elisabethdanielsons

Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.

Thank You’s

Wow! Where have the past 2 years gone??? It seems like just yesterday that I just moved to Dallas and was scared out of my wits with the change that I had accepted in my life.  I was scared and nervous but also eager to be engaged in mission. I have learned so much over the past 2 years about myself, Dallas, what it means to be in mission, and God. I can not say how thankful I am to all of the people that I have in my life: people who  supported me from afar but also the people I have met along the way! I would like to take some time to give some shout outs to the people who have helped make these past 2 years a meaningful experience.

To all my fellow US-2’s, Mission Interns, and the Global Ministry Staff: THANK YOU for being you! You challenged me to think differently about mission and social justice issues. I am much more aware of the food I eat and also the random people that I meet on the street because of you. Thanks you for being with me along this journey.

To my fellow staff at Project Transformation: THANK YOU for welcoming me into this holy Eco-system with open arms. You have helped me become more confident in my abilities and have trusted my voice and opinions on our reading program and curriculum. You gave me opportunities to become a leader and helped me find authentic ways to connect to the communities here in Dallas. It is because of your influence and support that I am continuing in my call to ministry by attending seminary in the fall. I have never worked in such a loving environment. It was an honor and privilege to be part of this community for these past 2 years.

To my friends and church communities at Kessler Park UMC and First UMC Richardson (Access): THANK YOU for welcoming with open arms. It has been a joy to be a part of two thriving worship communities. Your music and messages nourished me and allowed me renewal each week. Thank you for the small groups and Sunday school classes that were offered. Because of these opportunities, I was able to meet and make friends that I know will be with me for the rest of my life!

To my home church communities in Hannibal: THANK YOU for praying for me and journeying with me in mission these past 2 years. Thanks for the abundance of notes  and cards reminding me that you are supporting me from afar. Thank you for your generous financial gifts which will allow more young adults like me the opportunity to be part of this life changing program. Thank you for your mentoring through the years. It is because of you that I discovered God in my life and have answered the call to be part of God’s mission. Thank you for modeling God’s abundant love.

To my family: THANK YOU for being supportive! Thank you for being a listening ear or a word of encouragement when things were difficult. Thank you for making family time a time of renewal and revival. I have learned to appreciate the time we have together much more because of the distance these past 2 years. I have also been reminded of the unconditional love you have provided me my entire life and am so grateful that I can call you family!

To everyone else: THANK YOU for following my journey, for your prayers and thoughts, and for your calls, emails, and cards. These past 2 years, I have been reminded to look for the good in the world, and I can see it everywhere.

 

I have a little over a month left here in Dallas. I am having a hard time saying good-bye to everything here but I am also in the process of celebrating all that I have learned. I am so thankful for the time that I spent here in Dallas because I have learned so much. This program and the people I have met along the way will be part of me forever.

Thank you!

Elisabeth

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Connections

So it’s been a VERY long time since I have written on my blog, and I’m not really sure the reason other than I just haven’t felt like it. I’ve been very busy at work with the start of our afterschool program. This is probably my favorite time of year because I get to go to our different sites and help our interns with their programs. I love giving people ideas and just being a sounding board in general. I by no means am an expert in child development, classroom management, or curriculum, but I do have some experience and sometimes just a fresh set of eyes is needed to help in any situation.

Well that’s a little update on what is going on in my world, but I really wanted to post about something that happened this past week that reminded me how connected the church can be.

So a little background info on this story… my birthday was this past Monday and I discovered that my driver’s license expired on my birthday. Now in some states you can renew your license online but not in Missouri. You have to physically be present in the state to renew your license. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but I currently live 6ish hours away from the closest city in  Missouri. So I had to plan a road trip. My original plan was to drive to Missouri on Friday, catch up with some of my college friends, spend the night in Southwest Missouri and then drive back to Texas on Saturday. I asked some of these friends if they wanted to do something but nobody responded in time for me to make plans so I was debating on what to do.

So as you know I’m a US-2 missionary through the United Methodist Church. I’ve been doing this for a little over a year, and this summer there was a new class of missionaries commissioned. I’ve been blog stalking the ones who are blogging to see how they are doing. I think it’s because I remember how I felt when we were trained and sent out and I want to be in prayer for them and also want to be there as a support if necessary. There is a new US-2 in Oklahoma City who I’ve been following and in one blog she talked about starting an afterschool program. I was sooo excited that I commented on her blog that this is what I was doing and if she wanted some support I could totally help her! I know I am such a nerd!

