Larry and Jean Elliot (2004) - “Absent from the body, present with the Lord”
We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
After only 23 days in Iraq, Larry and Jean, veteran missionaries who felt called to serve God in this war-torn country, were killed in a drive-by shooting. This was a dangerous time for Christians in Iraq, who were frequently targeted by militants who associated them with the US-led Western forces.
The Elliots went to Iraq after 25 years’ service in poverty-stricken Honduras, where many local pastors had been nurtured by Larry’s mentoring. When friends and family voiced their concerns about the couple getting killed in Iraq, Larry would thoughtfully answer – in the words of Paul the apostle – “Absent from the body, present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Larry and Jean, along with fellow Christian workers, David and Carrie McDonnall and Karen Watson, were attacked in March 2004. They had been searching for sites for a water purification project near the city of Mosul, and as they sat together in their car, a group of gunmen drove by and fired at them with AK-41 rifles. Only Carrie walked away alive.
The Lord rewards faithfulness above fruitfulness, which puts us all on the same footing, whether famous for our effectiveness or unknown in our faithfulness.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.
Originally appeared on Isaac Publishing
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