Can someone you’ve never met so impact your life that you feel like you’ve known him or her forever? For me, the answer is yes. Why? Because of the influence one woman has had on my life from the time I became a Christian at age 16. Her name: Elisabeth Elliot . . . Actually, Elisabeth Howard Elliot Leitch Gren.
To me it seems that Elisabeth has lived through every possible season of life a woman could experience. She’s been married three times and widowed twice, yet has lived as a single woman for half of her 85 years. She’s lived with her young daughter among a savage tribe of natives, walked jungle trails, met dignitaries and celebrities, taught college, helped translate an unwritten language, and been featured at women’s conferences. As an author she’s written about her firsthand experiences with loneliness, longing, heartbreak, passion, purity, and triumphant love. Her life was part of a story that shook the world in 1956 when five young missionaries risked everything to preach Christ to the Auca Indians of Ecuador. Though I’ve never met her, Elisabeth has made an indelible impression on me–especially during my first years as a Christian–through her books and personal testimony.