Missionary Profile: Elisabeth Lewis


Lewis - Cusco with locals
Lewis serves as a translator, helping to bridge communication between non-Spanish speaking mission workers and local people.

Elisabeth Lewis has served in Arequipa, Peru, as the official translator/interpreter for Extreme Nazarene Ministries in Peru since January 2010. From August 2010 to October 2011, she added the responsibility of personnel coordinator.

As a translator she is responsible to help at all the Impact events that are programmed; she is also involved in daily translations, whether in the office or at meetings. She translates a variety of documents i.e. general correspondence, legal documents, contracts, etc.

Previously, from July 1985 to December 2007, she worked as a human resource technician for the City of Lompoc in Lompoc, California, USA, before retiring. Lewis has been a widow since February 2009. She has no children.

Engage: What is your favorite aspect of what you do in your present assignment?

Lewis: The fact that I am able to help people communicate better with each other whenever there is a need, as well as being able to help the different volunteers that come down to Peru to do different kinds of ministry with my interpreting English/Spanish/English.

Engage: What are some of the challenges that you face in carrying out your work?

Lewis: The challenge is that for most of the work I do there is urgency and that sometimes can become stressful. 

Engage: How did you first recognize God’s call to be involved in missions?

Lewis: I had a call to missions since a young girl, but was unable to fulfill the call until I became an adult and was able to use the gifts of language that God has given me by assisting in different Work & Witness trips to Mexico. 

Engage: Please share a story of a significant event or moment that has happened in your current assignment.

Lewis: In June 2010 we had a huge outreach event called Love Extreme here in Arequipa and 10,000 people came to participate. I was able to help many people during this event and it was rewarding to see 3,000 people accept the Lord. I am also involved in helping our counselor and workshop leader when they come to have workshops with our 40/40 volunteers as well as with the Extreme staff. This is really rewarding because due to my language skills I am able to help people clear misunderstandings resulting from language difficulties and see how that helps them in doing a better job.

Engage: How do you maintain a close relationship with God (and your family, if applicable) in the midst of the demands of missionary service?

Lewis: I keep my relationship with God by reading his word, my devotionals, personal prayer time and going to church. I stay in touch with my family/friends in the U.S. and Brazil (where I grew up) via email and Skype.

Engage: What are the rewards of what you do?

Lewis: The rewards come when you see/hear the feedback of what I do -- that is when people let you know that you did a good job, was able to help them, and you see a smile on their faces when good communication is the result of your efforts.

Engage: What are some aspects of the culture where you live that you have come to love or embrace?

Lewis: I consider myself very Latin American since I grew up and lived in Brazil half of my life. I love the fact that people are very relational, loving, caring, hospitable, also that they are interested in finding out the plans God has for their lives; they are open to hear the gospel and enjoy being around you and spending time with you. 

Engage: What do you like to do for fun?

Lewis: I like several things: traveling, reading, going to the movies, working on craft projects, and hanging out with people.

Engage: What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

Lewis: The fact that even though I was born in Vienna, Austria, Europe, I am really very Latin American and culturally easily adaptable to wherever I am at the moment.

Engage: What advice would you have for others exploring a possible call to missions, or embarking on their first missionary assignment?

Lewis: I would say that the next step after hearing their call to missions from God, is that people need to be flexible, have no expectations, and as such, their adaptation to whatever country/culture they go to they will be happier and able to do a great job for the Lord. 

Engage: Other comments?

Lewis: I would appreciate prayers that God will keep me healthy and that I will continue to be able to do a good job as a translator and that God's words and His message will come out of my mouth. I would also appreciate prayers for financial support, since people assume that because I am retired that I might not need donations to do my job as a volunteer, and thanks for featuring me!