Missionary John Allen Chau was allegedly killed by an Indian tribe earlier this month after he attempted to convert them to Christianity

By Robyn Merrett
November 22, 2018 02:59 PM
Credit: John Chau/Instagram

John Allen Chau, the American missionary who was allegedly killed by an Indian tribe earlier this month after he attempted to convert them to Christianity, journaled the days leading up to his mysterious death.

According to entries obtained by The Washington Post, Chau, 27, ventured in a small fishing boat to North Sentinel Island, where he found the endangered Sentinelese Tribe living in small huts.

Once he made contact with the Sentinelese people, who have little to no contact with the outside world, Chau wrote that they allegedly reacted angrily when he tried to preach to them, according to The Post.

“I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you,” Chau explained in his journal on Nov. 16.

He then wrote that one of the tribespeople struck him with an arrow, which pierced through his Bible.

“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people,” Chau wrote before adding, “God, I don’t want to die.”

John Chau
| Credit: John Chau/Instagram

The following day, he tried to make contact again. Tragically, local fisherman watched as the Sentinelese people dragged Chau’s body away and buried him, CNN reported.

A fellow missionary confirmed the fisherman’s sighting to Chau’s mother Lynda Adams-Chau, according to an email also obtained by The Post.

At this time, Indian police have not confirmed whether or not Chau is dead, but believe he is and they are doing their best to recover his body, CNN reported.

However, due to the fact that the Sentinelese people are threatened by outside contact, it’s been very difficult to find Chau’s remains.

North Sentinal Island(Creative Commons A-NC-SA)Credit: Christian Caron
North Sentinel Island
| Credit: Christian Caron

“We have a team out in the waters for reconnaissance and to strategize how to recover his body. The team consists of coastal guards, officials from tribal welfare department, forest department officers and police officials,” Indian police told CNN.

When asked by The Post about her son, Lynda said, “I believe he is still alive.”

While India has banned people from interfering with the indigenous tribe whose numbers are believed to be in severe decline, Chau allegedly paid a group of local fisherman to take him to the Island, which is also a part of the Andaman Islands, India Today reported.

CNN also reported that the fisherman who helped Chau travel to the island have been arrested as India has passed laws banning people from going near the island and its inhabitants to protect the tribe’s health and way of life — and to protect outsiders from possible violent incidents.

Dependra Pathak, director general of police of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, told CNN that while Chau came into the country on a tourist visa, he was clearly a missionary.

John Chau statement from his family
| Credit: John Chau/Instagram

“We refuse to call him a tourist. Yes, he came on a tourist visa but he came with a specific purpose to preach on a prohibited island,” Pathak said.

North Sentinel Island is about the size of Manhattan, but those who live on the island are known to fiercely protect themselves if anyone or anything attempts to come close to their village, according to Survival International. Reports on their numbers vary from as little as 15 to over 100.

The group first gained national attention in 2004 when authorities flew by helicopter to check on the island after the Asian tsunami. A member of the tribe was photographed firing arrows at the helicopter.

“Why does this beautiful place have to have so much death here?” Chau wrote in his journal. “I hope this isn’t one of my last notes but if it is ‘to God be the Glory.”

Chau’s family has since released a statement regarding Chau’s death on his Instagram page.

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“We recently learned from an unconfirmed report that John Allen Chau was reportedly killed in India while reaching out to members of the Sentinelese Tribe in the Andaman Islands. Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report,” the statement read.

“He was a beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to us. To others he was a Christian missionary, a wilderness EMT, and international soccer coach, and a mountaineer.”

“He loved God, life, helping those in need, and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people. We forgive those reportedly responsible for his death. We also ask for the release of those friends he had in Andaman Islands. He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions.”