Friday, May 1, 2009

The Week Marches On...

The graduation is over, the honorary doctorate has been bestowed, and Bert and Colleen remain unruffled by all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding such an honor. Its been a busy week, with tomorrow bringing the Open House celebration. It will be a little bit like Heaven, I'm thinking, greeting so many we haven't seen for some time.

I am sharing what was read about the Elliots before the doctorate was bestowed. It is long, and my main reason for posting it in its entirety, was so family and friends could see it. (I know I could have emailed it, but somehow, having it on my blog is a good way to remember it.)

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Western Seminary’s Board of Trustees has the privilege of granting honorary degrees to individuals whose Christian service has been especially meritorious, and whose life and ministry epitomize what Western desires for its graduates. The recipient of this year’s honorary doctoral degree is Herbert Elliot.

In 1949, Bert and his wife Colleen arrived in Peru as newlyweds. There they implemented a church planting strategy that used their medical/dental training and evangelistic abilities to bring the gospel to many remote communities along major jungle rivers such as the Amazon.

In 1956, following the death in Ecuador of Bert’s younger brother Jim, the Elliots expanded their ministry to the mountains of Peru. This required additional adjustments to both a new culture and a new approach to ministry. For the next 30 years, they developed a network of churches in both the Peruvian jungle and mountains.

Bert and Colleen made yet another major ministry shift in 1988 when they moved to the coastal city of Trujillo. Due largely to their ministry (in partnership with Western graduates Jorge and Donna Osorio), the church known as Centro Biblico Trujillo has become a major church planting and missionary sending center. In addition, the Elliots founded the Jim Elliot Christian School, which currently offers a K-12 education to about 250 students.

No human can fully recognize the amount of heavenly good that has been achieved through the Elliots’ sixty years of faithful ministry. Yes, we can count the 115 churches that were planted; but we can only guess how many comprise the multitude of lives that were transformed directly and indirectly through Bert and Colleen’s ministry.

What makes this impact all the more incredible is recognizing the many challenges the Elliots faced in Peru, from contracting diseases associated with jungle life and medical work to opposition from cocaine dealers and Marxist terrorists.

When Randy Alcorn concluded his chapter in a recent volume entitled, Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints, he used Bert and Colleen Elliot as his final example of long lives well-lived. After recounting a conversation he had with Bert that contrasted the ministry of the two Elliot brothers, Randy pens these words: “While Jim’s relatively short life was like a meteor that blazed dramatically across the sky, Bert’s life is more like a faint star that rises night after night and faithfully crosses the same path in the sky, largely unnoticed on earth.”

Bert, we have noticed that star; and in honoring you, we recognize that we are at the same time honoring Colleen, and ultimately the Lord whom you both have so faithfully served.

So, in recognition of his distinguished ministry in significantly advancing the cause of Christ (especially in the realm on global mission), Western Seminary is delighted to confer the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree upon Herbert Elliot.

7 comments:

Sassy Granny ... said...

What a beautiful tribute, Joan! I'm so glad you posted it on your blog. Now cyberspace contains the story too, and many of us get to thank the Lord for such honorable servants.

Bless them. Bless you.

Kathleen

Sally said...

This is truly a beautiful tribute to their lives. The doctorate should have been given to both of them. I am thrilled that you posted this so that we all could read it and thank them for their willingness to serve God.

Technonana said...

OH, I HAVE GOOSEBUMPS ON MY GOOSEBUMPS!! What a fitting tribute to these Precious Saints!!
I so wish I could have been there for this!! To see such lovely and deserving people recieve this reward. But we all know their reward will be given to them in Heaven!! Oh What A Day That Will Be!!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

Thank-you fpr sharing this in your post for us all to be able to read. it is so beautiful. Two precious lives well spent serving their Lord. I wish you and them a very blessed week...m..

Blondie ~ Vintage Primitives said...

I am sitting here with a wet face - while I am familiar with their ministry, I have never met them. I thank you for showcasing them on this side of Heaven. God bless them with a continuing boarding house reach for the Kingdom.
Always Blessed
Blondie

Tom & Amy said...

Thank you!

Amy in Peru said...

Yay! We SO wished we could've been in Portland for that! I love the Randy Alcorn quote...

amy in peru

PS. Joan, I'm Amy from the tuttle tribe (http://thetuttletribe.blogspot.com) who've worked in Trujillo with B & C and are now in Tarapoto doing river work. It is AMAZING to be ministering to many people who were first converted under Bert and Colleen's work here. Very amazing and fun. The LORD is faithful!