This young man was determined to reach a remote tribe with the Gospel.
John Allen Chau from Vancouver, Washington was just 27 years old when he was killed by an arrow shot by a tribesman from one of the most secluded communities in the world.
The Sentinelese tribe lives on a remote island off the coast of India and is a protected group of indigenous people completely cut off from the outside world. They are believed to be the only pre-Neolithic tribe left in the world.
Chau had a great desire to preach Christianity to the tribe.
His murderers cannot be prosecuted because of the tribe’s protected status.
As soon as he set foot on the island, which is off-limits to visitors, Chau found himself facing a flurry of arrows, official sources said.
But the Sentinelese who killed Chau can’t be prosecuted as contact with them and several tribes on the islands is illegal in a bid to protect their indigenous way of life and shield them from diseases.
Indian police said a murder case had been registered against ‘unknown tribesmen’ and seven people arrested in connection with the death.
Their names have not been released, but they are the fishermen who took Chau to the island.
A police source told Reuters that Chau was a preacher who had visited the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the past.
Chau had attempted to make the trip to the Sentinel island on November 14, but couldn’t make it.
On November 16, Chau had hired a fishing dinghy from the Chidiyatapu area and traveled to North Sentinel Island. He then transfered to a canoe to approach the shore alone. Almost immediately, he faced a barage of arrows, but continued walking towards the tribe. The fishermen saw the Sentinelese tie a rope around Chau’s neck and drag his body. Frightened, the fishermen fled, but returned the next day and saw Chau’s body on the shore.
Chau’s body has not yet been recovered, and it will be a difficult, if not impossible task.
It wouldn’t be the first time that a body was not recovered from North Sentinel Island.
In 2006, two drunk fishermen passed out in their boat and it floated into the shallows of North Sentinel Island. They were shot with arrows and when the Indian Coast Guard attempted to recover the bodies, the Sentinelese shot arrows at them as well. The bodies were never recovered, and appear to have been buried in shallow graves.
Dependra Pathak, the Andaman Director General of Police, told The News Minute that Chau’s body hasn’t yet been retrieved.
‘His body has not yet been retrieved because we have to strategize keeping in mind the nuances and sensitivity of other cultures,’ he said.
‘We are working on that, and are in contact with anthropologists and tribal welfare experts. We will figure out some strategy.’
John Chau’s social media accounts reveal that he was an avid traveler and that he felt called to reach the Sentinelese with the Gospel of Christ.
He also revealed his personal motto was: ‘Make the most of every good opportunity today because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow!’
Speaking about his inspirations, he said: ‘Adventurers like John Muir, Bruce Olson, and David Livingston inspire me to go travel and explore, and I definitely get my inspiration for life from Jesus.’
A Twitter user called Neil said he met Chau on a transatlantic flight three years ago.
‘He readily spoke of his calling to serve the Sentinelese. His calling came from a higher authority. He died a servant of the Lord. Saddened by his loss. He was a lovely guy,’ he wrote.
Reported instances of persecution against Christians have been growing and escalating in India since the current BJP-led government took power in May 2014. The BJP incites Hindu radicals to take action against religious minorites.
International Christian Concern has cited the need for justice in the murder of John Chau.
William Stark, ICC’s regional manager, paid tribute to Chau and condemned his killing.
‘We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the reports of an American missionary being murdered in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to both John’s family and friends.
‘A full investigation must be launched in this this murder and those responsible must be brought to justice.’
He added: ‘India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence.’
Source: Daily Mail
The Sentinelese are not in that category, however. They are a tribe that has not been in contact with the outside world for tens of thousands of years and completely shuns outsiders. Contact with the tribe is dangerous as they are hostile, but also dangerous to the tribe because they are susceptible to disease.
John Chau just wanted to tell this tribe about Jesus. He was killed for it and there will be no justice for him.
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