Saturday, December 20, 2014


Already 2 weeks ago, I spent 3 days in Chicago, it was such a sweet time. Not only was it fun with the students, meeting new people, seeing the city, etc., but God spoke so much to me.

We spent time with Dr. John Fuder. He is on staff for Heart for the City, a mission organization doing powerful things in Chicago but also training others for neighborhood mapping, and praying over cities. He also is a professor at Moody Bible Institute. Our time with him was wonderful; his words were powerful with years of experience and a lot of biblical truth to back them up.

We were able to spend time around Boystown Chicago, which is home to one of the largest LGBT communities in the nation. We were able to pray for neighbors in that area, and pray over the city. If you haven't read, Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin, I recommend it. He established the Marin Foundation in Boystown, and is doing a lot of cool stuff in that neighborhood. And we stayed with Jon Pennington at Chicagoland Community Church

We were also able to spend time with Nate Ledbetter and his church City on the Block, and Michael Trout with YMEN.

All week I learned so much about Justice & Compassion, God's heart for the city, and so much more. The more I learned, the more I felt God calling me to stay in the West Side and keep loving and getting to know neighbors here. I have such a passion for urban ministry work, and community development.

L-R: Megan, Brody, Izzy, Me, Kaiyeluh, Kelly, and Cassie
***Picture stolen from Brody

I also enjoyed the three days with the mission school students, Josh, and Kelly. It was some great team bonding between praying through some hard things we encountered, 6 hours in a van for the round trip, and exploring Chicago.  I love these guys!

"The word 'compassion' is derived from the Latin words 'puti' and 'cum', which go together to mean 'to suffer with'. Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion with the condition of being human." -Henri Nouwen

Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Day

Phase 1 ends today

13 weeks
16 speakers
8 days in Colorado
3 days in Chicago
168 hours of biblical teaching
72 hours of prayer&intercession
120 hours of community outreach
countless meals shared together
countless cups of coffee
10 students passionately following Jesus
10 students forming deep friendships with each other and neighbors
4 students preparing for India
6 students preparing for Guatemala

Sounds successful.
But all these numbers mean nothing without being able to tell you one very important fact.
These 10 students look more like Jesus then when they entered.

The past 3 months have been fun, adventurous, exciting. But they have also been challenging, difficult, and refining. They have been laying down 'rights', past burdens, and control to be able to be refined more into the image of Christ. The countless hours together, under biblical teaching has shaped them into powerful intercessors and young people on fire for the Word of God.

Our students!
Guard Rail L to R: Alex, Dillon, Stephanie, Jake, Brody
Bottom Row L to R: Megan, Cassie, Izzy, Kaiyeluh, Tori

I am beyond excited to see all that outreach holds for each one. The way they will be tried and tested. The way their faith will grow. The way relationships will deepen. The way they can share the truth they are learning in their life to encourage others in different locations. Its going to be fantastic!

BSMS Staff
L to R: Kelly, Josh, Anna

***Pictures stolen from Stephanie Nauta

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Next Stop: India

I initially said I would be returning to Guatemala, which when stated was looking to be true. But plans have changed, a visa should be arriving tomorrow,  and tickets have been bought for January 2!

We will be flying into Hyderabad after a 22 hour direct flight. Then a 4+ hour drive into a small town near Vijayawada. I will be leading with another Youth Discipleship Staff, Josh Stowie. There will be 4 students going; Jake, Brody, Izzy, Kaiyeluh. Derek (director of the school) and his family will also be flying down with us!

We will be teaching:
  • English
  • Bible
  • Sports
With teaching those things, we  have some needs!
  • Soccer balls
  • Cones
  • Jerseys (pennies)
  • Abacus for math
  • Megaphone
  • Whistles
  • Stop watches
  • $$$
    • cricket bats
    • cricket balls
    • soccer goal
    • bibles
If you can help with any of these, that would be FANTASTIC!

Personally - I had some unaccounted for costs come up
  • vaccinations
  • clothing when we land in India (traditional wear for teaching in Indian schools)
Both of these personal costs, plus my visa have all been covered!! Praise the Lord! Thank you for your generosity and obedience to God's prompting!!!

Feel free to email or facebook me if you feel led to help cover any donations for teaching in India.

Monday, November 24, 2014

7 * Seven * 7

As I wrote in my last post, I read Jen Hatmaker's book 7: an experimental mutiny against excess. In this book she makes seven, month-long choices to create room for God's kingdom to break through. She does this out of a spirit of fasting. As she writes, fasting is initiated during a few circumstances
  1. Mourning
  2. Inquiry
  3. Repentance
  4. Preparation
  5. Crisis
  6. Worship
For her it was repentance for the excess; the way she was spending, using time, making decisions. Also, for preparation. She is a 35 year old mother of young children. Her ministry is young, her vision of their church is just beginning, and she wants to raise her children without an entitlement to 'more'. 7 was a tangible way to do these things.

The book is written as a journal through the months - the good days, the bad days, the lessons learned, etc.

