Hi! I’m Praise and I’m coming to ISM in January 2015. Growing up in a christian home its often all too easy to talk and act like your a christian and go through the motions without any real substance to your ‘confession’ (this was my experience for many years)
And God is more like a genie that grants our wishes(and prayers..) & when they are granted we refuse to rub the lamb again… And our prayer life vanishes (until the next time…)
For me making a commitment to follow Christ was the best decision and its wasn’t an easy decision but one that changed my life and it was great to know that my commitment was a response to his great initiative that the cross pictures perfectly.
Going on mission is what i believe he has called me to and even beyond this season of my life and i expect great things and great seeds to be planted in my life and the lives of others around me, both in Asia and wherever it is he leads me next.
I know that being surrounded by like minded people will help me grow in my faith and as a person and that God will do amazing things in my life and even in the lives of those around me, and that my ministry however small, carries great weight and significance.
This trip is all about actions supporting the words of my confession and i hope to gain skills that i can use in life and especially later on as a long term missionary.
Praise lives in the UK.
My name is Sarah Colantonio and I will be interning through ISM as of January 2015!
I grew up a pastor’s child in both Montreal and Toronto. As you can imagine my childhood was very cliché of this. Every Sunday morning service was an all day event, showing up early and sometimes staying late into the evening. Touched by an Angel was my show, that is when I wasn’t watching VeggieTales.
All jokes and stereotypes aside, I volunteered my time Sunday mornings in the nursery and Sunday school. From a young age I loved working with children and knew I wanted to pursue it in some capacity. This has always stayed with me, and when I entered high school I began to feel another tug on my heart. I became more aware of the pull the world had on me, and I began to gravitate towards missions. God placed a desire in me to travel and reach people in other countries.
When I finished high school I had nothing but a calling and a passion, arguably the most important things in life, but no outlet to feed them into. I decided to study Early Childhood Education in pursuit of my love of children. Although I enjoy the program I was studying is something that gave me great joy, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I kept hearing God telling me he had something bigger for me, something international.
So here I am, writing to you before I go on a journey that I know will change my life completely. Words cannot fully express how excited I am for the opportunity to study missions at ISM and intern at Noah’s Ark in the Philippines. I had never known it was possible to fall in love with places I’ve not yet been to, but it has happened to me. It is a confirmation that God has so much ready for me to discover. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to further my relationship with Him as well as develop new ones with His children around the world.
// “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.” – Mark 9:36-37 (the MSG) //
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!
My name is Jannelle Dyck and I will be joining ISM in September 2014! I will then be going on to serve at Daughters of Cambodia for six months starting in October.
Words can’t fully express my excitement and anticipation for this new adventure! My decision to apply to ISM was made in somewhat of a haste, but was definitely God-ordained. In the span of a few hours just a couple of weeks ago, each of my ‘concrete plans’ for this Fall fell through. While I admit I was momentarily struck with some feelings of anxiety, I felt a stronger sense of sheer freedom where I was able to turn to the Lord and ask with complete abandon- “where to?” ISM had already been on my radar before this, and I was considering applying for the Winter semester, however God clearly had a different timeline in mind. Though it was past the application date, I quickly sent an inquiry email to Sandra and she promptly responded with- yes! So I applied, and less than two weeks later, here I am preparing to go to Thailand and Cambodia in a month and a half!
A little bit about myself and my life journey thus far: I have lived in various parts of the country throughout my life but currently live in Langley, BC. I was raised in a home with Christian parents, attending church regularly. I grew up believing in God but never had much interest in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. However, through strong friendships and key mentors that were placed in my life during the shaping years of middle school/early high school, God started to soften my heart towards Him. Slowly, I began to learn that following Christ and having that relationship with Him was something to be desired and was freeing, rather than being a hindrance or shackle. God took hold of my heart and began to transform me. After high school I went on to study and live at Trinity Western University. My four and a half years spent at TWU were incredibly transformational. I was able to learn, serve, lead, and worship in a way I had never before experienced.
I graduated from Trinity Western University in 2013 with a B.A. in Sociology and Human Services Certificate. This past year I have been working as a caseworker for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and as a support worker at a transition house for women fleeing abuse. It is in my role at the transition house that God has kindled and confirmed my heart for working with women who have experienced trauma and abuse. I have a passion for advocacy and empowerment and am beyond excited to employ these in my time serving at Daughters of Cambodia!
