Please join me in welcoming author Ellen Vaughn to the blog today to talk about her new, authorized biography of one of my faith heroes – Becoming Elisabeth Elliot!
Ellen Vaughn is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker who has written or co-written twenty-four books. Former vice president of executive communications at Prison Fellowship, she collaborated with the late Chuck Colson on a number of his seminal works. She speaks at conferences, often travels to interview Christ-followers in hostile parts of the world, and serves on the board of directors for ICM, the global church developer. With degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Richmond, Ellen lives in northern Virginia and enjoys reading, hiking, drinking coffee with friends, and staring pensively at the ocean. Connect with Ellen at her website.
BEING ELISABETH ELLIOT by Ellen Vaughn
GENRE: Biography (Christian)
PUBLISHER: B&H Books
RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2023
Elisabeth Elliot was a young missionary in Ecuador when members of a remote Amazonian indigenous people group killed her husband Jim and his four colleagues. And yet, she stayed in the jungle with her young daughter to minister to the very people who had thrown the spears, demonstrating the power of Christ’s forgiveness.
This courageous, no-nonsense Christian went on to write dozens of books, host a long-running radio show, and speak at conferences all over the world. She was a pillar of coherent, committed faith—a beloved and sometimes controversial icon. And while things in the limelight might have looked golden, her suffering continued refining her in many different and unexpected ways.
Her early years, related in Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, traced the transition of a young woman who dealt in “certainties” to the woman who lived with the unknown.
Now, being Elisabeth Elliot increasingly meant confronting how much she did not understand. She sought her reference point beyond her own experiences, always pondering what she called the “impenetrable mystery” of the interplay between God’s will and human choices.
And it is that strange mystery which shaped the rest of her startling life story.
Hi Ellen! Welcome to the blog!
Ellen: Dogs, coffee, Netflix and ocean. Of course.
Carrie: of course! 🙂
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Ellen: I do have a superpower, though it has been a secret up until this very moment. I can fly. I usually cruise about telephone-pole height on sunny days, unnoticed by passersby, observing life from that perspective. I don’t have to flap my arms, I just soar, gently and gracefully, on wafting air currents.
Carrie: You heard it here, folks haha!
Q: Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Ellen: Every book by C. S. Lewis, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. (I know, that’s more than five.)
Carrie: it’s ok – i’ll allow it 😉
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Ellen: Because I’ve written about a variety of historical periods and colorful characters, I find myself researching things that make me concerned that federal authorities have me on a watch list. Plastic explosives. How long it takes for a human body to decompose in an Amazon jungle river. Sexual practices among indigenous tribal groups in South America. I do get some interesting pop-up ads.
Carrie: LOL i literally just guffawed out loud. I bet you do get some interesting ads hahaha!
Q: How were you drawn to writing about Elisabeth Elliot?
Ellen: I grew up hearing the story of Elisabeth’s ministry in Ecuador, the killings of her husband and friends, and her decision to live among the tribal people who were responsible. As a young woman, I heard her speak various times and met her when she worshiped at my church in the Washington, D.C. area. I admired her—but I wasn’t sure I liked her very much. But many years later, when her family approached me about writing her authorized biography and then loaned me dozens of her private journals, I found in those personal reflections that I liked her very much—and could relate to her as a human being.
Carrie: oh i love that!
Q: If you had to sum up what you’ve learned from Elisabeth Elliot’s life in one thought or sentence, what would you say?
Ellen: God is faithful, and He will carry us through life’s disasters. The most important thing is not the question, “how do I feel,” but the question, “what can I do in this situation to obey God, by His grace?”
Carrie: amen ♥
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Being Elisabeth Elliot?
Ellen: I want readers to feel reassured that they are not alone, that everyone, even a revered evangelical superhero like Elisabeth Elliot, struggles in this life, which is most often a mess. God’s grace is with us in the midst of the mess, and He will bring us through to the absolute joy, freedom, and delights of eternity.
Carrie: so thankful for His grace!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Ellen: Thank you so much. I serve on the board of International Cooperating Ministries, a non-profit that works in more than 100 countries through indigenous Christian leaders, developing and strengthening local churches around the world. I’m writing a book about what God is doing in a variety of difficult and hostile places, and have recently traveled to India, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, and will go to Ukraine and Moldova in a few weeks, interviewing followers of Jesus. As North American Christians, we can learn much from the gutsy faith of our sisters and brothers who follow Jesus in the midst of persecution and suffering. Blessings to you! –Ellen.
Epic PR is offering a print copy of Being Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Being Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn?