Elisabeth Elliot lived her life in service to God and his global mission. She lived responsive to God's call and echoed that call at the four Urbana Student Missions Conferences at which she spoke (Urbana 73, 76, 79 and Urbana 96). Each time, she challenged her listeners to obey the call of God on their lives. She was 88 when her earthly life of obedience ended on June 15, 2015.
Elisabeth’s life as a missionary and the wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot was the substance of her first book, Through Gates of Splendor, published in 1957. It told the story of the ill-fated attempt by her husband and four other missionaries to reach the Auca Indian tribe with the gospel message.
At Urbana 73, she described how God had made a place for her in missions:
“When my husband was killed by Indians, I found myself in some indefinable positions. There wasn’t one missionary man left in Ecuador who spoke the jungle Quichua language. There was no one to teach the young Quichua believers, no one to lead the church, no one but women to carry on where five missionary men had left off. The door to the Auca tribe had slammed shut for those men and was, to our astonishment, opened to two women. It didn’t look to me like a woman’s job. But God’s categories are not always ours.”
At Urbana 79, she said,
“I would not be truthful if I did not admit that the price of knowing him, of putting faith in him, and of understanding who he is has sometimes seemed high to me…But neither would I be a faithful witness if I did not also say that it’s worth the price—it’s infinitely worth the price—and that God will never fail you.”
“Elisabeth was one of the most powerful speakers we have had at Urbana,” said Urbana director Tom Lin. “At Urbana 73 she was the first woman to give a plenary talk and not just a testimony.” David Howard, her brother, was Urbana director at the time and was challenged on the decision. “Elisabeth was so popular he had to invite her back to speak at subsequent Urbanas.”
Watch, listen, or download Elisabeth Elliot's Urbana 96 talk.
Christianity Today has an extensive report on Elisabeth’s life and the influence of her ministry, as well as links to additional articles and interviews from their archives.
CBN News, in its report, called her one of the most influential women of her time.
The impact of Elisabeth’s four Urbana talks, her 22 books, and her daily radio program, can be imagined from this article written by Tsh Oxenreider for the Washington Post.