Beyond the Gates of Splendor
In 1956, five missionaries were speared to death by members of the Waodoni tribe in the Amazon Delta, all because one member of the tribe lied about them. Death by the spear was common; tribe members had no formal means of settling disputes other than murder. Some relatives of the dead missionaries later went to live with the tribe, and in just a couple of years, the death rate from spearing dropped more than 90 percent. The grandson of one of the dead men even started calling the man who killed his biological grandfather by that same title. Through letters, re-creations, original photos and interviews, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” brings the dead to life on screen and tells an unforgettable story of the transformational power of love, and how faith can find light in the most tragic, painful, dark incidents.
This story is legendary. I remember hearing about the deaths of Nate Saint, Jim Elliott and three other missionaries as a youth in my church. “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” is a gripping documentary masterfully written and directed by Jim Hanon. It chronicles the lives of these gallant men and how they became inspired to reach the unreachable in one of the most remote regions on earth. But this story goes beyond the tragic tale, and continues with the saga of the wives and children of the slain martyrs, who reached out to the very “savages” who killed their family members with the kind of unconditional love exemplified by Jesus himself. This moving story of Love Triumphant is told by the actual characters themselves and their family members. Forgiveness and reconciliation are depicted with clarity and with passion. The cinematography is breathtaking. The soundtrack, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, provides a perfect musical canvas for telling this rich, colorful story. “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” is a must-see for anyone seeking inspiration in real-life role models; however, please note that this documentary is most suitable for an audience over age 12.