Meet Blake Langbroek! Coming to ISM 09.16 – Internship in Laos.

blake

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.

Meet Mandi Delgado and Nicolas Suarez coming to ISM September 2016 – internship Noah’s Ark

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.

mandi

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.
husbandmandi

Meet Jake O’Donnell coming to ISM 01.16 – internship – Noah’s Ark.

I am 21 and I was raised in Wellman, Iowa in the U.S. I attended a small christian school from kindergarten to 12th grade. The area I live in is fairly conservative and sheltered because many of the people are amish, mennonite or another conservative denomination.
jake
I first asked Jesus into my heart in the 6th grade. I was sitting in my cubical reading in my pace work about how Jesus gave his life for me and loves me and wants to be a part of my life. I raised my desk flag, signaling the teacher that I had a question. She came over and I asked her how I could invite Jesus into my life. She told me all I had do was recognize that I am a sinner, ask for Him to forgive me and invite Him into my life. That day I learned true prayer has results!
In high school I participated in basketball at my school and track and cross country at the local public school. My faith had grown since that day in 6th grade in my cubical but my faith was greatly tested! It was very easy for me to lose sight of what God wanted for my life and instead seek out my own will. But God blessed me with strong friends that encouraged me and lifted me up. Hebrews 12;1 says, “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” God put people on my path that see me and invest a great deal in me.
The people of the Fairview Mennonite Church adopted me into their family when I was in 7th grade. I did not attend regularly until I became very serious about my faith my junior year of high school. I have been attending regularly and been involved in youth functions now for the last 4 years. God has greatly blessed me with the relationships I have there!
I currently work as the manager at Sunrise Child Care here in Wellman. It may be odd but growing up all I wanted to be was a dad. I believe That is a desire God took from His own heart and put into mine. I have been at Sunrise for three years and God has shown me tremendous things about His children and what He calls a father and a mother to be. He has shown how He loves me by the relationships I have made with the children I care for. I have also learned a great deal about women as all my coworkers are women. I believe children give us a glimpse of God that everyone needs to experience, which is unconditional love and acceptance.
I am very excited for my internship at Noah’s Ark! I love the idea of going somewhere far away and learning to live in a different culture. God is already stretching me in ways that I have been afraid of increasing in, such as fund raising and immunizations. God has lead me to this mission and I can’t wait to see what He is going to do!

Meet Kaitlin Hicks coming to ISM 09.16 – internship at NightLight.

My name is Kaitlin Hicks, I’m coming to ISM September 2016 and I’ll be interning with Nightlight International in Bangkok.

Kaitlin

I’m from a collection of small towns across Missouri and Kansas in the United States. I grew up in a Christian home, and for the majority of my life my dad was my pastor. I received Christ as my savior when I was five years old but through the course of growing up and life I became very complacent in my faith and apathetic towards church and the word. Through missions trips, church camps, and youth conferences I would rekindle my passion, but it would almost always die away quickly. Thankfully during high school I really began seeking God, without the urging of my parents, and my faith began to grow into my own. After high school I completed a two year internship at Honor Academy of The Ozarks and through this program I became grounded in my faith and matured as Christian, person, and leader.

During my junior year God awakened a passion in me to help people in human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking. Instead of fading like so many things in my past, as I grew older the passion inside of me for this cause only strengthened. God gave me Isaiah 61:1-3 as the passage to stand on for my future and, as I prayed about it I knew God was calling me to this type of ministry. I currently volunteer with Nightlight Branson and I love it. I am so excited to come to Bangkok and intern there; it will be challenging, eye opening, and rewarding.

I also love Jesus, my siblings, my parents, serving in youth ministry, serving at Nightlight, and hanging out with my friends. I enjoy reading all kinds of books, writing, singing disney songs, watching Tangled over and over, and gummy bears.

Meet R – coming to ISM 09.15 – internship with MoveIn in the Philippines

  • Note: Our students full name and photo have been removed to protect his identity as he continues to serve in various areas of SEA

Hello!  My name is R and I will be doing ISM in September 2015

I recently graduated from a bachelor’s program called Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo, Canada.  As I have been learning about integration in the academic world, God has been teaching me that there is not one part of life that the gospel does not profoundly impact and no matter where I am at, there is always a bigger dream that God has for me.

