[Due to poor video quality, the transcript of this interview will be made available on this blog page soon, but in the meantime, here is a snapshot of Emma’s interview with missionary Lisa Elliott]
I sat in the auditorium at the annual Student Life Mid Year Conference. About twenty of us sat in a half-circle, waiting for our seminar on ‘missions’ to begin. I felt uncomfortable. I have never been involved in a mission. Certainly, I had never been on a mission. I did not understand the sort of person that would sell up their earthly possessions to live with a leper colony for all their natural life. I certainly could not claim that I was that sort of person.
The man who began the seminar was fiary and passionate. He was angry about the world’s injustices, and in some way I felt guilty. I live in such luxury and often ignore the problems of those in poverty. I give my financial support to the companies I hope will make a difference, but as long as I don’t have to see their plight, I don’t have to worry. My guilt is appeased. I felt like this man was calling out my poor attitude, and I wanted to hide.
Abruptly, as if he had just remembered, he stopped bashing me with his words and introduced a cute blonde woman sitting at the farthest left point of our semi-circle. “This is Lisa, by the way. She’ll talk to you later.” She stood, gave a slight wave and smiled politely. She was dressed simply, in jeans and a t-shirt to suit this unseasonal warm Queensland winter. But none possessed the sort of beauty she had.
In the last half hour of the seminar, Lisa spoke. She told us of her life in India, where she had been living as a missionary. Although she had every right to crush me for my arrogance, I felt nothing but her love and compassion. She spoke with such grace, gently recalling the most touching scenes from her time in India. Her laugh gracefully punctuated her stories. It was infectious.
I walked to the dining hall with another girl who had been in the seminar. We spoke eagerly about what we had heard. A passion to be mission minded was ignited in us both. For me, that was nothing short of a miracle.
We ate with Lisa that night – appropriately, we had a sort of Mauritian curry with definitely Indian influences. The dining hall was loud, and we had to strain to hear each other. But I didn’t mind. I enjoyed being in this woman’s company. The love of Christ enriched her words and her every sinew burst with His loving compassion for the lost.
A month or so later, I received an email from Lisa thanking me for my support in her ministry. To my shock, she commended my efforts to raise funds for the Girls Off The Street programme. “You’re doing a great job” she encouraged.
Lisa Elliott is the woman who changed my opinion of missionaries. She encouraged, where others accused. She loved when others judged. Lisa Elliott is the most beautiful spirit any would have the pleasure of meeting.
Find out more about Servants Asia here: http://www.servantsasia.org/