Hello my name is Amanda and my journey to Thailand begins in Sept 2014. Why Thailand? Great question and simply put, the Lord said go. In September/October 2012, the Lord told me two years Thailand. To be honest, I was surprised and totally shocked because Thailand was not even on my radar or even close for that matter. Plus, I knew very little about Thailand and I had no idea if the Lord wanted me togo for two years or to leave in two years. However, I slowly started to research many different options to goThailand and allowed the Lord to lead the way. Even though I looked into many possibilities, the Lord kept bringing me back to one which I finally pursued because I knew it was the door He wanted me to go through. Oh and by the way if you have not noticed I start ISM in September and begin my internship in October 2014. This will be exactly 2 years just like the Lord said. Trust me, I did not plan it out that way it is just how it all unfolded because I was uncertain for the longest time about what He meant by 2 years Thailand. Praise Jesus for His provision, love,patience, and faithfulness.
So, here is a brief background of my life. I am from the United States and currently living in Florida. Igraduated from the University of Toledo in May 2013 with my Bachelor’s in Adolescent and Young Adult Education and my Bachelor’s in Arts with my major in History. I have a passionate for teaching but I did not start teaching right away because I felt like the Lord wanted me to pursue other options such as going to Thailand.However, the more I grown in Him I realize that my greatest passionate is seeing people encounter His love and helping them get closer to Jesus.
I grew up in a Christian home but I never realized that I could have a deep personal relationship with the Lord. I had no idea what loving God looked like or what living by faith truly meant until I went to Haiti. The pastor that we worked with completely trusted in the Lord to provide for their needs which He did daily. This pastor had so much joy and faith in the Lord and it was contagious. Also, the Lord was using this pastor in tremendous ways and I realized that I wanted to know the Father on this level. Therefore, I started to seek Him more and I realized that everything that is promised in the Bible we as believers have access to. The Lord has totally transformed the way I think and how I want to live my life because of His great love. Even though I have been to Haiti, Mexico, and Kenya, it is nothing compared to what I am about to embark upon but I am walking out in faith.
I start ISM in September and my internship with The Centre begins in October 2014 for 6 months. I know the Lord will lead the way and for that reason, because He is calling me, I am following Him to Thailand. I want to be a light wherever I am at for the Lord because I want people to encounter the love of the Lord. I desire for people to realize that they have access to Him daily and are capable of walking out in His promises and gifts that He has lavished upon us. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of the type of life-style that He is calling me to live.
The Lord is good,
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,
Hello! I’m Bonny and I’ll be starting the internship in Jan 2014.
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!
Hello, my name is Amanda Campbell and I am from Thousand Oaks, California.
I grew up in a Christian home and have known Christ ever since I can remember. When I was 5-years-old I told my mom that I was born to help poor people. I didn’t remember telling my mom this and then years later when I was about to go to Louisiana to help with the hurricane Katrina aftermath, my mom remembered me telling her. Her bringing that up sparked something in me, even though I wouldn’t fully realize it until years later after high school.
All I know is I love to help and serve the less fortunate. So I kept serving and helping the poor when I could. I also became more aware of the growing issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery. I just couldn’t ignore it and I felt that I needed to do something.
The last 3 years of my life have been a challenge for me and I have learned so much and grown a lot. I have learned how to rely on God for everything, from taking care of lost friends to getting me through 6 funerals. I’m at a point in my life where I am at a crossroads, my job is unsatisfying and I am no longer in school. I need something to ignite the fire again and to renew my relationship with Christ, a refresher. I also need to do something bigger than me and serve others. So I stumbled upon ISM on the Night Light website and knew it was for me. This is the door God has opened for me, for something bigger than me.
For my internship I will be partnering with The Well in Bangkok. They work with the Thai sex workers in the bars and on the streets, ministering to them and offering them emotional support and healing. They help the women acquire skills to be able to go back to their homes and be self-supportive. I’m so blessed to get to work with The Well and serve the women and I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do.
Hi I’m Mitchel and I am super pumped to say that I will be attending ISM in January 2014 and upon completion spending three months in The Philippine’s at Noah’s Ark working with orphans.