At a conference last year, I was inspired by keynote Viv Grigg, social entrepreneur, and prolific missiologist.  He spoke about his experience in choosing to live among the urban poor in the slums of the world’s megacities.  At the same conference, I was challenged by these words from Nigel Paul, founder/director of MoveIn: “There are many who are willing to go but planning to stay… and not enough who are planning to go yet willing to stay.”  I said to myself, How can I possibly go to the slums?  I wouldn’t know how, or where, or what to do… but, on the other hand, how could I not go?  If indeed this is God’s call, how can I say to him, “Sorry God, I want plan B instead because it sounds easier.”?  No, there is nothing in this world that I want more than Jesus himself, and if Jesus is going to the slums, then I will follow him there.  “For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7)  I am planning to go and willing to stay.

My plan is to spend the month of September in Bangkok, Thailand doing four weeks of cross-cultural ministry training with Impact School of Missions.  At ISM I will learn the necessary tools and knowledge for surviving and thriving throughout the next eleven months or so in Manila, Philippines.  I will live in a squatter community experiencing the culture, practicing slum-life, and knowing the joys and sorrows of the slum-dwellers.  And I am so excited to see how God’s spirit is active in such communities.  I will also continue to work for the MoveIn Vision Team.  MoveIn is a movement of ordinary Christians (not paid missionaries) forming teams to prayerfully move in among the unreached urban poor to build relationships with their neighbours, pray for them, and ultimately make reproducing disciples.  I am a pioneer helping to start the MoveIn movement in the Philippines, mobilizing Filipinos to move in among the unreached urban poor, the slum dwellers, of Southeast Asia.  I am so excited to think about hundreds of rich and poor Filipinos forming teams and moving into the worst of conditions just to pray for and love their poor neighbours who have never heard the gospel.

R

Sarah Hayton ISM Class of Jan 2014 becomes the Daycare Manager at Daughter’s of Cambodia.

A Journey of Many Choices

sarahhayton

About this time last year, while I was in Cambodia I was already seeking the next step. Return to my old job in the UK? I had a couple of things that God said, one was to study His word and in a year from now I’ll know. I thought in a year I’ll know because I’ll be doing it… and study? What kind of study… lessons or to study his word more seriously on my own? After praying a lot I felt it was right to leave my current job, but after doing so I had a mini freak out. However God comforted me and reassured me that it was the right thing to do. It seriously was a huge deal to me, leaving a lovely team and a quite rewarding job. Nevertheless things seem to look more golden when you are not in the mist of it. Pushing doors and feeling as though I needed some type of security while in Cambodia I applied for another nursing job back in the UK but more of a safeguarding role. They called me for interview but it was the day before I left Cambodia and I was unable to re-arrange the interview. Once I arrived home I had a seriously busy month or two, but after taking time to rest and reflect and breath! I kept asking the same question… “so what’s next?” many people asked me “when are you returning to Cambodia?” or “what are you doing now?” All I knew was that I wasn’t retuning to Cambodia yet and my reply to the latter question was “I’m talking to you!” because that is all I knew, I was living each day as it came. I really don’t think in my time of waiting that any of it was wasted. I also felt as though God would honour my next step. I pushed many doors. I applied to work in safe houses in the UK. In the mean time I joined a nursing agency as I needed to get some pennies in. I thank God because I have got regular work through them. With lots of ‘nos’ coming back my way I took a break from seeking what was next. I asked God “if your going to honour my next step then why is every door shutting?” So I looked to what He told me in Cambodia and thought, study His word. So I applied to a Missions college (All Nations), looking around I couldn’t stop crying. It felt so peaceful and the place was so full of God’s presence. (I felt rather a foolish not being able to stop crying). I believe in the brief moment while I was looking around All Nations, God was healing me and confirming to me the call He has put on my life. I had such amazing talk with some of the tutors. I applied and was excepted in. While I was applying to All Nations I started a Beth Moore study on Daniel and learned so much from it. The doors also started to swing open, my old job offered me some maternity cover, which was so hard to turn down. A shelter I had applied to asked me to apply again. With every door that opened I just started to laugh. I love Gods sense of humor and His timing (well maybe I don’t ‘love’ His timing, He does seem to leave things to the last minute but it sure is perfect)! I also had a decision to make about which entry level I wanted to go into at All Nations. I believe God left it for me to choose. The decision of entry level was tougher than it should have been. Praying and seeking I met up with my uncle and we opened the book Operation World and looked up Cambodia. To our amusement it was supposed to be prayed for that day. Trying not to read to much into it but thanking Him for the confirmation that going to Cambodia was right. It was something I decided to put on the shelf for later. On one of my night shifts I was chatting to God and said. “God you need to tell me what I am to do, people will soon be waiting to hear my decision.” I heard God clearly, He replied “what do you want?” getting quite emotional I replied “To please you, that’s all I want.” any offer could be right. The conversation stopped there, but I didn’t feel that the conversation was over. When I returned home from my night shift, I checked my emails before heading to bed and I had received an email from Daughters of Cambodia asking if I was interested in returning. Again I laughed, it was a slightly different laugh though, more at the confirmation that this is the choice that God would be pleased with me to take. Therefore I am returning to Daughters of Cambodia in January 2016 as the day care manager. I didn’t see myself returning quite so quickly. I can clearly see that God gave me lots of options to show my true feelings. Even though I was acceptant of the other choices, none of them stirred me up or excited me as much as going back to Cambodia. During my time of applying to All Nations I wrote about how God called me to become a missionary from an extremely early age and I think it really helped me to realise that God has confirmed this calling in my life time and again. Even though I knew that I was called to go… it wasn’t a topic I was comfortable in sharing publicly mostly because I didn’t know when or where. Maybe you could say I became a little scared of it becoming reality rather than a dream. As I grew older the thought of living a life of faith made me feel as though people would see me as “strange” or that in some way I needed to change who I was because I didn’t fit the “norm” for a missionary. God told me before I left for Cambodia in 2014 to be myself, that small statement got me through a lot. I was surrounded by so many great godly people I felt a little inferior, but laying my insecurities aside he still used me and I know that He isn’t finished with me yet. I’m excited about returning to Cambodia (for at least 1 year), it is also a bonus that I will also know what to expect. I am still preparing myself a lot, I know the road ahead will lead in many tough battles. Therefore I’d appreciate prayers and support along the way, it truly means so much and please never forget how powerful prayers are.

