that they were used to was taken from them because of the Waodani tribe, and they could have simply hated them forever for their actions. However, they chose to forgive them and place themselves in harm’s way so that they might reach the hearts of a people who knew no better. They took pity on the souls there and continued the great work that the other missionaries had started.
Beyond the Gates of Splendor shows the amazing change that came over the Waodani tribe in just a short amount of time. When Elisabeth and Rachel showed up in their village, the tribe was shocked. They knew exactly what they had done to their family members. Though killing among their tribe was commonplace and did not seem like a big deal, they knew that it had deeply affected these women. However, instead of being filled with the same rage and hate that the tribe was filled with, Elisabeth and Rachel exemplified grace, peace, and the deep love of Christ. Through kindness and acts of love, they changed the Waodani people forever.
Within just a few short years of their arrival, the death rate from spearing among the Waodani people dropped over ninety percent. This shows just how much of an impact the two women had on these people. Their amazing acts of love and forgiveness truly had an effect on the hearts of the tribe. Throughout their entire journey, God was with them, giving them the strength to carry on. Dropping life as they knew it to go and live amongst the very people who killed the ones they loved was far from easy. Elisabeth and Rachel describe in Beyond the Gates of Splendor just how difficult this decision was. Instead of choosing to simply forgive the people, they went one step further and finished the work their family had started. This kind of strength and love changed the two women and the entire Waodani tribe for the better. Rachel Saint’s nephew, Steve, eventually moved to live amongst the Waodani tribe as well. His father was Nate, one of the men who was killed. Rachel and Elisabeth’s powerful actions spoke to so many people and had an impact greater than they could ever have imagined.
Beyond the Gates of Splendor depicts the beautiful journey that the Waodani people underwent and the amazing healing it brought to the hearts of all those who had been affected by the spearings of the five missionaries. This film is filled with real footage and pictures, and carries a dramatic message about the great power of forgiveness.
Based on the true story that inspired Elizabeth Elliot's book "Through the Gates of Splendor." This is a moving story about the power of God's forgiveness in our lives.