This plaque at Wheaton College commemorates two alumni: Jim Elliot (bottom) and Ed McCully (top). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Author Valerie Shepard Elliot Takes Advice from Her Mother Elisabeth Elliot to Pen a Children’s Book about Her Unique Childhood in the Ecuadorian Jungle, Titled “Pilipinto’s Happiness: The Jungle Childhood of Valerie Elliot”
SOUTHPORT, NC, Aug. 27, 2012 /Christian Newswire
/ — Valerie Elliot Shepard was 10 months old when a primitive tribe of Ecuadorian Indians
made a martyr of her 29-year-old father and his four Wheaton College classmates. But that didn’t stop Valerie and her mother from moving to live with those same savage Auca Indians
to complete the Elliot family’s evangelical mission: to eclipse the tribe’s savagery with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.
Now, 85 years after the birth of Christian missionary and hero of the faith Jim Elliot
, Valerie shares the story of her unique jungle childhood with a new generation of believers.
Told through the wide, curious eyes of a child, Valerie’s new children’s book Pilipinto’s Happiness: The Jungle Childhood of Valerie Elliot begins two years after her father’s murder when Valerie and her mother followed the Quichua and Auca Indians to the place she would call home from ages 3 to 8. The book will release on October 8, 2012, the 85th anniversary of Jim Elliot’s birth.
Now all grown up and the mother of eight grown children herself, Valerie invites a new generation to peer behind the veil of her unbelievable childhood experiences and look into the jungle surroundings where she walked, climbed, and fluttered around as “Pilipinto” –meaning “butterfly”–the Indians’ nickname for her.
“The gift to me, and what Mother and God taught me, was the principle of being perfectly content,” Shepard said about the story her now-85-year-old mom, Elisabeth Elliot, suggested she write more than 15 years ago. “God puts us in all kinds of situations as we are growing up. My situation was unusual, amazing, and simple.”
While more than a half-century old, many refreshing new messages surface from the book’s real-life accounts of simple living, faithfulness in adversity, and true heroism. Valerie chronicles in colorful detail how the Indians, their language, and even the dangerous jungle elements created a delightful playground for learning to trust God’s hand and to respect the simplest of His gifts–something Valerie instilled in her own children and is determined to pass on to the next generation.
“There is an awful discontentment among young people,” said Shepard, who recalls having only a book to read when she wasn’t outside playing in the jungle. “I do look at the youth culture and just feel only the Lord can bring about a heart contented with simple pleasures and gifts from the Lord.”
More than just a beautifully-illustrated children’s book, Pilipinto’s Happiness is a powerful tool to familiarize young people, college students, and adults alike–too often starved for Christian heroes and heroines–with powerful models in the faith who demonstrated reckless abandon for the Kingdom of God.
“Because my parents prayed and hoped to bring Indians to the Lord, when my father was killed my mother had no plan or immediate thought she should leave Ecuador,” Shepard remarked. “Human fears would flood her mind, but verses from Scripture gave her peace and assurance we would be taken care of. Mother continued to work with the Indians and continued to pray for them. And the more that she prayed for them, the greater her love grew for these people in need of a Savior.”
For information on Pilipinto’s Happiness: The Jungle Childhood of Valerie Elliot
, visit Vision Forum’s online bookstore