Elisabeth Elliot was born Elisabeth Howard to missionary parents
who were serving in Belgium. Upon their return to the United States
they settled in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before she began
college at Wheaton College. It was there that she discovered her
love for biblical Greek, a love that would ultimately lead to her
making the New Testament accessible to some of those for whom it
had not been previously accessible. Wheaton College is also where
she met Jim Elliot, who she later married in Quito, Ecuador, where
they were both serving as missionaries.
Jim and Elisabeth had one daughter, Valerie, who was ten months old when her father was killed by some Waorani men who he, along with four other missionaries, had been seeking to develop a relationship for gospel purposes. Elisabeth continued working with the Quichua people of Ecuador when, through a remarkable providence, she met two Waorani women with whom she and Valerie lived for a year. They were the key to Elisabeth and Valerie going to live with the tribe that had killed the five missionaries. They remained there for two years.
Elisabeth and Valerie returned to the Quichua work and remained there until 1963 when she and Valerie returned to the U.S. Subsequent to her return to the United States, her life was one of writing and speaking. It also included, in 1969, a marriage to Addison Leitch, professor at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. He died in 1973. After his death she married Lars Gren, to whom she was married until her death on June 15, 2015 at her home in Magnolia, Massachusetts.
Elisabeth's influence continues to span generations through her daily radio program on air for many years and now re-airing in many locations, her rigorous conference schedule, including still referenced messages such as those from the Urbana But it is through her books that her reach spread the furthest. With millions of copies of 21 books in print over the years, one cannot begin to fathom the influence this one surrendered life had on the choices, godliness, and overall sanctification of millions.