The Life & Work of Elisabeth Elliot


Early Family Years: Love, Order, & Values Instilled

December 21, 1926

Elisabeth Howard is born in Brussels, Belgium, to missionary parents, Philip and Katharine Howard.

  • Elisabeth's Birth Certificate


The Howard family moves to Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

  • The Howard Family

October 8, 1927

Philip James “Jim” Elliot is born in Portland, Oregon, to Fred and Clara Elliot.

  • Jim as a young boy

  • The Elliot Family


School Years: Boarding School, Heart for Missions, & Love Awakens


Elisabeth attends Hampden DuBose Academy boarding school in Orlando, Florida.


Elisabeth enters Wheaton College desiring to become a Bible translator and studies Classical Greek.

March 23, 1947

Elisabeth meets Jim Elliot, her brother David’s roommate, at Wheaton College.

  • "He is no fool who . . . ."

  • "He is no fool who . . . ."


Elisabeth spends the year at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada.


Missionary Years: Mission Field, Marriage, Motherhood, & Gain through Loss

February 1952

Jim sets sail for Quito, Ecuador, for mission work.

  • Jim Elliot and Pete Fleming

  • Jim Elliot and Ed McCully

April 1952

Elisabeth sets sail for Quito, Ecuador, for mission work.

October 8, 1953

Elisabeth & Jim marry in Quito, Ecuador.

February 27, 1955

Elisabeth & Jim’s daughter, Valerie, is born.

Shortly after, the Elliot family moves to the Shandia mission base to serve the Quechua people.

September 1, 1955

Jim & other missionaries begin dropping gifts from Nate Saint’s airplane to Waodani tribe members.

January 1, 1956

Missionary families celebrate the 1956 New Year together.

January 3, 1956

“Operation Auca” begins. 5 missionaries fly to & camp at “Palm Beach” with supplies in hopes to reach the Waodani tribe.

January 6, 1956

Successful initial contact in made with members of the tribe.

January 8, 1956

This Sunday morning, members of the Waodani tribe return to “Palm Beach” with spears. They attack & kill all 5 missionaries: Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Ed McCully.

Listen to the January 16 Memorial Service, held in Ecuador.


Elisabeth writes Through Gates of Splendor.


Elisabeth, Valerie, & Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) learn the Huao language & travel into the jungle to live with the Waodani people. Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot is published.

  • Elisabeth's letter to suppoorters, just before she entered the Waodani village.

  • A page from Elisabeth's Waodani language notes. Notice "Gikita's Offering" at the bottom of the page. Gikita was one of the killers who later befriended Elisabeth

  • Valerie and Waodani

  • Valerie and Waodani


Early Writing Years: Revival, Return to the States, & Remarriage


Many among the Waodani tribe accept Christ as their Lord & Savior.


The Savage My Kinsman is published.

  • Cornell Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos.


Elisabeth & Valerie move back to the United Sates to their family home in Franconia, New Hampshire.


No Graven Image is published.

January 1, 1969

Elisabeth & Addison Leitch, a professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, are married.


Writing & Teaching Years: Love, Loss, & Gain

September 17, 1973

Elisabeth’s second husband, Addison Leitch, dies of cancer. God’s Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light is published.


Elisabeth joins the faculty of Gordon-Conwell Seminary as an adjunct professor.


These Strange Ashes is published.

Elisabeth serves as a contributor to the New International Version of the Bible (NIV).


Let Me Be a Woman is published.

Valerie graduates from Wheaton College and marries Walter Shepard.

December 21, 1977

Elisabeth & Lars Gren are married.



Early Public Speaking Years: Writing, Traveling, & Radio


Elisabeth is appointed writer-in-residence at Gordon College in MA. The Mark of a Man is published.



Passion and Purity is published.


A Lamp Unto My Feet is published.


  • Ledger page from 1987.

Fall of 1988

Elisabeth begins hosting a daily radio program Gateway to Joy on Back to the Bible.


Traveling Years: Writing, Lecturing, & Ministering Around the World


A Path Through Suffering is published.



Sunset Years: Season of Retirement & Fading Memory

August 31, 2001

Final episode of Gateway to Joy radio program is broadcast.


Be Still My Soul is published.


Elisabeth retires from public speaking due to progressing dementia.

June 15, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot passes away in her home in Magnolia, Massachusetts, & enters through Heaven’s Gates of Splendor.


Suffering is Never For Nothing is published posthumously.

Valerie Elliot Shepard has her parents letters published in Devotedly: The Personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot.

June 20, 2020

The Elisabeth Elliot Foundation is established.

  • Elisabeth Elliot logo

September 15, 2020

Ellen Vaughn’s biography, authorized by the family of Elisabeth, Becoming Elisabeth Elliot is published.


The beloved perpetual calendar, A Heart for God, is republished.

Also released is a never-before-published devotional from Elisabeth, Heart of God: 31 Days to Discover God’s Love for You.

March 30, 2023

The Elisabeth Elliot exhibit opened at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. (Video).