Celebrating the life, legacy of Elisabeth Elliot

By June 16, 2015
(Photo courtesy ElisabethElliot.org)

(Photo courtesy ElisabethElliot.org)

International (MNN) — Elisabeth Elliot, a legend in the world of the Great Commission, has finally gone Through Gates of Splendor.

After spending some years battling failing health and dementia, she died June 15, 2015 at the age of 88. Arguably one of the most influential women in modern day Christendom, she was a prolific author, speaker, and radio host.

Her most famous book was Through Gates of Splendor and was about the martyrdom of her first husband, Jim Elliot. Their ministry was ground-breaking in Ecuador, supported by both Reach Beyond (then HCJB) and Mission Aviation Fellowship.

In an excerpt from her biography on ElisabethElliot.org, she wrote:

A year after I went to Ecuador, Jim Elliot, whom I had met at Wheaton, also entered tribal areas with the Quichua Indians. In nineteen fifty three we were married in the city of Quito and continued our work together. Jim had always hoped to have the opportunity to enter the territory of an unreached tribe. The Aucas were in that category — a fierce group whom no one had succeeded in meeting without being killed. After the discovery of their whereabouts, Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death.

Our daughter Valerie was 10 months old when Jim was killed. I continued working with the Quichua Indians when, through a remarkable providence, I met two Auca women who lived with me for one year. They were the key to my going in to live with the tribe that had killed the five missionaries. I remained there for two years.

After having worked for two years with the Aucas, I returned to the Quichua work and remained there until 1963 when Valerie and I returned to the U.S.

Since then, my life has been one of writing and speaking. It also included, in 1969, a marriage to Addison Leitch, professor of theology at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. He died in 1973. After his death, I had two lodgers in my home. One of them married my daughter, the other one, Lars Gren, married me. Since then we have worked together.

Her life centered around a question she often asked fans seeking her guidance and wisdom: “What does the Bible say? Do what the Bible says.”

Elliot is survived by her husband and daughter.


  • Cindy Jones says:

    Your news (heard on WFSO-Olivebridge, NY) of Elisabeth’s Homegoing has reached me – in more ways than one. She was my sainted mentor (in print and speech); her example of the quiet heart was/is lasting. I don’t remember her saying “Do what the Bible says”, but now I see why I loved her, for I have found God’s Word to be all as He is All.
    I will remember she said “Do the next thing” and I often quote her “… when you think of me, pray for me.” I will remember her with thanks to God for her life.
    I celebrate her heavenly coronation, with love and prayers for Valerie and Lars… sincerely.

  • I smiled when I read (in MNN) of Elizabeth’s trip “through gates of splendor”. Indeed she is sitting at the feet of Jesus singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord’.
    She was my mentor also, especially in my early adult years of seeking God’s direction. Trusting, putting my life in God’s hands, these are my daily challenges that were initiated by Elizabeth Elliott’s teaching and lifestyle. I thank God for her life witness, and that of Jim Elliot and Amy Carmichael as shared by her. “Shadow of the Almighty” changed my life forever.
    Blessings and prayer to the many family and friends…

  • Pat Byrne says:

    God has touched many, many lives through Elizabeth Elliot — mine among them. How I thank God for her life and ministry! To God be the glory! Praise Him!

  • May her soul rest in peace. I didn’t know her but I am using this opportunity to honour her departure to God’s glory. She must be a good woman and good devoted christian,may God bless her works.

  • Ike Hycienth says:

    Rest in peace great woman of God, the legacy of faith and love you left behind will continue be remembered.

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