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Collection 657 Papers of Kenneth Fleming

Identifier: CN-657

Scope and Contents

Letters, articles, audio recordings, photographs, and other material collected by Kenneth Fleming relating to the death of five American missionaries in Ecuador in 1956, including his brother Peter Fleming. Other topics include the growth of the church among the Waorani people.

[Note: In the Scope & Content section, the notation “folder 2-5" means “Box 2, Folder 5"]

Series: Audio Tapes

Tape 1: Recording of a sermon by Jim Elliot on the second coming of Jesus. Recording quality is very poor; in many places the words are not distinguishable. Circa 1951

Tape 2: Two Easter messages, probably in lowland Quichua, by Jim Elliot, given to a congregation of Quichua Indians in Des Rios, Ecuador. 10 April 1955.

Tape 3: “Friendship on Friday, Glory on Sunday, Praise Forever, the Auca Story, Part 1." Program, perhaps for radio, narrated by Ben Cummings, which tells the story of the ministry to Waorani (called Auca on the program) and the deaths of Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian, and the immediate aftermath. Includes quotations from letters and diaries of the five men as well as spoken comments by their wives Olive Fleming, Barbara Youderian, Elisabeth Elliot, Marj Saint, Marilou McCully, Rachel Saint, and Catherine Peeke, Pat Kelly, Rosi Jung, James Yost, Nate Saint, and Phil Saint. The recording also includes an extensive narrative from the Waorani point of view, based on later interviews with the men and women involved. Produced by the World Radio Fellowship. 1976

Tape 4: “Friendship on Friday, Glory on Sunday, Praise Forever, the Auca Story, Part II.” Program, perhaps for radio, narrated by Ben Cummings, which tells the story of what happened with the ministry to the Waorani Indians in Ecuador after the deaths of the five missionaries in 1956. Includes spoken comments by Abe Van Der Puy, Rachel Saint, Wilfred Tidmarsh, Valerie Elliot, Rosi Jung, Margaret Kirbrandt, Pat Kelly, Marj Van Der Puy (formerly Marj Saint), Barbara Youderian, Jim Yost, Catherine Peeke, and by Dayuma and several other of the Waorani in their own tongue, and excerpts from contemporary documents and recordings. The recording also contains testimonies from various Evangelicals about how the so-called Auca Incident influenced them. The last extended portion of the recording consists of comments from missionaries and Waorani living at the settlement on the Tiwaenu River. Produced by the World Radio Fellowship. 1976

Tape 5: Urbana 79 Missions Conference, presentations by Elisabeth Elliot, John W. Alexander, Ronald G. Mitchell. December 1979.

Tape 6: Lloyd Rogers, a Plymouth Brethren missionary among the Waorani since the early 1960s, discusses work among the Waorani work in a recording made for Kenneth Fleming. Rogers reviews the history of the work and its current state in response to a set of questions sent by Fleming. 1980.

Tape 7: Gateway to Joy, series of three broadcasts on the 30th anniversary of the killing of the five missionaries in Ecuador. Tape 1. Gateway to Joy was Elisabeth Elliot’s daily radio program. Each recording is fifteen minutes long. They seem to have been recorded off the radio and usually are missing the very beginning. Also, these do not appear to be the first programs in the series. The first is about Roger Youderian; the second is about the first contacts with the Waorani via the so-called bucket drops; the third is about later contacts and planning for setting up the base among the Waorani. There are several moments of unrelated music at the end. 1986.

Tape 8: Gateway to Joy, series of three broadcasts on the 30th anniversary of the killing of the five missionaries in Ecuador. Tape II. Gateway to Joy was Elisabeth Elliot daily radio program. Each recording is fifteen minutes long. They seem to have been recorded off the radio and usually are missing the very beginning. The first is about the parts played by Marilou McCully, Marj Saint, Barbara Youderian, Olive Fleming, and Elisabeth Elliot; the second is about the wives’ experience as they waited, after their husbands has made contact with the Waorani, for messages from the men and then how they learned about the death of men; the third program is about God’s purpose in the death of the men and its impact on the missionary community in Ecuador. 1986

Tape 9: Gateway to Joy, series of broadcasts on the 30th anniversary of the killing of the five missionaries in Ecuador. Tape III. 1986.

