Running on Broken Legs: My Journey to Joy

(5 customer reviews)


When God calls someone to a task, he’ll equip them—no matter how impossible it seems. Elinor Young knows. At five years old, Elinor contracts polio. Though the disease doesn’t take her life, she is left weak and physically disabled. Just a few years later, when a guest speaker at church asks if anyone feels called to be a missionary, Elinor grabs her crutches and hobbles down the aisle. She knows God will be faithful despite her weaknesses. Running on Broken Legs is Elinor’s story of how God’s still, small voice brings a girl across the ocean to a people whose language she does not know but whom she grows to love. It’s a vibrant reminder that it is not through overcoming our weaknesses that we are more useful to God—rather, we become useful when we recognize our weaknesses as an ongoing call to dependency on his grace and the work of his Spirit in us and through us. 


Take undersized five-year-old farm girl Elinor, give her the polio that not only cripples her but also nearly kills her, then give her an impossible dream. In her childhood and again as a college student she rebels against the plan. Finally, she embraces the dream, and it leads Elinor to one of the most primitive, rugged places on earth and to a life that brawny international explorers would envy. 

For nearly eighteen years Elinor deals with murdering tribal people, a devastating earthquake and the relief efforts that follow, joys, triumphs, depression, peace, life-threatening illnesses, recovery, and friendship with the Kimyal tribal people, whom she comes to deeply respect and love. The Kimyal people give her the name Bad Legs, which to them reflects how her weak body shows them God’s love. Finally, the late effects of Elinor’s original polio force her to leave the place and people that her heart has embraced. She must find a way to say goodbye. 

In typical Kimyal fashion, Elinor tells a story to picture a profound truth: our weaknesses can be the conduit of strength beyond our own.

Additional information

Weight 0.802 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 9 in
Book Format


5 reviews for Running on Broken Legs: My Journey to Joy

  1. Enid Sanford (verified owner)

    Elinor Young is a girl with grit and a great God. Her book will keep your attention all the way through as she describes what it was like to live in a stone-age people group in Irian Jaya in order to tell them of the love of God. I’ve known and admired Elinor for many year and even more now, after reading her fascinating book.

  2. David Abuhl (verified owner)

    When I got Elinor’s book “Running On Broken Legs” I could hardly put it down. I was deeply blessed by her inspiring and easy to read stories. Such personal, moving and Spirit anointed stories of her life of missionary service, proving that when God calls us, He gives us His grace and strength to follow His will! I have known Elinor for many years and I highly recommend her Story to anyone wanting to be overwhelmingly blessed. Thank you God for this remarkable woman!

  3. Linda Smiley (verified owner)

    Running on broken legs is definitely a 5 star read. I couldn’t put the book down. Elinor is such an inspiring story teller. Being disabled with polio as a young child she fascinates you with her perseverance and quick thinking on how to survive and thrive. She takes you to a remote people in Ivian Jaya Indonesia who were steeped in barbaric traditions and ignorance. However you learn to love and admire them as Elinor brings much needed medical and spiritual education their way. The story weaves in and out of nail biting experiences to soul searching, calm and beautiful sights. This is a great read for anyone with a sense of adventure and a love for the reality of human nature.

  4. Sandy Honn-Ruediger (verified owner)

    This is a wonderful, heartwarming book which I could hardly put down, and I highly recommend it! Elinor is a family friend, who had Polio 2 years before my dad did. She is a blessing and continues to be an inspiration to many, including myself. Read the book. It is amazing!

  5. Sharon McCarty

    I enjoyed reading this book so much, I could hardly put it down. It tells of her experiences as a child with polio, as a young student and then as a missionary. It shows that God has a plan for everyone’s life, even though we don’t always see it at the time. She writes with vivid detail— it makes it seems like you are there (everywhere) with her. I hope I can meet her someday.

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