In 1958, Christian missionary Elisabeth Elliot returned to the Ecuadorian rainforest to live with the Waodäni, the tribe who had killed her husband only two years earlier. Her choice to forgive, rather than retaliate, sparked a change in the Waodäni, who left behind a cycle of violence to embrace a life of love. This remarkable story rippled across the globe, inspiring millions to serve God through missions.
In the years that followed, Elliot created a writing system for the Waodäni language, advocated for their education, and paved the way for a New Testament translation finished in 1992. She eventually returned to the United States, becoming an active and vocal advocate for the gospel, for missions, for families, and for women. Her best-selling book, Through Gates of Splendor, began a writing and speaking career that lasted four decades
When Elisabeth Elliot died in 2015, her family and widowed husband mourned. It was not only a personal loss, but one that affected many who had benefitted from years of engagement through her books, lectures, and radio program. The family wished for her legacy to live on.
So in 2019, representatives for Elliot’s family reached out to Wheaton College, her alma mater, and Museum of the Bible with an offer to donate many of her personal effects and collections of objects. Over the next few years, Museum of the Bible’s team of curators and registrars researched and documented the collection, some of which can now be viewed here. Eventually, more than 900 items will be cataloged and documented on this site. Museum of the Bible’s “Personal Stories” exhibit, Through Gates of Splendor: The Elisabeth Elliot Story, displays a number of these items, which are on view from March 30, 2023, through January 31, 2024.