Sarah Hayton

Best fundraising ideas EVER for your missions internship

Fundraising can be daunting.  I’ve been fundraising for 10 years and I want you to know that God inspires people to give but you have to do the work.  The ministry you are partnered with is counting on you.  A few important things to remember:
 fundraising
1.  People want to give so you have to let them know about the opportunity.  How do you do that?
– an email with all the details about what you are doing and why you are doing it.   State in the email how much money you need exactly and when you need it.   Let them know how they can give – if online – provide the online link – or through a cheque – where do they send it? What do they write on the cheque? Then you need to write updates to the people you’ve sent the email to tell them how much you’ve raised. Keep them in the know about how the fundraising is going. Mail Chimp is a great way to send good looking emails with a donate button right in the template.  I know several students who have raised their entire budget from an email (but don’t depend on this method alone). You have to keep sending updates and following up.
2.  Meet with people – get together with friends, your boss, your neighbours, church friends and friends of your family and tell them you really need their support. Tell them how much and when you need it.
3.  Hold a party at your house all about the country of your internship, culture, language – have food  from the culture- put together a presentation and give them the opportunity to give that night.
4.  If you are artistic, sing, play, draw, dance – whatever your skill set is, use it  to raise money – have a music night, talk about your internship, ISM and give them an opportunity to give
5.  Ask your young adult ministry if they’d do a fundraiser – Dessert auctions really go well.    Ask all your friends to make cakes, your pastor etc – and let people bid.  Auctions bring a lot of dollars in.
6.  Use social media – every form of it.   Update people regularly.
7. Speak to the Congregation – Sometimes church leaders will allow you to speak to the congregation about the missions trip, which can elicit financial support. Some churches will even conduct a special offering to help students raise funds for the trip. You can even attend different small group functions to talk about the trip and raise funds.  You have to ask.  The worst thing they can say is no.

