Aspiring Historian

Sarah L. Traylor ‘18 Studies Life of Missionary and Author Elisabeth Elliott

Aspiring Historian

Sarah Lauren Traylor, a biblical studies major at Gardner-Webb University, has admired the late Elisabeth Elliot and drawn inspiration from her books for several years. Last year while researching Elliot’s complementarian view of marriage, she was surprised that there was very little biographical information available on Elliott.

“She wonderfully exemplifies the motto of Gardner-Webb University, “Pro Deo et Humanitate” (For God and Humanity),” shared Traylor, a native of Staunton, Va. “Elisabeth Elliot not only spent years as a missionary to an unreached people group—continuing to live among them even after the murder of her husband—she dedicated her entire life to teaching both men and women how to live for God’s glory.”

Traylor received a GWU Undergraduate Research Scholar grant to study Elliot’s life, and early in the process narrowed her topic to Elliot’s views on Christian women in career. Traylor will present her findings at GWU’s Life of the Scholar Multidisciplinary Conference in the spring and submit an essay to the Gardner-Webb Review and Alpha Chi’s journal Aletheia.

“Although I did not necessarily agree or disagree with Elliot’s claims, I began to understand that there was so much to study even within this one area before I could draw any conclusions,” Traylor observed. “Although the results of my research were not as black and white as I had expected, facing that challenge helped me to grow immensely as a thinker, writer, aspiring historian, and as a Christian.”

Her mentor, Dr. Anna Sieges Beal, assistant professor of religious studies, helped her talk through ideas and challenged her to bring the information together in a thoughtful and meaningful way. “Dr. Sieges Beal connected me with practical resources that will continue to be useful as I proceed in my research,” Traylor affirmed.