Tape 10: Gateway to Joy, 40th anniversary broadcasts, Week 1. 1996

Tape 11: Gateway to Joy, 40th anniversary broadcasts, Week 2. 1996

Tape 12: Gateway to Joy, 40th anniversary broadcasts, Week 3. 1996

Tape 13: Gateway to Joy, 40th anniversary broadcasts, Week 4. 1996


Series: CDs

CD 1: Commemorative program prepared for the 50th anniversary of the deaths of the five men. It contains photos and film about Operation Auca and the rescue party that was sent to find out want happened, the reminiscences of Agustin Aguinda, a member of the rescue party (in Spanish with English subtitles), and a brief video at the end showing the state of Christianity among the Waorani and encouraging others to commit to helping to spread the gospel. The program has no credits as to who created it. 2006.

CD 2: Scenes from the commemoration of the deaths of the five men among the Waorani, including Ken Fleming speaking to an audience of Waorani Indians in Ecuador on the anniversary of his brother’s death. He spoke in English and was translated into Spanish by Daniel Rogers and into Wao by a Waorani Christian; He was followed by another speaker who spoke in Spanish and was translated into English by Rogers and into Wao by a Waorani Christian; a Waorani dance; and a Christian service at Palm Beach, the site of the men’s killings. 2006.


Series: Photographs

The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.

WAORANI INDIANS: 13 images, all from Kenneth Fleming’s 2006 visit to Ecuador: 5 color snapshots that show Dayuma meeting with visitors, a Bible school building in a Waorani village, open-style jungle houses, and Ecuadorian Christian workers attending a conference; 8 TIF files that exist in digital form only showing Burt and Colleen Elliot (001), Dichu baptizing in the Palm River (002), Diewi (hand on head) at services in at Palm Beach on January 6th, 2006 (003), Kimo and Dan Rogers (in red, 004), Kimo and Ken Fleming (005), Lloyd and Linda Rogers reenactment of their wedding as a Waorani Christian ceremony (006), Palm Beach communion service, January 6, 2006 (007), School at Tomampari (Burt and Colleen Elliot in the front row on left, 008).


Series: Paper Records (Box List)

The Kenneth Fleming papers in the BGC Archives relate entirely to the work of his brother, Peter Fleming, in Ecuador with the Plymouth Brethren mission agency Christian Missions In Many Lands. In particular, the papers document the story of Peter’s involvement in the so-called “Operation Auca” and his death, along with missionaries Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian at Palm Beach on the Curaray River at the hands of members of the Waorani tribe on January 8, 1956. Also documented are the subsequent developments, including the creation of a Christian community among the Waorani and the commemorations of the anniversary of the death of the men on various occasions.

The papers received by the Archives consist of documents and photocopies of documents created by Peter Fleming, and other materials that Kenneth Fleming had gathered or written over the years about the death of his brother and the other missionaries, the work of Bible translation and evangelism among the Waorani, and related topics. The archivist divided these materials into two series and divided them further into folders, based in part on the arrangement when received.

Sub-series: Papers of Peter Fleming

Arrangement: Alphabetical by folder title; the titles were supplied by the archivist, based on the arrangement the materials were partially in when received by the Archives.

Date Range: 1946-1956, undated

Volume: .25 cubic feet, 1 Box

Geographic Coverage: Ecuador, United States

Type of Documents: Letters, photocopy of a journal, prayer lists, speech manuscript

