Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing

What She Wrote was Upright and True

Elisabeth Fletcher Isáis led countless writer workshops during her half-century in Mexico. It was always instructive to observe Liz--the consummate teacher and encourager—in action.

At one of these workshops, I saw Liz poring over a book, red pen in hand. What was she doing? “This translation is really bad,” Liz said painfully, holding a Spanish translation of a best-selling book from America.

If publishers were going to translate Christian books from English into Spanish, they must do a quality job, she said. A book like this one was “a bad testimony” for the church.

The incident captured Liz’s commitment to excellence in Christian writing and publishing. When training Christian writers and communicators, she often quoted Ecclesiastes 12:10: “The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.”

On Saturday, July 7, Liz went to be with the Lord. And it’s hard to find “just the right words” to describe her life and ministry impact.

As a young woman, the Illinois native seemed headed for a successful journalistic career in the US. But then in 1951 she followed God’s leading to missionary service in Costa Rica with Latin America Mission. A few years later she married fellow missionary Juan Isáis, and in 1964 the couple moved to Juan’s home country of Mexico.

During her 48 years in Mexico, Liz and Juan pioneered many ministries that last to this day. (Juan preceded Liz in death, as did one of the couple’s four children. She is pictured above with her daughter Sally.) What Juan was to evangelism (a sort of “Billy Graham of Mexico”) Liz was to Christian journalism.

Her Prisma magazine pioneered the use of the Christian fotonovela, telling true-to-life stories through staged photos with captions. She documented the life of the Mexican church in Noticiero MILAMEX, and chronicled cases of religious persecution in Mexico. Plus, she wrote and edited numerous books and articles.

Throughout her life, Liz held a driving passion to equip skilled Christian writers and communicators for the church in Latin America and Mexico in particular. MAI Board member Keila Ochoa, a successful author, is one of many who cut their writing teeth under Liz’s tutelage.

Liz has been a fixture for so long in Mexico it is hard to believe she is really gone. Her legacy will live on through her prolific writings and the lives of men and women she has impacted.

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