John Chau, the 26-year-old missionary that was killed after travelling to the remote North Sentinel Island to make contact with a nearly untouched tribe, had reportedly trained at an intensive camp to prepare, according to a report from The New York Times.
The three-week training, run by a group called "All Nations in Kansas," seemed tailor-made for the mission that Chau would eventually embark on. One notable exercise included being blindfolded, dropped off in a remote location, and encountering a faux-tribe that carried fake spears and spoke gibberish.
According to Chau's journals that were reviewed by The Times, the missionary had seemingly structured his life around his final trip - attending a linguistics institute, becoming an EMT, and embarking on numerous training trips that gave him practice hiking, swimming, and climbing.
Chau had even prepared an "initial contact response kit" containing forceps that were meant to remove any arrows shot at him.
Chau reportedly learned about the North Sentinelese people on the website for "The Joshua Project," which is described as "a research initiative seeking to highlight the ethnic people groups of the world with the fewest followers of Christ."
Chau was repeatedly warned that he could be killed and was aware of previous killings that had occurred on the island. However, he seemingly was convinced he could survive, according to interviews with friends. Chau believed his smaller size (about 1.7m tall and weighing just shy of 60kg) might make him less intimidating than previous travellers to the island who were killed.
Chau's friends told The Times that his plan was to eventually learn the North Sentinelese language (which no one outside the island has ever been recorded to have learned), teach the natives about the Bible, and stay for multiple years.
Before his mission, Chau isolated himself for 11 days, which is a point of dispute between authorities and friends. According to police, his isolation was a means of hiding, but friends reportedly say that Chau was avoiding germs and sickness to protect the islanders whose immune systems would be more susceptible to modern illnesses.
When Chau reached the island with the help of five hired fishermen, he reportedly greeted multiple North Sentinelese by saying, "My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you," before they raised their bows. In a second attempt at contact that included gifts, an islander shot Chau's Bible with an arrow and prompted shouts.
In his last attempt, Chau reportedly swam ashore. The next morning, fishermen saw Chau's body being dragged on the beach by islanders with a rope.
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