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July 2016: "We felt God has something else in mind" — Ed McCully's Journal

(above) Page 1 of Ed McCully's journal with entries written starting in late-1952. (below) Pages 2-7 of the journal follow below.

In early-December 1952, Ed McCully, his wife Marilou, and their infant son Steve departed from New York City to travel by ship to Ecuador, landing in Guayaquil on December 19, 1952. McCully had completed his college education at Wheaton College in 1949. A year later he had committed himself to missionary service, and traveled to Ecuador affiliated with Christian Mission in Many Lands (Plymouth Brethren). McCully is most widely known for his participation in the five-man outreach team to the Waorani (also called Auca by other tribal peoples). After making initial contact with the Waorani, McCully and his colleagues (Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian) were killed by members of the tribe on January 8, 1956. Their deaths got international attention and began an ongoing effort to reach the Waorani.

McCully's journal spans the time from his departure for Ecuador in 1952 to the end of 1955 when the team left left to set up their camp on Palm Beach and just several days before his death. He kept his journal in an account book (green with lined paper), totaling 300 pages, of which only 44 contain journal entries. The bulk of the entries cover McCully’s descriptions of his flights with Nate Saint (and sometimes Jim Elliot) over the collection of Waorani huts that Saint had discovered; also described is their use of the bucket drop and other means to establish contact.

However, the pages here precede those events, recording instead the beginnings and laying of a foundation for their ministry. He notes everyday events and decisions, the Scripture verses having an impact on him, and the development of their plans as they sized up the situation before them. And as the Bulletin Board title suggests, he also reflects on what he and his colleagues are sensing of God's purpose for them. (The journal comes from the Papers of Ed & Marilou McCully, Collection 687, box 1, folder 1.)

A more complete account of the story makes up the online exhibit "To Carry the Light Farther: A Story of Faith, Sacrifice, and Cultural Conflict in the Jungles of Ecuador." The BGC Archives and Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections (Buswell Library) opened the joint exhibit on January 8, 2016 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the men's deaths. Much more information is available there on each of the men, the events surrounding their killings, coverage in American publications (both Christian and secular), and the subsequent impact on their families, American Evangelicalism. Several exhibit pages provide more information about McCully or samples of documents by or about him, including:

A number of related collections at the BGC Archives are related to McCully, including:

And a more extensive list of sources in the online exhibit is also available.

The Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections (Buswell Library) also holds some files related to McCully, who was a student at the college and graduated in 1949.


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Last Revised: 7/01/16
Expiration: indefinite

© Wheaton College 2016