Meet Karen Harvey coming to ISM in January 2014 – Internship at NightLight

Hi my name is Karen Harvey and I’ll be serving in Thailand with NightLight beginning in January 2015, seeking to shine God’s light in the darkness and bring hope and dignity to His daughters!  I’m a 2014 graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Ministry.  Washington State is my native land, and mountains are my favorite kind of landscape!



I grew up in the church and though there wasn’t a specific moment that I recall, I made the choice to follow Jesus around age nine.  I knew that this meant that I was loved and that God would not leave me.  Around this time, I began developing a passion for the oppressed and undignified of the world.  In high school, I went on mission trips to Mexico and Honduras that were profoundly impacting to me.  I realized my love of other cultures, serving those in need, and the ways that God can work outside of my own personal context.  I also met a wonderful missionary family doing their furlough in my hometown, which put the idea of being a missionary into my mind.  My faith grew a lot at the end of high school as I joined youth group and a small group Bible study and found Christian community for the first time.  I knew that I wanted a Christian college, and I chose to move across the country to attend Hope College- a small school with deep traditions, community, and faith.


I’m in my last weeks at Hope now and it has been so incredibly sweet.  I’ve learned what it means to give every part of my life to Jesus- to seek His glory in whatever it is that I’m doing.  I’m privileged to have witnessed God at work on my campus and in the lives of my friends.  I’ve learned so much about who I am in Christ and who God made me specifically to be.  I watched the sun rise over the Great Wall, adventured in Tibet, and learned more about myself than I thought possible during my semester abroad in China.  I got to live in God’s creation in Colorado and live life with the coolest teenagers I’ve ever met last summer.  I’ve been most blessed by a wide variety of friends and mentors who have taught me more about who God is and shown me love and grace when I don’t deserve it.  Even in the challenging times, God has taught me about perseverance and that He will ultimately use my struggles to reflect His glory.


One time of my college career that has been especially impactful is the summer between my sophomore and junior years that I spent serving at a children’s home in Kenya.  I saw God’s heartbreak for the orphaned and forgotten of the world, and how deeply He cares for His children.  I love to be His hands and feet, and He is good enough to let us do that!  After this experience, I sensed that the next phase of my journey would take me to women in sex-trafficking and that is what my experience in Thailand will be.  My journey to Thailand officially began at the Urbana conference at the end of 2012.  The speaker said something to the effect of “light isn’t needed where it’s already light- we’re called to shine light in the darkest places.”  I saw in my mind a red light shining in the darkness, and a pair of eyes, broken and without hope.  On my Urbana commitment card I committed to serving in missions and I wrote, “to bring hope and dignity to His daughters.”

This is my call for the year 2015.  I heard about NightLight through a friend, and remembered the name when I started research post-grad plans.  From there I got connected with ISM.  God opened and closed doors until I knew that Thailand was where I was going to be.  He has been so faithful, even in the smallest ways and I know that He will be with me just as He always has been.  I’m excited to join up with what He’s already doing in Thailand through NightLight!


“I’m passionate about missions” – do I really need on the ground training?

onthegroundBefore opening ISM in 2012, I personally had 16 interns come and intern with me through NightLight International.  I began working with NightLight in 2006 and I had the privilege of being the volunteer co-ordinator there for 5 plus years along with coordinating interns, volunteers and short term teams.  The  interns often lived with me and I spent quite a bit of time helping them understand working in Thailand, discussing do’s and don’ts, walking them through culture shock,  role loss, homesickness and understanding missions life.  I knew that if I didn’t handle these questions, the ministry would have to.  I also showed them how to navigate the city of Bangkok.  Some of the interns prepared by reading books, talking to other short termers but books and chats cannot replace on the ground training by long term missionaries.  Short termers have some experience in missions but without living on the ground your understanding of missions life is limited.  In 2012 I opened ISM so I could send interns all over South East Asia to intern.  So many ministries (25 working with ISM) are looking for trained interns.  During the training phase of ISM students are taught by a variety of missionaries and ministry leaders with missions experience from a few years to 30 years.   So why do you need on the ground training?

