Elisabeth Elliot became one of the most influential Christian women of the 20th century after her husband, fellow missionary Jim Elliot, was murdered in Ecuador in 1956. Ellen Vaughn, bestselling writer and speaker, has given readers unprecedented access to understanding more about Elliot’s life and spiritual journey in her two authorized biographies, “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot,” published in 2020, and “Being Elisabeth Elliot,” which was released Sept. 12.
In “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot,” readers have the opportunity to hear from Elliot through her previously unpublished journal entries. Her personal writings — which span her college days and go through her time of dating and marrying Jim Elliot and then continue through becoming a wife, missionary and mother — give readers insight into her developing spiritual awareness and calling before she became an internationally known icon of unwavering faith.
In this biographical volume based on the first few decades of her life, readers have the privilege of witnessing that faith develop in the midst of the most challenging circumstances, including her life in the jungle with the Indigenous people who murdered her husband. At age 21, Elliot wrote, “My life is on Thy altar, Lord — for Thee to consume. Set the fire, Father!”
Vaughn continues this biographical journey with the recently published “Being Elisabeth Elliot.” Vaughn says the later part of Elliot’s life concerned “understanding how much she did not understand.” As in the first volume, Vaughn relied on personal journals — along with interviews with family and friends — to tell the story of Elliot’s later years.
Elliot describes life as both a widow and wife, prolific writer and radio broadcaster in her thoughtful, detailed writings. The realities of her third marriage and the last years of her life may surprise some readers, but through it all is a woman who relentlessly pursued her Savior.