WASHINGTON —Museum of the Bible invites guests to explore the work and legacy of acclaimed missionary, author and speaker Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) through a new “Personal Stories” exhibit which opened March 30, 2023. Her book, “Through Gates of Splendor,” after which the exhibition is named, is Elliot’s account of the martyrdom of her husband and four other missionaries as they attempted to reach the Waodäni, a remote Ecuadorian jungle tribe.
In 1958, just two years after her husband’s death, Elliot returned to the Ecuadorian rainforest to live with the tribe who had killed him and his fellow missionaries. Her choice to forgive, rather than retaliate, sparked a change in the Waodäni, who left behind their cycle of violence to embrace a life of love.
In the years that followed, Elliot created a writing system for the Waodäni language, advocated for their education and paved the way for a New Testament translation in 1992.
She eventually returned to the United States, becoming an active and vocal advocate for the gospel, for missions, for families and for women. It was her best-selling book, “Through Gates of Splendor,” that launched a writing and speaking career that would go on to span six decades, ending only with her death in 2015.
For over half a century, Elliot’s life of service, teaching and writing have influenced both Christians and seekers of the Christian faith.
The exhibition will feature items from Elisabeth’s personal collection that have never before been displayed, including Elisabeth and Jim’s passports and residency papers, hymnals and Bibles given to her from Jim and scrapbooks she created about their lives. It will also include artifacts from the tribe that were given to Elisabeth during her time with them, such as a wooden stool, hair comb, eating bowl and feathered hat. Throughout the exhibition, photos taken by Elisabeth and LIFE magazine photographer Cornell Capa tell the story of her life with Jim, their journey to Ecuador, her return and her legacy beyond the jungle.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit, interdenominational missions organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world.
- Open March 30, 2023-January 31, 2024
- Location: Impact of the Bible, Floor 2
- Cost: Included with general admission
For more information about “Through Gates of Splendor: The Elisabeth Elliot Story,” visit museumofthebible.org/exhibits/through-gates-of-splendor.