God’s purpose for our lives: Heroes of the faith book club and GIVEAWAY

Renee Ann Smith —  April 30, 2011 — 27 Comments

I’ve been re-reading Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot along with my junior high English class, and TGOS is also the May selection for Julia’s Heroes of the Faith Book Club at Dark Glass Ponderings.

This book tells the story of five young missionaries who accomplished what every Christian aspires to—they lived and died for Christ. However, their brief time on earth and the way God took them home have left an indelible impact on generations of Christians.

In 1956 Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian lost their lives in an attempt to bring the Gospel to the Woadani or Auca tribe of Ecuador. There is so much that could be said about these brave men and their wives. I’ve already posted about them several times at the links listed below. So today I’d like to focus on one lesson the book brought home to me.

Words Jim Elliot wrote while in college








The story of these five men reminds me how perfectly God matches a life path to each personality He creates. When I was young, it seemed like Christians who dedicated their lives to Christ were immediately forced to go to some faraway outpost or jungle setting where they had to give up civilized life in order to be holy. I feared that a life of service might mean the same for me and balked at the idea. Nate, Jim, Ed, Pete, Roger, and their wives are a good reminder of what I eventually learned about God’s leading in our lives. God’s purpose is uniquely suited to each of us. He wants us to be happy and fulfilled doing what He created us to do. Since God is the one who made us, who knows better what will please us?

He tells us this again and again. We just need to trust His Word . . .

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11~

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will [shape] the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4~

“For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” ~Psalm 139:13&16~

The missionaries in this book chose the jungle and enjoyed everyday life among the simple people there. They were pioneers at heart and loved rough, outdoor adventures. Even the actual film footage of their last days—when the five men were camping out on the beach—features them joking, laughing, singing.

And the photos and film of the men’s first meeting with the Auca people show how exuberant they were to have finally made contact.

Reenactment from End of the Spear

The guys did not consider their lives to be filled with sacrifice. In the jungles of Ecuador, they felt they were fulfilling their purpose. 

Quote from Journals of Jim Elliot








Through Gates of Splendor not only relates the details of the men’s jungle adventures, it also shares excerpts from the letters and diaries that reveal their hearts. As I read their hopes, dreams, doubts, and fears in their own words, I realized they were exactly where they wanted to be doing exactly what they’d dreamed of doing.

Each of the guys had been raised in homes that taught their children how to have personal relationships with Jesus Christ. Their parents read and discussed Scripture with them, brought them to church, showed by example how to live for Christ each day, and encouraged their children to discover God’s purpose for themselves. Most of the men and women involved in this story had felt God calling them to be missionaries since they were very young. So the Lord had been getting them ready to go to the Aucas for their entire lives.

What’s your purpose? How has God worked in your life to bring you this far? Have you ever felt God making an adjustment in your life when you’ve gotten off track? Feel free to share!

For more readings about the folks from this story, follow the links below:

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

27 responses to God’s purpose for our lives: Heroes of the faith book club and GIVEAWAY

  1. I love that Jim Elliot quote, I have it written in my Bible…and I think it’s been there since I was a teenager. 🙂

    I would love to win the DVD. I follow you on GFC, twitter, and I think FB too.

    • Yeah, Jim’s words really stay with you. I read his published journals, and he was certainly eloquent at a young age. You’re in the drawing, Joy. And congrats on your blogoversary!

  2. I love that Jim Elliot quote too, and what a great idea to keep it in my bible. I would love to win the DVD. I follow you here through RSS feet. This is a wonderful givaway opportunity. Thank you.

  3. Awesome post! You always leave me thinking or put a smile on my face.

  4. Oh, wow, this is so neat you sharing about this because Chris and I just got back from a retreat and thinking about our “mission” together. At this stage of life my main mission I think is training up my kids in the ways of the Lord, sometimes it feels like a small thing and sometimes I fail.

    Oh and whoever wins this DVD I pray it will bless your family as it has mine.

    Thanks so much for mentioning my post and giveaway, it was fun to host this with you!!

    • Julia, I’m so glad you and your hubbs can attend encouraging retreats. Because your mission is so important! I think whatever a person’s mission, it’s easy to get bogged down in the seemingly unimportant details. Hope the retreat gave you a fresh vision for your days! Blessings!

  5. Jim’s comment has been made into a song, which I love. Would love to win a copy of Jim Elliot’s book. Please enter me. Thank you.

    I follow via GFC.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  6. I guess that’s a DVD of Jim Elliott.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  7. I would be delighted to win the cd. I follow you on GFC. Jim Elliot has been such a inspiration to me–and many others. The quote Jim wrote in college has been a favorite of my daughter. I love his wife’s writings, too.


  8. I would love to win this DVD to share with my family. I follow you pretty much in all the ways you mentioned 🙂 I am so glad I found your blog I have really enjoyed it.

    sasie9 [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. I read Jim and Elizabeth Elliot’s stories and books when I was younger and it really impressed me. We have a purpose on earth that no one can fill. We just have to recognize and use our gifts to find out what that purpose is. We have a family business in the Philippines and we sell inspirational and encouraging gifts and home accessories. We started in 1967, and although we don’t advertise, we now have 14 branches, we have a building of our own, a factory. I always proclaim that this is not because we are smart business people, but because we are doing what God wants us to do and He blesses us. We help disadvantaged people (kidney dialysis patients, mothers of street children, inmates in a jail, etc) find a way to have a livelihood. We always say it is a miracle! God is good! Patsy from HeARTworks

    • What wonderful work you do, Patsy! You’re meeting needs as few else with your opportunities have done. May God continue to bless your business! Thanks for sharing your story here.

  10. Such an inspiration. Their story is a real life story of the verses you shared… God has been giving a lot of opportunities lately were He could use my husband and I to minister to our friends. It’s such a blessing.

    And I want to enter the giveaway!!!


    • I’m glad to hear of the opportunities you and your hubby have had to minister. I think that’s so good for a family to do together. You’re in the drawing, and thanks for stopping by!

  11. This is so true and important that people understand that we are all unique and God has a plan for every life if we will seek Him. Jesus said “Seek and you will find.” Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

  12. Sure did a lot of thinking after reading this post. My purpose is to get out of the way with what my loving heavenly Father has already led me to do thus far:blog
    Richard Hobart

  13. i have been very interested in jim and elisabeth elliott’s story for a long time.

  14. The story of these 5 godly men always brings a tear to my eye. Your thoughts today are very encouraging. The past few months I have been asking God for my specific purpose and TODAY He made it a little clearer to me. I am super excited!

    I would love to win the dvd! I follow through GFC.

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