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Better than We Dreamed: The Story of Elaine Townsend (Gorton)

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Christian Focus

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Read the story of a life lived safely within the lines, that God turned upside down. From social star of 1930’s Chicago to a Wycliffe missionary in South America and the USSR, Elaine Townsend’s life was far from boring. Meet the woman who became Cameron Townsend’s wife, and discover how a life can be filled with adventure, by simply saying ‘yes’ to God.

Through each stage of Elaine’s life her trust and dependence on her Savior shines as an example to believers everywhere, yet there are also weaknesses with which we can all identify. This account of her struggles and successes is filled with stories gathered from those who knew Elaine best, as well as insights into the mission work that renewed a generation’s passion for Bible translation.

Both encouraging and challenging, this thorough biography leads the reader to rightly recognize Elaine Townsend as one of the great Christian women of the 20th century – a demonstration of what God can do with a willing heart.



Simona Gorton is a writer, photographer, traveller, wife, and an international operations manager for 9Marks.



This delightfully written and meticulously researched narrative traces her footsteps around the globe, recalling her life of devotion to Cameron and her indefatigable zeal in proclaiming the mission of God to the world. May her earnestness and joy be an encouragement to all.

- Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College, CAO Ligonier Ministries, Sanford, Florida


This moving biography chronicles the life of one of the most impactful figures in modern missions and challenges readers to be like her: eager to see God’s Word spread, faithful in pursuing the work, and humble before the sovereign God who accomplished it.

- Bob Creson, President / CEO, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA


Elaine Townsend, wife of the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators, lived an eventful and inspiring life in service to her Lord and ours. Simona Gorton’s biography captures her unique personality and her love for the Savior in a delightful way. While this book will be an encouragement for women, young and old alike, men would be wise to read it as well.

- Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformation Bible College, Sanford, Florida


Elaine Townsend certainly was a remarkable woman. Her exceptional gifts were evident early in life and those gifts were unreservedly committed to the glory of God for the whole of her life. This is important mission history, but it is far more than that. Every reader will be challenged to fresh steps of faith and commitment.

- Peter Maiden, International Director Emeritus, Operation Mobilisation


Open Simona Gorton’s debut biography at your own risk. You won’t put it down. Prepare to be caught up in a fascinating journey, inspired by sacrificial service, warmly encouraged by the zealous devotion of a loving helper, delightfully absorbed in the epic life of Elaine Townsend. Gorton’s comprehensive work will thrill you with the power of the Word of God, in the language of the people, to transform hearts and lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

- Douglas Bond, Author, leader of Church history tours, and director of the Oxford Creative Writing Master Class