This post contains affiliate links. The girls and I have read several books about the missionary attack by the Waorani in the 1950s including Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer, and Rachel Saint: A Star in the Jungle. For our latest read, we read about one more perspective in Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender by Janet & Geoff Benge. However, simply labeling Elisabeth “Betty” Elliot a widow of one of those missionaries is a grave disservice. While she did suffer because of the death of her husband while she was a newlywed, her life was about so much more than that event.
About Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender by Janet & Geoff Benge
Elisabeth Elliot grew up in a large, religious family. The first part of the book recounts her happy childhood as well as her determination to be a missionary and her deep admiration of Amy Carmichael. Betty worked hard to achieve her dream of becoming a missionary. She had her own career doing translation work in Ecuador before she married Jim Elliot.
After Jim Elliot was murdered, Betty continued her work, though in a different way. Because of the many books she published, when Betty finally returned to the United States, she had an active career and also raised her daughter.
My Thoughts on the Book
Thanks to the many books we’ve read by the Benges, my daughters and I already knew what happened in the jungle of Ecuador. However, Elisabeth Elliot’s life was so much more than that moment. She is an inspiration to women.
I enjoyed reading more about Elisabeth Elliot’s life, which certainly wasn’t easy. However, I found the writing in this book a bit uneven. The vast majority of the book takes place before she is 30. In fact, a lot of the book felt like a story of how Betty waited. . .and waited. . .and waited for Jim Elliot to ask her to marry him.
While that part of her life is interesting, I would have liked to have know more about the other 59 years of her life. She accomplished some amazing things after Jim was killed. However, I felt like the authors raced through those events. I would have perferred that Betty’s early life cover 1/3 of the book, and the rest focus on what she did after Jim’s death.
I give Elisabeth Elliot: Joyful Surrender by Janet & Geoff Benge 4 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.