Inspirational missionary Elisabeth Elliot dies aged 88

The Christian missionary, author and speaker Elisabeth Elliot has died aged 88 after suffering from dementia.

Elisabeth was born to missionary parents in Belgium, and moved with her family to the US at a few months old.

She attended Wheaton College, and then went as a missionary to Ecuador where she married Jim Elliot.

Share the gospel

In 1956, when their daughter Valerie was ten months old, Jim and four others were killed by members of a previously unreached tribe.

Elisabeth and Valerie later spent two years living with the same tribe who had killed Jim, in order to share the gospel there.

While in Ecuador, she wrote the best-selling book Through Gates of Splendour, which tells the story of Jim Elliot and their work together.

Everlasting love

After returning to the US, she continued writing on topics including suffering, singleness, purity and womanhood.

Elisabeth spoke at conferences worldwide and hosted a radio program called Gateway to Joy from 1988 to 2001, opening each episode by saying, “You are loved with an everlasting love”.

In 1969 she married a theology professor Addison Leitch, who died four years later from cancer.

No surprise to God

She later wrote: “God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good”.

“While it is perfectly true that some of my worst fears did, in fact, materialize, I see them now as ‘an abyss and mass of mercies’, appointed and assigned by a loving and merciful Father who sees the end from the beginning. He asks us to trust him.”

In 1977 she married Lars Gren, who said in an interview last year that Elisabeth accepted her dementia just as she did the deaths of her husbands, knowing it was “no surprise to God”.

Elisabeth is survived by Lars, as well as her daughter Valerie and eight grandchildren.