John’s final days and hours are chronicled in his personal journal. His last words compellingly reveal his heart for the isolated Sentinelese people and his love for His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John’s 13-page personal journal recounts the last few days of his life and details how he encountered one of the world’s most isolated people groups on North Sentinel Island.
According to the fishermen whom John paid to take him near the island, the Sentinelese shot him with arrows and buried his body on the beach. To this day, his body has not been retrieved because India prohibits outside contact with the tribe. When the news broke of his death, John’s story quickly spread around the world.
“The last words of John Chau are emotionally griping and inspiring. John paid the ultimate sacrifice to share the love of Jesus with the Sentinelese. His life and example will inspire many to share Jesus and even for some to enter the mission field,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Covenant Journey, a ministry that takes Christian college-age students to Israel to strengthen their Christian faith. Staver met John in August 2015 during a Covenant Journey program in which John participated.
During an interview with Fox News in memory of John Chau, Dr. Pam Arlund of All Nations, the missionary group that trained him, said many people have gone on missions because of how John willingly gave himself for Jesus.
Since high school, John had a heart for the Sentinelese and had made extensive preparations. This was his third trip to India and the Andaman Islands since 2015. According to All Nations, he underwent extensive training as a missionary in 2017. He was a survivalist, mountain climber, certified scuba diver, an EMT, and a skilled wilderness guide who led scores of people on hiking and camping adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest. He knew how to survive in hostile climates and conditions. He packed an extensive medical kit that, among other things, included a hemostat to pinch arteries, a chest seal in case of a puncture, and dental forceps to remove arrows.
John was an American citizen, part Irish, part Native American (Choctaw), part African, and part Chinese and Southeast Asian.
He planned to “make progressive contact” with the Sentinelese by providing gifts to show he was friendly.
After arriving, his journal expressed his human emotion as he approached a group of Sentinelese. He wrote, “I regret I began to panic slightly. And I saw them string arrows in their bows… my thoughts were directed toward the fact I was almost in arrow range. I back paddled facing them and then when they got the fish, I turned and paddled like I never have in my life, back to the boat. I felt some fear but mainly was disappointed.”
During his next contact, he was in a kayak near the shore. The islanders were yelling. John wrote that as he “sang them some worship songs and hymns, and they would fall silent after this. Then two of them dropped their bows and took a dugout to meet me. I couldn’t tell if they were truly unarmed or not, so I still kept a safe distance away and dropped off the fish and gifts and at first they poled their dugout past the gifts and were coming at me, then they turned and grabbed the gifts except for the shovel/adze. I paddled after them and exchanged some more gifts.” He wrote, “So I preached a bit to them starting in Genesis and disembarked my kayak to show that I too have two legs. I was inches from the unarmed guy.” It was at this point a young boy shot an arrow at John’s chest which burrowed halfway into his Bible that he was holding out while preaching. The arrowhead was thin, sharp metal.
On November 15, John wrote, “I’m scared. There, I said it…. Lord let your will be done. If you want me to get actually shot or even killed with an arrow, then so be it. I think I could be more useful alive though, but to You, God, I give all the glory of whatever happens. I don’t WANT to die! Would it be wiser to leave and let someone else continue? No. I don’t think so.” John also writes, “it almost seems like certain death to stay here – yet there is evidence of change in just two encounters in a single day. Will try again tomorrow.”
“Watching the sunset and it’s beautiful – crying a bit … wondering if it’ll be the last sunset I see before being in the play, Where The Sun Never Sets. Tearing up a little. God, I don’t want to die. WHO will take my place if I do? Oh God I miss my parents,” John wrote.
Even as John was planning what turned out to be his last trip, he prays, “Whoever comes after me to take my place, whether it’s after tomorrow or another time, please give them a double anointing and bless them mightily.”
His final letter, written to his family, states in part: “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. “
John concluded by writing, “This is not a pointless thing—the eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language as Revelation 7:9-10 states. I love you all and I pray none of you love anything in this world more than Jesus Christ.” He concluded with “Soli Deo Gloria,” and signed his name.
“Compelled by this love for Jesus and his desire to share His love with the Sentinelese, John went to North Sentinel Island and there he gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Staver.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13