Repatriation

To all of you reading, this is what I would call a “letter from the other side.”

I’ve been back home in the States for just over a month now after having served as a missionary in Auckland, New Zealand for just shy of a year. I’ve never had much patience for letting the grass grow beneath my feet, so naturally I hit the ground running doing job applications, playing/attending weddings, home reorganizing, moving, gardening, and visiting family and friends as best I can. In perhaps a not-so-shocking turn of events, it took me a bit longer to process my time in the mission field in between all this running around like a chicken with my head chopped off. However, below you will find my reflections as best I’ve come to understand them. 


I loved my time in New Zealand. The country is gorgeous, the people are down to earth, and the coffee is undeniable. It was not at all what I would’ve expected out of my time there, but it was better suited to my skill sets and areas needing growth than I would’ve thought to plan. God took care of me and challenged me every step of the way, and I gained mentors and friends I will love and respect until the day I die. My position there would be best summarized as a youth pastor/worker, but since I was stationed in a church plant, my job definition was quite fluid depending on the church’s needs. In a lot of ways, I was like the pastor’s intern doing whatever I could to help people grow closer to God and one another. It was a once in a lifetime experience that taught me invaluable lessons. My biggest takeaway? We are all, each and every one, called to serve, and service comes in all shapes and sizes. Every member of the church is called to the position of a servant to support their church and therefore their community. When each person is geared towards serving the church and each church is focused on serving the surrounding community, the fruits of the spirit blossom left, right, and center. 

Though I have returned from my time in New Zealand, World Methodist Evangelism continues its work there and around the world. This work includes preparations and trainings for future Residents In Mission and preparing sites for RIM placements.If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a missionary or contributing to the process of being a missionary, feel free to have them contact me directly about World Methodist Evangelism or visit their website at  https://www.worldmethodist.org/ If you would like to contribute to the future work of the RIM program, you may make a donation online or by mail at any time. Details are on their website under "donate."


What happens now? As of yesterday, I started as Trinity United Methodist Church’s director of programming for children and youth ministries which is a fancy way of saying I help guide members of this church to serve more effectively and train the next generation to have the hearts of servants. It is an incredible opportunity surrounded by incredible people, and the Lord has blessed me beyond measure. Most people I talked to as I was wrapping up in New Zealand knew I was forming this master plan to be temporarily employed and have time to practice the french horn like crazy so that I could win an audition when they came back around, but God had other plans to provide more than I could have imagined. Only He knew how He was using this past year to guide and prepare me for where I am now which brings me to my final thoughts for this letter and perhaps this blog entirely:

Thank you. Thank you for reading this, and if you read the others, thank you for that too. Thank you to the individuals who whispered prayers for me or lifted me up to your churches or sent me good vibes along the way. Thank you for those who contributed to World Methodist Evangelism monetarily and served along side me in that fashion. Thank you to the individuals who sent me letters and Christmas cards and Facebook messages and GIFs. Thank you to each and every person in New Zealand who accepted me, helped me, guided me, encouraged me, bought me coffee, hugged me, and provided me with shelter, food and transport. Thank you to World Methodist Evangelism for making this opportunity and experience happen. To every person who contributed to my well being in any way during this experience and journey, thank you. Words will never be enough for what you did for me and for the kingdom of God. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!

-Eliza

P.S. Please enjoy this video of me playing one of my favorite hymns. 



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