Anyway, she emailed me and we were planning on Skyping about Project Transformation and our afterschool program, but last week I Facebook messaged her and said I’d be going through Oklahoma if she wanted to get together. So of course she said yes cause this church has crazy connections. She even let me stay at her apartment Friday night even though we have never met her in person. How crazy is that? Just because we are in the same program, doing similar things she had the faith to open her house to me.

So I went to Missouri, got my license renewed and headed to Oklahoma City. I met up with Kristina and had such a great time getting to know her and her story but also sharing mine. I made a new friend who will probably come and visit me in the next few months.

In the Methodist church, we talk about mutuality in mission: sharing in mission together. This is the idea that we are never alone in our mission fields because there are people who will walk with us along the way. I recently got back from ‘midterms’ where I got to reconnect with my class of US-2s, and I have also enjoyed getting to know the new class of young adult missionaries through their blogs and stories. So if you are in my class, keep posting because I love hearing about how you are doing. If you are in the new class same thing. If you are a friend or supporter of mine or someone that just happened upon this blog, please pray for us as we continue in our mission work because through your prayers and support, we are able to continue making connections in communities around the world.

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I Will Follow

So this past week was rough. I can’t really put my finger on what was wrong. It wasn’t anything major specifically. I guess hearing about tragedies in the news got to me. My heart goes out to the families and friends of victims from Boston, MA and  West, TX. I’ve been to both cities but honestly don’t have many connections. Hearing things about the assumptions in the news bothered me but that wasn’t anything where I really felt a personal connection. Things are also getting busier at work. I have had work events the previous two weekends so I didn’t have a full day of rest for over two weeks. But that wasn’t it either. My mom and dad were on vacation, so I couldn’t call and talk to my mom, but that’s normally not a big deal. I can’t really put my finger on what made the week so hard for me, but by Friday night, I was spent. I was mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.

Friday evening, I got to spend some time with two wonderful friends from church. It felt really good to laugh, have fun, and just be silly girls. Saturday I didn’t do a whole lot. I just pretty puttered around the house and relaxed.

Sunday evening I went and represented my organization at a volunteer project with a small group from the Access service from First UMC, Richardson. It was really fun to share the wonderful things my organization is doing with wonderful people.

Then I went to Access…. This service is always amazing: I get to see friends that I don’t see any other day of the week, hear great music, and a short but powerful message to help energize me for the week. We sang one of my favorite songs, a song that I find really represents my life: I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin.  As you can imagine, this song is about following God and trusting in his timing and just simply saying that you will go and serve who He wants you to serve. LOVE IT!  And then the service got even better when Clayton Oliphint’s sermon was on answering God’s call in your life!

Now, there was a time last year where it felt like I heard this exact sermon every week from various pastors. There was someone in my head saying, “Hey ding dong! This sermon is for you! Are you answering my call to you????” And I was afraid to answer or even think about that question. I relate very well to the “call stories” from the Bible. Moses said that his brother was better, Samuel thought it was his master calling him not God, Jeremiah said he was too young, and Jonah ran the other way! I’m comforted by the excuses that these people used in their stories. I am amazed still today that I finally let go of my life to God. It’s not easy to do! Now, I say that I let go of my life, but this is something that I have to do daily. I have to give my life over. I find that on weeks that I’m struggling with something either tangible or intangible, it is often because I’m trying to hold on to something in my life. I struggle daily to give over control of certain things in my life.

After hearing the sermon, I felt renewed and ready to face the week. I was once again assured that God is present in my life, and I was reminded that I need to constantly seek him in what I am doing. For this reason, I love to read the blogs of my fellow missionaries and the stories that they share about their calls to mission. I’m often reminded that I’m not alone in my path to seeking where I fit in God’s story. I truly believed we are ALL called to serve God’s people in various ways. We are all missionaries. I may actually have that as my job title, but I believe that everyone is called to serve God in mission in some way. We have to but listen to God calling us.

I pray that you will seek God in your life and will take time to listen to God. I heard a children’s sermon about prayer a few weeks ago. The person sharing expressed that often times as children we are taught that prayer is talking to God. Instead, we should listen to God twice as long as we talk. Prayer should be open communication. So take time to not just listen but to also act on God’s call in your life. It’s pretty amazing how things will work out when you do!

Til next time,

Elisabeth

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