Mr. Elliott was already 58 years old when I moved from Garnavillo, Iowa to the Hitesville area and was received into the fellowship of the assembly here. Before that time brother Oliver Smith, who went to glory in 1960, preached regularly with Mr. Elliott in the gospel and they were known in Iowa as “Oliver and Paul.” I never remember either one coming to Garnavillo for a gospel series in my growing years. If either one came just for a Lord’s day, it was not frequent. I do remember them at the Iowa and Wisconsin conferences in my younger years. Mr. Elliott always could just nicely fill in a ten to fifteen minute spot at a conference when that amount of time was left before closing. He was actually at his best in the ministry in these short messages.
When 1 came to Hitesville in 1963, brother Elliott and his wife Bena showed kind hospitality to me while I was preparing my office for business. At Hitesville, often at the mid-week meeting, Mr. Elliott, Mr Orr and Mr Debuhr (all commended workers from Hitesville) would all be there, but on Lord’s Day none would be with us. With a good number of assemblies within a two hour driving distance from Hitesville, they would be off giving help to other assemblies – a number of them smaller in numbers. Numbers (large or small) never bothered Mr. Elliott. He had a care for all and was always happy to serve his Lord and God’s people and to speak to the unsaved.
He was a true evangelist. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” was his creed. He bought up opportunities as they presented themselves. He was great at giving out tracts and speaking to souls about their eternal destiny. He often told of the time he told his dear father that, “If a blind man was walking towards a precipice and I saw his danger and did not warn him, what kind of a person would I be?” He then warned his father about the danger of losing his soul. Mr. Elliott had the joy of seeing both his father and mother saved and a number of his siblings.
He often pitched his gospel tent in Iowa and Wisconsin. Ontario, Wisconsin was the place of his last number of series of gospel meetings, I have remarked a number of times that it was certainly a good “fishing hole” for him. Many saints in Ontario can look back to the time they were saved in meetings he had there over the years.
Being a barber he became an evangelist. He carried his hair cutting equipment with him and many received a free hair cut from Mr. Elliott when he visited an area where he was laboring. This he would use to gain the confidence of the people and no doubt many heard the “Wonderful Story of Love” while Mr. Elliott cut their hair.
He would go out of his way to see souls get under the sound of the gospel. He lived for the gospel and the Lord gave him a long life to witness and serve Him. In his last years, while suffering from the disease which led to his homecall, if you asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were to complain, I ought to be ashamed. We have the best now and it’s better on before.” He has now gone to his reward and is with the One who bought him with His precious blood, shed at Calvary. We at Hitesville miss him and revere the memory of Mr. Paul Elliott who finished his course with joy. The hymn sung at his funeral expresses the heart of this dear man.
When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
Oh, the soul-thrilling rapture when I see His blessed face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy love and grace
That prepares for me a mansion in the sky.
Through the gates of the city in a robe of spotless white,
He will lead me where no tears shall ever fall;
In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight,
But I long to see my Savior first of all.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him
As redeemed by His side I shall stand;
I shall know Him, I shall know Him
By the print of the nail in His hand.