by Kate Shellnutt
Elliot, the Christian author and speaker whose husband, Jim, was killed during their short-lived but legendary missionary work among unreached tribes in eastern Ecuador in the 1950s, passed away Monday at 88, according to reports. She had been suffering from dementia.
She wrote two books about her husband’s martyrdom and the years she and her newborn daughter spent living among the Aucas, the tribe that killed him. Her Through Gates of Splendor ranked No. 9 on CT's list of the Top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals. The book became a bestseller, as did Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot.
“Those became the definitive inspirational mission stories for the second half of the 20th century,” said Kathryn Long, professor of history at Wheaton College. “She really had a sense of her audience as evangelicals, and she could tell this story in a way that keyed into [their] values.”
Long said that Elliot’s later books on missions, No Graven Image and The Savage My Kingsman, raised important questions about mission work. Her legacy, Long said, reflects her complexity as both “a gifted, inspiring writer, and one who’s extraordinarily perceptive.”