Billy Graham Center

Interview with Raymond Leroy Elliott - 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. ]

Since we are migrating our website to a new platform, we will no longer be updating this earlier version our site. Please visit our Archon database for online guide descriptions. In early 2018, look for our new site, currently under construction, linked in the BGC Archives section on the Library and Archives page. (12/11/2017)

Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Raymond Leroy Elliott

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

List of Audio Tapes in this collection( Location Records)

Audio file and written transcript for T1

Audio file and written transcript for T2

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 - Introduction; Family background; Marriage; Decision to come to Wheaton; Subjects studied at Wheaton; Teachers at Wheaton: J. P. Free, Merrill Tenney. Cornelius Jaarsma; Classmates at Wheaton: F. Eldn Durant, Nate Saint; Effect of World War II on the campus; Reasons for going into mission work; Reasons for choosing Wycliffe Bible Translators and Guatemal; Wycliffe's strategy for Guatemala; Other missionaries in Guatemala; Wycliffe work in Guatemala (began 1952); Academic requirements before arriving on the mission field; Transportation to Guatemala with 9-month stop in Mexico; Reaction by Mrs. Elliott to incorrect medicine dosage requiring time of recuperation; First impressions of Guatemala; Culture shock; Projects Elliotts worked on and Catholic influence on the Indians; Problems with the housing they secured due to owner being greatly feared; Reception in Nebej; Attitude toward Negros by the Indians; Indian social and economic structure; Different languages found in the area; Experiences with the Indians; Evangelistic opportunities; Indian religion--Animism; Reaction of Indians to foreigners and foreigners' religions; Impact of illiteracy effects on evangelism; Other cultural barriers to the Ixil accepting Christianity; Wycliffe policy of church foundation and establishment; Effective evangelistic method; Ixil initial response to the gospel presentation; Brief description of a church service; Growthof the church in Nebej

T2 - Introduction; Health problems; Future picture for medical health improvements; Opportunities Elliotts had to give medical aid; Other medical problems and diseases among the Indians; Birth of Elliott children on the field; Availability and location of supplies for the local Indian; medical supplies; Explanation of death in spite of medical treatment; Effect of Elliott's medical help on Indian attitudes toward the missionaries; Vacations from the area to recover from demanding labors; Reminiscence about specifically hectic time; Indian attitudes toward state doctors and hospitals (Indian attitude toward death); Alternatives for Indian when he does not leave his native area; Prayermakers; Local educational opportunities; Some ideas for improvements Elliotts were able to suggest and implement; Availability of education classes and roles of teachers; Ixil response to education; literacy skills badly needed; Teaching Sunday school; Characteristics of local town and churches; Effects of Ixil services in the church (both Spanish and Ixil); Last three years in Guatemala (Guatemala City); Ixil church after the Elliotts left; Denominations in the Ixil area; Baptism and communion in rural areas taken charge of by the local leaders; Ixil themselves expressed desire for their own service; Current developments in the Indian church; Main crops available in the area; Farming methods; Seasonal laborers; Other means of economic support for population; Interreligious matters--Wycliffe's; Other mission boards in Guatemala; Roman Catholic attitudes toward the Elliotts' translation work; Ixil interpretation of Elliotts' work; Ixil interpretation of Catholic faith; Reasons for leaving Guatemala; Plans for returning to Guatemala; Instruments used in Ixil music; Leadership training in the church; Retirement; Needs of Wycliffe ministries; Wycliffe attitude toward Guatemala; American churches attitude toward Guatemala; Elliott's attitude toward Guatemala and Ixil people and how it has changed from 1954 to 1980; Reflections on the choice of being a missionary as an occupation; Reflections on the work in Guatemala


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.

Send us a message

Return to BGC Archives Home Page
Last Revised: 6/29/16
Expiration: indefinite