Correspondents: Olive Fleming, Peter Fleming

Notes: This series, created by the archivist, consists of material actually created by Peter Fleming - his letters (folders 1-2 to 1-5), his speech (folder 1-8), his diary (folder 1-6), his prayer lists (folder 1-7), and an article by him on local church government (folder 1-1). The correspondence is mostly to family members, although there are a few to Fleming’s supporters in the United States, particularly the Plymouth Brethren assembly at Hope Hall in Seattle, Washington. Some of the letters to family members are written in general to all the family, while others are to his brother Ken and his sister-in-law Helena in South Africa, where they were missionaries to the Zulu nation. Sometimes a typed letter written to the entire family contains a handwritten note. These were usually written by Peter to a particular person, sometimes they were written by another family member when they were passing Peter’s letter on to Kenneth. After Peter’s marriage to Olive in 1954, letters to family often contained a section written and signed by him and a section written and signed by Olive. Letters with sections by both or only by Olive are in folder 2-8. Peter’s correspondence describes the beginning of his missionary work in Quito and Shandia, Ecuador with his coworker Jim Elliot and Fleming’s reflections on language study; Bible teaching, outreach, conference, and other evangelism methods; the school for Quichua boys; life in the jungle; and spiritual reflections and lessons, his and Olive’s work at Puyupungu mission station.

Exceptional items:

Folder 1-1: Article of unknown date by Peter Fleming on his theology of the church, including church government.

Folder 1-2: 1952. The letter dated June 5 has a handwritten note from Jim Elliot to Kenneth Fleming; the letter for October 18 contains Fleming’s hand-drawn map of the Shandia area and the layout of the house he and Elliot lived in.

Folder 1-3: 1953. The letter for August 19 contains a lengthy description of the flood that destroyed all the housing at Shandia and following letters describe the rebuilding effort, which also involved the newly arrived Ed McCully.

Folder 1-4: Letter dated November 11 describes the journey of newlyweds Peter and Olive Fleming from Seattle back to Ecuador after Peter returned to the United States for their wedding.

Folder 1-6: A transcription of Peter Fleming’s journal, covering his last years as a student at the University of Washington through his missionary work in Ecuador to just before his death in 1956.

Folder 1-7: Lists of people Peter Fleming was praying for, arranged by categories. The lists seems to cover the years roughly 1919 through 1955.


Series: Waorani Materials

Arrangement: Alphabetical by folder title

Date Range: 1952-2011

Volume: .75 cubic feet, Boxes: 1-2

Geographic Coverage: Ecuador, United States

Type of Documents: Letters, newspaper and magazine clippings, article manuscripts, maps, programs, tracts, a Wao Bible

Correspondents: Kenneth Fleming, Olive Fleming Liefeld, Rachel Saint, Steve Saint, John Smart

Notes: This series, created by the archivist following the informal arrangement of the material as received form the donor, contains materials relating to press coverage of the killing of five American missionaries (including Peter Fleming) by the Waorani tribesman of Ecuador when the missionaries were attempting to make contact with them. This includes documents contemporary with the deaths as well as material about development of Christianity among the Waorani in the years since 1956 and the commemoration of the anniversaries of the 1956 killings (see especially folders 1-13 through 2-6). These last folders include articles from Plymouth Brethren publications such as The Fields and Letters of Interest, as well as many secular newspapers and magazines, such as The New Yorker. Folder 2-9 contains several maps from a variety of sources of sites associated with the ministry of Peter Fleming and with the Waorani. Other folders contain songs popular with the five missionaries or about them (folder 2-14) and tracts about their deaths (folder 2-16). Folders 2-12 and 2-13 contain several letters from Rachel Saint, written in the 1980s, about developments among the Waorani and aspects of her ministry as well as articles, letters, and other material from Steve Saint, son of Nate and nephew of Rachel, about his own life among the Waorani and the movie he produced about the five missionaries and the continuing story, The End of the Spear.

Exceptional items:

Folder 1-9: Includes various commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the deaths of the five missionaries in 1996, including an article by Peggy Covert which describes the developments since 1956, including the growth of Christian church among the Waorani (see also folder 2-4).

Folder 1-10: Materials about the commemoration of the 50th anniversary in 2006 on a trip to Ecuador by a group of family members and friends from America and special services/baptism at Palm Beach where the missionaries were slain in 1956. Over 200 Waorani and visitors participated, including representatives from Wycliffe Bible Translators and Mission Aviation Fellowship. (See also CD1 and CD2 in this collection.)

