The death of American missionary John Chau may spark other missionaries to "reach the unreached peoples of the world," a Christian pastor and author has said.
"We cannot know for sure what God is doing. But might He be stoking the hearts of His church with a fresh fire to reach the unreached peoples of the world? Could God be using the death of John Chau to stir the souls of more missionaries to take the Good News of Jesus to the Sentinelese people?" Garrett Kell, an author and pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, wrote in an op-ed for desiringGod.org.
"Is it possible that God might be working to bring them the message of forgiveness for killing the missionary as well as healing from the injustice done to them generations ago?" he further asked. "Could God be plotting a reunion of forgiveness in months, years, even centuries from now that will magnify His mercies before the world? Can you picture that moving ceremony on the shores of North Sentinel Island?"
The case of 26-year-old Chau made international headlines after he was killed by arrows while approaching the beaches of North Sentinel Island on a mission to share the Gospel with the isolated tribespeople.
While many Christians believe Chau was martyred doing what God called him to do, others have criticized American missionary for putting himself at unnecessary risk.
In his article, Kell referenced several other Christian missionaries — John Williams and James Harris — who were killed for their efforts. However, following their deaths, previously unreached locals embraced the Gospel.
"Roughly 20 years later, another missionary named John G. Paton set sail with his family to take the Gospel to the people of Erromango. Moved with compassion for their souls, Paton was convinced that God was at work, even through the martyrdom of Williams and Harris," Kell wrote.
"This conviction proved true, as the Lord used Paton's ministry to help many of the people of Vanuatu embrace the grace, healing, and forgiveness of Jesus," he concluded. "God can spark a movement from a martyrdom. He's done it before. Let's pray he's doing it again."
Chau, the son of a Chinese father and an American mother, reportedly dreamed of spreading Christianity to the people on North Sentinel since childhood and had attended a three-week missionary training camp prior to his trip.
In a final, moving letter to his parents, Chau told them not to be angry if he died and spoke of his deep yearning to bring the word of Jesus to the Sentinelese.
He wrote: "You guys might think I'm crazy in all this but I think it's worth it to declare Jesus to these people. Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed. Rather please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I'll see you again when you pass through the veil."
"This is not a pointless thing – the eternal lives of this tribe are at hand and I can't wait to see them around the throne of God worshiping in their own language as Revelations 7:9-10 states…I love you all and I pray none of you love anything in this world more than Jesus Christ."
John signed off the November 16 letter "Soli Deo Gloria" which is Latin for Glory to God alone.