I have currently completed two years of school at Vanguard Bible College and I am now entering my third year looking to complete the internship phase of my schooling. I am 22 years old and PUMPED for what God has in store for me.
Ever since finishing my first year of Bible College and having the opportunity to visit so many amazing countries all over South East Asia I knew that the missionary call was in my blood and something I have wanted to do with my life. I love the people, culture and adventure that comes with meeting so many new individuals and seeing how God is moving in their life whether they know it or not.
However, like any journey there is always hiccup’s along the way that slow you down or cause you to question God’s purpose for your life and I am no exception to those hiccups. Lucky for us though our God is bigger and always gets us through the storms of life no matter how bad or tough they get.
So with that I look forward to the next chapter in my life with ISM and can’t wait to see what God does next. He has put ISM in my life for a reason and just knowing that gets me excited because He uses these experiences to shape and change who I am.
I look forward to meeting everyone else who is attending in January. May God bless you richly in your fundraising and preparation!
Hello there! My name is Tristen Banales and I will be attending ISM January 2014.
I feel so privileged to be a part of a program that is a catalyst for missionaries. My heart’s cry is to see hope restored to the Thai people. I want to be in the darkness, understand the environment and bring forth His light into the hearts and minds of the people there. I am honored to serve for six months at Dton Naam Ministries where they reach out to the gender confused involved in the sex trade. Dton Naam also runs a café which helps to support their ministry.
I was born and raised in California, grew up in a small town on the Monterey Peninsula. Deep down I knew I wanted God to lead my life and without even realizing it, I began to search Him out. I journeyed up to the Bay Area to attend culinary school and studied baking and pastry.
He led me straight into the arms of an incredible church family who helped me to grow in my awareness and knowledge of God. The more and more I experienced God, He went from being my creator to my Father.
Over the past two and a half years my life has radically changed. I want nothing more than to live my life discovering His love in every situation and circumstance–from the workplace, to the streets and within households. I am on a journey of love to see His heart revealed to others in the most vulnerable way. I want to build close authentic relationships with other people because I have experienced that kind of relationship with Him.
At the beginning of this year the Father gave me a sudden passion to help those involved in the sex trade, specifically in Thailand. I found ISM through NightLight International. With much excitement I found that there were other internship opportunies through ISM. I stumbled upon Dton Naam and was excited to know that my education and skillset would be of help within their café/bakery. I am honored to be a part of such an influential organization and cannot wait to see what God does with my time there!
I am anticipating and preparing for this next journey to Southeast Asia with much joy. I pray that everyday He shows me something new about His love so that I may reflect Him, represent Him, demonstrate Him, and love more like Him. I am not sure what lies ahead or even what to expect. But one thing I do know is that God’s love changes everything and I will carry that the rest of my life.
Here we go!”
I’m Sarah and I’ll be interning with ISM in January 2014! I am from Kent in England.
I have grown up knowing Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and made a commitment to follow him at a young age, since I can remember I have always known Jesus’s security. I was a very outgoing child and was bold in my faith.
Over the years fear grew in me, though I knew Jesus’s security I wasn’t as bold as I once was. At this time God was putting in my heart a vision. A call to go overseas, my heart for being a missionary started when I was 7 years old. At this age I believe God gave me a clear dream, I knew I was called to be a beacon in the darkness to go to oppressed places and help set the captives free. I had no idea what this looked like but God set my heart a vision for the broken.
I believed I was going to go! And at the age of 19 I brought my suit cases and said where? This is when God sent me to university, not quite what I had planned! I knew God was in it though; this is where God developed me to be more confident in the gifts that God has given me. He taught me that really nothing can remove me from the palm of his hand and that he is there in an instant when I call in my times of need.
While at university I studied Children and young people’s nursing and I decided to write one of my assignments on the implications of human trafficking for children, it was an assignment that I wanted to continue researching as I couldn’t put it down… I was amazed at what I had found out. After some time when I moved back home, God rekindled the flame that had come alight, I just knew I had to do more. I heard about Nightlight and looking further into Nightlight I found ISM, I am so thankful for them and the amazing works that they do for vulnerable people, it means so much to be able to be a part of it.
I am excited for what God has got in-store for me as I go and work and help with the beautiful daughters of Cambodia and their children. I know God has his hand on me and he has definitely made it clear to me this is the right place where he wants me to go.
