I am 18 years old from Ontario, Canada. I’ve always grown up knowing of God, but I never had relationship with Him. In my first few years of high school, I was in a dark state of mind and couldn’t find any purpose for my life. It wasn’t until about a year ago where Jesus showed me the true love He has for me and in that moment I had felt a purpose for my life. I knew my purpose was to pursue the life that God has laid out before me, and even though sometimes I ignore his calling on my life, he has still taken me down such a beautiful path and I have been able to grow through Him more than I ever could have imagined.
It didn’t take long before I discovered a powerful gift that God has blessed me with. The power to bring others close to Him and to come to know who He is. I have had many opportunities to speak with people one on one about their relationship with Christ, and I have even had an opportunity to speak in front of different youth groups at not just my church, but churches around my region as well. This is a passion that God has put on my heart and I believe that I can use this gift every day through missions.
I am incredibly excited for this opportunity to spread God’s love in Laos. I understand that there will be struggles and barriers, but I believe that God is calling me to Laos and that He has an amazing journey laid out for me when I get there. Now, my prayer is that God working through me won’t be limited to just Laos, but far beyond that. That I will be able to bring home an incredible testimony that the Lord has placed on my life and that I will have a desire to pursue more of what He has for me.
Hello! My name is Joybelle Barlow, and I’ll be working with NightLight International in Bangkok, Thailand this fall!
About four years ago I attended a missions conference where I heard about modern day slavery for the first time. Today’s world houses more slaves now than ever before in history, and that fact alone broke me then as it does now. This brokenness has pushed me to co-lead an anti-human trafficking organization at my university for the past three years, walking the campus praying for victims, raising awareness about the magnitude of this issue, sending petitions to our local government, and fundraising in order to shed light on the darkness. With graduation approaching, I began to voice these passions with a professor, who put me in contact with an alumna who interned with NightLight, and so the journey began.
NightLight’s mission to bring hope and restoration to people negatively impacted by the sex industry stirred me. For years I have wanted to be on the field fighting in person, and have finally been given the opportunity through ISM. I graduated from the University of South Carolina this past May in International Business and Marketing, and am hoping to apply my business acumen, skills, and passions to NightLight’s mission and business. I believe the Lord places passions in each of us, and for the past few years it has been mine to fight human trafficking in whatever way possible. Isaiah 61:1 writes, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
I know this journey will be hard, but I truly feel it’s what I’ve been called to do — to set the captives free and bind up the brokenhearted. Thank you for walking this road with me. I’m exited to share where it takes me and the lives I come across.
My name is Mandi Delgado, and I am from Rosenberg, Texas! I attended Christ for the Nations Institute and I majored in Global Missions. Upon graduating, I was supposed to attend field school in Africa but things didn’t go as planned. Shortly after, I got engaged and 6 months later I was married! The love for the nations still dwelled within me, my husband and I began praying and seeking more about where the lord wanted us. We came across ISM and are so excited to learn and train under other missionaries. I am excited that my husband and I will be on this journey together and we’re both excited for new friendships. But more importantly to serve, learn, grow, love and be the hands and feet in Jesus.
Hello, my name is Nicolas Suarez and I’m 23 years old. I currently live in Texas with my wife. While working at a oil and gas company, I felt the lord calling me out of that and into nursing. I enjoy caring for other people and extending hope to those who are hopeless in their sickness. After getting married, my wife and I began praying about where the lord wanted to take us next. That is when we came across ISM, we’re so honored to have the opportunity to learn and serve with ISM. It now makes sense as to why God called me out of my 9-5 job to pursue a different path. I eventually want to do long- term missions across seas with nursing. We are currently the leaders of our young adults ministry at church and are so excited to take this next leap of faith in our journey.
These past three months I witnessed the strongest forms of evil and greatest depths of brokenness, forcing me at times to face some of the deeply rooted pains that I often times shield my eyes from in my daily life. I walked through villages whose foundations were built upon the concept of women using their bodies to construct a better home for their families, and parents being proud of those very same homes. I looked into the faces of precious children who were a direct result of their birth parents sexual encounters, solely for the purpose of fleeting pleasures and monetary gain. I was stretched and challenged in ways I did not think possible, often times reflecting on the emptiness I had allowed to creep into my own life.
