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Becoming Elisabeth Elliot

4.68  ·  Rating details ·  927 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Elisabeth Elliot was a young missionary in Ecuador when members of a violent Amazonian tribe savagely speared her husband Jim and his four colleagues. Incredibly, prayerfully, Elisabeth took her toddler daughter, snakebite kit, Bible, and journal . . . and lived in the jungle with the Stone-Age people who killed her husband. Compelled by her friendship and forgiveness, man ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by B Books (first published September 2020)
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Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having read (and in some cases reread) at least 15 of Elisabeth Elliot’s books, I requested a review copy of Becoming Elisabeth Elliot as soon as I learned of its existence – and I’m so glad I did! Though I’m no stranger to Elisabeth’s story, Ellen Vaughn’s brand-new biography fit the pieces together and filled in gaps in the story in a way that was satisfying and informative.

This book doesn’t attempt to be warm and fuzzy, nor is it about hero-worship – but neither is it a “witch hunt,” trying
Susy  *MotherLambReads*
“There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for.”

One of my heroes the faith.

This memoir/biography was like no other I have read about her. The personal research the author has done on this book is amazing. Most of the journal entries and letters used for this book have never been read before. It seemed to complete her story. If you haven't read about her- she and her husband were pioneer missionaries to Indians in Ecuador. They took her husband's life- and she went back to live
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Is this true? If so, what do I need to do about it to obey God?”

These are the foundational questions that book-ended the life of one of the most influential Christian women of the century. They also undergird Ellen Vaughn’s eloquent and articulate biography, “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot.” An absorbing, highly engaging biography of a complicated and multi-faceted wife, mother, missionary, and prolific author and speaker, “Becoming” takers us on a fascinating look at the events, experiences, and p
Ellen Vaughn painstakingly culls through a myriad of resources, journals, personal letters and interviews to reveal the persona of ELISABETH ELLIOT. Ms. Vaughn, through beautiful and honest writing, captures the essence of Elisabeth Elliot in this captivating biography. Well researched and well documented, including extensive references, Ms. Vaughn should be lauded for the magnitude - and resounding success- of this endeavor. My only disappointment: having to wait for the next installment in Vol ...more
Breny and Books
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow. I don't even know where to start 😂. Well, I had no idea what I was signing for when I started this book. To be honest the thing that intrigued me was the fact that this story is about the wife of the missionary who was killed by the violent natives in Ecuador. I remember the movie from some years ago and I sincerely never thought much of the wife, Elisabeth Elliot.
I always imagined missionaries as these supernatural beings..selfless to the core with little to none spiritual struggles. I al
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it
As a millennial evangelical from an extremely missions-oriented church, I grew up hearing the Jim and Elisabeth Elliot story about his martyrdom and her forgiveness of his murderers. While I didn't read her books, they were quoted numerous times in Joshua Harris's dating manifestos, as well as lots of other contemporary Christian writing. I also read some more recent articles about her, including the one from Medium that theorizes that Jim Elliot might've been gay. I doubted that this was the ca ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Christian biographies that I've read in a long time. Encouraging and insightful while also being real and honest. Ellen Vaughn does an amazing job presenting not just the heroic picture of Elisabeth Elliot but also the human, vulnerable, and difficult aspects of her life without indulging in Christian triumphalism. This book was such a blessing to read and one I will definitely revisit! ...more
Michelle Ule
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am undone.

Ellen Vaughn’s Becoming "Elizabeth Elliot" is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Certainly the best biography.

I’m an admitted fan; I’ve written half a dozen blog posts about Elliot’s influence on my life, but this biography is so beautifully and intelligently written, I can only sigh with thanks.

Vaughn’s wise insight elevates Elliot’s oh-so-interesting life into applicable counsel for any believer struggling with “whys?” and “where is God?"

So rich. So valuable. https://www.miche
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Her most noble accomplishment was not weathering that excoriating loss. It was practicing—through both the high dramas and the low, dull days that constitute any human life—the daily self-death required for one’s soul to flourish."

