What an excellent book!! and what a surprise the story was to me. Like most raised in Christian homes in the ’80s and ’90s, I was familiar with the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot and the tremendous tragedy that fell their family in the mid-’50s. Like most stories that we hear repeated through different sources, details can be warped by omission or personal emphasis of the storyteller. As a result, I don’t have a clear picture of their story – their ministry preparation, their courtship, and the beginnings of their work amidst the Ecuadorian as told by them. This book provides a small glimpse into that part of her life.
I was completely unaware of the missionary work that Elisabeth did before she and Jim were married. This memoir of sorts is an excellent peek at her world before the events with which we may be more familiar. And of the wrestling of faith and resulting growth that she walked through as a result of her work with the Colorado people of Ecuador in the early ’50s.
She retells the details of everyday life and how sometimes the simple tasks of just living life seemed so to conflict with her desire to do the work she was called to . . . her language work. She had come to work in this area in hopes of recording and developing a written language for what was at this time an oral language. This was all done in hopes of then translating Scripture into to this new written language.
“‘I the Lord have called thee’ . . . these words were always in the back of mind. I was sure they were true. the reduction of the Colorado language was a divinely appointed task and I must do it.”
conflicted greatly with her recounting of a day when . . .
“It was a monumental struggle every day of me to get at the brain work instead of dawdling with physical work. The awful truth was that I really preferred the housekeeping. I loved order and neatness and organization but did not like to concentrate. After an hour or two of sheer effort of willpower to stick at the job, I was relieved when I had to go back to the house and check Edlina’s progress with the lunch.” (Made for the Journey, Elliot, p.65)
This reality for her so mirrored what I have faced this past year — yes, decades later and in a very different culture, but still a conflict I have felt between the responsibilities of life living and the work that I am called to do — the encouragement and writing that will help others as seek life purpose and walk in it!
When a man key to her translation work is murdered, Elizabeth is thrown into a crisis of faith and calling. Is this really what she is to do? and how is she now to do it? Her honest relaying of the struggles she faces and the truth she sees and claims for her life is a breath of fresh air to anyone struggling in the conflicts that may differ greatly than what she faced in the Ecuadorian jungles, but are not so different in the impact they have on our lives and faith journeys.
Elizabeth’s telling of her time about working among the Colorado people is an easy read and full of the details that make an interesting story and the truths and inner reflections that make this a mini-memoir of her time during this first year of her missionary work. I encourage you to add this book to your reading list. Many of Elizabeth’s writings deserve a place on your bookshelves and this story is no exception.
I received a complimentary copy of Made for the Journey by Elisabeth in exchange for my honest review. It is a joy to review a book that I so highly recommend!