Following the death of 26-year-old Christian missionary John Allen Chau, who was killed by tribespeople on India’s remote North Sentinel Island, bizarre details have come to light about his preparation ahead of making contact.
He must have known he was in for a dangerous reception, as he trained at an intensive three-week camp that included fake spears and blindfolding.
The details were first reported by the New York Times, with this below from Business Insider:
The three-week training, run by a group called “All Nations in Kansas,” seemed tailor-made for the mission that Chau would eventually embark on. One notable exercise included being blindfolded, dropped off in a remote location, and encountering a faux-tribe that carried fake spears and spoke gibberish.
According to Chau’s journals that were reviewed by The Times, the missionary had seemingly structured his life around his final trip – attending a linguistics institute, becoming an EMT, and embarking on numerous training trips that gave him practice hiking, swimming, and climbing.
Chau had even prepared an “initial contact response kit” containing forceps that were meant to remove any arrows shot at him.
Imagine being so desperate to impose your religion and way of life on others that you fly across the world and head to a remote island?
Apparently, he first heard of the North Sentinelese people via ‘The Joshua Project’, which is “a research initiative seeking to highlight the ethnic people groups of the world with the fewest followers of Christ”.
Their website greets you with these stats:
Yes, there is also an app which allows you to pray for “the unreached”:
Despite being warned numerous times about the dangers of making contact with the Sentinelese people (and the fact that coming into contact with remote tribes often has a terrible ending), John soldiered on:
Chau was repeatedly warned that he could be killed and was aware of previous killings that had occurred on the island. However, he seemingly was convinced he could survive, according to interviews with friends. Chau believed his smaller size (about 1.7m tall and weighing just shy of 60kg) might make him less intimidating than previous travellers to the island who were killed.
Chau’s friends told The Times that his plan was to eventually learn the North Sentinelese language (which no one outside the island has ever been recorded to have learned), teach the natives about the Bible, and stay for multiple years.
Before his mission, Chau isolated himself for 11 days, which is a point of dispute between authorities and friends. According to police, his isolation was a means of hiding, but friends reportedly say that Chau was avoiding germs and sickness to protect the islanders whose immune systems would be more susceptible to modern illnesses.
You know what really would have protected them? Staying away altogether.
I’m sure he meant well, but perhaps this will serve as a lesson to others seeking to impose their will where it is not wanted and does not belong.
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