8. Advertise Your Mission Trip. Most churches have a weekly bulletin, and some even have a website and newsletter. These are all great places to advertise your mission trip and how to give. Ask if its possible.
9. Raise Your Own Money. Sacrificial giving is often the most rewarding. In order to get some of the finances you need for your trip, you may want to sacrifice some of the activities that cost you money like weekly trips to Starbucks, movies, eating out, or new clothes. Instead of getting presents for your birthday, why not ask for financial support for the mission trip?
9. Frequent Flyer Miles. Some airlines allow the donation of frequent flyer miles to non-profit groups. If someone you know is interested in donating the mileage to you , be sure to check with the airline first to see if your mission trip is eligible.  Your flight is on top of your budget so this may help to cover the cost.
10.  Have a huge garage sale with your all your friends, family and maybe even the church- Get everyone to donate their items, and make sure the sale is advertised and open to the general public.
11.  Ask your young adult pastor or your church if it would be possible to have a jar in the foyer of the church or at every young adult event and do a “Change for Missions” jar. Over a period of three months ask the members to give their change for the missions trip.

12.  If you like you can break your budget down into bite size pieces and figure out how many people you need to give 25, 50 or 100 dollars and present it to people that way.
The key is to do everything you can think of.  A couple things to remember:
– it sometimes takes a while to see your first donation – don’t worry – you do the work – the money comes in.
– you aren’t begging – you are giving people an opportunity to spend their money on something that lasts for eternity.  They can wrap their arms around the world with you.
– people WANT to give to someone who is passionate about what they are going to do – so be enthusiastic about it.
– the people you expect to give may not and people you never dreamed would give do.
– friends who don’t follow Jesus will also give IF you present to them the WHY of the trip – show them the need
Once you Go
Update FB, twitter – send emails, take videos and post on youtube, use instagram, start a blog to keep your supporters in the loop.  The number one reason people don’t keep supporters – they don’t stay in touch.  One day you might be coming back or need supporters for another chapter in your life so do this well and you will have life long friendships.
God inspires people to give when you tell them your need! It will come!

The Dad with the Bad Kids

  • Sarahr

    Well my third and final internship is coming to a close. And although I am stoked out of my mind to go home and see my family and all my pals, I am very sad to leave this one. I was sad to leave all of them. But for some reason, my time in India feels unfinished. I will make no promises of returning, because it’s not my place to know the future. But something has stirred within me, a fire that won’t be put out so easily. Whatever I end up doing with my life, I can never again feign ignorance for the lack of proactive action fighting for social justice in our world. That was a mouthful, basically what I mean is that I cannot pretend that I have not learned what I have learned here. You can’t ignore a bullet that hit you right in the heart. Maybe I can only make a lasting difference in the lives of a few street kids. But that would be so worth it. To give a few kids a chance in life that should be their human right. I certainly can’t save the world, but I can do my part. If I backed away now it would certainly be a greater wrong than if I had remained in my bubble of ignorance.

    Don’t freak out those who love me that are reading this. I’m still getting on that plane tomorrow. I’m actually planning on going back to school for a couple of years if all goes well so I’ll be living in Canada for a few years yet. And social justice also needs to be fought for on Canadian soil.

    What I am really trying to communicate is that I have learned so much from my time at ISM. During this last internship I was sick so often that it just became a joke. But I have encountered a part of God that I had only glimpsed before. I have known God as the sovereign creator, and God as my closest friend for almost my whole life. But now I also know God as the dad that fights for every one of his kids, who has made bigger sacrifices and has shown more grace than any earthly father even has the capacity to give. Who is reaching out to even the most rebellious of souls, always.

    This has been a very important 7 months in my life. I can feel the weight of it. My faith has solidified on a solid rock where it was pretty shaky before.

    So here’s to the God that chooses to be our dad, even when we’re the worst kids ever.

    For Narnia! And for Aslan! (Just thought I’d throw that in there)

  • Sarah Ricker – ISM 09.14

Meet Benjamin Ekres – coming to ISM September 2015 – internship Place of Grace

Hi! My name is Benjamin Ekres. It’s with great joy when I say that I will be joining ISM in Bangkok, Thailand this September! (2015)

ben

For the past 21 years, I’ve been living in Guelph, Ontario in the beautiful country of Canada. I was raised and continue to live in a home where Christ is in the center. In my youth, I truly learned what it was to have a living relationship with Jesus. This was after I tried to seek contentment and purpose outside of His will for my life (which I’m learning is the BEST thing in the whole world). He welcomed me back with open arms and revealed to me by His Spirit that He truly loves me! He has continued to change me and is propelling me into a life of service to others and ultimately Him self.