  1. You will learn from people who are fighting issues like poverty and slavery that tackling these problems have little to do with Facebook likes, tweets, and instagram photos.   Most of us come from a western understanding of these huge and famous problems in our world. These issues involve corruption at every level in countless nations around the world, organized crime and many cultural push factors.  Awareness and fighting slavery must be a priority and it’s a God given mandate, but jumping on a band wagon without realizing the complexities surrounding the problem it isn’t the way to combat such massive issues.  Training on the ground will give you insight and an educated understanding of how to move forward with intelligence.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity - When you come to another nation to serve you have to learn the basic do’s and don’ts in order to open people’s hearts.  As an intern its really important that you come as a learner and not as a tourist. It is crucial to get training from people who live on the field.  Years of experience working, loving and serving as a missionary is invaluable.    Reading stories, getting a degree, while important cannot begin prepare you for this.  Hands on training does.
  3. To learn that missionaries are just imperfect people.
  4. To learn how to deal with culture shock and culture stress.  Serving short term is an amazing and often a life changing opportunity but it isn’t easy. To uproot your life, be away from friends and family and learn to live another way with different cultural rules and norms is  challenging. Training helps you notice the signs of culture shock and stress and gives you helpful tools to cope and thrive.
  5. To learn that they way we do things in our home nations isn’t always the best way, its just different.
  6. To learn how to depend on the Holy Spirit.  The spiritual world is as real as the physical world. Without the Holy Spirit you are helpless.  “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12
  7. To learn how to die to self and kill your inner diva by actually having to give up some things.  Things other than chocolate and social media.
  8. To learn that loving people into the kingdom is really hard work.   Mission trips look nothing like living on the mission field. Internships are not missions’ trips.  A mission trip schedule is what missionaries do when teams come.
  9. To meet a variety of missionaries who have been living on the field for years.  You get to learn from experts who have made mistakes, and also have some great stories that will inspire you.
  10. So you are a blessing to the ministry hosting you.  After being on the ground for a month your eyes are starting to open to how things work in another culture.   You also have learned how to serve with excellence and what ministries need and want from interns.  You have learned to cope with living with other people that you don’t know, what the language barrier really means,  that your internship is not about you and that your primary role is to hold up hands of the warriors while they do battle.

We are honoured to have some of our  hosts  telling us that ISM interns are some of the best they’ve ever had.   Why?   On the ground training.

To apply go to

Sandra McIntosh
Director, ISM

BIG NEWS – one of our ISMers Class of 09.12 – Maria is now the Director of Marketing and Relationships at NightLight


It’s Official!!!

You are looking at NightLight Design’s new “Director of Business and Relationships” for their North American region! … almost.

What does that mean? It means that if we raise full funding for this brand new position by July 1st, I will be responsible for directing the business strategy and managing key stakeholder partnerships for NightLight’s social enterprise, NightLight Design, throughout their North American region. We believe the creation of this position will greatly enhance the long-term sustainability of this business, and therefore increase NightLight’s ability to impact the sex trade community in Bangkok.

In March’s newsletter, I will include the complete breakdown on this new position and the business plan we have been working hard to develop! 

In April, I will let you in on the biggest lessons I’ve learned since returning from Thailand… deep stuff. 

Thank you so much for your compassionate hearts towards the women in Bangkok and for partnering with me to impact this community.

Meet Julie Gosen and Abby Zantingh coming to ISM September 2014.

