Faithful Heroes: Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot was a Christian author and speaker. She was inspired by the missionary work of Amy Carmichael and her husband, Jim Elliot, was killed during the Auca Mission.

Elisabeth Howard was born on December 21, 1926 in Brussels, Belgium. Her parents were missionaries and she had four brothers and a sister.

The family returned to the United States when she was a few months old and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also lived in New Hampshire and New Jersey as a child.

Elizabeth Elliot

She attended Wheaton College, where she met Jim Elliot. While in college she studied Classical Greek, “believing that it was the best tool to help her with the calling of ultimately translating the New Testament of the Bible into an unknown language.”

She then went to Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada for a year of specialized studies. {They later named their prayer chapel in her honor}.

Elisabeth went to Ecuador to work with the Quichua Indians and reunited with Jim Elliot, who was already there. The couple married in Ecuador in 1953.

They had a daughter, Valarie, on February 27, 1955.

Elizabeth Elliot

In January 1956, Jim Elliot was speared to death along with four others wile attempting to contact the Waorani tribe. Elisabeth would later write their story in Through Gates of Splendor.

Elisbeth continued her work in Ecuador for two more years. She learned the Huao language and partnered with Rachel Saint {whose brother Nate Saint was killed alongside Jim Elliot}. The two women and three year old Valerie, returned to the Huaorani people to live and share the message.

Elisabeth was given the tribal name Gikari, Huao for “Woodpecker.” She later returned to the Quichua people and worked with them until she and Valerie returned to the United States in 1963.

Elizabeth Elliot

In 1969, she married Addison Leitch, a professor of theology. He died in 1973.

In 1974, Elisabeth became an adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

In the mid-1970s, she served as one of the stylistic consultants for the committee of the New International Version of the Bible (NIV).

In 1977, she married Lars Gren, a hospital chaplain. He was one of two lodgers in her home after the death of her husband Addison Leitch. The other lodger married her daughter.

In 1981, she was made writer-in-residence at Gordon College.

Elizabeth Elliot

In 1988, she began a daily radio program, Gateway to Joy. The program ran until 2001. She almost always opened the program with the phrase, “‘You are loved with an everlasting love,’ – that’s what the Bible says – ‘and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ This is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot…”

Elisabeth and her husband spoke and traveled the country sharing the gospel. Elisabeth Elliot also wrote over twenty books.

Once she was unable to travel, she continued to stay in touch with the public through mail and her website.

She then began a ten year battle with dementia.

Elisabeth Elliot died in Magnolia, Massachusetts on June 15, 2015, at the age of 88.

Elisabeth Elliot was considered one of the most influential Christian women of our time.

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