American missionary John Chau had a tragic message before visiting a remote Indian tribe that has remained untouched by modern civilization — “God, I don’t want to die.”
But Chau was indeed killed as he reportedly attempted to convert the isolated group, who live on an island in the Indian Ocean. The Indian government has outlawed any contact with the Sentinelese people, who have been photographed pointing bows and arrows at planes that pass overhead. As the Washington Post reported, Chau had decided to make a trip to North Sentinel Island with the hope of converting the roughly 50 to 150 people living there to Christianity.
The report noted that Chau had been writing about the trip, showing that he was well aware of the dangers of contacting them.
“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people,” he wrote in a note to his family. “God, I don’t want to die.”
Chau wrote that he had already made an initial visit to the island and was met with hostility, including a child who shot an arrow at him that instead struck his bible. Still, he tried to preach about Christianity and sing hymns to the group.
“I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you,'” Chau wrote.
The tribe has remained completely isolated from the outside world and attacked the few visitors who tried to approach the island. The Indian government eventually outlawed any contact, as the tribe had not built immunities to a number of modern diseases, including measles, and could be wiped out by contact with outsiders.
Chau reportedly hired a group of fisherman to take him to the island, and they reported seeing the tribe shoot him with arrows and tie a rope around his neck. One of the fishermen reported seeing the group bury his body the following day.
John Allen Chau was shot with arrows when he stepped ashore India's remote North Sentinel Island, which tourists are forbidden to visit.https://t.co/wYdxoPo6VE
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 22, 2018
As NDTV reported, Indian officials are now trying to find a way to retrieve his body from where it was buried. They said the fishermen who took Chau to the island were able to elude the agencies patrolling the waters in the high-security zone by making it appear as if they were fishing in open water, then continuing on their trek toward the island after getting out of sight.
Indian officials said they will not be charging any members of the tribe for the killing of John Chau.