October 4, 2023

Missionary serves as wonderful example of forgiveness

Chantell Cooley - Empower UAs Women’s History Month continues, I want to tell you about another woman that I am so touched by: Elisabeth Elliot.

Born in 1926, Elisabeth was born into a family of missionaries in Belgium. When she was just a few months old, her family moved to Pennsylvania and she later attended Wheaton College where she met her first husband, Jim Elliot.

The pair later married in 1953 in Quito, Ecuador, while they were missionaries to the Quichua Indians.

Jim was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Auca (now known as Huaorani) of eastern Ecuador. As a missionary, one of Jim’s goals was to attempt to create a relationship with this group.  This particular tribe had been known to kill anyone who attempted to get close to them.  After the discovery of the tribe, Jim and four other missionaries were killed. Elisabeth was left with their only child, a 10-month-old daughter named Valerie.

Elisabeth stayed and continued working with the Quichua Indians. She later met two of the women from the Aucas tribe who stayed in her home for a year.  This friendship then gave her an open door to visit the very group of men who had killed her husband.  She built a relationship with them as well.

I am so inspired and amazed by her faith to be brave enough to go into this very tribe that killed her husband and love them with open arms.  She had to be able to forgive them before she would be able to do something so courageous. Choosing to forgive is one thing, but going to the very people that killed her husband is totally beyond anything I have ever heard.  She is truly a wonder. She is a servant of love who gives her heart completely, as her husband did.

Elisabeth went on to touch many lives through her speaking and numerous books.  Today, this 87-year-old woman is an inspiration to us all about forgiveness and staying focused on our purpose and reaching out to change lives.

Let me know what you think of this woman’s deed in the comments below!