“Hello everyone! I’m Julie and my adventure begins this coming September in Thailand and then on to the Philippines with Noah’s Ark! 
I had to make some tough decisions to get here, but everything has fallen into place and I couldn’t be more excited to follow the Lord and to go wherever He wants me to go. God told me I was being held back where I am now and I didn’t understand why, until this opportunity with Impact came up. I applied and prayed and feel so at peace with this decision, and like I said, I couldn’t be more excited!
I bit of a background on me, I’m 19 years old, I took a year off to work, figure myself and to pursue my relationship with God, and boy has the past year been just that. I’ve been pushed and challenged, but through everything I’ve found that my relationship with God has gone deeper than I ever imagined and being where I am now, I could never go back. I grew up in a Christian home and always attended church until my high school years, where I felt like I was in a rut, I didn’t have many Christian friends at school and I felt stuck. Near the end of grade 12 I decided to make a change and to pursue God in any way I could, I started coming back to youth, involving myself in the church again and to go on a missions trip in the summer, and that was absolutely amazing and life changing. It was more wonderful than I could ever explain, and it was only a week! Imagine being gone for 3 months! I’m so happy with how my life has changed and I want to serve God in any way I can. I was praying alone in my room one night and I felt stuck again and then the words “long term missions work” passed through my head and I felt so overwhelmed with peace and joy, literally unexplainable, and I started crying and praised the Lord for even being part of my life. This trip could be the start to so much more.
I’m trusting God with the finances and I know I won’t have a problem. I’m ready to show his love, ready to fall in love with loving others, ready for a new chapter of my life and I’m overjoyed to know it’s happening in Thailand. I get to show others God’s love and who could ever ask for more? So come September, I’ll start my 2 month internship with Noah’s Ark, working with the kids there (which is amazing because I love kids SO much) and God knows that. Ready for new relationships, ready for challenges, ready to see more, ready to be a light in this world.”
Meet Abby Zantingh
Abby's IPhone 632
I am Abigail Zantingh, a servant for the Lord, excited to start His work in Thailand this September. I have done missions before in Africa, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Guyana, but Thailand will be my longest stretch thus far. The Lord is so good and faithful with his provisions, care and leading–and I do not write that lightly. The Lord is AMAZING, truly my heart’s desire, my everything, and I am overjoyed with the honour He has given me to represent Him to Breakthrough Thailand starting this September.
     Two years ago I was at a youth retreat when I saw a booth advertising for ISM. I took their card, thinking it looked interesting, but I was only in grade 10 at the time. If I went, I would still have to wait a few years, so I pushed the thought aside. I never prayed about it. The next year, at the same convention, I was hit with seeing the ISM booth again. This time something in me stirred. I took their card again; I went to their website, watched a film; I began to pray earnestly about it. I felt the Lord beginning the first stages of being called to Thailand. I kept ISM’s card on my desk and just continued to pray as the days went by. Gradually, and I do not know when, I knew I was going to Thailand. If I ever prayed after that, God would simply endure patiently with me, for He had already told me to GO.
     I grew up in a Christian home, but my parents divorced when I was three years old. At a very young age I got into all the wrong things: movies, swearing, friends, the “parties” that only grade 3 students could have. My dad kept me going to church, but I saw God as more of a god of rules. The summer before high school I had had enough of the emptiness, so I gave my whole life to God. God took charge by utilizing the biblical basics I had developed in my childhood and then called me to an intimate relationship with Him. That was almost four years ago now. I have traveled, grown, and I am more in love with Jesus Christ than ever before! I know He has called me to some difficult things in my future, but perhaps my view of God is more adventurous and dangerous than some would like. However, God knows my heart, and He speaks to me with the love and beauty that only the Lover of My Soul can :) My future is for Him, and more enticing than anythign the world could ever offer by a longshot!
     I think about Thailand often. God puts pictures in my mind of the people, the homes, and especially the children. I cannot wait to partner with life-changers and make an eternal impact for God’s kingdom in Thailand. By His grace and awesome might will I go and represent Him to the nations, until the day that every tribe and tongue shall sing together in His midst!


Emily says thanks.

Re-blogged – from Emily Snow


December 21: Thank you.

I’m on my way home. My first flight landed an hour early, which meant less time on the plane but a longer layover. So, I’m currently sitting in the Istanbul airport where I have been for around 5 hours now. For whatever reason after I make one transaction in this airport my debit and credit cards suddenly have a block on them- even though I have a flag on my account that I’m traveling through this exact city. It happened the last time I was here also. So that’s frustrating but I will survive. International travels…

ANYWAY. I want to write a bit more about my time in Thailand-specifically  all of the things I am most thankful for. So, in no particular order…

Impact School of Missions

This four weeks of training and fun could not have been any more perfect for my start to this adventure. I actually wish that I could sit in on the classes for another (or maybe 2 or 3 more…) terms just so that I can soak in more of the information that we were given. For those of you who don’t know, the school is split up into four broad topics: Culture, Holy Spirit, Personal, and Missions. During culture week we learned all about the dos and don’ts of Thailand (and India for those who were traveling there for their internships), the Thai culture itself, and what it looks like to be a foreigner living/ministering in another culture. The second week we learned about partnering with the Holy Spirit throughout our internships and lives. The third week we did personality and gifts testing to learn more about ourselves and why we interact with others the way we do and how God can use those traits. And finally the fourth week we heard from 7 different missionaries in Thailand about their specific ministries and God’s heart for His very diverse world of people. Throughout the first month we also had multiple opportunities to work alongside some of the ministries in Bangkok and we visited a few of the tourist hotspots.