Her 7 months:
  1. Food
  2. Clothes
  3. Possessions
  4. Media
  5. Waste
  6. Spending
  7. Stress

I am going to duplicate this experiment, just change it a little to fit me.  My circumstances backing this is out of Worship, Preparation, Inquiry, and Repentance.

Ultimately I want to live my life in worship of Christ, offering myself wholly to Him alone. Next month I will be flying to India for two months. I want to be as prepared as possible to serve sacrificially and for the way I love/act/speak to point others to Christ. I also want to know what God has for me regarding the West Side, studies, etc. Also focusing  on repentance. My nature is sinful, but we serve a powerful, loving, and forgiving God. My sins are forgiven, but we are asked to turn from our sinful ways(repent). So this focus will be asking God to reveal sin in my life, repenting, receiving forgiveness. I'm reminded of the song lyrics:
Give us clean hands,
Give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another

My 7 months:
  1. Food
  2. Prayer (will look similar to her last month)
  3. Media
  4. Spending
As you can see, I am still thinking through some of the months.

Today started food. Countdown to Dec 22 has begun. My exception is Thanksgiving. For the next 4 weeks I will eat only 7 foods. Mixing and matching will create interesting concoctions, that's for sure!
  1. Yogurt
  2. Rice(or Quinoa, etc.)
  3. Black Beans
  4. Apple
  5. Banana
  6. Veggie
  7. Other Veggie
I can't decide on which veggies I want. I know I need vegetables, and the green ones are good - but I just can't commit. I love sweet potatoes, and I have a lot of small peppers on hand.

I will let you know how it goes, and the things I learn along the way.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bookworm of sorts

I have been reading, in my standards, a lot of books in the last month! I have been loving it!!

First, The Soul-Winner by Charles Spurgeon
This book was extremely challenging. Spurgeon talks about the qualifications and necessity for a soul winners; people sold out for telling others about Christ.

The next book was Discovering the Power of the Cross of Christ, again by Charles Spurgeon.
It followed the title quite well. Spurgeon covers the meaning of the different things Jesus said while on the cross. Also, the power of the cross and what all Christ's death and resurrection means. It is one of those books you could read countless times and still get more out of it each time.

I also read 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.
Jen Hatmaker goes through a fast of sorts of giving different things up for 4 weeks. The first month was having only 7 food item options, the second month was only 7 articles of clothing, and so on. Taking normal everyday things that are usually taken for granted and limiting them in order to draw near to God through repentance and worship of Him alone. It was challenging and I am praying about how exactly to duplicate something like this in my own life for a season.

Along with these other books I also read Bruchko by Bruce Olsen.
As a 19 year old he left the USA for South America. No plans, no sending organization, and little support, he obeyed a call to go to unreached tribes. The next years of his life were extremely difficult. Eventually He ended up being able to share with a tribe called the Motilone Tribe. He learned the language, shared the gospel, revival broke out, and that tribe went on to share with other indigenous tribes. If you have a chance to read this book I would highly recommend it as well as the above books.

Currently I am reading through the bible chronologically in 120 days and soon will be starting The Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Colorado Pt 1

The first week of Colorado is coming to a close, it is going fabulous! I also am so ready to see and spend time with the students, Josh, and Kelly.

My purpose here (YWAM Denver) was to be trained more in the Choice Project; a curriculum put together by BSHOP and Life International. I had the privilege to speak a bit during the second session on the sanctity of human life. Ryan had to fly home a day early so Alicia and I tag teamed the last teaching day. It was a great learning opportunity! It was also great to be with the 15 students in the school.

Vicki also got to come along to help with Ryan and Alicia's girls. We both stayed on base with some of the girls and it was a lot of fun!

When we weren't teaching we were able to see Red Rocks,  and go to Estes Park. The first was a great hike, the second we saw a ton of elk at a gas station. It was wild. Estes Park was a cute little town to walk through. The drive was incredible.

Tonight I was able to go on a hike with 3 of the YWAM girls I was rooming with. It was beautiful. At the top of a steep ascent, you could face one direction and see the Rockies then turn around and see Denver skyscrapers lighting up the horizon. It was so windy, we closed our eyes and the wind was howling through the tall grass - when we opened our eyes two deer were watching us from the ridge.

Tomorrow night I get picked up and head to YWAM Colorado Springs. We will sit in on a week of teaching by Chet Ingram with their DTS students. We have also planned a lot of hiking times!!

Sorry I don't have a single picture to post about it

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Check It Out

Jenny Spoelma (formerly Jenny Voss) was in charge of the kitchen when I did Immersion 3 years ago. I was on the kitchen team, so I spent many hours in (now my home's kitchen) the kitchen with her and a few others. I got to know her, and hear her story and share who I was with her. I loved that time! Also on staff with her was Kelsey Klumpstra who is now my housemate and dear friend!

Jenny started blogging a long time ago about Beauty. She would interview friends and blog about the interview. She challenged the people she interviewed to go and interview someone else and submit the interview for her blog.

Long story short - Kelsey interviewed me and Jenny posted it on her blog! Check it out here:

Jenuine Life