a tribute to Elisabeth Elliot Gren


Elisabeth with Jim before his death in 1956
Elisabeth Elliot Gren was called one of the most important women of the 20th century.  Her grace, bravery and joy in Jesus are some of the attributes that she was well known for, especially when her husband Jim was martyred for his faith in Ecuador back in 1956.  Not long after Jim died, Elisabeth took her little daughter and went back to the very tribe of Indians that killed her husband, sharing the love of Christ with them, and eventually seeing many of the tribe come to Christ.

This past June, she went Home to be with Jesus at the age of 88, after a long battle with dementia.  She's always been one of our favorites around Bloom! and we've learned so much from her humble and beautiful example over the years (you can see what Emily wrote about her here), so we wanted to honor her life and share a bit about this woman of God.

Growing up, one of the first missionary stories I heard was about Jim and Elisabeth Elliot in the jungles of Ecuador.  I remember my mom reading to me about the Elliots and how Jim and four other men were martyred for their faith in 1956.  I was so surprised when I heard that Elisabeth later moved back to Ecuador and lived with the Waorani tribe, even after they killed Jim.  I remember thinking after hearing all this that I wanted to love Christ like she did and I also wanted to live my faith with that same grace and bravery, too!

Elisabeth wrote over 20 books, some of which are still bestsellers today.  Through Gates of Splendor might well be the most chronicled missionary account in the past century.  Some other of her more popular titles are Let Me Be a Woman and Passion and Purity.  I have read many of Elisabeth's books and am always so encouraged, inspired and convicted by them.  They are well worth the read and some of the best books out there to encourage you in your walk with Jesus!

Elisabeth and husband Lars Gren
Considering herself an ordinary woman with an extraordinary God, Elisabeth always said she wanted to use whatever means she could to share the Gospel and encourage others.  One of those means was using media.  Elisabeth traveled the world as a speaker, sharing the story of Jim's death and how God worked through it all.  She was also a radio host of the Gateway to Joy broadcast, which still airs today.  Later on, when she was older, a documentary called Beyond the Gates of Splendor was produced in 2002.  Then in 2006, an incredible movie entitled End of the Spear was released, depicting the Elliot's strong faith in Christ as they tried to share the Gospel with the Waorani people.

Elisabeth left a legacy rich in Christ and would always point others back to Him and His Word and not to herself.  When asked on her opinion about a topic, she would say to seek God and check the Bible!  She considered herself a servant of the Almighty and whether she was sharing the Gospel as a missionary in Ecuador, writing a book, doing an interview, hosting a radio broadcast, raising her daughter, or even cleaning the bathroom, she sought to do all for Christ.  She was bold when speaking or writing, yet with grace, and wasn't afraid to call sin what it really is - sin!  Yet she was also a woman full of kindness and a warmth not her own but His.  She let Jesus speak through her, His love flow through her and touch thousands and thousands of hearts.  We are so grateful she did!

We'll let Elisabeth leave you with a few final words:  

“Leave it all in the hands that were wounded for you.”

“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things.”

I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength in it.

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