Black Hills Woman Magazine | The Girl Gives Back - Elsa Grant

Elsa Grant
The Girl Gives Back

Briefly describe the organization you volunteer for and your role in the foundation.
I volunteer with several mission organizations, but one in particular is the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM). UNVIM is a short-term mission sending agency of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church that encourages and enables Christians to walk out their Christian love through action on short-term mission trips.

Tell us something about the journey that led you to the organization.
I have always had a passion for serving and helping people, especially the least and underserved. I am a Radiologic Technologist at Spearfish Regional Hospital where I am able to daily interact with people and make a difference in their lives. My friend and co-worker, who also shares the same passion, mentioned her organization to me one day while at work and of course I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved. My first medical mission trip with UMVIM was in 2002 to Liberia, Africa. Since then, I have had the privilege to also serve in Haiti and Honduras with UMVIM on at least 10 different medical mission trips.

What motivates you to stay involved?
Knowing that I am doing God’s work is what keeps me inspired and excited to stay involved in UMVIM. I have experienced the life-changing loving kindness of God. I am called to show His kindness to others. 1 John 3:18 (NLT) says, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” While it may seem trivial to give vitamins to a mother in Haiti for her children or play a game with an orphaned child in Honduras, I am in fact showing God’s love and kindness. It is the same love that Jesus has shown me and wants me to show others. No matter what I do for God, I am nothing without love. Nothing else matters.

Describe one of your favorite moments you’ve experienced while volunteering.
All of my experiences during these trips are special to me. With each trip, God teaches me something about myself and I honestly feel that I come back more blessed than those I am serving. Liberia, Africa was a most favorite trip for me because I witnessed life happening in a very primitive land. These precious people were in the midst of a civil war with limited electricity, water or food, yet they were surviving. One morning before the sun was up I heard someone quietly singing as she walked along. Such joy and peace radiated from her and I had this revelation that even in the midst of turmoil and unrest, God will give me a joy in my heart that only He can give.

Why do you believe it is important to volunteer?
I believe that serving is our purpose here on earth. The Bible says that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. When I interact as a servant of Christ, I believe I can inspire change in this world. While I have served on many medical teams internationally, my passion is also to serve those around me in everyday life. I volunteer at the Good Shepherd Clinic (GSC) in Spearfish, SD, a free medical clinic that serves the underserved in my town. I have served as a patient flow volunteer since 2008 and continue to do so because it is the passion and call God has placed in my heart. UMVIM and GSC is my chance to show God’s love to the least and the lost.

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