Monday, June 15, 2015

MARRIAGE, MISSIONARIES AND MURDER (My tribute to Elizabeth Elliot--RIP)

(This blog was first posted in May 2010.  Missionary Elisabeth 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,


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