Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot

On Jan. 8, 1956, five young Christian missionaries serving in Ecuador and attempting to share the gospel with Waodani tribesmen were murdered by the very men they were trying to reach for Christ. News of the massacre spread throughout the world, and eventually, when the widow of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth, and her young daughter, Valerie, moved to the jungle and lived among the Waodani, the world continued to look on with mixed reactions, from horror to admiration. 

An accomplished linguist, Elisabeth struggled to learn the language of the Waodani with the goal of translating portions of the Bible into their native tongue. However, Elisabeth’s missionary zeal was constantly hampered by relational difficulties with another linguist who worked on the same project. Elisabeth eventually chose to leave Ecuador and abandon her dream of working her entire life among the Waodani. 

Biographer Ellen Vaughn offers readers an inspirational, realistic window into the complex, heartrending narrative of Elisabeth Elliot’s life, based on her letters, journals, and the books she wrote, among them Through Gates of Splendor and The Savage My Kinsman. In this first biographical volume—a second volume is forthcoming—Vaughn shows that Elliot’s “most noble accomplishment was not weathering that excoriating loss (the death of her husband Jim). It was practicing—through both the high dramas and the low, dull days that constitute any human life—the daily self-death required for one’s soul to flourish. It is this theme of death that gives the narrative arc of her life. This is not particularly cheerful, but if there is one empowering, paradoxical element within Elisabeth Elliot that defined her core, it was a healthy willingness to die.” (B&H Books)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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