But in the midst of it all I also experienced the purest forms of love. I felt it when a guarded child reached out to hold my hand for the first time gazing up at me with eyes filled with acceptance, knowing that I had gained their trust. I felt it when an eager child, exploding with excitement, sprinted up to me, showing me the beautifully crafted artwork they had just created. I felt it when an enthusiastic child clung onto me, anxiously awaiting for me to tickle them into a giggling fit.
And while it is important to remember that evil is still very prominent, it is equally important to remember that God is at work in making everything beautiful again. It is through the support from my family, friends, and God, that I was able to leave Thailand with the fullest of hearts and greatest feeling of peace and that makes my soul more content than ever before.
Bev Laing is excited to be the new Director of the Impact School of Missions. She has degrees in French and Education, and has taught in French Immersion schools in Ontario. Bev and her husband Gary pastored for twenty-five years before moving to South East Asia as global workers. Bev has also had the privilege of teaching in Bible schools and conferences in Africa, the Philippines and Cuba. Having taught numerous times at ISM and having hosted an intern has given Bev and Gary a great appreciation for the value of students experiencing missions in a real world context. Gary also looks forward to continuing teaching at ISM. Bev is currently finishing Level 2 of a certified coaching course which is focused on coaching for life purpose. She is passionate about mentoring young adults as they discover themselves and their life calling. In her spare time, she loves photography – especially capturing interesting faces. Bev is looking forward to working with Nicole to continue the great work of ISM.
Meet ISM’s new Internship Co-ordinator – Nicole Stockley
Effective July 2016
Nicole is thrilled to be joining the team at ISM as the Internship Coordinator! After sensing a call to ministry as a teenager, Nicole enrolled at Tyndale University and completed a BA in Biblical Studies and Theology with a focus in Youth Ministry. During her University years, Nicole completed a three month internship in Bangkok, Thailand under the mentorship of Sandra McIntosh. She volunteered with Nightlight International and felt God speaking into her heart about future ministry in South East Asia. Upon graduating, Nicole served as a children’s pastor, and a youth and young adults pastor in Newfoundland, alongside her husband Andrew. She also has experience working with students as an admissions counsellor for Tyndale. Her heartbeat is for young adults and she is looking forward to seeing students lives rocked and transformed as they step out in faith and open their hearts to what the Holy Spirit will teach them through internships in SEA. She’s also looking forward to eating mangos and sticky rice. Her husband Andrew will also be leading worship at ISM and teaching a few classes!
Bev and I will be working closely together with ISM until the end of September and I will continue mentoring the current class during their internships. I plan to return to BKK in September 2016 to help transition the first class under new leadership. Jessica Pellowe is the interim internship coordinator until July 1st 2016.
Bev will be in touch with our partners, teachers and outreach partners in the near future. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are open for September 2016 and January 2017. Spread the news!
February was really hard. Some of you know this, many of you don’t. I carried such a shame for not being happy despite being exactly where I’m supposed to be and where God called me to be. I’ve never felt as lonely as I did in February. Surrounded by 8 million people, but unable to communicate to them what was on my mind. Everything was hard, from taking the wrong song-taew, to having a completely opposite schedule of the few people I knew in this city. I was lonely and miserable, but how could I tell people that? Despite finally being in the place I have been planning to be for a year I felt so distant from God when I needed Him the most. On March 7th I finally let it out. I had to go on my first visa run to Cambodia the next morning which meant I was going to spend 10 hours in a van with a bunch of strangers, leaving at 5AM. It was 9:00 the night before I needed to get up at 4AM and I was packing my bag and I realized I was missing my visa pictures. I had gotten them the week before and had checked earlier that afternoon that they were still in my purse, because how awful would it be if I lost them before I needed to go? I tore my room apart, went through my few possessions, all my pockets, my garbage, yet found nothing. I commenced freaking out and frantically left the house to go to a mall before it closed at 10, while my roommates researched where I could go. I had just gotten to the BTS station and scanned my card to get onto the next train when I found out that they will take your picture at the border if you don’t have visa pictures with you. At this point I was beyond frustrated, turned around and went home, and came back to my room and started sobbing. It sounds ridiculous, but it was the last straw. Everything is so much harder here, and I felt as if I couldn’t do anything right. Why was it so hard? Why couldn’t I even keep track of my visa pictures, and why was I so lonely and unhappy here? Sarah, one of my roommates encouraged me to pray through this, and so she prayed for me that despite getting up at 4 the next morning and driving 10 hours that God would meet me where I was at and speak to me in the small van driving through Thailand. I would be lying if I told you I felt instantly better and I heard God reassuring me it was all going to be okay.
