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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nate Saint House, Shell, Ecuador






My daughter recently read the book Jungle Pilot by Russell Hitt and was interested in learning more about Shell, Mission Aviation Fellowship and the missionaries who died in an effort to befriend the Huaorani tribe in the Ecuadorian jungle in 1956. We set out on a sunny day to travel the one hour down the mountain from the Ecuadorian tourist town of BaƱos to Shell. Along the way I stopped to look for a cache at a spectacular overlook just before arriving at the town of Mera. While there I searched for a while but came up empty-handed with Ruta de las Cascadas: Puerto al Amazonas (GC2FQQZ). Later I was able to talk to the cache owner and believe that I need to go back and take another look. From the overlook we pushed on another ten minutes and came to the town of Shell. Our goal was to find the recently restored Nate Saint House near the end of the Shell runway. We pulled into a parking spot and went in the gate. No sooner than we entered a gentleman stuck his head out to tell us someone would be along to provide a tour. Over the next hour a Missionary Aviation Fellowship missionary took time to give us the tour of the home of the Saint family during the late 1940's through 1956 when Nate Saint along with four other missionaries died at the hands of those they hoped to befriend. For those of us committed to the work among the tribal peoples of the Amazon this house and those who lived here are an inspiration to us and will be for many generations to come. The only parts of the house that are the same way they were in 1956 are the kitchen and the radio room. While there we were able to visit the city's main park and see the replica of Nate Saint's plane. A real highlight was our daughter's opportunity to visit the Nate Saint Memorial School in Shell. Our daughter is preparing to be an elementary teacher and is praying about serving in Ecuador. It was nice to be there with her and see the birthing of a new vision in her life! This called for a new cache. When you come down the Pastaza River be sure to visit the several geocaches between Banos and Shell. One is Nate Saint House (GC 2M53A). You don't have to go on the property to find the cache. But please take the time to call ahead to Mission Aviation Fellowship or to their sister organization, Alas de Socorro, and ask for a chance to see the house and learn more of its history. It's sure to be a moving experience for you.
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