Feb. 19, 2007

93 years of leading the world to Christ

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

After years and years of working as God’s servant, Dorothy Elliot continues to serve the Lord at the Golden Living Center of Delano.

Her story begins in Minneapolis, where she was born in 1914. However, the real life that she lived takes all around the world.

At a young age, she and her family were invited to spend time on a ranch in Wyoming with her aunt and uncle.

Put on a horse by the age of five, she was introduced to a new love and a new environment with animals, and grew to prefer it over the hustle and bustle of Minneapolis city life.

For a woman of 93, Elliot smiled as she related, “I think I remember more about my childhood than anything else.”

One of the many aspects of her childhood that she recalls is the rattlesnakes on the ranch. One day, she was out for a walk with her dog when she heard the fine sound of the rattle on the tip of a rattlesnake. Overwhelmed with fear, she called upon her loyal canine to rid her from its presence.

“Bite it, bite it,” she cried. With snake ready to snap, she “pushed the dog’s head on it and it bit his nose.”

Laughing at her own innocence, she said, “it swelled up, but he didn’t die.”

As the years went on, she learned that rattlesnakes were “easy to kill,” but regardless, “you have to be careful,” she said.

Most children can proudly say that they rode a bike without training wheels by age seven, but Elliot learned to get around the ranch a different way.

“I was put on a horse when I was five years old,” she said.

She always had a soft spot in her heart for horses, after being given a colt by her uncle to care for at such a young age.

Of course, like a child, one of the most special and thoughtful aspects of owning a pet is choosing a name.

“I thought and thought and decided her name was going to be Dixie,” Elliot stated. “I always felt very close to her.”

Elliot used to feed the horse and take her everywhere she went. She was her companion and her friend.

“I had her quite a while. She was a good horse,” Elliot said.

While living on a ranch with such a wide variety of animals, it seems plausible that a farmer would recall doing common chores, but not Elliot. She loved life on the ranch and as far as the work went, she said, “That part I don’t really remember.”

One day, in her childhood, she was asked one of the most important questions of her life. “Dorothy, would you like to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?”

Thinking not too hard and not too long, she said, “Well, yes.”

Years later, she and a close friend were discussing life down the road – a long road, which eventually led her to Bolivia.

Praying to God for guidance every day, her friend felt called to travel to Bolivia as a missionary to “lead children to Christ.”

Speaking with Elliot days after, her friend told her, “Every time I pray for my husband and I to go to Bolivia, you come into my mind, and I don’t know if God is saying that, or if it’s just in my mind.”

When Elliot heard this, her first thought was, “I don’t want to go to Bolivia.”

She later stumbled upon a certain verse in the Bible that read, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord say ‘who will go forth here are my sins.’”

She thought, “Is that in the Bible? Send me?”

Thus, she knew from that moment on, that God was sending her a message, a message that would lead her all the way to South America.

Elliot worked with the Child Evangelism Fellowship program to teach classes to families about sin and the importance of living a life for the Lord.

In her words, she “went out there and taught them Bible verses and songs.”

She felt privileged to be under the guidance of God by “making an impact on people’s lives.”

“I felt confident that I was in the Lord’s hands,” she added.

She also spent years in countries such as Chile and Mexico, working with churches and families to build a more Christ-friendly community.

Taking Spanish classes in Mexico, she grew to love and enjoy communicating in different languages and can still speak Spanish quite fluently.

In giving her life to Christ, she never married. Upon her decision, she said, “I thought if I didn’t marry, that I could serve the Lord.”

Although it may seem like Elliot lived an unsocial life, she “hardly ever lived alone. There was always someone around,” she said.

She lived with families and taught their children and the church community the teachings of the Lord.

Even with children, she wanted them to understand from the start that “they sin and they need a savior.”

It “gave the children faith” to know this and to repent. Together, they would pray “Dear Lord, come into my heart and take away all my sins.”

Elliot said she will never forget the day the Lord spoke to her on the way home from work.

“God said, ‘Your sins are forgiven, Jesus will take of you and you will see him someday,’” she said, adding, those words gave her consolation and faith.

Catching up with the times, Elliot sighed as she said, “The world is getting very bad. Even in the last five years, it’s gotten a lot worse. More and more sin. Some drastic days are coming.”

“We sin so much that we don’t even remember all of our sins,” she said.

As far as history goes, Elliot has lived through and vividly remembers many historic events such as the Great Depression and President Kennedy’s assassination.

Even with living the majority of her life outside the United States, all the historic events “really made an impression” her.

“It was just all of a sudden. You couldn’t live those days without realizing what was going on. We all had to be very economical,” she said.

One of Elliot’s fondest memories was when she returned back to Minneapolis and led her father back to Christ.

Her father was in the hospital and she went to visit him and offered him a final chance to reconcile with the Lord.

It gave Elliot “happiness to know that he went back to the Lord,” she said.

While living at the Golden Living Center of Delano for the past three years, Elliot participates in everything she can get her hands on.

She leads the weekly Bible study, and the daily devotion. She is also an active participant in the senior facility’s executive council, lady’s group, arts and crafts, and other volunteer activities.

Elliot enjoys playing Bingo, and in the older days, when dances were more conservative, she enjoyed dancing.

She laughed as she said, “dances didn’t turn out too good so I figured I’d leave them behind.”

Like dancing, films were also an interest of Elliot’s. “I used to like movies quite a bit, but now, it seems that the movies these days got more bad in them than good,” she said.

When asked to offer advice, she said, “Receive Christ as your savior. We all sin, we can’t count all our sins. Keep the faith and live to please God. I’ve always had confidence that the Lord will save me because he came into my heart and took away my sin.”

To Elliot, a number is just a number.

“I don’t feel old,” she said.

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