Skip to main content

Collection 116 Oral History Interviews with Helen Elliott

Identifier: CN 116

Scope and Contents

Oral History interviews conducted with Helen Ruth Belcher Elliot (1927-2012), missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators to the Ixil Indian tribe in Guatemala. Topics include Wheaton College during the 1940s, field experiences, Guatemalan culture and religion, and family activities. Topics covered in the interview include:  Elliott's childhood, marriage and early family life, education at Wheaton College (including courses, academic and social life), decision to become a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators, training at Wycliffe's Summer Institute of Linguistics, missionary and linguistic work among the Ixil Indians of Guatemala, missions and evangelism in Guatemala, cooperation among mission agencies, the Ixil tribes's culture and religion, health conditions and diseases, and various aspects of culture, social structure and religion in Guatemala, including the Catholic Church, education, level of illiteracy, economic conditions, medical care, racial relations, Pentecostal Christianity, and the national church. The time period covered by the interviews is roughly 1927-1980.

Ruth Elliott was interviewed by Cherol Crutchfield on April 28, May 5, and May 8, 1980 at Elliott's home.


  • Created: 1980

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this material.

Biographical Information

Helen Belcher Elliott was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 23, 1927. The second of six children, she grew up in a home filled with turmoil and plagued by inadequate finances. After her parents' divorce in 1940, the family moved to Independence, Kansas. While in Independence Mrs. Elliott met her husband Ray, finished high school in 1943, and began regularly attending the local Christian church. At the age of sixteen she became financially independent and began saving funds toward college.

Freshman and sophomore years were spent at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. Right after their marriage in the summer of 1945 the Elliotts served a small church in Oklahoma. During that summer the couple was led to a deeper relationship with the Lord by a new pastor of a neighboring church. They did not return to Phillips University but in January 1947 began studies at Wheaton College. Mrs. Elliott graduated in January 1950 with a B.A. degree in Bible.

After attending the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1950 the Elliotts felt a strong call to work among the Ixil Indian tribe of Guatemala. Wycliffe Bible Translators accepted their application for translation work. The Elliotts served in Guatemala with Wycliffe throughout and after a furlough in the United States they returned to the Ixil tribe in the summer of 1980. Raymond and Helen retired to Go Ye Village in Tahequah, Oklahoma. The couple had eight children: Linda, Marsha, Stephen, Debra, Janice, Sharon, Daniel, and Karen. Raymond died November 12, 2008. Helen passed away Decemebr 12, 2012.


3.00 Audio Tapes

236 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives in April and May 1980.

Accession 80-55, 80-64

September 8, 1980

Mary Ann Buffington

C. Crutchfield

S. Kouns

Collection 116 Oral History Interviews with Helen Elliott
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US