One of the most influential Christian women of the 20th century, Elisabeth Elliot, has died.
Elliot, the Christian author and speaker whose husband, Jim, was killed during their missionary service among unreached tribes in eastern Ecuador in the 1950s, passed away Sunday at 88, according to reports. She had been suffering from dementia.
She wrote two books about her husband’s martyrdom and the years she and her newborn daughter spent living among the Aucas, the tribe that killed him. Through the Gates of Splendor and Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot both became bestsellers.
The daughter of Belgium missionaries and a graduate of Wheaton College, Elliot went on to write more than a dozen additional books and launched a radio show, Gateway to Joy, that ran through 2001.
Her former radio producer described Elliot's ministry this way, in a 2013 tribute:
Elisabeth believed in asking this foundational question: Is this God's will for me, right now, in this place? … Unapologetically, Elisabeth espoused such truths as: give to get, lose to find, and die to live. Setting her sights "on things above" (Colossians 3:1), Elisabeth ministered among three indigenous groups in Ecuador before helping listeners and readers find joy in the ordinary affairs of life—like cooking meals and cleaning toilets—on her globally syndicated radio program. She called it living sacramentally, and her rock-solid principles shaped my life.
Last year, as Elliot's health declined, WORLD magazine interviewed her third husband, Lars Gren. Elliot met him while he was a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and they were married for 36, until her death.
Gren says Elliot has handled dementia just as she did the deaths of her husbands. “She accepted those things, [knowing] they were no surprise to God,” Gren said. “It was something she would rather not have experienced, but she received it.”
Elliot was listed among CT’s 50 Women You Should Know, which noted how many of her 20 books became staples in many evangelical homes.
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