A verse that has been close to my heart is Isaiah 61v1-3, but I want to share with you Isaiah 60:1-3a “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples; but The Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light” I pray that Gods light will shine forth that we shall see breakthrough, that God will heal, rebuild and show his love to the broken.
My name is Mariana Feniman, I’m 20 years old and I live in the chaotic city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I grew up in a christian home, with both parents very committed to the Lord and to the local church. Ever since I can recall, they’ve constantly taught me to serve and to be always available to others’ need. So I’ve participated in many missionary activities, including short-term trips, all of them in small citites in the state of Sao Paulo. Now, I am about to spend a month in Myanmar (february 2014), serving with Imagine Thailand/Myanmar. It was a huge decision, but it was certainly taken with joy and confidence in the Lord.
I study Business Management at University of Sao Paulo and I hope I’ll be able to use part of the knowlodge I’ve gained in University to serve the local communities in Myanmar. But I’m also convinced that I’ll learn a lot, too. I’ll probably receive much more than what I’ll give. 🙂 The idea of spending two months meeting “ordinary” people who live their lives serving others and meeting their needs amazes me. I believe the most famous people in Heaven will be those who did not live worried about fame because they were busy spreading the kingdom of God on Earth. I’m sure I’ll meet a lot of these famous people during my experience with ISM, and I can’t wait for that.
I believe the missionary work has a lot to do with serving every single part of someone’s life. So it’s not only about preaching, but testifying what the gospel is by meeting people’s needs. Many times we’ll need to adjust our language so that people can understand what we are saying, especially when people don’t have the same christian background that we do. And I’m really looking forward to experiencing this in Myanmar. I hope communities in Myanmar will realize that God has not forgotten that land. I hope that, through Imagine’s service, the Holy Spirit will convince many hearts that they are seen and deeply loved by our great God.
Hope to meet some of you who are reading this soon 🙂
-For from him and through him and for him are all things (including me). To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Rm 11:36)
Hi! My name is Sarah Waldrop and I’m a sophomore nursing major at Cedarville University in Ohio.
I’m going to be interning at Nightlight in 2014 and I’ve never been more excited to see what Christ is going to do! I’ve moved around my whole life, so although I was born in America, I can’t say that I feel most comfortable there. My family has moved around to Panama, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, and South Korea, and now my parents have just moved back to Mexico.
I am definitely blessed to have been born into a loving, Christian home, going to church my entire life. I accepted Christ as my savior at a very early age, but looking back, I realize that I didn’t truly have a personal relationship with Christ then. But by His grace He continued to pursue me, and grabbed ahold of my heart when I was in 8th grade. I moved to Seoul, South Korea, my sophomore year of high school, and junior year is when God really moved in my life. I had to go back to America because of a serious illness, and being away from my friends and family for almost a three month period was agony. But it was through that experience that Christ opened my heart and mind to His will, reminding me that He is always by my side, even through difficult times. He reminded me that His plans are always better than my own and through His grace He will carry me through every trial and hardship. It was during that time that Christ truly changed my life, I believe, and He has been leading me on an incredible path ever since!
In my senior year of high school, I went on a missions trip to Thailand with a small group of girls from my school, and we worked with Nightlight and other ministries that aid in bringing women out of prostitution. It was a fantastic week, and I learned so much about what Christ is doing in Thailand through these ministries. Christ placed these ministries on my heart, and last year, while I was at university, He made it so clear to me in so many ways that He wanted me to go back and work with Nightlight. I almost thought it was crazy, I thought that I had my life planned out all the way through college. I was going to get a nursing degree and then go into ministry, but God’s plans are always different than I expect and are always infinitely much better. Through so many amazing ways He opened doors and now I’m really excited to see what He has planned in 2014. I hope and pray that He will use me for His glory, to heal broken hearts and build relationships that point to Him alone!
Since Christ has called me to Nightlight, He has really laid this passage on my heart:
“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has appointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”
– Isaiah 61:1
Hello! My name is Sandra Wiebe I am 17 years old, I was born in a little town called Blue Creek in Belize, a small country in Central America.
I lived there until I was nine which is when my parents decided to move my three brothers and I to Leamington, Ontario.I’ve been living here for almost nine years. The town I live in is also small, however it’s huge compared to what I was I used to. I’ve grown up in a Christian home my whole life with a loving family, and although they expected me to be young forever I will be graduating high school this year.
