Thursday, June 28, 2012


Hello everyone!

Here is an update of recent events in my life. It's pretty condensed. There have been many times I wanted to share my heart, but just didn't know how. I think there is a fine line between being transparent and having discretion. I'm sure, had I written in the "heat of the moment",  I would have regretted some things. I want to be real, but I also want to have wisdom in what I post on the world-wide web. I have tried to balance both in this post. I do want to share God's mercy and grace in my life, and will probably go into more detail at a later date.

Here goes!

I'm pretty sure everyone is aware of the two, wonderful years I spent teaching the most adorable 4 & 5 year olds in the Great White North after I graduated from college. I have written several posts on Beans, Peanut, Bear and Superman and just on my general experiences.

I'm also certain many of you heard that I left a year ago this month--a sad, sad day. I had been lost in the swirl of government paperwork and a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo I didn't understand. In my search for understanding of what exactly I needed to stay in the US, I contacted a lawyer of my own accord. She was very gracious with her time and answered my questions. She explained the three options I had:

~Get an R1 visa {which pertains to religious workers that have been ordained--And, no. I don't believe in women preachers ;D}
~Marry an American {I wasn't THAT desperate, lol}
~Get an H1 visa {basically a work visa}

All three were out of the question, and I felt like my {when did I take the reins back from the Lord?!?} plans and dreams were crumbling around me. My constant thought was "Why?!?" I didn't understand what God was doing. You see, not only was I not going to be a teacher any more, I was also being banned from re-entering the US for 10 years because I had overstayed the 90 day limit without the proper paperwork..

I was seriously devastated. In the 6 years that I was in the States [4 being in college, and 2 while teaching] I made some amazing friends. I had some wonderful memories of visiting people I knew and also seeing friends at the annual Preaching Conference my Alma Mater had. So even if some friends didn't make it to "this" year's PC, there was always "next year". 

I'm very thankful for the many people who gave encouragement and told me they were praying for me during this time. That was the only thing that held me up in the sea of confusion and doubt.

Well, in the middle of June, one of my good friends and I made the 6 hour drive from IN to ON. It was strange, at first, to be back in Canada after a two year hiatus, but I was glad to see my family and everyone at my home church. 

I took the first two weeks to get back in the swing of things, updating my passport and such. Then it was family camp time, and I spent the week helping out in the kitchen and just enjoying the week of good fun, fellowship, and food :) This was my "vacation", haha :D
After that, I began searching for a job in earnest. And searched. And searched. Finally, after a month of looking, I got a job at a grocery store as a cashier. {some} Stores these days only give you so many hours, so I knew I wasn't a "full" time employee. At the same time, I did expect to get more than 3-5 hours a week.

For the first time in my life, I felt compelled to quit my job: in the 6 weeks I worked there, I made less than $500. It was ridiculous.

That happened about the middle of August, and I was back to putting our resumes and filling out job applications. School started and I taught 5th grade history to keep myself semi-occupied. I applied EVERYWHERE. It just didn't seem as if anyone was hiring. I even thought about going back to school for secretarial or as a PSW. I was getting very discouraged to say the least. Then, in the last week of October, I was offered a job in the print shop. I was very grateful for the job.

Now, back when I first moved back to Canada, my parents had told me to try going out West to find work. But, I didn't want to uproot myself yet again just to find work. I decided to stay in London for at least a year and see just what God had in store. 

During this time, I was seeing if I could get in teaching overseas as an ESL teacher. There was a lot going on with this endeavor, but ultimately I found out it wouldn't work. I became very frustrated with how my life was turning out, and I'm afraid I was growing quite bitter and felt that God was sabotaging my {key} plans for my life. How foolish I was! God had not turned His back on me, but I on Him. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and advice, prayers, and encouragement of a godly mentor, I realized the mess of sin I was in. I came to the end of me and asked God to show me what HE wanted from me. What HIS plans and wishes were for my life.

And, just a few weeks ago, I understood it to be another move. Across Canada to the West. Just getting ON the plane was an act of faith :-) Very thankful for my friends who talked me through the logistics of what to do!! I had a very sweet, grandmotherly lady sit beside me on the trip from London to Calgary. I had chosen to sit beside the window {huge mistake!} because I thought I would enjoy looking out on all the tiny things below. And, this from a girl who closes her eyes going up and down a roller coaster! I looked out for a brief SECOND and thought I might be sick :). So, I'm very glad I had a talkative seatmate. And, turbulence was my best friend on all the plane rides. If the ride was smooth, my heart dropped. If we were bouncing around as if a child had taken us by the wings and was pretending to be a pilot, I felt like I was in a car...not picturing a tiny plane in a vast amount of sky :D.

I had a layover in Calgary and just spent the time reading my Jane Eyre book. I don't know how much I actually paid attention b/c I was really nervous I would miss my next flight. It was past time to board, and there was no one at the counter! I starting to feel apprehensive when I heard a guy over the PA saying we were to go to a different gate. Goodness. We had a 45 minute wait before boarding and I just stood ready to get on the plane whenever we got the go-ahead. We were only landing in Edmonton to let passengers off, so I just stayed on as it wasn't my final destination. By this last flight, I was surprisingly ok with staring out the window, and actually enjoying it :) The flight was short and sweet but the landing was super bumpy. I wonder if someone was sleeping.

Anyway, I was really excited to finally be at my destination and Theresa and Mrs. Bartel were both there to welcome me. It has been a flurry of activity since I came and I just want to share a quick praise before I close.

On Monday, I dropped off my resume at the hospital cafeteria which is run by a Christian lady {who goes to our church :D}. And...I was hired! I start this coming Tuesday . I'm really excited to be working and am very grateful for answered prayers. I'm really excited to be here in Alberta; I'm really excited to see what God has planned for me.

If you think of me, please pray that I would make wise choices/decisions and that I would be of help to the people here.

Thanks for making it all the way through--This is one long update! If any of you have specific questions, shoot me an email and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion :D

Thanks for reading!
Elsa :)


Sarah said...

I think you are so brave. When you are feeling overwhelmed just rest in the peace that God has you exactly where He wants you. And He is ok with you not understanding...He knows that He is weaving something beautiful for your life all for His glory!

Valerie Basham said...

I appreciate that delicate balance between being real and having discretion. I think this was a very honest, yet appropriate post! Thank you for sharing your heart. I only know Calgary (or Alberta)from Janette Oke's Canadian West series. Actually, all I know about Canada is from books (L.M. Montgomery and a few others) and now your blog! :)

Mary said...

Good faithful guidance to obtain work.