Wednesday, July 20, 2011


(This blog was first posted in May 2010.  Missionary Elizabeth Elliot just died and her influence was broad.  This blog spotlights her effect on me personally.  Heaven is celebrating her homegoing now!)

Every little girl dreams about her wedding day. I was no exception.

"I do," I repeated softly. Then Doug slipped the wedding band on my finger and we began our life together.
Part of my wedding day plans began when I was about ten years old. One Sunday night our family visited a small church somewhere in New England. I don't remember the town nor the date.

I do remember the lovely, blond missionary lady who spoke. . .softly but poignantly. "My husband and I chose a life verse, Psalm 34:7 'O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.' That was our plan. Together."

But now she returned to the mission field they loved. Alone. Without him. A young widow. Nate Saint was dead, killed by the Auca Indians. In 1956, Life magazine broke the shocking story of five peaceful missionaries, slaughtered by natives in Ecuador.

Many of those murdering savages eventually came to Christ. Years later the very one who killed Nate baptized his beautiful, blond daughter. Probably in the same muddy river where her daddy bled and died.

Through Gates of Splendor, written by Elisabeth Elliot, and the movie, End of the Spear, produced by Nate's son, tell the story.

Nate's son with his father's murderer--now his brother in Christ.

That night after service I vowed to have that verse on my wedding band day, when I grew up.

I grew up, married Doug and we ministered together in several churches. Then during the 80's Elisabeth Elliot, one of the widows, came to speak at our church in Newport News, VA. After service many stayed to meet her. I lingered until everyone left.

"I was about ten years old and heard either you or Marjorie Saint speak." I relayed what I remembered from that tiny church in New England.

She smiled, "We both had blond daughters, who were later baptized there, but...
Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth with daughter

...that verse was Marge and Nate's. You must have heard her speak back then."
Nate and family

               Nate Saint

Doug and I celebrate our 41st anniversary next Tuesday, May 18. The verse is still engraved in our rings and etched in our hearts. But we've never made the ultimate sacrifice.
We complain if the audio equipment fails or the church temperature is too cold. We say we serve but we have no idea the cost, the sacrifice of magnifying Christ by life or death. Many believers worldwide do understand that depth of suffering.

"I must decrease and He must increase." What does that magnification mean? To make God big, bigger, biggest in our lives. No matter how we exalt Him, it won't come close to what He deserves.


Happy anniversary, Doug! I love you more each year.

The wife of your youth,



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. My dear friend, mentor, writer and editor, Jack Williams, still inspires me to write:

    Jack Williams to me
    show details 10:55 AM (48 minutes ago)

    Wow! What a story.

    Thanks for today’s blog. It sizzles with a legacy of faith.

    You said it all just right.


  3. From friend, neighbor and piano students' mom:

    LynnEllen Lang to me
    show details 11:51 AM (1 minute ago)

    Thank you for a poignant lesson about magnifying God! You are right, we do get so wrapped up in our little comforts and completely forget what it means to magnify Him. That is also so neat that you met Elizabeth Elliot! I have heard her on the radio. I think about those missionaries who sacrificed so much whenever we are on the Wheaton campus visiting Kevin. Thanks for your blogs and have a great day!


  4. Charlie Hinesley Shotsky commented on your link:

    "Enjoyed the blog, Kathy. That book, Through Gates of Splendor, changed my life, too. I don't know if I would have the same grace those women had. I pray none of us ever have to be tested in that way."

  5. Kimberly Henderson GraingerMay 24, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    I applaud you, my darling "parentals," and all that your 41 years stand for. Happy Anniversary, guys!! You're our heroes.
    On an interesting side note, just 3 yrs. ago, our family was able to hear Steve Saint speak in person! He described the day he'd learned of his father's murder as a "terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day," so I guffawed. Loudly. Alone. In an auditorium of 250+, it echoed and Steve turned, grinning, to face me, then explained to the stunned crowd, "For the rest of you, the book I'm referring to is a children's book..." We all laughed together as I reassured them, that yes, I'd read the book to my kids. The audience then joined our laughter, relieved that the crazy-laughing lady wasn't as calloused as she'd seemed!
    After the service, our family spoke with Mr. Saint, and he prayed a blessing over Blake (our second-born, who's called to missions). What an amazing night of memories for our family!

  6. Thanks for the timely reminder. I am leading the Sunday service this week and wanted to use the wedding ring inscription plus the hymn "we rest on thee our shield an defender" - the song the 5 sang before going out to be with the Lord. Could not rememember whether it was Nate or Jim Elliot who had the inscription.
    Thank you and my the Lord bless you.
    Brian Hritage England

  7. Your story is so especially moving to me Kat as my brother and family answered the call last year to minister in Ecuador. This ministry involves monthly trips up the Amazon into the jungle very close to the location of the event you spoke of. The Nate Saint home has recently been restored. What an absolutely incredible memory you have to speak of to tell of such influence in your life. Thanks for sharing. You might like this site.
    Shelly Miller, Nashville

  8. Kathy, I also remember hearing of these five missionaries' deaths when I was very young, and their story has always stuck in my mind. I've read "Through Gates of Splendor" and followed Elizabeth Elliott's ministry through radio and books. She is one of my heroes (heroines, though I don't like to use that word) of the faith. What a privilege to have heard two of the five wives speak in person. Thanks for sharing this.