I went to work the next day, tired from lack of sleep and continued on with my week. I went on outreach and met Na, who I wrote about in a previous post. I left feeling hopeful, purposeful, and happy. It was strange. Then the next week all the sudden I realized that everything was different. It’s hard to describe, but I had a newfound love for Thailand and life. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, I was filled with love and joy and God’s presence. Things are still hard, but God changed my perspective the last few weeks. I went from not knowing why I came all the way to Thailand to be a “babysitter” and a “mom” to experiencing joy in the hardest and most mundane moments. I’m seeing a bigger picture where my actions speak much louder than my words ever could.
One of the women at the house gave me a book she thought I should read in my first week of volunteering but only did I make time to start reading it this past week, and then I couldn’t put it down. It’s called Kisses from Katie, and it’s about a girl who moved to Uganda at 19 to do missions for a year, but ended up staying there, and starting up Amazima ministries, adopting 13 children in one of the poorest villages in Uganda. It sounds crazy, but God totally used this book to show me that it was okay that I felt lonely, confused and sad sometimes, I wasn’t the only one. I felt so understood as I read her experiences there the first few months. I want to share her beautiful and raw words with you, because they sum up how I’ve been feeling perfectly.
“The contradiction comes when I realize that all these experiences and emotions were real. The happiness that gave me chill bumps was as deep as my loneliness. My sense of certainty about being exactly where God wanted me was solid, but just as firm was the fact that I wondered at times what on earth I was doing here. The frustration that threatened to overtake me on some occasions was just as deep and true as the unbounded joy I felt at other times. I loved my new life; I truly loved it. But compared to the life I had been living, it was hard.”
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the comforts and people of my old life desperately. My human flesh still sometimes wanted to go to the mall and spend a ridiculous amount of money on a cute pair of shoes…Most days, I wished I could wake up under my down comforter in a house with my loving family, not all by myself….I wanted to go to the gym; I wanted my hair to look nice; I wanted to be allowed to wear jeans. I wanted to a be a normal teenager living in America, sometimes. But I wanted other things more….I wanted to make some kind of difference, no matter how small, and I wanted to follow the call God had placed on my heart. I wanted to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second…The longer I stayed, the more I realized that deep fulfillment had begun to swallow my every frustration. No matter how many contradictions I struggled with, how different certain situations were, no matter how lonely I got, no matter how many tears I cried, one truth remained firmly grounded in my heart: I was in the centre of God’s will; I was doing what I was created to do.” – Katie Davis
He’s using my weaknesses and areas of deficit for his purpose and his glory. I would walk into the house thinking of all the things I couldn’t do. I could barely cook, my baby skills were minimal, I didn’t speak their primary languages, and as a newly 23 year-old who has lived an incredibly blessed life in Canada what did I even have in common with these women? But how empowering is it to teach someone a skill you possess! Let me tell you, it’s incredibly empowering. Maybe the fact that I didn’t “know it all” is part of why I’m here. I’ve now mastered cooking cassava, the best peas I’ve ever had, and the meat I serve is always cooked thoroughly haha. I see how proud the women are when they are able to teach me a skill and prove what they know, after being trapped a world where there was so much they couldn’t do.