An extraordinary exploration of the inner lives of Elisabeth (Howard) Elliot and her husband Jim. Jim is famous as one of five Christian missionaries killed by the Waodoni tribe in remote Ecuador in the 1956. Elisabeth, known to friends and family as Betty, had an eve
Kristen Freiburger
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite lines from the book was found in the epilogue. “It’s a mercy that none of us knows what is coming.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A masterful biography of a fascinating woman. Ellen Vaughn has done the work of culling through Elliot’s extensive journals and lays out the story both in sequence and with attention to major themes. I’m in awe of her skill for knowing when the reader may need a touch more context or explanation, or when the story speaks for itself. Elliot, as sharp and as honest as she was, would be up for this rigorous examination of her faith and her emotions. This biography allows Elisabeth to be as complex ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: bio-auto-bio
A little boring. Read for book club # 1. Could have used way more pictures.
Amber Thiessen
So, here we are today, looking at Ellen Vaughn’s new book, “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot.” She introduces us to a young woman, who follows God’s call on her life to mission work, moves to South America, marries her sweetheart, then faces the grueling pain of tragically losing him, in a spearing from an indigenous tribe, the Waodani.

In the days that follow, she remains in Ecuador with their baby girl, grieving, while learning to handle all the logistics of missionary life alongside the other widows
Ada Tarcau
Best written biography I have read so far. Affectionately written, meticulously documented (the biographer has read all EE’s journals, Jim’s journals, ever so many letters, has correlated secondary sources, integrated history and culture), there is no shortage of humour whenever it is fitting, there’s a wonderful flow of the story intertwined with Elisabeth’s moment by moment raw thoughts and feelings and the biographer’s notes and insights are much welcomed.
This work has brought such an intimit
Jess Etheridge
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Elisabeth’s life is remarkable. Living in the South American jungle, her husband is killed by the tribe they had spent years preparing to meet. In one of the most beautiful pictures of forgiveness, her and her young daughter move in with the people that murdered her husband. This book digs deep into her journals and reveals how human she was in this journey. Her daily recognition of her weakness and her commitment to be faithful and obedient to the plan he had for her life, even though it was no ...more
Emily Mince
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An honest and inspiring example of what it looks like to trust God in all things.
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
The perfect read for the upswing of Covid recovery. Elisabeth Elliot has been a hero of mine for over 40 years, and this is a well-researched "authorized" biography of her. Many new details emerge from her life; many blanks filled in. The issue of making Christian icons into "perfect saints" was, I felt, handled well - she was neither placed on a spiritual pedestal, nor, at the same time, torn down from a realistic one. Her early years - her anguish at the loss of Jim - what to do after his pass ...more
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While many people are familiar with the name Elisabeth Elliot, her story is not as familiar among a younger generation of Christians. The new biography Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn intends to change that.

