Family of U.S. Missionary John Chau: We Forgive Tribe For Killing Him

"I have never known a more courageous, selfless, compassionate man," one friend said. "John lived and gave his life to share the love of Jesus."

John Allen Chau, 26, an avid outdoorsman from southwestern Washington state, was killed Saturday after visiting North Sentinel Island. Its protected inhabitants are among the last in the world to have resisted contact with the rest of humanity. Friends of the evangelical adventurer said he was determined bring Christianity to the Sentinelese tribe — which is known for attacking anyone who approaches — and sailed there with the help of local fishermen.

 

The family of an American missionary killed on a remote Indian island say they forgive members of the tribe who fatally wounded him with bows and arrows.

John Allen Chau, 26, an avid outdoorsman from southwestern Washington state, was killed Saturday after visiting North Sentinel Island. Its protected inhabitants are among the last in the world to have resisted contact with the rest of humanity.

Friends of the evangelical adventurer said he was determined bring Christianity to the Sentinelese tribe — which is known for attacking anyone who approaches — and sailed there with the help of local fishermen.

The case has angered conservation groups who said visits endangered the tribe’s safety.

“Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report,” his family said late Wednesday in a statement posted on his Instagram account. “He loved God, life, helping those in need, and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people.”

They added: “We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death. We also ask for the release of those friends he had in the Andaman Islands. He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions.”

Local police are still figuring out how to locate and recover the American’s body without further disturbing the tribe.

Chau attended Vancouver Christian High School and graduated from Oral Roberts University, a Christian college in Oklahoma, in 2014, with a degree in health and exercise science. While there, he worked with the university’s missions and outreach department.

“I have never known a more courageous, selfless, compassionate man and friend,” said Bobby Parks, the department’s former director. “John lived and gave his life to share the love of Jesus with everyone.”

Chau was involved with Parks’ nonprofit, More Than a Game, a soccer program for disadvantaged children, including refugees.

Chau traveled to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq in 2014 to work with young Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Parks said. He also worked with Burmese refugee children in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for several years.

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