Book Excerpts and Notes

Jungle Pilot

The life of Nate Saint

“I don’t want to be a great writer but I long to express myself – just as I’ve often longed to be able to sit down at a big pipe organ and express myself.

I want to share the stories that are unfolding all around us. Mine would only be attempts, to be sure, but these attempts plus helpful criticism from others may allow me eventually to be able to tell stories with a flavor that can come only from an eyewitness.”

“We waited on a corner until the bus bore down upon us. A radiator and a pair of headlights followed by a swaying mass of humanity that made the bus itself almost hard to find. The brakes screeched and the vehicle slowed to twenty miles an hour. A little barefoot boy leaped from a perch on the bus and to my amazement didn’t bounce into a high, involuntary cartwheel.”

…”Mellis wrote again concerning accounting procedures, [asking] Nate to keep the repair expenses separate from his personal allowance. To this Nate sent a classic reply:

“When coping with bugs, no toilet facilities, linguistic prison, malarial climate, tropic heat, bad food, and so forth, forgive me, Charlie. I’m sure you get the point…. Today is my first up and around since the all-night-long attack of diarrhea that left me so weak by 5 AM that I could only roll on the floor, calling for help. ‘Malo! Señor es malo!´… When lying in your own dung, only semi-conscious, linguistically dumb, please forgive me for not being more explicit on the finances.”

…describing his break-up with the girl he planned to marry (after sickness in Mexico and leg issues):

“I still don’t know anything much about real suffering. The Lord has filled a big empty place in my heart in a miraculous way. There was a tussle first, but when I gave up, he gave a wonderful peace….”

Fear and faith are not fellow travelers.   

“We know by experience that His promises are good and that He is abundantly able to supply your needs out of his storehouse where He keeps universes, worlds, moons, stars. In His other storehouse He has grace unbounded, billows of love on oceans of care for His own, mountains of patience, and other good things abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Isn’t it a crime that we are so often slow to accept these gifts?”

“Our job is not to compete with existing airlines since a commercial company can nearly always do the job more economically.

“Nor are we expecting the airplane to usher in a workless golden age for the missionaries but rather it will be used as a tool that will let them push ahead more effectively.

“We say that God could use even menial things like airplanes if they were dedicated to the reaching of the lost. Our responsibility is to harness aviation to the needs of the mission field.

“I want to share the stories that are unfolding all around us. Mine would only be attempts, to be sure, but these attempts plus helpful criticism from others may allow me eventually to be able to tell stories with a flavor that can come only from an eyewitness. Your comments on journalism are well taken, Charlie. Naturally it would be hard to sit down and write ´Difficulties of Missionary Life’ When I know so little about the subject. Maybe mine is a one-track mind. When I take pictures, they are the work the Lord has laid close to my heart – Indians and airplanes. When I lie awake at night (I seldom do) my mind is on safety devices and methods for the airplane to help reach the Indians. When it’s a letter home – it’s airplane-Indian-Christ. You can see, can’t you, that when I try to write a story, I like to write about airplanes and Indians. The Indian is the motive. But all I know about him is that he’s lost unless I keep the airplane going and get the news to him. The airplane is my job. I don’t want to be a great writer but I long to express myself just as I’ve often longed to be able to sit down at a big pipe organ and express myself. Nuff said.”

Story of “Flying Worm” – caterpillar wanted to be a butterfly, but didn´t think God´s way would work, so he made his own wings out of wood and tried all different things, but nothing worked. Finally he did what the “worm Bible” said, and was ‘born again´”.

“God has been so good to us – even counting us able to suffer a little. It´s been tough in spots but He has always supplied the needed grace, hasn’t He?”

“The Lord tells us that He that loveth his life – we might say that he that is selfish with his life – shall lose it. It’s inescapable.

“Missionaries constantly face expendability. And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives. They forget that when their lives are spent and the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”

Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. I die daily. I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
            Paul, from the Bible 143

“sex is the flower, not the root. Love is the root that sustains and supports the stem and the leaf, and blossoms out into the flower.”

