Before reading this book, I knew very little about Elisabeth Elliot. Of course, everyone knows the basics of her story — her husband and a number of other missionaries were speared to death by members of a tribe in Ecuador that they hoped to evangelize. Elisabeth and her young daughter went on to meet and eventually live with this tribe for a time.
This authorized biography covers only Elisabeth’s younger years — from her childhood until she leaves her missionary work in Ecuador to return to the United States. A second volume which will focus on her later life is forthcoming, and I will be interested in reading that one as well.
Elisabeth, or Betty, as she was called by friends and family was a devoted Christian from her youth, but she does not come across as a cookie-cutter saint. She has her trials and struggles — including her own personality (she was a introvert and often came across as very stoic and aloof). Her marriage was also no fairy tale romance. She and Jim loved one another deeply, but endured an extended courtship as Jim struggled with the sense that he should remain single in order to follow God’s call as a missionary without family encumbrances. Of course, she grieved greatly over her young husband’s death, and her time with the Waodani tribe was marred by conflict with a fellow missionary, who refused to allow her to participate in translating the tribe’s language.
This is a story of perseverance under great pressure. Elisabeth never gave up listening to God and following Him wherever she felt led. She remained hopeful and faithful amid difficult circumstances. She was both self-reflective and practical — an amazing role model for all Christians. I found myself well able to identify with her feelings and her struggles.
VERDICT: 5 STARS. I highly recommend it.