Jim Elliot first heard of the Huaorani in 1950 from a former missionary to Ecuador, and afterwards indicated that God had called him to Ecuador to evangelize the Huaorani. He began corresponding with his friend Pete Fleming about his desire to minister in Ecuador, and in 1952 the two men set sail for Guayaquil as missionaries with the Plymouth Brethren. For six months they lived in Quito with the goal of learning Spanish. They then moved to Shandia, a Quechua mission station deep in the Ecuadorian jungle. There they worked under the supervision of a Mission Aviation Fellowship missionary, Wilfred Tidmarsh, and began exposing themselves to the culture and studying the Quechua language.
Another team member was Ed McCully, a man Jim Elliot had met and befriended while both attended Wheaton College. Following graduation, he married Marilou Hobolth and enrolled in a one-year basic medical treatment program at the School of Missionary Medicine in Los Angeles. On December 10, 1952, McCully moved to Quito with his family as a Plymouth Brethren missionary, planning to soon join Elliot and Fleming in Shandia. In 1953, however, the station in Shandia was wiped out by a flood, delaying their move until September of that year.
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