One of the greatest parts about ISM is that it brought 10 very different, unique, beautiful women into my life (+Sandra, Jessica, and Peter). Although we were together for a brief time, it was truly a blessing to get a glimpse at their hearts and the beautiful ways God could, would, and will use them in this world. So, to Impact School of Missions- thank you.

Servantworks- The Well

When God first put Thailand on my heart, I never could have imagined the experience I would be blessed with when I got there. I am so thankful to say that I had the most incredible 2.5 months interning with The Well in Bangkok. I was and will continue to be so blessed by the people there. They taught me about acceptance, love, forgiveness, redemption and so much more.

Every morning I started my day with 3-4 Thai women in the “Baan Dek” (children’s center). It was here that I picked up the majority of my Thai, got to play and do crafts with the kids, and got to spend quality time really getting to know the other women I worked with. They practiced their English with me, and I (tried to) practice some Thai with them. In the afternoons I did a few different things. The first being spending a significant amount of time with my fellow intern, Kylie. She is one of the greatest blessings of my internship experience.  We went on a trip to a NE province together where we got to see another one of Servantworks’ ministries (Breakthrough-Thailand) and even got to help with the rice harvest! We also went with 1 or 2 Thai women every week to China Town, where we had the opportunity to build relationships with women working on the streets. We got to spend the first month playing games/getting to know the older kids who were off of school, spent a lot of time bothering Judy in her office, ate quite a few cupcakes and HiChews, and could almost always be found bent over laughing together. You would never be able to tell by our friendship that there is a 17-year age gap- and to be honest I could never really tell either. I also had the unique opportunity to teach a worship dance class 2 afternoons per week. Even after 13.5 years of dance, I never would have thought that my dancing could be used for ministry…let alone ministry in Thailand. God gave me a passion for dance as a child, but that passion was ultimately going to be used for His glory. So cool, right? My dance class also provided me with time to get to know a lot of the women at The Well, and to see their funny, beautiful personalities. My final day at The Well they gifted me with a time of thanksgiving and prayer. The women and staff shared their thanks with me for specific things, and then everyone (including the children) prayed over me. The tears were inevitable at that point, and behind them were the pains of grief which I am especially thankful for. To grieve is to have loved- and the love I experienced and shared at The Well is irreplaceable in my heart. So, to Servantworks and specifically The Well- thank you.


When I got off the plane in Thailand and had gathered my bags, I walked out of the airport and found Sandra with the “Impact School of Missions” sign and with a 6-foot tall Canadian girl. Little did I know that the first person I met would soon become one of my closest, dearest friends. We spent an awkward first couple of hours sweating at the dining room table and making small talk- and from then on we were pretty much inseparable. I knew that I would make friends while I was there, but I never expected to have any of them become one of my best friends. Our list of adventures together is LONG but usually included a mall/bookstore, a motorcycle, a TV series, an adventurous/surreal trip around Thailand, or just talking at a coffee shop. Also, laughter. ALWAYS laughter. This girl prayed with me, encouraged me, opened up her heart to me, and loved me. What more could I ask for, honestly? It was such a divinely orchestrated friendship, and I have been so blessed by it. So, to Monique- thank you.

Support System

When I got on the plane to come here, I left behind my incredible friends and family. Throughout my time in Thailand I received so much encouragement and prayers from home. I received Facebook messages, emails, letters, a package, and had countless Skype dates. One thing that I was told on my last day at The Well came to one of the staff members during the time of prayer- it was two words: rootless, and rooted. He told me he was thankful that I was willing to be rootless in leaving behind the people and places I loved to follow the Lord’s call, and saw that in that I was still rooted in Christ. So, I need to say thank you to all of the people who supported me in coming here-financially, in prayer, and in encouragement. Without you guys I would not have experienced the Lord in the unique ways I have, I would not have met all of the people and organizations listed above, and I would not have gained the knowledge I have from my time overseas. So, to all of you at home- thank you.


