Billy Graham Center

Interview with Raymond Leroy Elliot - Collection 115

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Raymond Lerroy Elliot

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in this collection( Location Records)

Brief Description
Two interviews with Elliott, Wycliffe Bible translator working among the Ixil Indian tribe in Guatemala. Interview topics include educational work and life in Wheaton, translation activities, missionary training, mission responsibilities, and political, social, and cultural events in Central America. Interviews were recorded in April and May 1980.

Collection 115
[April 20, 2009]
Elliott, Raymond Leroy; 1924-2008
Interviews; 1980

2 Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Raymond Leroy Elliott was born on October 20, 1924, to Verle and Mary Alta Elliott. He grew up in Independence, Kansas, where he attended the public schools, graduating from high school in 1942.

After attending a local junior college, he entered Phillips University in 1943 following a decision to enter the ministry. In the summer of 1945 he married Helen Belcher. During his ministry in a small Oklahoma town he was led to a deeper commitment to the Lord by another local pastor. The couple did not return to Phillips but later entered Wheaton College in 1947. Elliott received his B.A. in Bible (1949) and an M.A. in Theology (1952) from Wheaton. He received another M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 1978.

The couple had eight children Linda, Marsha, Stephen, Debra, Janice, Sharon, David, and Karen.

During the summer of 1950 the Elliotts attended the summer Institute of Linguistics at Norman, Oklahoma, where they felt led work among to the Ixil Indian tribe in Guatemala. Beginning in 1952 the Elliotts served with the Ixil doing translation work. Other Wycliff duties were added to the Elliotts' tribal work, but they continued to work with the tribe when they returned in 1980 to Guatemala following a furlough.

Raymond and Helen retired to Go Ye Village in Tahequah, Oklahoma. Raymond died November 12, 2008.

Scope and Content

Mr. Elliott was interviewed by Chris Matthews, a Wheaton College graduate student, on April 28 and May 5, 1980, at his home. Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is recorded to the left of the topics discussed in the interview. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:30 Family background
01:45 Marriage
02:00 Decision to come to Wheaton
05:45 Studies taken at Wheaton
06:30 Jobs while in school
07:35 Teachers remembered at Wheaton
09:10 Classmates at Wheaton
11:25 Memorable campus events
12:35 Effect of World War II on the campus
14:40 Reasons for going into mission work (1951)
16:25 Reasons for choosing Wycliffe and Guatemala
30:45 Wycliffe's strategy for Guatemala
31:50 Other missionaries in Guatemala
33:25 Wycliffe work in Guatemala (began 1952)
35:05 Work in Ixil area of the country (1953)
35:20 Academic requirements before arriving on the mission field
36:00 Transportation to Guatemala with 9-month stop in Mexico
38:40 Reaction by Mrs. Elliott to incorrect medicine dosage requiring time of recuperation
40:30 First impressions of Guatemala
42:45 Culture shock
43:40 Activities other than translation
45:25 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 [Overlap from side 1]
00:45 Activities other than translation [continued]
01:50 Projects Elliotts worked on and Catholic influence on the Indians there
04:45 Problems with the housing they secured due to owner being greatly feared
07:30 Stayed in same town for 26 years
07:45 Reception in Nebej
09:25 Attitude toward Black race by the Indians
11:15 Indian class structure
16:40 Local government
18:20 Local economy
19:25 Different languages found in the area
19:40 Experiences with the Indians
27:50 Evangelistic opportunities
31:10 Indian religion--Animism
33:40 Reaction of Indians to foreigners and foreigners' religions
35:15 Illiteracy effects on evangelism
41:00 Visits to more remote areas interested in hearing more about Jesus
41:30 Other cultural barriers to the Ixil accepting Christ
42:00 Explanation of Wycliffe policy of church foundation and establishment
43:45 Effective evangelistic method
44:00 Ixil initial response to the gospel presentation
45:20 End of side 2

T1 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 [Overlap from side 2]
01:30 Ixil initial response to the gospel presentation [continued]
02:30 Brief description of a church service
06:50 Size of the church in Nebej
08:25 End of tape

