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Ed McCully
Born 1927
Died January 8, 1956
Curaray River, Ecuador
Nationality American
Education Wheaton College
Marquette University Law School
School of Missionary Medicine
Occupation Missionary
Religious beliefs Christian (Plymouth Brethren)
Spouse(s) Marilou McCully (née Hobolth)
(Jun 29, 1951 – Jan 8, 1956)
Children Steve McCully (b. 1952)
Mike McCully (b. 1954)
Matt McCully (b. 1956)
Parents T. Edward McCully, Sr.

Edward "Ed" McCully (1927 – 1956) was an evangelical Christian missionary to Ecuador who, along with four other missionaries, was killed while attempting to evangelize the Huaorani people, through efforts known as Operation Auca.

Early years

McCully was the second oldest of three children. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his father was a bakery executive. The family attended a Plymouth Brethren assembly called at that time the, "Good News Chapel," now called, "Wauwatosa Bible Chapel." McCully's father was also an active lay preacher.

College Years

In the fall of 1945, McCully enrolled in Wheaton College where he majored in business and economics. It was also at Wheaton where he met and became good friends with Jim Elliot.

In college, McCully was an exceptional student. At 6'2" and 190 lbs., he proved to be very athletic and was a star on both the football and track teams. He also distinguished himself as a gifted orator, and became very popular among his classmates. His self-authored speech about Alexander Hamilton won him the 1949 National Hearst Oratorical Contest in San Francisco, a contest in which over 10,000 students had entered. That same year, McCully was unanimously elected senior class president.

After graduating from Wheaton in 1949, McCully entered Marquette University Law School intent on becoming a lawyer. Just before his second year there, he took a job as a hotel night clerk. Originally intending to spend the long hours studying classwork, he instead began reading more of the Bible. The story of Nehemiah as well as his correspondence with Jim Elliot, who was making preparations to leave for Ecuador at the time, inspired McCully to consider missionary work. Finally, on September 22, 1950, the day before he was to register for his second year of school, he announced he would not be returning.

Ministry in America

After dropping out of law school, McCully began a ministry in the United States. In the winter and spring of 1951, he and Jim Elliot shared a weekly evangelical radio broadcast. He also travelled and spoke at various churches around the country. At one stop in Pontiac, Michigan, he met his future wife, Marilou Hobolth. They were married on June 29, 1951.

He then entered the School of Missionary Medicine in Los Angelos (today part of Biola University). He spent a year there studying dentistry, obstetrics, and tropical diseases and their treatments.

Ministry in Ecuador

The McCullys went to Ecuador supported by Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML). Ed, Marilou, and their 8 month old son, Stevie, left for Ecuador by ship on December 10, 1952. They first stayed in Quito to finish their Spanish study, then joined Jim Elliot and Pete Fleming at their mission station in Shandia. Eventually the McCullys took up residence at the Arajuno mission station deep in the jungle. They worked with the Quechua Indians.

In the fall of 1955, McCully, along with Jim Elliot and missionary pilot Nate Saint, began Operation Auca, their plan to reach the previously un-contacted Huaorani Indians. Since the Huaorani had a reputation as a hostile tribe, everything was done to earn their trust. The missionaries began by making gifts drops from Saint's airplane. McCully would often accompany him on these missions.

When the missionaries felt they had built up enough of a rapport with the Huaorani, they decided to land in their territory. By this time, Roger Youderian and Pete Fleming had also joined the effort. Saint was able to land the airplane on a sandbar along the Curaray River. However,after friendly ground contact with three Huaorani, the missionaries were attacked by a party of 6 Huao warriors and 3 women. McCully was speared by a young Huao named Mincaye, and also severely mutilated with a machete after he grabbed and tried to hold back one of his attackers.

Shortly afterwards, a search party was organized to find the men. McCully's body was not found by the search party, but he was presumed to be dead. Some Quechua Indians had later found his body further down stream, and even produced McCully's shoe and wristwatch as evidence.

After Death

This plaque at Wheaton College commemorates two alumni: Jim Elliot (bottom) and Ed McCully (top).

At the time of Ed's death, Marilou was 8 months pregnant with their third son, Matt. She returned home to give birth and to meet with family. Ed McCully's memorial service was held at his home church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and drew around 800 people.

Marilou eventually returned to Ecuador and lived in Quito for 6 years, running a home for missionary children. She later returned to America and settled in Washington State where she worked as a hospital bookkeeper. She never remarried, and died of cancer on April 24, 2004. His role is described in the 2006 film End of the Spear.




Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ed McCully (19271956) was an evangelical Christian missionary to Ecuador who, along with four others Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian. Was killed while attempting to evangelize the Huaorani people through efforts known as Operation Auca.

Letter to Jim Elliot, September 22,1950, during his time as a law student and working as a hotel night clerk:

Since taking this job things have happened. I've been spending my free time studying the Word. Each night the Lord seemed to get hold of me a little more. Night before last I was reading in Nehemiah. I finished the book, and read it through again. Here was a man who left everything as far as poistion was concerned to go do a job nobody else could handle. And because he went the whole remnant back in Jerusalem got right with the Lord. Obstacles and hindrances fell away and a great work was done. Jim, I couldn't get away from it. The Lord was dealing with me. On the way home yesterday morning I took a long walk and came to a decision which I know is of the Lord. In all honesty before the Lord I say that no one or nothing beyond Himself and the Word has any bearing upon what I've decided to do. I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy into it. Maybe He'll send me someplace where the name of Jesus Christ is unknown. Jim, I'm taking the Lord at His word, and I'm trusting Him to prove His Word. It's kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket, but we've already put our trust in Him for salvation, so why not do it as far as our life is concerned? If there's nothing to this business of eternal life we might as well lose everything in one crack and throw our present life away with out life hereafter. But if there is something to it, then everything else the Lord says must hold true likewise. Pray for me, Jim.
Man, to think the Lord got hold of me just one day before I was to register for school! I've got money put away and was all set to go. Today was registration day so I went over to school to let them know why I wouldn't be back. I really prayed like the apostle asked the Ephesians to pray, that I might 'open my mouth boldly.' I talked to all the fellows that I knew well. Then I went in to see a professor I thought a lot about. I told him what I planned to do, and before I left he had tears in his eyes. I went in to see another professor and talked to him. All I got was a cold farewell and a good luck wish.
Well, that's it. Two days ago I was a law student. Today I'm an untitled nobody. Thanks, Jim, for the intercession on my behalf. Don't let up. And brother, I'm really praying for you too as you're making preparation to leave. I only wish I were going with you.

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