My guy gets his own thank you, even though he was a major part of the support system I talked about already. It is with so much joy that I get to call him my boyfriend and that I get to be reunited with him in 15 short hours. My sweet Zack has (aside from God) been my biggest encourager in my time away. He committed to dating me long distance for 3.5 months, which in and of itself was a big step of faith- but in that time he also committed his life to whatever the Lord had for him. Therefore, our time spent apart has become a huge blessing. The Lord has so evidently grown each of us individually, which has made our relationship even more of a joy to pursue. While I was in Thailand Zachary prayed for me, and constantly told me he was doing it. He played worship music for me when I was having melt downs, and he was a voice of reason and reassurance when the heaviness of my internship seemed as if it were too much to handle. So, to Zachary- thank you.

(First and last Skypes in Thailand!)


To the Lord of the universe from whom all blessings flow- I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice made on the cross that has saved me from my sins. He has so evidently (as you’ve read) worked in every situation for my good and I’m so excited to give all glory to Him. So, to God- thank you (infinity times over).

So so so thankful for this exciting journey of life that I’m on, and so so so excited to see everyone in the coming weeks.


Meet Sarah Ricker coming to ISM September 2014!

Hello Friends! I am going to Impact School of Missions in September 2014. I will be serving at Place of Grace, Abundant Love, and At The Well Ministries.


I have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember, and I was 12 years old when I first felt the call in my heart to be a missionary. Ever since then I had planned on moving overseas as soon as I felt God telling me to. I am just finishing up my fourth and final year for my psychology degree at the University of Guelph and I will be off to Thailand in September. From this experience I hope to find out how I will go about being a full time missionary. I am doing three different internships in order to see and experience as much as I can in the hopes of finding out what it is that God wants me to do.

I know that I want to work with kids. For the past three summers I’ve worked at a community house where our goal is to show God’s amazing love to a group of hilarious and awesome kids that some would consider underprivileged. This has been the best job a person like me could ask for; I spent my summers goofing around with kids. However, there were moments when I walked some of them through some pretty tough issues. I’ve talked and prayed with 10 year old kids who were suicidal, who had some serious family issues, and for some of them life just wasn’t going their way.  But I saw God’s love transform their young lives in even the most hopeless of situations. Also, God’s been able to use my crazy silliness to remind those kids that they are kids, and their childhoods’ should be filled with laughter and fun. I’ve seen God do nothing short of miracles at that community house, and I’m excited for God to use me in similar ways in the three children’s ministries that I will be interning at.

God has done and continues to do some amazing things in my life. He uses my weaknesses to show his amazing strength. Naturally I am a person that is prone to anxiety and depression, but we have a supernatural God who fills me with joy daily and he is the only thing that holds me up from the darkness. God has healed me and my life is worth living because of Jesus alone, and so far it has been a beautiful life only thanks to him.

My passion in life is this; for God to use me to show his love to people the way I have experienced it. I want to live my life as a missionary because I don’t ever want to forget about all the children that have yet to learn how much God loves them. I leave you with this verse from James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

God bless you all,

Sarah Ricker

Big News – Meet ISM’s International Internship Co-ordinator starting June 2014.

As we approach the new year, we’d like to introduce you to our Internship Coordinator arriving in June 2014.  Jessica Pellowe has served ISM with excellence and integrity for the past two years.  She will be completing her term in June and returning to Canada.  Because of this we are bringing on an Internship Co-ordinator/Worship Leader.    Jessica will be handing the position over in June 2014.  Due to fundraising needs we would like to introduce you to Ashton McIntosh.


Ashton writes:

“I anticipate 2014 to be the coming of a new season  that is full of exciting change. I will be moving (back!) to Thailand to work at Impact School of Missions as the International Internship Co-ordinator. It’s been 5 years since I last lived in Bangkok, and I am thrilled to be spending some more time there, as it is a place I grew to love.

