Silver pen lying on opened notebook sheet

By Ellen Vaughn

B and H Publishing Group

On occasional visits to America, one of my treats is to find a bookshop to browse around. America seems to do everything much bigger than Britain, and that includes their bookshops.

‘Being Elisabeth Elliot’ was one I chose, and I am so glad I did. I was initially a little disappointed as I had not spotted the sticker which said it dealt with her later years, but as I read the book it more than made up for it.

Jim Elliot
Jim Elliot

For those who don’t know anything about Elisabeth Elliot, let me introduce you to the woman who is the subject of this compelling biography. As a young missionary, she and her husband, Jim Elliot, and their toddler daughter went to Ecuador, in South America, with a small team of missionaries to reach out to the Auca Indians (now known as the Waorani).

As a young 21-year-old, Elisabeth had prayed:

“My life is on thy altar, Lord—for thee to consume. Set the fire, Father! Bind me with cords of love to the altar. Hold me there. Let me remember the Cross.”

For Elisabeth, the central question was not, “How does this make me feel?” but simply, “Is this true?” If so, then the next question was, “What do I need to do about it to obey God?”

Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth Elliot

Once the team reached Ecuador, they attempted to contact the Auca Indians, only for members of the tribe to savagely spear Jim to death along with his four colleagues, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian.

It was 1956 and their death and story was broadcast around the world. But more incredibly Elisabeth decided, with only her snake-bite kit, Bible, journal, and toddler daughter, to stay in the jungle, and continue to reach out to the very Stone Age savages who killed her husband and fellow missionaries.

Compelled by her friendship and forgiveness, many in the tribe came to faith in Jesus, through her witness.

Maybe her name is not so well known today. When a few years later she returned to America, she found herself a celebrity.

It is at this point that the book starts. It is accurate to say that Elisabeth became one of the most influential, no-nonsense Christian ladies in modern Church history, through writing dozens of books, hosting a long-running radio show, and speaking at conferences all over the world.

There is always a danger with biographies of Christian celebrities to ignore any weaknesses they have; this book doesn’t. Elisabeth Elliot married again and watched as her husband, a professor in theology at the Gordon Conwell Theological seminary, struggled as cancer slowly destroyed him. It caused many questions for both of them. She married a third time. Within nine days she told her closest family and friends she had made the biggest mistake of her life!

As her life drew to a close, Alzheimers disease took her memory and even her voice. Her life was to end on 15 June 2015.

I am so glad I chose this book to read. There are places where you will laugh and other times where you will cry. But above all, it is real and will draw you closer to our Lord. Elisabeth Elliot truly was a woman of God.

The Book everyone should read is now tailored for dyslexic readers

The Bible

I love reading books and writing book reviews, such as are featured in this issue of the HEART newspaper.

But the most important book we can read is the Bible. I am amazed at the different kinds of Bible that are now available. None of us can have excuses for not possessing a Bible and reading it.

An email came through recently from The Bible Society. They were introducing a dyslexia-friendly Bible, as well as the EasyEnglish Bible, for those learning English, or where English was not their first language. There was also a special youth edition of the Good News Bible, to help young people who struggle with reading, and the Children’s Rainbow Bible.

One person, Claire Natt, who had bought the dyslexia-friendly Bible, had written and said:

“I used to put off reading the Bible as I found it so difficult, but the GNB Dyslexia-friendly editions are much easier to read. The smaller books are easy to pick up and understand. It has made such a difference to my faith and I am now enjoying reading the Bible.”

Regardless of which version of the Bible you choose the important thing to remember about the Bible is:

“The Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, Good News edition).

The remarkable German woman who defied the Gestapo and built a ministry of repentance out of the ashes of WW2

Evangelical Sisters of Mary, Herts WD7 8DE

Tel: 01923 856316;

Klara Schlink aged 17
Klara Schlink aged 17

Let me introduce you to a book that was first published 50 years ago. At the time Basilea Schlink was a 70-year-old lady. Her remarkable story has resonated with many over the years.

