Frank Drown

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Frank Drown (September 30, 1922 - January 22, 2018) was an American author and former missionary. He and his wife Marie were missionaries with Gospel Missionary Union and worked for 37 years with the Jívaro Indians of eastern Ecuador, who were known for their head shrinking.[1]

The Drowns worked alongside missionary Roger Youderian and his family for three years in the 1950s. They had also been instrumental in directing them to the mission field. In 1955, Roger joined with four other missionaries in Operation Auca, an effort to reach the Huaorani, another Indian tribe in the area. When the five men turned up missing, Drown led the ground search party into Huaorani territory to locate the men. They discovered four of the bodies, including Roger's and buried the men in a mass grave. Drown led a quick funeral service at the gravesite before a severe tropical storm blew in. Roger's wife Barbara continued to work with the Drowns for many years after Roger's death.

In 1959, after 15 years living in Ecuador, and three years after his fellow missionary had been killed, the Drowns were asked to write a book about their lives as missionaries. After the success of Elisabeth Elliot's best-seller Through Gates of Splendor, the publishers believed such a book would be in demand. And so the Drown's co-authored a book which became their memoirs. It is called Mission to the Headhunters.

Drown was interviewed for the 2004 documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor where he described in detail what happened during the search party's expedition.


  1. ^ "Frank James Drown". Speaks Chapel. Retrieved 12 August 2018.