So what exactly will I be doing there? As the International Internship Coordinator, I will be organizing the administrative component of the student internships, connecting with the hosts, travelling in the region, and handling the finances.  I am so excited to be apart of what is happening as ISM, and to help educate and empower this generation to be the salt and light of the earth.

Another aspect of the work I’ll be doing at ISM is leading worship in the chapels. I can’t wait to join the ISM students, who have come to serve and obey Christ, in passionate and purposeful worship. I really believe it is something that transforms lives and expect to see God do just that.

I can’t do it all on my own, however. I need to be supported by people,  like you. People who can’t just pick up their lives and move overseas. People who have school, or jobs, and families. But people like you can help people like me make a difference in South East Asia.  I hope to help impact these student’s lives and send them into their calling with renewed minds, prepared hearts, and an eagerness to fulfill God’s will for their lives to help the needy in countries other than their own, and to share Christ’s love to the world. If you want to participate somehow and help make this happen all you have to do is go to to donate  and in the comments clearly designate for Ashton McIntosh.  You can also submit cheques to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada at 2450 Milltower Court Mississauga, ON L5N 5Z6.  Please specify Ashton McIntosh in the memo line. I need  $10,000 dollars for flights, medical insurance, language class, the regional retreat,  and visas. Any bit of money helps! For your Canadian donation you will receive a charitable receipt.

I want to say THANK YOU for your support whether through encouragement, prayer, or donation. I am truly grateful. Bring on 2014!!


ISM is excited to announce a new partnership with PLACE OF GRACE – in Bangkok Thailand

Place of Grace is a slum ministry to children, youth, and the community located in Bangkok Thailand and they are looking for interns!  They run after school programs and are opening a food bank in the near future.  They offer a safe, loving environment for children to play.  They also run a prayer ministry whose goal is to see lives transformed by the grace of God.  




Possible Activities (please note that the details of your daily schedule may vary depending on current ministry needs): You may be involved in assisting with children and youth work and clubs, including crafts, teaching English, office help, and giving attention to the slum kids.

Hours (please note this may vary depending on ministry needs): Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the day, Tuesday and Thursday during the afternoon and evening

The ideal intern will love working with children and youth, be computer literate, and be willing to fill in wherever needed.  To apply go to!

Meet Bonny Tam – ISM Student 01.14 – Internship – Daughters of Cambodia

Hello! I’m Bonny and I’ll be starting the internship in Jan 2014.


Bonny Tam

I’m originally from Hong Kong. I have lived in London, UK for the past 5 years. I decided to follow Jesus and asked Him to be my Lord 4 years ago when I reached the trough of my life – emotionally, relationally and physically. Ever since I met Jesus I have been overcome by His steadfast and unfailing love despite my failures. When my hopes were shattered, God became my only reliable helper, provider, comforter, counsellor, and lover. As I continually experience His goodness and faithfulness in countless situations, I become passionate about imparting His love on to those who are still held captives in the bondage of sin. I hope to partner with Jesus in bringing light and hope to darkness.


I have never been to Cambodia – the place where I will be interning for 6 months. The nearest I got to is Thailand – which is where I first experienced mission that is targeted at extremely vulnerable young women who know little about hope and love. 2 years ago, I left my job as a graphic designer to be trained in arts psychotherapy and theology, hoping to be equipped for long-term mission work. A few months back, during a mission conference in the UK, I felt challenged and convicted to move on from 2-week mission trips to a longer commitment. It was then that I decided to apply to ISM. In Isaiah, I read: “I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness, riches stored in secret places. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.” (45:3) – I pray that Jesus would show me the precious jewels hidden in dark places, and in turn, let me and let those I meet know that He is the Lord, the only One who can save!


Being the only Christian in my immediate family, communicating my passion in mission has never been easy. However, God has been gracious throughout the years – my family are starting to be more understanding and supportive. I have also been recently engaged to a wonderful man who loves God and is also enthusiastic about mission. God willing, my journey in mission will not stop at ISM but it would be a launch into an exciting adventure with Jesus and my husband-to-be. I long to see God’s glory, and I long to hear every tongue confess and praise that Jesus Christ is Lord!


Bonny Tam