Hi, my name is Monique Beuglet and I am from Guelph, Ontario. I was born in the busy metropolis of Toronto, but have lived in Guelph since I was 2 years old, enjoying this beautiful city that I call home. I have a younger sister who is 14 and two incredibly loving and supportive parents. I grew up in a Christian home, being actively involved in church for as long as I can remember and loving God with a servant’s heart.
I graduated from high school last June and decided to take a year off to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Throughout high school I had become interested in business, and decided that that is what I would study at University. In my mind, the University I attended would determine my future success as a businesswoman, so I was determined to get into some of the highest ranked commerce programs in the country. I went back to school for a semester to take a few additional classes and increase my average, my dream to receive an offer of admission from the University of Western Ontario to their elite Ivey School of Business. Well let me tell you, since then God has completely transformed my dreams and ambitions, my priorities being entirely rearranged.
Last summer I was in Europe with my Mom for 3 weeks. We stayed in Holland with family for most of our time there, venturing to Paris for a week. In Bible College my Mom had done her internship in Holland, doing some ministry in the red light district of Amsterdam. We were in Amsterdam a few times, and on one of our day trips there we decided to walk through the red light district at around 6 o’clock. As we walked through the streets, seeing women selling themselves in shop windows like an article of clothing, my heart broke. I knew then and there that I wanted to do some form of ministry to women who were involved in human trafficking and prostitution. My plan was to study a year abroad in Holland during my third year of University, and during that summer get involved with a Christian organization or church in Amsterdam which ministered to these women. However, since then God has changed yet another plan of mine.
A few months ago Sandra McIntosh and her husband came to my home church as special guests. Sandra briefly shared a little bit about what ISM was doing in Southeast Asia and how young people could get involved. As I listened to her talk about the ministry I brushed it off, thinking that’s not for me, I have this plan of doing missions work when I go back to Europe. The next day my Mom asked me if the opportunity to work with ISM had peaked my interest, and I decided to go online and do some research. I immediately saw that there were several opportunities in both India and Thailand to work with victims of human trafficking. I began sobbing, feeling so convicted by God that this was what I was supposed to do, and immediately filled out an application.
Starting in September 2013 I will be in Bangkok, Thailand for seven months, interning at NightLight International, being used by God to bring His unprecedented love to women who have been victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Putting off school for yet another year was not in my plan. Nor was going to Southeast Asia to do missions work in a city’s whose economy is driven by its world renown sex trade industry. However, I know that this is God’s plan, and pursuing Him with everything you are means letting His desires become your desires and being willing to step out of your comfort zone and surrender every aspect of your life to him. I can’t predict what God has in store for me throughout my internship at NightLight, but I am expecting Him to reveal Himself in amazing ways, knowing that I will grow closer to Him as I put complete trust in His purpose for my life. I am so excited to see how God will use me and the gifts that He has given me for His glory in a city filled with darkness. A verse that comes to mind as I prepare for this incredible adventure is one that I have been reassured by time and time again. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Hello! My name is Julia Eger.
I am currently a senior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and will be graduating in May with a degree in business – marketing. I was born in Canton, Ohio, but moved to High Point, North Carolina when I was 2 years old and have lived there ever since. I have an older brother and an older sister, an amazing mother and father, and two adorable dogs. My family and friends are truly a gift from God and I would not be the person I am today without their love and support.
I grew up in a Christian home, went to a private Christian school K-12th grade, and attended church every Wednesday and twice a day on Sundays. This had both its positives and negatives, but looking back on it now I see how much of a blessing it truly was. Around 8th grade I had decided that I wanted to go into fashion merchandising to become a buyer and had my heart set on this goal. When graduation approached in 2009 I had only one school in mind – Florida State University. I visited it, loved it, applied, and got accepted! However, out-of-state tuition prices sent me in a different direction and forced me to apply to in-state schools. So, I figured if I had to go to school in NC I might as well be at the beach and that’s how I ended up at UNCW. Fast forward to my junior year, I quit my glorious job at a doggy daycare to pursue a job at a boutique in order to further my fashion merchandising dream. Absolutely hated the job, about 3 months into it left, and realized that the retail industry is NOT for me! So, now I began to ask God where I am supposed to be?
