Elisabeth Elliot: Her Life, Her Legacy

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Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

One of my favorite authors and missionaries went to be with the Lord last Monday, June 15, 2015.

As much as I am grieving for the loss of a great example, her death reminded me of the life she lived and the legacy she left behind.

I got this brief description of her life from her own website for the sake of those who do not know this great woman of faith: (http://www.elisabethelliot.org)

My parents were missionaries in Belgium where I was born. When I was a few months old, we came to the U.S. and lived in Germantown, not far from Philadelphia, where my father became an editor of the Sunday School Times. Some of my contemporaries may remember the publication which was used by hundreds of churches for their weekly unified Sunday School teaching materials.

Our family continued to live in Philadelphia and then in New Jersey until I left home to attend Wheaton College. By that time, the family had increased to four brothers and one sister. My studies in classical Greek would one day enable me to work in the area of unwritten languages to develop a form of writing.

A year after I went to Ecuador, Jim Elliot, whom I had met at Wheaton, also entered tribal areas with the Quichua Indians. In nineteen fifty three we were married in the city of Quito and continued our work together. Jim had always hoped to have the opportunity to enter the territory of an unreached tribe. The Aucas were in that category — a fierce group whom no one had succeeded in meeting without being killed. After the discovery of their whereabouts, Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death.

Our daughter Valerie was 10 months old when Jim was killed. I continued working with the Quichua Indians when, through a remarkable providence, I met two Auca women who lived with me for one year. They were the key to my going in to live with the tribe that had killed the five missionaries. I remained there for two years.

After having worked for two years with the Aucas, I returned to the Quichua work and remained there until 1963 when Valerie and I returned to the U.S.

Since then, my life has been one of writing and speaking. It also included, in 1969, a marriage to Addison Leitch, professor of theology at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. He died in 1973. After his death I had two lodgers in my home. One of them married my daughter, the other one, Lars Gren, married me. Since then we have worked together.

May I ask you to read these lines again, “Our daughter Valerie was 10 months old when Jim was killed. I CONTINUED working with the Quichua Indians when, through a remarkable providence, I met two Auca women who lived with me for one year. They were the key to my going in to live with the tribe that had killed the five missionaries. I remained there for two years.”

After the death of a husband, left with a 10 month old daughter, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO CONTINUE?

Elisabeth did.

She did not spend the rest of her life grieving because she knew God has a purpose for everything and this dear lady loved God and was willing to obey no matter what. I placed an emphasis there because it was true in her life, NO MATTER WHAT, Elisabeth Elliot obeyed God and was used mightily in the ministry, in the furtherance of the Gospel.

WHAT AN EXAMPLE FOR CHRISTIAN WOMEN LIKE YOU AND ME!

It’s normal that when someone dies, we are reminded of her words, her advices, her principles in life. Mine is this:

“If we hold tightly to anything given to us unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily “ours” but only ours to offer back to him, ours to relinguish, ours to lose, ours to let go of, if we want to be our true selves. Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes.”

Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control

This was directly stated by a woman who experienced many letting goes… including the death of her two husbands.

Elisabeth wrote great books for Christians especially for women. Some of her books include:
1. Passion and Purity
2. Let Me Be A Woman
3. Through Gates of Splendors

and more…

After her mission work, she spent most of her time writing and speaking. Encouraging women to follow God NO MATTER WHAT.

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I will always look up to Elisabeth Elliot, not to idolize or to be like her but I want that kind of love and obedience she has towards God. I want to follow God NO MATTER WHAT.

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