Following Jesus - Pastor Karl's Blog

Heroes of the Faith: Jim and Elizabeth Elliot

Posted by Karl Alsin on

Jim Elliot was a young man who wanted to name the name of Jesus where it had never been named before.  He was a graduate of Wheaton College and had a passion for missions.  The story of Jim Elliot is a story of faith and obedience.  God is still using this man’s life – and tragic death – to bring people to Himself.  Here’s the story in brief:

On January 8, 1956, 28-year-old American missionary Jim Elliot was martyred, along with four missionary partners and friends. He was survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and their 10-month-old daughter Valerie.

After Jim Elliot’s death, Elisabeth decided to continue working among the Quichua for two more years. Two Auca women lived among them, including a woman named Dayuma, who had run away from her tribe when her family was killed. She taught the Huao language to the wives of the missionaries who had been killed.  For the next two years, Elisabeth prepared to go to the people that had killed her husband and share the gospel with them.

After moving to the village, Elisabeth began to teach the Auca Indians from the Bible. Her forgiveness and acceptance of the tribe are what led them to accept Jesus Christ. She taught them to forgive fearlessly and love tremendously, which forever transformed their way of life. One of the first men to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior was Mincaye, the man who speared two of the missionaries - Nate Saint and Ed McCully.

Reflecting on her husband’s willing obedience to the point of death, Elisabeth found perspective and comfort in these words from Scripture.  She felt her husband’s death was, from a Biblical perspective, worth the sacrifice.  We want to cling to life.  Jim Elliot gave his life away.

Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24

Jim Elliot once wrote in his journal…

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. 

Fast forward to today.  A modern miracle has taken place in Ecuador and some feel it can be traced back to the tragic deaths of these missionaries.  In the broader group, the Quichua, there were only 120 people who were followers of Jesus Christ in 1967 out of 3 million.  Today, some Quichua areas are over 50% evangelical.  Almost all tribes have Churches and Scriptures!

This week, pray for the country of Ecuador.  Many people have come to Christ in recent years, but the harvest is still plentiful.