‘Bert Elliot: a faithful star, rising night after night for Christ’
By Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST Ministries
SANDY, OR (ANS) -- Randy Alcorn, the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries (www.epm.org ) and the best-selling author of over forty books, has paid tribute to missionary Bert Elliot (brother of martyred missionary Jim Elliot), who passed away last Friday.
Slain missionary Jim Elliot
Jim Elliot (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956) was an evangelical Christian who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Waodani people of Ecuador. Elliot and four other missionaries – Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and their pilot, Nate Saint- were speared to death when they tried to make contact with the tribe.
Writing on his blog (www.epm.org/blog/2012), Alcorn said, “Nanci [his wife] and I met Bert and his wife Colleen in January 2006, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the martyrdom of the five missionaries in Ecuador.
“In our church services, I interviewed Steve Saint, son of martyr Nate Saint; Steve McCully, son of martyr Ed McCully; and Mincaye, one of the tribal warriors who killed the missionaries and later came to faith in Christ. Afterward we joined Bert and Colleen and other Elliot family members for dinner at Jim’s childhood home.
Bert and Colleen pictured at
Multnomah Bible College
“In 1949, when Bert and Colleen were students at Multnomah Bible College, they were invited to Peru by a missionary. They became missionaries to Peru years before Jim went to Ecuador.”
Alcorn went on to say that then they discussed their ministry, ministry, Bert smiled and said, “I can’t wait to get back from furlough.” At that time, they were in their eighties and in their sixtieth year as missionaries, still joyfully reaching people for Christ.
“Until that weekend I didn’t know anything about them. They may have served Christ faithfully under the radar of the church at large, but not under God’s,” he continued.
Alcorn said that Bert said something to him that day he met him that he will never forget: “Jim and I both served Christ, but differently. Jim was a great meteor, streaking through the sky.”
A recent picture of Bert and Colleen Elliot
He added, “Bert didn’t go on to describe himself, but I will. Unlike his brother Jim, the shooting star, Bert was a faint star that rose night after night, faithfully crossing the same path in the sky, to God’s glory.
In missions work, suffering sometimes results in a short life culminating in martyrdom, sometimes in a long life of daily dying to self and living for Christ. I believe Jim Elliot’s reward is considerable, but it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that Bert and Colleen’s will be greater still.”
Alcorn then quoted, “Multitudes that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2–3, NIV).
Steve Saint, son of martyr Nate Saint; Steve McCully, son of martyr Ed McCully; and Mincaye, one of the tribal warriors who killed the missionaries and later came to faith in Christ.
He said that after a visit to see Bert and Colleen in Peru a few years ago, Lars Gren, Elisabeth Elliot’s husband, wrote, “They are available for any who call or that ring the doorbell whether expected or unexpected. Along with open doors there are the Bible Studies, their involvement in the Christian School... Plus an exceptional drug program leading addicts into a new life based on Scripture… All this after 56 years on the field with no thought of the rocking chair or hanging out a shingle saying, ‘busy, please call again’. What a life of service.”
Lars went on to write, “On our last day, Bert said that if he had been given paper and pencil and told to draw out the perfect wish and plan for his life, it would not have been half as good as what the Lord opened for them. He quoted from Psalm 16, ‘the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.’”
Alcorn concluded his blog by saying, “Bert and Colleen Elliot have lived a long obedience in the same direction. Whether we follow God to leave our country or to stay here, all of us are likewise called to a life of faithful endurance, empowered by Christ.”
Randy Alcorn is the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries (www.epm.org) and the best-selling author of over forty books (over seven million in print), including the novels Deception and Safely Home. His nonfiction works include The Treasure Principle and Heaven. He and his wife Nanci are the parents of two married daughters and the proud grandparents of five grandsons. To see inside his life and perspectives, visit Randy's blog at www.epm.org/blog
Dan Wooding, 71, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards -- the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: http://www.amazon.com/CAPED-CRUSADER-Rick-Wakeman-1970s/dp/1908728302/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335474883&sr=1-1 .