I went to the Passion 2011-2012 conference in Atlanta, GA where the theme was slavery and human trafficking. I had already started to feel God tugging at my heart towards missions, but honestly thought this would look more like playing soccer with children in Africa, which was another dream of mine. But, after this conference I had this love for India that I could not explain and started to pray and seek God’s direction. Exactly a year after consistently praying for guidance, I was in my bed reading over my Passion notes since I could not attend it this year. I saw a list of organizations that I had written down and one of them was NightLight. After clicking around I somehow came across Jewels in a Crown and just started crying (which is very unusual for me!). Immediately I knew that this is where God wanted me and I applied the next morning.
I have no idea what all God has in store for these 6 months, but I cannot wait to find out! I am so humbled that he has chosen me to shine his glory in such a dark place, and realize that I am but a vessel of salvation chosen by the grace of God! I pray, first and foremost, that he will be exalted higher than our words or actions or even our adoration because he is the King of Kings and Lord of all. I also pray that these women will be healed from the inside out and will be able to see how beautiful and loved they are by their Father. Ultimately, I pray for slavery and for human sex trafficking to be completely abolished and know that this is possible through the powerful name of Jesus in whom we live and move and have our very being.
“Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise!” -Psalm 96:2-4
My name is Hartley Hutchinson. I am 18 years old, and will be attending Impact School of Missions in September of 2013.
In truth, I’m from a lot of places. I was born in Chiang Mai, Thailand (I love saying this—it’s always a source of great conversation!) to two devoted followers of Christ. I guess you could say that I was destined to return at some point! I lived in Thailand for my first year before moving back to Canada – where I have been for my last 17 years. I’ve lived in Beaverton and Peterborough, but currently reside in Parry Sound, Ontario. I live on a small lake, and absolutely adore being outdoors. I am finishing my final year of high school at Parry Sound High. It’s a small town, but I love it here! I always feel close to God while out boating on Georgian Bay, or spending time with my horses. These are only a few of the breathtaking gifts that God has blessed me with.
I’ve visited Thailand on a few different occasions with my father, but never really felt that God was calling me to go out and make a difference. As I was filling out my university applications, God gave me the sudden desire to go on an adventure fueled by faith. He was telling me that it was time to become one of His true disciples. As I am now starting to understand…God certainly works in mysterious ways! He had an important plan laid out for me all along! Now here I am, writing about my exciting plans for the future. I feel closer to God now than I ever have! It’s truly a remarkable feeling when God gives you firm assurance. It’s His way of letting you know that He will be with you every step of the way.
When my parents lived in Chiang Mai, they started a youth program/English centre, called The Centre. Close friends of my family have selflessly dedicated their time to running it today. After I complete my training with Impact School of Missions, I will be heading out to The Centre! I am planning on staying in Asia for approximately nine months, and who knows what wonderful things God will reveal about my life in that time.
Writing is a gift that God gave me, and I am very passionate about it. God is also giving me this time to go out and become a better writer—a writer with a story worth telling. God has affirmed that my time is now. I am fully prepared to surrender to Him and His will for me, knowing that it will be the most fulfilling future that I could ask for.
Thank-you and God bless!
Hello there! my name is Lauren Grams and I am from Southern California but am currently spending my last year of high school in the north woods of Wisconsin, where I am simultaneously overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s creation and the possibility of an atmospheric temperature in the negative digits.
I live here with my great-uncle and family, as well as a plethora of delightful critters which at last count entailed 3 magical horses, 6 dogs, 2 cats (with whom i am unabashedly in love), and a wild rabbit that lives in the barn beneath the bales of horse feed.
I grew up in a home that was fundamentally Christian, yet i spent much of my adolescence tossed in the tumultuous and roiling sea of environmental and internal strife. Even as i was drowning in sorrows and sin, however, God encountered me, plucking me up from the puddle I was thrashing about in and setting me safely and wonderfully in his arms. By his grace i have fallen utterly, desperately in love with him, the one sketched by C.S. Lewis as, “the hunter, King, husband”, the Lover of my fickle soul, the relentless, glorious, holy, faithful Abba. the love he has lavished upon me has spurred my spirit to madness, and i desire nothing more than to respond with absolute surrender to the beat of his heart.