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot is the first of a two volume biography. This work stands out as Vaughn has made extensive use of Elliot's own journals which she began keeping as a teenager and her husband Jim Elliot's journals. Vaughn also uses interviews with numerous others who worked w
Jarm Boccio
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have read many of Elisabeth’s books, listened to her radio programs, and been highly motivated and encouraged by her insights. This biography, written from months and years of research, reading journals and conducting interviews of family, friends and coworkers, brilliantly offers the rest of the story. I knew EE had a life full of challenges and heart breaks, but this book reveals so much more of her early life, up to her move to the US after working with the Waodani tribe. You will see this ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such an excellent biography. A must read for any who have read Elisabeth Elliot's own writings. This books paints a fair picture of EE, not portraying only things that make her heroic to many. It also doesn't seek to undo all we've known and learned from EE's wisdom. With many excerpts from EE's own journals the author shared a more full picture of a women with tremendous faith and courage to obey the Lord, though her own desires and emotions were not as simple as she may have portrayed them in ...more
Maria Copeland
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Okay wow I loved this book. I have mixed feelings about Elisabeth Elliott, because on the one hand how cool was she, and on the other much of her writing undeniably contributes to the more legalistic and dangerous consequences of purity culture. But this biography was everything I needed to set the record straight on her singular relationship with Jim Elliott, complex and challenging work as a missionary, and wholly inspiring commitment to "dying to self." Highly recommend. ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
“He (Christ) leads us right on, right through, right up to the threshold of Heaven. He does not say to us, ever, ‘Here it is.’ He says only, ‘Here am I. Fear not.’” This quote and many others were taken from Elisabeth Elliot’s journals by Ellen Vaughn for the writing of Becoming Elisabeth Elliot. Betty Elliot had an extraordinary life and this biography covers just her early life through her experiences living among the Waodani, a native Amerindian tribe, in the Amazonian region of Ecuador. I me ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Beautifully written! The biographer, Ellen Vaughn presents us with a captivating portrait of Elisabeth Elliot from her childhood to late 30s, referencing Elisabeth’s journals and letters, as well as friends and family to give a “behind-the-scenes” look at this iconic woman. Elisabeth Elliot was human, relatable, and wholeheartedly devoted to serving Christ although life was not as she expected. I found the book to be engaging, surprising, and encouraging.
Jennifer Bowers
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
The authorized biography of a missionary heroine. Someone who is probably better known for being married to a martyr, but who was a great servant of God and author in her own right.
Gina Dalfonzo
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book first because Ellen Vaughn is a colleague of sorts (we worked at the same organization, just at different times) and a good writer, and second, out of curiosity. To be perfectly honest, while I greatly respected the Elliots' accomplishments, I never got the appeal of their up-and-down-and-on-and-off courtship. "Passion and Purity" made me vaguely queasy. I wanted to read Ellen's analysis and try to figure out these lives and relationships.

I still don't get the courtship. (A
Sarah Wells
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing

What drives a young widow to return with her toddler to the jungles of the Amazon to live with the tribe that murdered her husband just 20 months earlier? Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, part one of Elisabeth Elliot’s biography by Ellen Vaughn, looks beyond the legendary story of Jim and Betty Elliot’s mission to the Waodani tribe of Ecuador. The story looks into the heart and mind of Betty Elliot to understand how she arrived in that jungle and the road God took her down shaped her life.

Not growing
Becky Hintz
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I became a Christian in college, one of the first books put into my hand was Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliott. I hated it. For some reason I didn't write her off, but instead kept buying and reading just about everything she ever published. I came to admire and respect her, and my life has been profoundly shaped by her teaching. Even so, there were always aspects of her story that didn't quite add up--particularly the strange and contradictory descriptions of her courtship, the falli ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Some favorite excerpts-

Pg 231
It seemed the her that while Christians were quite comfortable talking about "missionary martyrs", they were uncomfortable with the suffering in those who were left behind. So they compulsively explained it away... People weren't at ease with mystery, nor with silence, so they filled the awkward spaces with talk. She had not a friend who had sat with her, empathetic and silent, at rest within the bruising reality of grief.

Pg 233
"Obviously God has chosen to to leave
Emily Smith
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
One of my 2021 reading goals was to add in more non-fiction and I saw that Risen Motherhood picked this for their book club. In 7th or 8th grade I was in our church drama about Jim Elliot (I can’t remember now even which wife I portrayed) and so from a young age I was amazed by Elizabeth Elliot’s story. To lose your husband and father of your baby girl and then long for those that took his life to come to know Jesus. To go and live with the very men who murdered your husband. To study their lang ...more
Pamela Nicolls
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting for me to read. I learned so much about Elizabeth Elliot I didn't know. Her family heritage was absolutely amazing and the people that she met and that I read Christians biographies on was interesting. Their was a lot of what people would call failure in her life as a missionary that cause her to be depressed and self analyzing. One thing she learned was that the Christian life is not about success but about a deep and abiding relationship with her savior, Jesus Ch ...more
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Ellen Vaughn is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker who has written or co-written 23 books. Former vice president of executive communications at Prison Fellowship, she collaborated with the late Chuck Colson on a number of his seminal works. She speaks at conferences, often travels to interview Christ-followers in hostile parts of the world, and serves on the board of directors for ICM ...more

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