Here was a woman who overcame many challenges. She loved fellow college student Jim Elliot, a man who felt celibacy was God’s highest calling in life. Fortunately, he finally recognized marriage as a high calling as well. Elisabeth’s notes on translating the language of the Waodani tribe were stolen. And the greatest tragedy was the death of her husband in Ecuador at the hands of the very tribesmen they tried to reach for Christ.
The book started slow, giving details of Elisabeth’s childhood, but I soon became engrossed in the life of this remarkable woman and the events that shaped her.
Elisabeth kept a detailed diary, and in Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, author Ellen Vaugh shares many of these details with us. Vaugh also interviewed people who knew Elisabeth, including her daughter Valerie. And Vaugh was given access to letters that show Elisabeth’s struggles and temptations, yet her determination to follow God’s call.
I liked the many quotes Vaugh included such as this one from missionary icon Hudson Taylor: “It is not what we set ourselves to do that really tells in blessings, so much as what He is doing through us when we least expect it, if only we are in abiding fellowship with him.” This proved true for Elisabeth Elliot, who often felt her work had no impact.
Although I’ve read Elliot’s books and even heard her speak, I never knew of the ongoing challenges she faced with missionary Rachel Saint.
The book was published by B & H Publishing in 2020 and includes pages of notes of documentation. It also includes photos that introduce you to Elisabeth’s life with the Waodani.
Any Christian facing challenges in carrying out his or her calling will feel blessed through reading this book, and all of us can benefit from the insight and wisdom on its pages.