What those of skeptical views or more liberal religious persuasions often find so irksome in the accounts of missionaries in ""underdeveloped"" cultures is that the human and cultural values seem to fade in the heat of the spiritual calisthenics practiced by the Bearers of Good News. Ms. Elliot, one of four young ladies ministering to the proud and apparently fairly self-sufficient jungle people of Ecuador -- the Colorados -- experienced typical hardships -- dirt, insects, isolation. She also watched a woman die in childbirth, observed the corpse of a murdered native helper, chafed at the Catholic establishment across the clearing (the animosity between the Christian sects is cause for bemusement) and lost her nine months' written work on the Colorado language. The lesson she learned is that with God nothing is lost. Did she convey this message, one wonders, to people she attempted to help? It seems that ""help"" was mainly a demonstration of her own worthiness. As missionary books go -- and some feel it's time they went -- this is, at least, younger and franker than most.