“Because he faced his own sins and shortcomings, Nate was realistic about the role of a missionary. He felt that the Christians at home made too much over missionaries. ‘It´s too bad there has to be so much band-playing and bugle-blowing to get so little accomplished,’ he confided to his mother. ‘I wonder if one reason people tend to make a missionary a hero isn’t that if they can make themselves feel somehow that he is doing the impossible, they themselves are not directly indicted with responsibility for not going…. If there is anything worse than someone staying home for nebulous psychological or theological reasons, it is someone who goes on that basis.”

“Have you noticed that when a man finds the will of the Lord for his life, there always seems to be an evident relationship between the talents or gifts or preparation the Lord has given him and the job the lord has called him to do?”

“It is my heart’s desire… that this biography will help you, and others who read it, to see the importance of knowing God’s will for your lives and of following Him in simple obedience.”

“His idea was to use the remains of this little plane for the same purpose that the children of Israel used a mound of stones by the Jordan River. It could be a reminder to the older generation of what God had done, and verification to a new generation that He could do it again!”
            299 – Stephen Saint

“As I held that little piece of aluminum in my hand I could almost hear God saying, “This isn’t an accident. You haven’t found this memorial. I have given it to you as a reminder that what happened here almost forty years ago wasn’t an accident, either! I had purpose in it and My purpose is not yet done!”
            301 – Stephen Saint

“It began to sink in why the Waodani wanted us to live with them. We needed to feel what they felt: the helplessness of dependence on the outside world’s charity. We needed to understand the welfare existence that is becoming their plight.”
            307 – Stephen Saint

“Maemo’s death reminded me that it isn’t much of a favor to give people medical treatment, and technology unless we are also willing to teach them to manage it for themselves.”
            307 – Stephen Saint

“They weren’t rejecting the generous help and services that they have received for years from government, oil, companies, and especially missions. But they were excited at the prospect of renewed autonomy and the chance to see if they were capable of providing for themselves some of the services they have learned to appreciate and rely on. It is frustrating and demeaning for them to have to depend on people who don’t share their economic, material, and spiritual priorities or needs.

“Living with our Waodani ‘family’ and living like them, we began subconsciously to change our identity and loyalty from the ‘outside world’ to theirs. Not only did we feel some of their helplessness when outsiders on whose services we depended had different priorities than our own, but we also felt their thrill as together we found ways they could meet some of their own needs.”
            308– Stephen Saint

“A poet once wrote that all people need three things: something to love, something to do, and something to hope for. Paul wrote to Timothy that food and covering were the only essentials for contentment in this life. He went on to say that anyone who adds godliness to contentment is rich.”
            315– Stephen Saint

1)    Help us get medicine, and not be completely dependant on outsiders for health care.
2)    Come teach us (money, planning, education, measurements and concepts of time)
3)    Protect us (oil companies, neighboring tribes

Young people were given power by outside groups in exchange for legitimizing inside activities.

“I also began to realize that even those of us whose motivation for helping the Waodani is altruistic and spiritual pose a real threat to the people, their culture, and their faith when we do for them over long periods of time instead of with them. It is entirely possible to make converts without making disciples. If we resolve problems for the new believers instead of allowing them to wrestle with the issues, we rob them of the ownership of the solutions. Even when we seek to do God´s will and carry out Christ´s Great Commission, we can entice local believers into relying on us instead of on the Holy Spirit.
            317-318 – Stephen Saint

I believe that God´s overriding purpose for sending us to the Waodani is to plant His church among them. A church where Waodani share God´s message of hope with other Waodani. A church governed by those who know the culture best and supported by “the people” themselves.”
            318 – Stephen Saint

“One calling is as critical as the other. May God grant you the luxury of knowing what role He wants you to fill in His commission and the blessing of doing it.”

“Much older now that Dad ever lived to be, I nevertheless embrace the mature wisdom God gave him at an early age and echo the prayer of a final letter he wrote to no one in particular: “Lord God, speak to my own heart and give me to know Thy holy will and the joy of walking in it. Amen.”
            320 – Stephen Saint