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Our GRN reporter visited the USA Office and talked to Elizabeth Chan.
GRN: Were you born in China or in the USA, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: Neither. I was born and raised in Brazil. My first language is Portuguese, but I also speak three Chinese dialects.
GRN: How did you learn English?
Elizabeth: I learned it when I came to the USA in 2003 as a physical therapist assistant. I found out that many of my clients spoke only Spanish, so I learned that too.
GRN: Were your parents born in Brazil?
Elizabeth: My mother is from Taiwan. When she was fifteen, her dad wanted to start a new life. He chose to immigrate to Brazil because they were doing a lot of trade with Taiwan. On my dad's side, my grandfather was arrested by the Communists, my grandma was tortured and my dad, 13 years old at the time, managed to escape to Brazil with a family's friend, but was abandoned by him once they got there. My mom and dad eventually met each other at a work place in Brazil.
GRN: That's quite a story. How did you find out about GRN?
Elizabeth: That happened in a roundabout way. I was planning on a mission trip to Cambodia with a group from my mom's church. I visited the GRN office in Temecula for some orientation from Roland Heck who had been a missionary in that country. I had never heard of GRN, but was fascinated by their work and asked a lot of questions. About six months later, I felt the need to find out more about GRN because I wanted to serve beyond what I did at church. By then I'd forgotten Roland's name and had lost his business card. But I finally googled GRN, found a phone number, and called to enquire about a job.
GRN: What did they tell you when you called?
Elizabeth: They wanted to know if I understood this was a volunteer missionary organization.
GRN: What was your reaction?
Elizabeth: I had a smile on my face and thought this is exactly the place I was looking for.
GRN: When did you join staff?
Elizabeth: I started working at GRN as a volunteer but after five months, I joined as a GRN staff member in December 2014.
GRN: What kind of work did you expect to do at GRN?
Elizabeth: I didn't have computer skills; I am not a public speaker; and my background as a physical therapist didn't seem compatible. In fact, I didn't know what I could do, but I was willing to do whatever was needed, and I was willing to learn.
GRN: So what is your current responsibility?
Elizabeth: I previously helped to process the recordings that came from the field. Now I'm taking on a new role as recruiter for GRN.
GRN: How do you plan to go about that?
Elizabeth: I plan to start by cultivating relationships with several Christian colleges in southern California. I also want to explore some secular colleges that have Christian groups on campus. These are just two of the many avenues I want to explore at first.
GRN: What kind of people do you wish to recruit?
Elizabeth: My passion is to find young people who are called of God to serve him in global missions. Despite the hardships we may encounter, there is also so much joy and purpose found in this endeavor. There are positions for staff and interns available in our Temecula office and even overseas. Later, I also plan to look for seasoned missionaries who have had to return from the field. They can make a valuable contribution to GRN. We also need more people who will pray systematically for our mission.
GRN: What motivates you in your work?
Elizabeth: To keep my vision and focus alive I've been on several field trips to places like Culiacan, Mexico, Washington DC, and ethnic fairs in Southern California, where we hand people CDs with the gospel in their languages. It's really great to bring the hope of salvation and see the smile on their faces as they hear it in their native language. This motivates me to do the best job I can.
GRN: What do you enjoy about working at GRN?
Elizabeth: By nature, I'm rather shy, but I've found a real family at GRN and I'm comfortable working with them. Now I have a new challenge to step outside my comfort zone and I am so excited about it.
GRN: Do you have a prayer request?
Elizabeth: It is very important for me to remain in the center of God's will both in my work at GRN and in my daily life. I need prayer to keep that as my focus. I also need to raise more prayer and financial support as I enter this new role and someone who can travel with me at times when I visit colleges and churches.