Keeping the Faith
6/15/15 at 03:29 PM 0 Comments

RIP, Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

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Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015)

In the end, a brilliant and outspoken author, speaker, educator and evangelical critic succumbed to dementia. What I learned from her and her favorite brother-in-law...

One of the most respected Christian leaders of the 20th century, Elisabeth Elliot, passed away yesterday, Sunday, June 14, 2015, at the age of 88. Her third husband, Lars Gren, liked to joke that he was “Mr. Elisabeth Elliot.” Then again, Elisabeth was always known as the widow of one of the most famous American martyrs of the 20th century, Jim Elliot.

What many people don’t know is that Jim’s older brother, Bert Elliot, left for the mission field three years before Jim did. Bert and his wife, Colleen Elliot, gave their entire adult lives to serving the Lord in Peru, South America.

Among their many accomplishments, Bert and Colleen planted more than 100 churches in the Amazon jungles, Andes mountains, and coastal desert regions of Peru. On many occasions, they risked their lives.

On one occasion years ago Bert and I were walking along a jungle path when he told me, “I expect to leave Peru with a bullet in my head.” Little did we know that the Shining Path terrorists had just signed a pact with the drug lords in those very jungles.

Among other things, they put a $25,000 price tag on Bert’s head. Less than three days later they attacked the jungle town where I had left my wife, Renee, and oldest daughter Elizabeth, then not two years old. Thankfully, God spared their lives.

I quickly learned, though, that it isn’t strenuous, hard or difficult to become a martyr. It’s much, much harder to remain faithful to one’s calling for a full lifetime.

Elisabeth liked to quote Bert: “There are worse things than dying — like living in disobedience.” Wise words from two very different yet very wise individuals. They legacy will endure well into the 21st century.

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