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Missionary Pioneer Elisabeth Elliot Passes

Through Gates of Splendor

Missionary Pioneer Elisabeth Elliot Passes Through Gates of Splendorwww.elisabethelliot.org

One of the most influential Christian women of the 20th century,

Elisabeth Elliot, at 88, has died.

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   When I attended Wheaton College, I moved into the newly named dorm “Elliot Hall.”  I was soon to learn the story about Jim and Elisabeth who not too many years earlier attended ahead of me. It was a moving account of love and commitment to each other and the shared objective of reaching the fierce “unreached” Auca Indians of South America. Their adventure followed birth of a daughter but was soon short-lived. Jim and five other missionaries were murdered soon after their first contact with the people they had come to help.

   But for Elisabeth and their daughter this was just the beginning of their adventure.

   What follows are segments from the new online issue (appearing June 15, 2015) of Christianity Today.

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  “Elliot, the Christian author and speaker whose husband, Jim, was killed during their short-lived but legendary missionary work among unreached tribes in eastern Ecuador in the 1950s, passed away Sunday at 88, according to reports. She had been suffering from dementia.

   “She wrote two books about her husband’s martyrdom and the years she and her newborn daughter spent living among the Aucas, the tribe that killed him. Her Through Gates of Splendor ranked No. 9 on CT’s list of the Top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals. The book became a bestseller, as did Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot.

   “Those became the definitive inspirational mission stories for the second half of the 20th century,” said Kathryn Long, professor of history at Wheaton College. “She really had a sense of her audience as evangelicals, and she could tell this story in a way that keyed into [their] values.”

   Long said that Elliot’s later books on missions, No Graven Image and The Savage My Kingsman, raised important questions about mission work. Her legacy, Long said, reflects her complexity as both “a gifted, inspiring writer, and one who’s extraordinarily perceptive.”

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   Much, much more can be said about inspirational ministry in South America as well as the United States, and especially about her firm commitment to Christ and her gentle spirit.

   She will be missed.

   [For much more about Elisabeth (don’t forget it’s “s” not “z”) see elisabethelliot.org.].

   Elisabeth Elliot as a young woman [apologies if this image doesn’t show on your screen].

     [courtesy of Billy Graham archives of

       Wheaton College]