Jim Elliot was unsure what to do after graduating from Wheaton College in 1949. He spent the summer praying for guidance, and on October 29 received a letter about the need for workers in Ecuador. Jim felt a “simple urge” in that direction. On November 25, his diary records interest in Peru and India. On December 1, British Guiana entered the picture. Four days later he wrote, Stirred for work among the Ecuadorian Quichuas again.
On December 17, his missionary plans narrowed to either India or Ecuador. On December 31, he wrote : O Lord, if you see anything in me holding back the revelation of Your will about Ecuador, uncover it. Had a letter from India today which ended, “I would rejoice to think the New Year would find you here.” Still I am waiting.
Early in 1950, he received acceptance from Wycliffe Bible Translator’s study camp in Oklahoma. Feel as though the Lord would have me there, whether I go to India or South America. Elliot arrived at the camp, still torn between two nations. The tutor assigned him was a missionary from Ecuador, and from him Jim first learned of the savage Aucas.
But India still burned within him. On July 4, Jim set aside ten days for prayer. On July 14 he wrote, I asked for some word from God ten days ago, which would encourage my going to Ecuador. It came this morning in an unexpected place. I was reading in Exodus 23 when verse 20 came out vividly. “Behold I send an angel before thee to keep thee by the way and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Coming as it did, with such preceding feelings and simple believing for some promise, I take this as leading … to Ecuador.
This is the verse that sent Jim Elliot to his death, to his martyrdom, and to his glory—and that brought the Aucas, in God’s timing, to faith in Jesus Christ.