T2 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction
00:35 Health problems
02:45 Future picture for medical health improvements
04:20 Available hospital care
05:45 Opportunities Elliotts had to give medical aid
05:55 Other medical problems and diseases among the Indians
07:15 Birth of Elliott children on the field
08:10 Availability and location of supplies for the local Indian; medical supplies
10:50 Explanation of death in spite of medical treatment
13:00 Effect of Elliott's medical help on Indian attitudes toward the missionaries
16:05 Results of too much demand for medical assistance
16:35 Vacations from the area to recover from demanding labors
16:50 Reminiscence about specifically hectic time
18:10 Medical supply needs and assistance
18:30 Indian attitudes toward state doctors and hospitals (Indian attitude toward death)
21:25 Alternatives for Indian when he does not leave his native area
22:15 Prayermakers
23:55 Comparison and contrast of prayermaker and missionary
24:30 Local educational opportunities
25:45 Some ideas for improvements Elliotts were able to suggest and implement
32:40 Availability of education classes and roles of teachers
34:20 Indian response to education; literacy skills badly needed
39:20 Statistics on enrollment
39:50 Activities in Christian education (teaching Sunday school)
41:15 Characteristics of local town and churches
44:15 Elliotts made Ixil service available to the Indian Christian
45:05 End of side 1

T2 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 [Overlap from side 1]
00:45 Elliotts made Ixil service available to the Indian Christian [continued]
02:00 Effects of Ixil services in the church (both Spanish and Ixil)
07:30 Last three years in Guatemala (Guatemala City)
07:55 Ixil church after the Elliotts left
09:30 Effects of earlier missionary influence reflected in church discipline and doctrine
10:20 Denominations in the Ixil area
15:40 Baptism and communion in rural areas taken charge of by the local leaders
16:25 Ixil themselves expressed desire for their own service
17:20 Local groups of Indian Christians meeting in non-structured meetings
18:00 Current developments in the Indian church
19:50 Main crops available in the area
21:05 Local products manufactured or produced by the inhabitants
22:30 Farming methods
24:10 Seasonal laborers
25:45 Population scale of Ixil tribe
26:10 Other means of economic support for population
27:25 Availability of electricity
28:10 Interreligious matters--Wycliffe's
30:25 Other boards in Guatemala
32:45 Roman Catholic influence
33:55 Roman Catholic attitudes toward the Elliotts' translation work
36:05 Ixil interpretation of Elliotts' work
38:55 Ixil interpretation of Catholic faith
41:15 Reasons for leaving Guatemala
42:15 Plans for returning to Guatemala
42:30 Reflection on imminent return to Guatemala (political and personal situations)
45:15 End of side 2

T2 - side 3
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 [Overlap from side 2]
01:10 Reflection on imminent return to Guatemala (political and personal situations) [continued]
03:45 Responsibilities Elliotts will find awaiting them in Guatemala
06:30 Instruments used in Ixil music
07:50 Leadership training in the church
08:50 [Silence on tape]
09:25 Retirement
11:45 Needs of Wycliff ministries
12:50 Would like to teach in retirement
14:15 Present Wycliff attitude toward Guatemala
16:00 American churches attitude toward Guatemala
18:15 Elliott's attitude toward Guatemala and Ixil people and how it has changed from 1954 to 1980
25:45 Reflections on the choice of being a missionary as an occupation
28:15 Reflections on the work in Guatemala
30:00 End of side 3


The materials for this collection were received by the Center in April and May, 1980.
Accession 80-55, 80-67
August 21, 1980
Mary Ann Buffington
S. Kouns

Accession 80-55, 80-67
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:.

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 speed, 97 minutes, one side. Interview with Mr. Ray Elliott by Chris Matthews on April 29, 1980.

T2 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 speed, 118 minutes, two sides. Interview with Mr. Ray Elliott by Chris Matthews on May 5, 1980.

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Last Revised: 9/05/02
Expiration: indefinite