ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA
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Wednesday, November 24, 2004


By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, FL  (ANS) -- Marjorie “Marj” Van Der Puy, widow of Nate Saint, who was martyred on "Palm Beach,” Ecuador, on January 8, 1956 by Auca (now called Waorani) Indians along with Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Ed McCully, and later married to the one-time president of HCJB, died in Florida on Monday, November 22 at the age of 81 after a courageous battle with cancer. (Pictured:
Marj and Abe Van Der Puy).

The wives of the murdered missionaries became known worldwide after the media picked up on the murders and later many of the tribe became Christians. Probably the best-known book about the murders was called Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot, one of the widows. (Pictured: Nate Saint).

Born to Christian parents in Clifton Hill, Mo., on June 11, 1923, Marj grew up in Idaho. She received Christ as her Savior at the age of 12 through a series of evangelistic meetings.

Marj attended the College of Idaho and Long Beach Junior College in California. Then she transferred to the University of Southern California and the California School of Nursing where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1947. She also completed her master’s degree in education from Azusa Pacific University in California in the mid-1970s.

Marj married her first husband, missionary pilot Nate Saint, in 1948. They went to Ecuador that same year to open up Mission Aviation Fellowship’s work in that country. Marj also served in nursing. Their three children, Kathy, Stephen and Philip, were born in Ecuador.

In January 1956 Nate and four of his co-workers were killed while attempting to take the gospel to the Waorani Indians. Six months later, Marj and her young children moved from Shell to Quito to begin serving with HCJB World Radio.

In 1966 she married Abe Van Der Puy, a widower with three children. His first wife, Dolores, had died of cancer.

Abe and Dolores had served with HCJB World Radio since 1945. He later became president of the mission (1962-1981), and worked in many key administrative positions. He went to be with the Lord on April 3, 2003.

Marj’s ministries have included radio programming, accounting, medical work, running the mission’s guesthouse in Quito and helping in mission representation. She is survived by six married children: Lois Spragg (a former HCJB World Radio missionary), Mark Van Der Puy, Joel Van Der Puy, Kathy Saint Drown, Phil Saint and Steve Saint, president of Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Center (I-TEC). She had 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Several years ago, when asked what her most satisfying experience was as a missionary, Marj replied, “Seeing young people make the same commitment to Christ as I had at their age and knowing how wonderful it is to be involved in something that will still be worthwhile a million years from now! If I had to choose life’s work again, I’d choose the same way.”

For information on making a memorial gift, contact I-TEC at 10575 SW 147th Circle Dunnellon, FL 34432, call (352) 465-4545 or e-mail

Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). Wooding is the co-host of the weekly radio show, "Window on the World" and was, for ten years a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to

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