For so long i have desired “to help people” in a sort of abstract, unguided way. The Lord has taken this hope and begun to refine it, setting my gaze to the nations and calling me to serve his beloved. He has put upon my heart the cause of the oppressed and the enslaved, whom i will be serving in india at Jewels in a Crown and At the Well Ministries following my training in Bangkok!
My greatest hope and joy is the revival and establishment of the kingdom in the nations, that the glory of God would fall upon this parched people and break the chains of physical and spiritual bondage. I hunger to see the church drenched in Holy Spirit, to dance in the rain of his presence, to move freely in the Spirit, and to see the supernatural culture of the kingdom invade earth!
I am a born and raised Hoosier and have lived in Indianapolis pretty much my entire life. I am 21 years old and am currently studying Philanthropic Studies at IUPUI. I work at UPS and a small fair trade store called Global Gifts. I also help with Sunday school at my church Brookville Road Community Church.
I first heard about human trafficking when my church hosted an event to raise awareness about the problem before Indianapolis hosted the Super bowl. I was touched by the cause and felt that this was something that God wanted me to be involved with so I got an internship over the summer with an organization called Women At Risk, Int’l. It was through this organization that I first heard of NightLight. When the idea of serving overseas was first introduced to me I dismissed it. I had never planned on serving anywhere but the United States. However, the Holy Spirit worked on my heart before confirming that He wanted me to apply with ISM and NightLight.
Even in just the few months since I applied and got accepted God has caused me to rely on Him so much more than I ever have before. I am excited to have my relationship with God grow so much more during the time I am in Thailand as well getting to serve and to be used by Him.
I am going to be attending ISM in September 2013 before going to work with NightLight in Bangkok for a year. I will be working with human trafficking while I am there.
I have two verses that mean a lot to me. One I have known for years and the other God has given me through my application process. The first is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The second Bible verse is Psalms 18:1-2 “I love you, Lord, my Strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliver. My God is my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
I don’t know where this mission will lead me or what my future holds beyond my time with ISM and NightLight but I know that God will lead me and He will protect and strengthen me and I can’t wait to walk my life with Him.
I am currently in my last year of high school, and I have been looking forward to my gap year for ages. I had been looking around at different bible colleges and long-term missions trips throughout high school, but nothing seemed to really jump out at me. I was looking for something that was approximately the length of one semester, didn’t have an overwhelming amount of academics, and was somewhere new and exciting that wasn’t one of those cliché places that everyone goes to for a missions trip, like Mexico or Africa. I had been told so many times to just forget about finding something that fit all my “requirements,” and to stop being so picky. But I knew in my heart that there was something out there that would fit me and what I felt God was calling me to do, I just had to find it.
I was browsing the Vanguard Bible College website a while ago, and I had noticed a little advertisement about Impact on the side. As soon as it had sunk in that this program fit in perfectly with my “requirements,” I was ecstatic. I’m pretty sure I exhausted my parents with my constant, “Look, look! IT’S PERFECT! I NEED TO GO THERE!” I applied almost instantly, and soon found out that I had been accepted I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, telling everybody about it (and exhausting them as well, I’m sure).
I have never been more excited/terrified/happy/nervous about something in my entire life. After my month’s training in Thailand, I will be heading off to the Philippines to intern at an organization called Noah’s Ark, where I will be doing something I have always been passionate about: working with kids. I really feel that God has been slowly pointing me towards this experience throughout my life, and I know that whatever He wants to happen will happen. This gap year could not have come at a more perfect time in my life and in my constantly growing relationship with God, and I’m overwhelmed with excitement for what lies ahead of me.
I am coming to ISM in January 2013, and it already is something that I look forward to with great anticipation. For the placement period of the program I will be working with The Centre in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.
I learned of ISM through Sandra McIntosh, when she came and spoke at my school. It was not the beach scene on the advertisement card that gained my attention, but the idea of living 4 months on the field doing what I was made by God to do.
