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Elishaba Doerksen is the oldest of fifteen children born to ex-hippies Robert and Kurina Hale—also known as Papa Pilgrim and Country Rose.

She grew up in a dilapidated 341-square-foot

log cabin in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico, isolated from civilization by a fundamentalist father intent on keeping his

large family cloistered from a godless world.


When she was nineteen, Papa Pilgrim began taking liberties with Elishaba in unimaginable ways and beating her—and her siblings—when

he judged them to be “rebellious.” 


The horrific sexual and physical abuse continued after the family moved to a remote valley in the Alaska wilderness. After ten years of terrifying mistreatment, Elishaba gathered her courage to make a run for it on a snowmobile.

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What happens next is the basis for a powerful, dramatic story about perseverance, faith, and redemption, as well as forgiveness. 


This is the first time that Elishaba has told her side of a story that garnered national attention with major articles in the Washington Post, NPR, and Outside magazine as well as a significant buzz on social media.


She needed time to heal, but now she’s ready to tell the world what it was like living with Papa Pilgrim—and how she overcame some of the worst trauma a daughter can experience at the hands of a father.

About Elishaba


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“This may be the most dramatic survival story I’ve ever read. Yes, there’s abuse and pain in these pages, but most of all, Out of the Wilderness is an extraordinary portrait of endurance and the power of forgiveness to heal and bring lasting freedom. This is just the story the world needs right now.”

Leslie Leyland Fields

author of  Your Story Matters

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First Chapter
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Out of the Wilderness is the compelling, page-turning story of a patriarchal father and a dutiful eldest daughter.


But careful—you'll be hooked from the first pages of Elishaba's incredible story. Download the opening chapter by clicking the link below.



Thanks for submitting!

Dry Fields

Elishaba Doerksen is a heartfelt speaker with a passion to help others gain a better understanding of physical and sexual abuse within a family and to help those who have gone through such trauma.


She is available to to speak to businesses, community organizations, local churches, and men's and women's conferences. If you or your company or organization would like to contact Elishaba, please email her co-author, Mike Yorkey, at or use the contact form.

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