Billy Graham Center
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"To Brother Virgil and and All the Saints in
Williams": The Letters of Jim and Betty Elliot
Photos of the students and teacher at the school in Puyupungu
which Jim Elliott mentioned in the letter dated May
to the Elliot Letters
Elliot traveled to Ecuador as a missionary in early 1952, he left
behind in the United States churches that had promised to support his
work and that of his wife Elisabeth.
One of these was the Williams Community Church of Williams, Oregon.
The Elliots (usually Jim until his
death with four other missionaries at the hands of the Waorani Indians
(called by outsiders at this time the "Aucas") in January
1956, and then Elisabeth) would write regularly to the congregation.
In these letters they would describe their ministry and life among the
Indian peoples in a remote region of the Amazon basin. The last letter
in the series was written in 1959, during a visit by Betty to the United States.
In 2009, the church, led by Rev. Rob Culton, generously donated these
dozens of letters to the BGC Archives. They are now made available to
the general public through this web site. The first letter is reproduced
below and the rest can be read by clicking the link at the bottom of
this page. The letters are now part of Collection
277, the Ephemera of Philip James Elliot
Two men are frequently referred to in the letters: Rev. Virgil C. Terry
was the pastor of the church. (Rev. Terry wrote the only nonElliot letter
in the series, the one dated Jauary
20, 1956, a short time after Jim's death.) Clifford I. Kurtz was
the treasurer of the church, so he was usually the one to send the Elliots'
support check. He and his family hosted Jim in their home when he visited
the church before leaving for Ecuador. Mr. Kurtz died in September 1959
and the last letter in the series is a condolence note from Betty to
the church's new treasurer, Mrs. Tommie Knight.