I will be graduating College with a diploma in Radio Broadcasting this April. That being said, I know the plans I had going into my school career have definitely changed… I thought I would most likely start my career in broadcasting upon graduation… But as I spent more and more time in thought and prayer about this concept, my passion for the idea began to fade. It was not without a replacement thought, mind you. God had planted a passion for missions in me at a youth conference called Overflow (probably in 2010-11). It was there that I saw an ISM booth and was instantly intrigued. When I heard about what they were doing, I got PUMPED. I thought to my self “Wow. This is something I would like to do… and probably something God wants me to do…” It’s funny how God works… because here I am, several years later writing a profile for my acceptance at Impact School of Missions!

I’m excited to see how God will move as I intern with “Place of Grace” starting in October. The thought of serving kids and youth who live in the slums of Thailand is not only humbling, but also encouraging. It is my hope that I will be able to pour into their lives and be Christ’s hands and feet within the context God puts me in.

This verse is lengthy, but it’s one I feel lead to share:

Peter 1:3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 

 

Thank you Jesus! I can’t wait for what’s in store!

How can I believe in God when there is so much suffering?

When you come the mission field, you can’t go a day without seeing pain. Horrible pain.  It’s easy to start ask God ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’  ‘Don’t you love people?’  ‘If you love people why don’t you intervene?’  It’s okay to ask God these questions but it may reveal a lot about where you are in your relationship with Him.  So how to do you walk through those thoughts and even doubts about the love of God?

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As a side note – It is fascinating that I’ve never been asked this question by people living in India, Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia  who certainly knows a lot more about suffering than we do. Why?

When we ask this question the complaint is against God’s character: ‘Can I really trust God when I see so much pain?’ If you are sure that you can trust Him, regardless of the pain you see or are experiencing , there is no temptation to turn away from Him because He is the only one who can help.

Maybe the reason we question God’s character when bad things happen or we see suffering is that we live lives largely independent from Him. In other words, do we actually trust Him even when things are going well?   When life is easy we don’t really need to trust God for anything.  I think for many this can cause us to live as Christian Atheists.  We are Christians but we live like God doesn’t exist.

As I mentioned, I have never been asked questions about God’s love and suffering by people living in SEA. In fact, when I visit churches in parts of the world where they are faced daily with great pain and suffering, they inspire me.  They aren’t asking, “where is God?” They trust God in everything,  Suffering is part of life, part of being human and living in a fallen world.  They don’t expect life to be perfect, in fact they expect suffering.   When times are really hard, they cling to Him because they have already learned to trust Him when things are good and they know when things are bad that there is no other answer but God.  They can’t take a pill,  get a job, borrow money or run to a government agency for help.

Maybe we struggle with suffering so much in the West because we are so comfortable and ‘safe’ most of the time that we feel we don’t need God.  We don’t rely on Him on a daily basis and therefore we don’t really know Him as we should.  I think this is at the heart of asking ‘why?’ When suffering comes along, it is not so much that it takes us away from God, but it reveals to us that we haven’t actually had to really trust Him or we haven’t been close to Him in the first place.

What should we do?  Often when we are upset by our circumstances the first thing we should do is the last thing we do.  The best thing you can do when you are upset or confused is to get into the Word of God and pray.  If we aren’t close to Him in the first place, the last thing you want to do is spend time with Him.  If you’ve been a Christian for awhile it’s so easy to do and say the right things and not even really believe them.  The Word of God is supernatural and spending time hearing the voice of God through the Word helps give you the right perspective and helps you to know who He really is.  To know HIm is to love Him.  If you aren’t in the Word you can’t remember the truth and start doubting basic things like GOD IS LOVE which is true regardless of the circumstance.  The Word reminds you of that on every page.  If you don’t feel like reading the Word or praying start by asking God for a hunger and thirst for Him.  Ask Him to help you to fall in love with Him.  Forcing yourself to read the Bible and pray isn’t the way it was meant to be.  If you have to force yourself it probably means your love is waning.  Love drives us to be with Him.  If we aren’t in love with Him we’re likely  living on the fumes of former days where we did vibrantly love Him and that’s why we starting doubting and asking why.   Another helpful thing is to talk to people in the midst of suffering who have an unshakeable faith in God.   Their joy in their pain helps you understand what faith looks like and that circumstances don’t need to affect faith because God is trustworthy and He never changes.

The good news is. even in the questioning,  He loves you – He is used to His children trying to live in their own strength or running from Him and yet , if you cry out – He’s standing right there.  Arms outstretched – waiting.