It’s the lightbulb moments when I see a woman totally get it that make it all worth it. All the sudden she learns something new, a skill, a concept, a frame of mind, and it changes her. She suddenly realizes that all she needs to do to increase her faith is to ask for it. She tells me that her new hobby is reading her bible. She’s hungry for God and has infinite questions about how she can follow Him. It’s seeing that the house can be a place of healing, growth and JOY. Coming to the point of thanking God that I am here and I get to wash countless dishes, get covered in baby puke, walk on eggshells around a woman who is in a really bad mood, frantically try to throw ingredients together to make somewhat of a meal, put a two year old on countless time outs as she throws another temper tantrum. These are things that aren’t written in the job description. But neither are the moments when a woman proudly presents me with a scarf she made for me, having just learned how to crochet; Holding a woman’s hand as she cries, not sure if she’ll ever make it home; having a baby fall asleep in my arms every day; seeing the joy and amazement that baking cupcakes brings to the house, and being asked 20 minutes later to make another batch because almost all 24 of them are gone; praying with, and for, these strong women for healing, for repatriation, for them to know the love of their Father.
Just like Katie, I’m starting to love this life that I am living, the opportunities I have been blessed with, and all that God is doing in front of me and in me. It’s hard, harder than I like to admit, but if God can use me having a meltdown over lost visa pictures to change my entire perspective I have no doubt He will continue to use the hardest times for His greatest glory.
Stretching hurts. I can’t even touch my toes. As a runner, I know better. I know I need to stretch. But sometimes I just hate it. I openly admit that I avoid learning to do it because I can’t be bothered to deal with the “burn” that comes along with it, and the time commitment that it will take to get me there. I cringe just thinking about trying to reach that far down. Oye.
As a runner, I know better. I know I need to stretch.
Last week I wrote about apathy and, ironically, that’s what I think I am dealing with this week. Again, oye. This missions trip is a huge stretch for me. Sometimes it’s easier to look at everything I can’t do rather than what I can. Like not knowing if I am making any sense at all when I’m teaching English, or something as simple…
Hi! My name is Shirley Chee, and I’m from Perth, Western Australia.
Here’s a little background about me. I’m born in Singapore, and moved to Perth 5 years ago. God called me to nursing school in 2007 and I am now practicing as a registered nurse at Joondalup Emergency Department. Nursing is my passion, and I love to read or sing during my free time.
I’m beyond excited to be embarking on an exciting journey with God this year. Sometime in September last year, I had the privilege to be part of a mission trip to Thailand with my church and that was my first encounter with Nightlight. Nightlight is a ministry based in Bangkok which outreaches to women and children who are exploited in the human trafficking and sex industry, empowering them emotionally and offering alternative employment. My mission team was given a tour at Citylight Coffee (one of the alternative employments), and given a huge insight to what Nightlight was doing. It broke my heart to know so many people are suffering with poverty and slavery, and I knew God is breaking my heart for a reason. I have to come back.
I’m thankful of this opportunity by ISM to serve with Nightlight for two months after a period of training in September this year. Being in an unfamiliar mission field is daunting, but I know I won’t be alone. He makes me brave, and I am ready to be used by Him!
Hello! My name is Tessa Markham, I am 19 years old and from St. Catharines, Ontario. I’m beyond thrilled to be joining ISM this coming January serving at Noah’s Ark in the Philippines.
I grew up as a pastor’s kid and have always felt a strong pull towards missions but never really found a time that seemed “right” for me. I spent a year working after I graduated from high school and during that time decided to go to Redeemer University College the following year to study French and to be in an environment where my relationship with God would be able to grow even more.
I have spent this past semester having a blast playing varsity volleyball, being involved with the worship teams, and learning a lot about myself through these experiences. It’s been great, but still God put this unshakeable desire in my heart to go out into the world. He certainly works in mysterious ways and I couldn’t ignore the same pull towards missions that I have always felt, and I know that he is calling me to new things.
I came across ISM not too long ago and couldn’t believe how incredible the opportunity was. Without a second thought I applied that very night and now here I am… nervous and excited for what this next chapter will bring. I cannot rely on my own strength to take part in a trip like this, but I know God has called me here for a reason. I am ready to be stretched out of my comfort zone, it’s time to GO!