Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Goodbye to a beloved author


In searching for words to eulogize Elisabeth Elliot, all I want to do is quote her many, many words of wisdom! And of course, the scripture passages that she based her life on. I mention her here and here.

But what to pick? Maybe I will, instead, recall a few episodes from my life in which she played a role.

1) 10 years of "Passion and Purity": I was introduced to this book in college. By then my beliefs and values were pretty much formed, but were beginning to be challenged, so it was comforting to find affirmation among the pages of Passion and Purity. I had some attempts to "convert" friends to this way of thinking, including in Russia later on (see below). After I met Andrei, I had 6 years to wait, but of course I didn't know that at the beginning or even the middle! Even though the situation was a little different, I reached for my copy again and again. And after hearing Andrei's side and reading about Jim Elliot, I still find similarities that I can relate to about that particular period.

2) In Congo: This is more about Elisabeth Elliot's daughter Valerie. Back in my "Africa" entries on this blog, I mention my brother's wedding, which was officiated by Valerie's husband, Walt Shepherd. The whole trip was rather surreal (especially living in Russia at the time), and to gaze upon Val and picture her as the little blond barefooted child in The Savage My Kinsman was also incredible. They were actually just finishing their time in Congo, so with the wedding and everything else, you could feel the winds of change as various people present were in different life transitions. Thoughts and prayers go to Valerie and her family during this time.

3) In Russia: When I moved to Russia, it turned out my good friends had been quite moved by Elisabeth Elliot's writing, and were translating Passion and Purity into the Russian language. I was given a copy when it came out. :) And then passed out copies to friends. Meanwhile, the couple stayed in touch with Elisabeth and her husband, Lars. Once I sent along a letter to Elisabeth with my own "passionate" questions. The answer was, shall we say, in her typical fashion. ;) But I was actually surprised to see that it had in fact been penned by Lars. I wasn't quite sure what to think of that, but then later on, I met them in person! Those same friends in St. Petersburg facilitated Lars and Elisabeth coming for a visit. Some other single girls and I (and a married co-worker) were at the ministry office when they came by for tea. I think we were a little starstruck. Elisabeth must have been in the beginning states of dementia, and I remember looking into her eyes once and thinking...these are the eyes that saw all those things she wrote about. A living testimony. Then she was falling asleep, and Lars was chatting with us. He was quite friendly!

4) Everyday inspiration: The two blog posts I mentioned above are one example, but whenever I pick up one of Elisabeth Elliot's books and just thumb through it for a few minutes, rereading quickly, I am immediately given so much to mull over! I only have 3-4 books of hers, but there is much meaning behind those simple, straightforward words. Certain enough to challenge my thinking for the whole day.


If you have a memory or favorite impression to share, please leave a comment and/or link! :)

2 comments:

  1. How neat that you got to meet her in person! And I agree, I often just pick up a book and read a quick snatch and have lots to think about just from a few sentences!

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  2. Yes, and also amazing that we met on a different continent entirely.

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