After her husband Jim was killed by the spear of a Waodani tribesman in 1956, Elisabeth Elliot later returned to that same Ecuadorian village with her small daughter Valerie. She shared her strong faith in Christ’s forgiveness, love and trustworthiness to the very people responsible for her husband’s death.

Her message reached around the globe through her books which detailed her experiences. She wrote Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty, Passion and Purity and many other books that detailed her experiences. Her boldness and commitment to God inspired many in her generation.

She wrote often surrounding themes such as the trustworthiness of God, the blessings of obedience, joy in the midst of sorrow, the call to love one’s enemy, purity, and the true meaning of Biblical womanhood and manhood.

While Elisabeth came from a strong missionary family and served God faithfully throughout her life, she wasn’t without flaws. She had personality conflicts which some of the missionaries she served alongside in Ecuador. Her introverted nature didn’t always pair well with the tasks of team missionary work, speaking, and meeting new people often. Her desire to tell the truth about the difficulties of Christian work were not always well received in the evangelical culture of her day. She penned one novel depicting missionary life in a way that ostracized her at times. She told the harsh truth when people preferred a retouched version of it.

As a single mother, she juggled parenting and ministry while relying on friends and family. She fell in a love with a theology professor whose wife had died of cancer. She married Addison Leitch and called him her great love. She mourned his death only five short years after their marriage.

After four years into her second season as a widow, Elisabeth married again. After only nine days of marriage, she realized she had made a mistake. Lars was controlling and prone to mood swings. She remained committed to him until her death in 2015. During those years of marriage, Elisabeth continued to write, speak and host a radio show called Gateway to Joy.

Elisabeth served the Lord through many seasons – loss, grief, single parenting, church politics, best-selling books, a controversial novel, a great love, death, three marriages, and through it all – she highlighted the boundless love of God.

From Elisabeth we remember that everyone’s story is complicated. Life is messy – people die, marriage can be difficult, conflicts arise in ministry, but God is faithful.


To learn more– check out Ellen Vaughn’s authorized biography in two volumes:

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot and Being Elisabeth Elliot