Summerside man is back after Mormon missionary work abroad
Two years ago Daniel Meister took a giant leap of faith that would forever change his outlook on life.
He waved goodbye to his family and friends in Summerside and travelled to the Netherlands to transition as a full-time Mormon missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“In the Mormon Church when you turn 18 years old, you have the chance to go on a mission for two years. And what happens is that it’s not something you must do, but it’s rather something that you can choose and the church will then decide on the place and country,” explained Meister.
When Meister reached the Dutch-speaking country, he realized the critical need to overcome language barriers while stepping out of his comfort zone.
“On the mission you are always paired to someone, and one of them is more experienced,” he said.
“We have a six-week language school before we go, and at the end of this time I was convinced I spoke Dutch because I could understand the questions and return with an intelligent answer.”
Meister continued: “But when I got the Netherlands, the people talked so fast and with an accent and probably for the first three months I did not understand anything at all. I would say to the Dutch people while on the train or bus, may I practise my Dutch with you and then they would talk and explain things to me.”
Being a missionary is about reaching people, from all walks of life, who might not show up in the average Sunday gathering.
“I learned so much when I was there,” said Meister.
“First thing I noticed was how much diversity there is on earth, and seeing the pressing refugee crisis. I met people from all over the place, so many cultures, and I got over the stereotypes by interacting with these people.”
Meister added, “As missionaries we talk to people about the gospel and so I met people on the street and learned about them, and discovered how open they are to help you.
“I would have people just invite me into their homes from off the street and serve me food and drink. It was really eyeopening.”
The mission branched from Afnorth International School, in Brunssum, Netherlands.
Every six weeks Meister would be transferred to a different location.
“We had our own apartments, and received funds from the church for our food and necessities. And I would live with other people doing missionary work. At first it was really tough to be away from home, but then I got so busy and into a routine.”
After two years of going from door-to-door, working at food banks, and sharing his love for the gospel to people on the streets, Meister recently returned home to Summerside. Although he won’t be letting the dust settle.
“I’m going to university in six weeks to study kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick,” he said, with the hope to eventually be a doctor.
He is motivated to not give up on the joy and peace he found on the mission trip, and shows no signs of slowing down on appreciating God’s love.
“It’s so important to be strong in your faith and committed to God,” he said. And that’s why it’s important to act on our faith so it’s not a dormant thing. We need action to help people. And it often takes someone to stepup and stand-up for what they believe in and be a light to the world,” he concluded.
Daniel Meister holds up his new identity as a Mormon missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served two years in Europe working in the field.