The words and wisdom of the late beloved missionary, author, and speaker Elisabeth Elliot are set to inspire a new generation toward the depths of God's heart through the release of her never-before-published devotional, Heart of God: 31 Days to Discover God's Love for You (DaySpring). To purchase the book, click HERE.
This beautiful devotional invites readers to embark on a 31-day journey of learning to see God's character, intentions, and plan for their lives (and the world). Heart of God encourages us to recognize the compassionate hand of God in every circumstance, even suffering, and encounter the mystery and joy of unfolding the infinite layers of His unprecedented love for us.
Elliot (926-2015) was a missionary, author, and speaker whose first husband, Jim Elliot, was speared to death along with four other missionaries when attempting to bring the gospel to the Auca (now Waodani) tribe of eastern Ecuador. In an act of forgiveness and courage, Elisabeth, and her young daughter, spent two years living with the tribe that killed her husband. When she returned to the US, Elisabeth spent the next four decades telling her story, in addition to writing over 20 books. Her many writings and talks explore topics like God's love and mercy, persevering through suffering, and embracing God's purpose for one's life. For more on this remarkable woman of faith, visit elisabethelliot.org.
We are honored to be able to catch up with Kathy Reeg, the president of the Elisabeth Elliot Foundation for this exclusive interview.
Q: Kathy, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: how did you first become interested in Elisabeth Elliot and her ministry?
You are so very welcome! To be quite honest I barely remember a time that I wasn't drawn to Elisabeth's teaching & books! I was probably introduced to her work shortly after High School when I was a young new believer in Christ. For the next three decades I would consider her a godly mentor from afar as I grew in my faith and walk with the Lord influenced by her solid Biblical teaching & steadfast trust & obedience to the Lord in any & all circumstances! I did not idolize her for she was human but I was drawn to her teaching of truly living in the light of the Word of God.
Q: Can you relate an event or story about Elisabeth Elliot that means the most to you?
It was the last time I saw Elisabeth before she went to be with the Lord. She was wheelchair bound, being spoon fed and had not spoken in words that were clearly understood for years. It was February 2015 she and Lars were staying with my husband and I. It was one evening I was sitting at her feet by our fireplace holding her hand.
Lars, my husband and Elisabeth's two caregivers were in the sunroom watching "Beyond the Gates of Splendor" the documentary filmed of the 5 women, nearly 50 years after the "Operation Auca" incident that had left them all as widows. Elisabeth and I could not see the screen but we could hear the narration of the video. At the very moment that they discovered that the men had been killed Elisabeth look at me and lifted her right arm in a swooping fashion and said "Everyone" ............
I was mesmerized, why she was reiterating that all 5 of the men were gone. She knew exactly what was going on and what was being said. In that moment I realized she was there & she had always been there just trapped in a body that no longer functioned as it once had. God gave her that moment to verbalize her thoughts and remind me of 2 Corinthians 4:16.....Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day..........How precious I was allowed to share that moment with Elisabeth.
Even now I wonder if God gave Her a glimpse or maybe she even prayed for me knowing that I would be the one to care for her Lars one day and help plant the EE Foundation.
Q: What does the Elisabeth Elliot Foundation do? What is your role in it?
The very words God placed on my heart when I was in Elisabeth & Lars living room the night after her Funeral were......Preserve & Protect, Preserve & Protect.......Elisabeth's legacy in a Foundation. It was a charge, a calling I truly believe. God was taking me up on the prayer I had prayed for years, "Here am I Lord send me". My role is to see that Elisabeth's life work of sharing Jesus continue to be freely available and accessible through technology to a new generation for God's glory!
The EE Foundation stewards the written, audio and video work as well as Elisabeth's personal items. Wheaton College- Billy Graham Archives hold a great portion of Elisabeth's tangible letters, memento's, photo's and manuscripts as well as Museum of the Bible now hold many of the artifacts, translations and personal effects of Elisabeth's when she was in Ecuador as well as the original renowned Cornell Capa photos taken for Life magazine.
Among many responsibilities a portion of my role as president of the EE Foundation is to work with U.S. & Foreign Publishers for Elisabeth's Books, leading EE Board meetings as well as encouraging & praying over our incredible close knit team of volunteers who bring the social media, newsletters, devotionals, podcasts, contracts, requests, digitalization, spreadsheets, recordings and website to fruition for God's glory!!!!
Q: Tell us about the new devotional book Heart of God: 31 Days to Discover God's Love for You. What is this book about?
Literally it is exactly what it says.......written decades ago and tucked away on a PDF unbeknownst to anyone only to be revealed by God for such a time as this.......a little treasure of wisdom and insight into the literal "Heart of GOD"!! There are 31 attributes of God here that reveal more of HIS heart to the seeker that desires to dig deeper. Caring, Humble, Rejoicing, Diligent, Transcendent, Unwavering, Eternal, Attentive, Generous, to name a few. Doesn't that just draw you in with a desire to know God in all of those ways?
Q: Is there a particular devotional that struck you deeply?
For me The Transcendent Heart of God.......one of my favorite scriptures Elisabeth refers to from 11 Chronicles 16:9 The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earths to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to HIM. That God's heart transcends time & space, beyond the stars & yet there He is residing in my very being through His Holy Spirit transforming me........and that absolutely Nothing can separate me from HIM!!!! God is there wherever I am in every situation & every circumstance, in sorrow and celebration, in weakness and strength. I have clung to that truth since I was 16 and Elisabeth's words here and the others quotes serve to refresh, encourage and remind me once again His love surrounds me.
Q: How do you think this book will impact the lives and faith of its readers?
It is a book to be read and reread month after month...... for as you know, each and every day we find ourselves in a different place than we were the day before. It is a devotional that dips into the heart of God and makes one thirsty to know more in scripture. Say the "Forgiving Heart of God" where in scripture do you see God's forgiveness??? "The Protective Heart of God" what passages come to mind in the OT or NT where we see God's protection? I see this precious devotional as a tool that will cause the reader to dig deeper in the WORD and discover the time tested loving, merciful, mighty, authentic, kindest, sweetest Heart of God they can every imagine!!!