Now a new generation can read the story of this amazing woman who grew up in pre-World War 2 Germany and with her close friend, Erika Madauss, went on to birth an international ministry. The ‘Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary’ is still based in Darmstadt, Germany today. ‘I Found the Key to the Heart of God’ is a completely new edition of the original classic, freshly translated from the original German, and attractively presented in hardback.

The first part of the book describes life growing up in Germany from before the beginning of World War 1, and on through the rise of the Nazis and the effect of World War 2. Having come to faith in Christ during a time of sickness, Basilea longed to share her faith with others. She did this through serving as a Darmstadt City Mission youth worker, as a Bible College lecturer, and then working with the Germany Student Christian Movement.

Sisters of Mary with Mother Basilea in 1971
Sisters of Mary with Mother Basilea in 1971

The German Student Christian Movement went through a difficult time in the 1930’s as they debated whether to comply and implement the Aryan Paragraph concerning Jews. Basilea argued for its rejection which meant that Jews were still welcome at their activities. The movement voted and agreed with her view. Twice she was reported to the Gestapo and interrogated for hours because of her decision to follow Jesus.

Klara was a student in 1932
Klara was a student in 1932

This book is not simply recounting her story. It is a challenge to readers to go deeper with God. There are many quotes from Basilea’s diaries. Consider this quote from 25 July, 1925:

“With all my heart I thank you Lord Jesus, for the amazing privilege of being your child … I want to spend my life in loving you. And when I am not fully abiding to you, bring me back through humbling experiences.”

While her years were spent in Christian activity, her longing was to see more of God in her life and those she was in contact with. A friendship with Erika Madauss became a lifetime commitment to working in the Gospel together.

In 1935 the two of them moved back to Darmstadt. Based on the top floor of her parents’ house, they started Bible studies for young women. Their foundation text was:

Mother Basilea in 1974
Mother Basilea in 1974

“He would say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’!” (Matthew 3:2, NKJV).

The two friends wanted to trust God to provide their every need. They pressed on, even though all their meetings were entirely voluntary and produced no income. They learned to live by faith, even though they also experienced poverty.

Less than a year after starting the meetings, Basilea wrote in her journal on 29 June 1936:

“May the future be as God wills for our ministry. That the ministry will materialise we know. But what crushing blows it takes! Christ must be glorified in every situation. May God enable us.”

They pressed on. On the night of 11 September, 1944, RAF bombers dropped their deadly charges over Darmstadt, and left thousands in the town dead or homeless. Basilea and Erika went in search of “their girls”.

Dr Klara Schlink, 1940
Dr Klara Schlink, 1940

The work went on and out of those girls’ Bible classes came revival, a real revival of repentance, joy, brokenness and living for God. It was the beginning of a movement that in time became ‘The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary’. Basilea, or Mother Basilea as the new young sisters asked if they could call her, shares her vision:

“My vision was a life lived in love with Jesus, leading us to forgive and love one another, and to share his path of poverty and lowliness as disciples of the Cross”.

Many times, they had to seek the Lord for the way forward. But the work grew and blossomed. By faith they built a beautiful estate outside Darmstadt called Kanaan, with a chapel where a repentance service takes place daily at 3pm, the hour Christ died.

Mother Basilea experienced trials and tribulations as she sought to follow the Lord’s will for her life, but she came to see that sharing in Christ’s sufferings (Philippians 3:102 Timothy 2:10Colossians 1:24) was a key to the heart of God.

When Lorna and I were in Israel in 2000, we were approached by the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary and asked if we would administrate a ‘repentance’ conference for them in Jerusalem the following year. As we worked with them for three months, we truly found they live the life that this book talks about. May you similarly be blessed as you read it.

Gordon Pettie and his wife Lorna
Gordon Pettie and his wife Lorna

Gordon, along with his wife Lorna, is part of the leadership team of Revelation TV, a 24/7 Christian television station that broadcasts in the UK on Sky 581 and Freesat TV 692, and throughout the world via the Roku Box and Apple TV. Gordon’s passion is writing and he is the author of eight books.

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