Elizabeth is moving to Malawi to serve with YWAM in March 2018 and this is her story.
Elizabeth first felt called to missions in 2012.
Although raised in a Christian home, her faith never truly became her own until college when life began to fall apart. To escape hard circumstances and the God she thought she knew, she ran away to study in Ireland. While living on the ocean, she could no longer deny God was who He said He was; the constant glory of the ocean demonstrated that He was still there, present in the midst of the difficulties. That experience lead to a short-term missions trip in Belgium, which ignited her love for missions in Europe.
After Belgium, Elizabeth moved to Orlando to work for Disney, where she began attending Mosaic Church. She became an intern with Mosaic’s Global Mission Team with the full intention of going back to Europe—but God had different plans. No mission trip was available to Europe, so she ended up planning a trip to South Africa to work with the Hilliard family at Hope Africa Collective in October 2015. During the trip, one of the girls asked if she would ever come back to South Africa; Elizabeth heard God’s voice clearly say: “Your story is in Africa, and you are going back.” As she was processing this clear calling from God, He gave her what became one of her life verses: Jeremiah 1:4-9. Through Jeremiah’s call, God encouraged Elizabeth to be willing to go where He told her, to do the work He was calling her to, and to not be afraid because He would be with her. She would need that encouragement more than she ever thought possible in a few short months.
The doors were still shut for Europe missions, so Elizabeth ended up back in Africa for a second time. In Malawi, the poorest country in Africa, Elizabeth experienced the extreme living conditions of rural life with no electricity or running water. She even butchered her first chicken! While there, she wrestled with God about her calling to live in Africa, feeling completely overwhelmed and that He was asking too much from her. This time, God used the beauty of the African stars to reveal that she didn’t need to know the whole plan, she simply needed to be present where He called her and to trust Him for the next step.
Figuring out that next step would be far from easy. Back home Elizabeth fasted for seven days, spending hours upon hours seeking after God until her spirit was broken, hungry, and ready to surrender to what He had for her. He placed the organization Youth with a Mission (YWAM) on her heart, and gave her a second life verse, Revelation 3:7-8, which says in part: “…Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut.” Even on days it seemed impossible to accept leaving life in America for Africa, she stubbornly refused to give up on the doors He placed before her. After a discipleship training with Zambia fell through, God opened a door to Swaziland, where Elizabeth truly fell in love with Africa:
“I’ve never felt like I was made to be somewhere like I was in Africa. As a little girl I dreamed of being a pioneer woman in the 1800s–living in rural Africa is as close to that as you can get, from the long skirts to hauling water to no electricity. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I am so grateful for it.”
That brings us to today, where Elizabeth’s fourth and longest African journey will be back in Malawi for two years starting in March 2018. Her passion is to create a home for street orphans where they hear the Gospel, have warm beds, whole meals, and are put back into school. Elizabeth emphasized that God has called each of us into ministry. Although her calling might look extreme in Africa, people all over the world are broken and in need of the restorative message of the Gospel. Elizabeth’s story demonstrates the beauty of obedience, how God changes our hearts to embrace His calling, and how He empowers us to walk through doors only He can open.
As Elizabeth’s local sending church and greater sisters and brothers in Christ, please join us in praying for her protection, favor and blessing as she lives on mission in Malawi and that she would be bold in sharing her faith regardless of the personal risk.