Our Callings: Elizabeth’s Story

I grew up all over the place. By the time I graduated college, I had lived in four states (one of them more than once) and seven houses, not including any of the places I lived during college. Because of that, home for me has become more about people than about places. Nowadays, when people ask me where I’m from, I always chuckle because I don’t really have an answer, at least not in the way people expect.

My dad is a pastor (and a darn good one at that), and as such I had a lot of exposure to missions and missionaries. We had missionaries come to the church quite often, since participation in global mission was something my dad, and the churches we were at, took seriously. I was always fascinated by the stories that missionaries told, but never felt any particular calling to missions until my junior year of high school. We had an African children’s choir called Watoto come to our church, and it was during one of their songs that I felt the call to missions.

Because of the context and what was happening at the time, I interpreted that call very specifically. I thought that God wanted me to go to Uganda (where the children were from) and teach English to children there (I felt the call while one of the children was talking about his favorite school subject – English).

So, I went off to college with a declared major in English with a minor in Intercultural Studies because I knew exactly where I was headed. Or so I thought. Until one day, only a couple months into college, I realized I had no passion or drive for what I thought I was supposed to do. I wasn’t sure what to do with that. However, after some searching and a two-week-long trip to Swaziland (a tiny African country), I realized that I had interpreted my calling to missions a bit too literally. I knew God was still calling me to missions of some sort, but I had no idea what that was supposed to look like.

I’ve realized that God reveals His will to me piece by piece instead of all at one time. It keeps me honest that way, and helps me trust Him more instead of myself; when I think I know everything I tend to struggle with that. So, at the moment I’m still trying to figure out what my call to missions means in the long run. Right now, I know that it means moving to California in January with my husband for a year and engaging in local and short-term missions opportunities.

I have no clue what I’ll be doing once 2017 ends, but that’s okay. I’d like to maybe do more with bettering how short-term mission is done, but I’m not sure what all that means. Honestly, my life is better not knowing. It lets me focus on each moment and allow the space for God to speak into them and into me. It keeps my eyes on the here-and-now instead of ignoring it and looking forward to some vague, exciting thing in the future.

So as you pray for us, pray not that God would reveal His will for us (because we know He will on His own time), but that we have the ears to hear Him when He does and the wisdom and grace to do so effectively.

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