Inspirational martyr Jim Elliot highlighted by BBC

The remarkable story of Christian missionary Jim Elliot has been told afresh by his daughter in a BBC feature.

Elliot was killed in 1956 by members of a previously unreached tribe in Ecuador.

He had travelled there with a group of other missionaries in order to share the gospel.


After a number of years, they finally made contact with the Auca, an Amazonian tribe now better known as the Huaorani and well-known for being reclusive and highly suspicious of outsiders.

Elliot’s daughter Valerie told the BBC: “My father and the other four missionaries definitely knew it was dangerous, but they were willing to give up their lives in order for the Huaorani to know the truth”.

When the group met the members of the tribe, they were perfectly friendly and there did not seem to be any hostility.

However, after a number of days, the tribe became suspicious of the missionaries’ motives and a group of ten arrived and killed them on the beach.

‘Real commitment’

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose
Jim Elliot

Valerie and her mother Elisabeth later spent two years living with the same tribe who had killed Jim Elliott, in order to share the gospel there. Rachel Saint, sister of Nate who had been killed alongside Elliot, worked with them.

Elisabeth went on to write the best-selling book Through Gates of Splendor, which tells the story of Jim and their work.

Valerie said that despite the tragedy, she does not believe her father’s life was wasted.

“I really believe that God allowed this to happen so that more and more people could actually see what real commitment to Christ means.”


In the course of his life, Jim Elliot longed for an increase in missionaries to spread the good news of Christ across the world.

In his journal, Elliot famously wrote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

The words remain a fitting epitaph for a man who died so that others could be brought to Christ.

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