Christian Missionary John Chau; Martyred at Age 26

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Christian missionary John Allen Chau, killed by the people he wanted to share the Gospel with

John Allen Chau was your typical adventurous 26-years old. A doctor’s son, he majored in sports medicine at Oral Roberts University in 2014 and joined All Nations, a missionary group based in Kansas City. He was a gentle person, but beneath was a fiery young man with a heart that burns for unreached groups.

You could see that every decision he has made, every step he has taken since then, was driven by his desire to be among the North Sentinelese people,” said Mary Ho, AN’s International Leader. John wanted to live in Sentinel Island and learn their language.

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An adventure for the Gospel

Chau spent years planning to travel illegally to the remote North Sentinel Island in India. The Islanders were known for their violent resistance to foreigners; John knew the risk. He even avoided romance because it might interfere with his mission.

Although he arrived as a tourist, he was technically an unregistered traveling missionary because VISA was difficult to get in this part of India.

He paid fishers to take him by boat to the island at night so that police patrols wouldn’t notice him. At dawn, John approached the tribe and faced with bows and arrows. “My name is John, I love you, and Jesus loves you,” he shouted as he moved away from the imminent threat.

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John’s last sunset and unto paradise

On the second day, John kayaked to the island and offered the tribe small gifts — fish, scissors, cord, and safety pins. In response, a man shouted something, perhaps a warning for John to stay out.

John retaliated by singing worship songs and hymns. Suddenly, the tribe fell silent. A young man fired an arrow at John, and it pierced his waterproof Bible. John fled on foot through the mangroves.

On the third day, he wrote, “Watching the sunset and it’s beautiful — crying a bit, wondering if it will be the last sunset I see.” Undaunted, he asked the fishermen to drop him off the beach. The fishermen returned the next day for him but instead saw the tribesmen dragging Chau’s body.

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His death was not in vain

John Chau was a promising missionary-doctor. He could have furthered the gospel in such a remote place if only he took the right turns. Many criticize his strategy, but we choose to honor his love and dedication – he is a unique soul, and the blood spilled will echo throughout.

John Allen wrote in his journal as he approached the island moments before an arrow took his young life.

Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name? God, I don’t want to die, who will take my place if I do?”



October 2018, American missionary John Allen Chau with Casey Prince, Ubuntu Football Academy, South Africa, days before he left for North Sentinel Island. (Photo: Sarah Prince, AP)

Farewell letter

In his farewell letter to his family, John wrote,

“You guys might think I am 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 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 [Sentinelese] tribe are at hand, and I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God.”

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