Folder 1-11: Materials about the planning and results of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the deaths in 2006 by special services at Emmaus Bible College in Iowa, the institution where Kenneth Fleming taught.

Folder 1-12: Articles by Kenneth Fleming related to his brother’s ministry and death and the Waorani, including a long (38 pages) history of missionary work among the Waorani.

Folder 2-11: The document “Report to Establish Friendly Contact with the Auca Indians” is a transcript of the radio broadcasts of station HCJB from January 10?-14, 1956 about the missing missionaries and the search party that went out to find them.

Folder 2-15: Plymouth Brethren missionary to Ecuador Wilfred Tidmarsh had a great influence on Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming and Ed McCully. An article about him by Peggy Covert in this folder describes his early ministry from 1939-1941, with some information on his part in efforts to contact the Waorani from 1955 to 1957.

Folder 2-17: The 1992 translation into Wao, language of the Waorani, of the New Testament done by Catherine Peeke, Rosi Jung, Carolyn Orr, and Pat Kelly.


  • Created: 1946-2011

Conditions Governing Access

Folders 1-6 and 2-8 are closed during the lifetime of Olive Liefeld.

Biographical or Historical Information

Full Name: Kenneth C. Fleming

Birth: June 11, 1927 at Swedish Hospital, Seattle , Washington, USA


Parents: Kenneth Lionel and Greta Emily (Sillence) Fleming; both parents were immigrants from England

Siblings: Older sister: Mary Greta, younger brother Peter Sillence

Marital Status: Married Helena Eason Greenhill, June 10, 1950

Children: Lois Christina (b. 1953), Peter Alan (b. 1957), James Kenneth (b.1959)

Conversion: May 1937, during a series of meetings on Pilgrims Progress by Henry Peterson

Commended From Hope Gospel Hall (Brethren Church) to God's grace for missionary work among Zulu people in South Africa, (Sept. 1950)


1940-1945 - Queen Anne High School, and Technical College studying Electronics

1947-1950 - University of Washington, graduated with B.A. in Far Eastern Studies

Mar-July - 1952 University of Natal, Durnan, South Africa. Studied Zulu language


1945-1947 - Signal Corps. 1945-1947. The year 1946 was spent serving in Korea.

Aug. 1950-Jan. 1951 - General Foods Corp. (Seattle Office)

Nov. 1951-Nov 1976 - Missionary to the Zulu people, together with Helena Served at Mansfield Mission Station near Izingolweni, Natal from March 1952 until 1956. The station was surrounded by about 15 outstations where there were churches and schools run by Zulu evangelists and teachers. Fleming learned Zulu well helped with evangelism, teaching and preaching. Served with two already established churches in Durban, South Africa from 1956-1976. Helped the two churches grow and multiply until there were 11 by the 1970s, assisting mainly with teaching and counseling; held an evening Bible school two evenings a week for many years in a large African area called Umlazi; started an annual camp for high school age young people at a beach site on the Indian Ocean coast.

Jan. 1977-2002 - Teaching at Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa, including world wide correspondence courses, involvement in cross-cultural ministry in more than 40 countries of the world, short term missions projects with students during the summer breaks, preached at missionary meetings in Brethren churches across the country and developed new courses of study on subjects related to missions.

2002 - Was made Faculty Emeritus, cut back on daily teaching and began writing Bible-related material for ECS Ministries, the publishing arm of Emmaus. As of 2015, had written 24 books and Bible courses that were published in 110 languages in over 100 countries.

Other significant information:

Kenneth's younger brother Peter was a missionary to Ecuador starting in 1952 and was one of the five missionaries killed by the Waorani tribe in January 1956, an incident that received national attention in the United States and was a major event among American Evangelicals.


1.00 Cubic Feet

2 Boxes (DC), Audio Tapes, CDs, Photographs other_unmapped

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Kenneth Fleming in 2010.

Accession 10-18, 10-24

August 26, 2015

Bob Shuster

K. Xiang
Collection 657 Papers of Kenneth Fleming
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US