Faithful Heroes: Jim Elliot, Missionary Martyred

Jim Elliot was one of the five missionaries killed in Operation Auca.

Philip James Elliot was born on October 8, 1927 in Portland, Oregon. He was the son of Fred and Clara Elliot. His father was a traveling preacher and his mother a chiropractor. Jim had two brothers and a sister.

Jim Elliot was six years old when he accepted Jesus in his heart.

“The Elliot parents encouraged their children to be adventurous, and encouraged them to “live for Christ”.”

While in high school, he studied architectural drawing, worked on his school newspaper, the wrestling team, the public speaking club and in school plays.

Jim and Elisabeth Elliot

He attended Wheaton College where he met Elisabeth Howard.

While at Camp Wycliffe, Jim worked with former missionaries to write the language of the Quechua people for the first time. There he heard of the Huaorani or Auca people. This was a Quichua word for savage.

He applied for his passport and prepared to leave for Ecuador. His plans for temporarily interrupted and he met Ed McCully, whom he worked with on a radio program and also spent time preaching in prisons, holding evangelistic rallies and teaching Sunday School.

He then joined with Pete Fleming and they headed for Ecuador. He wrote that he wished to marry Elisabeth but felt “called to go to Ecuador without her.”

Jim Elliot

Elliot and Fleming arrived in Ecuador on February 21, 1952. They moved into the jungle and lived at the Shandia mission station.

He married Elisabeth Howard, who was also in Ecuador, on October 8, 1953. Their only child, Valerie, was born on February 27, 1955.

While working with Quechua Indians, Elliot began preparing to reach the Huaorani.

Jim Elliot, along with four other missionaries, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian and hteir pilot Nate Saint, made contact with the Huaorani people. They began to make contact with the Huaorani people and were encouraged by the friendly encounters.

Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, Jim Elliot

“His journal entry for October 28, 1949, expresses his belief that work dedicated to Jesus was more important than his life.”

On January 8, 1956, the five men were killed by ten Huaorani warriors.

Jim Elliot’s body was found downstream along with three of the other men.

Life Magazine published a ten page article on the five missionaries death.

Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint {sister of Nate Saint} continued working with the Huaorani.

Elisabeth Eliot later wrote Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot and Through Gates of Splendor, which describe the life and death of her husband.

Jim Elliot

In 1991, the Jim Elliot Christian School was created in Denver, Colorado.

In 1997, the Jim Elliot Christian High School was founded in Lodi, California.

In 2002, a documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor was released.

In 2003, Love Above All, a musical based on the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot was staged at Mount Carmel Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore. This was staged a second time in 2007.

In 2006, the movie End of the Spear was released.

Jim’s short life that was filled with the desire to share God’s love can be summed up by a quote that is attributed to him. “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”


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