This for me is very exciting. I went to Chiang Mai in March of 2011, and will be returning there in a few weeks (March 2012). I have learned throughout life that God has placed a passion in me to help people discover their purpose that God intends for their individual life. By working with The Centre I hope to gain new skills in the area of building relationships cross culturally, while still building an intentional relationship. I am looking to be challenged, in such a way that my growth will be something I cannot fully see coming. Overseas missions has always been of interest to me, it was not until my first year of college (2011) that I went overseas, before that all the STM work I had done was inside of Canada, and the United States. I do not know all that God, has planed for my future, but I am confident that ISM is part of His plan and something that will leave me changed, with more passion for missions.
I can remember a moment when I was sitting in a hotel room with a friend in Sanpatong, Thailand. At this point it was about 4 weeks into our 7 week mission trip throughout Southeast Asia. My friend was playing his guitar and I was praying and journaling a daily class requirement for the trip. I started to laugh and when my friend asked I explained that I could not believe a year before I thought of just going to school for motorcycle repairs, to think I would have been satisfied with that, I expressed that I cannot see myself doing anything but missions. It feels so right, a fulfilment that comes from God, from walking out his will.
ISM is a program that I am very excited to be apart of, and I challenge you if missions is something God has placed on your heart, seek God and maybe ISM is something for you.
Go out and walk out His will.
I am approaching graduation from my high school in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and I can’t wait to move forward into the plans God has for me. For the longest time, I’ve had a desire in my heart to do missions, but there was always something telling me I wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t equipped enough. But this past fall, God was really speaking into my life and I felt the calling on my heart to go for it. As I was discerning some options for my first year out of high school, I stumbled upon ISM’s website completely randomly. Immediately my heart started pounding. I knew this was the right place for me to be, and after spending time in prayer about it, I sent in my application.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home so I have never been allowed to go on any missions trips throughout my faith journey because being a minor, I couldn’t go without parental consent. Now, as I enter into adulthood, I am ready to experience freedom to fulfill God’s calling on my heart. Although it was terrifying breaking the news to my parents about my acceptance, God strengthened me and I felt confident sharing with them.
It was hard for me to choose my serving preferences on my application, because all of the ministries on the list would be amazing to work with. I have a big heart for injustice and human trafficking, but I also love working with youth and children. So for my serving phase, I will be working at Noah’s Ark Children’s Home in the Philippines. I am ecstatic to be the hands and feet of Jesus in another part of the world and to love the kids there with my whole heart.
A passage that has been a theme for me during this process is Ephesians 3:14-16. “When I think of the wisdom and scope of his plan, I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God-some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth- that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit.
My name is Tanya Land and I am 21 years old, born and raised in Windsor! This January, I will be starting my journey with ISM.
I just finished my third year of university, where I am studying Christian counselling!
I have an amazing home church, Parkwood Gospel Temple, where I have been attending my entire life. I’m involved in many different ministries, and have gone on six successful short-term missions trips to Deer Lake, Ontario (a Northern Ontario native reserve).
I will be in Bangkok, Thailand for three months interning at NightLight, which is a ministry for sexually exploited women through it’s operation as a jewelry business. I decided to apply to partner with NightLight, because I’ve always had a passion for women’s ministry. I will be serving in many different areas of the ministry all the way from helping make and sell the jewelry, build relationships with the women and their families, ministering in the bars once a week, and I’m sure much more!
I know this experience will stretch me in so many ways and I cannot wait to see where it takes me!
I am a 24 year who lives in Mississauga Ontario, 2 years ago I graduated with a degree in information security. For the past year and a half I have been working as a Systems Engineer at an online gaming company. Now I am off on an adventure around the world. Part of this adventure will take place in Thailand with ISM. I have always felt a desire to do missions work and Thailand felt like one of the places I should go. Severalmonths ago Sandra McIntosh came and spoke at my Young Adults group at my church Portico. It sounded like a great opportunity to do missions in Thailand. Since I was already planning on being in that part of the world it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. After praying about it and looking into ISM more I felt it was where God wanted me to go. I applied, I got in and now it looks like its all going to come together. First I will be in Bangkok for a month to receive some training which I think is a great thing as I will be more prepared for going into the mission field. Also it will be a great opportunity to grow further in my faith. After the training I will be heading off to Chiang Mai where I will be volunteering at Abundant Love. Which is a childrens home which gives hill tribe children the opportunity to go to school. Here I will be given an opportunity to show these children God’s love and help them in a number of ways including helping them with school work and teaching them english, hopefully they can teach me some Thai. —– Later Days
I will be graduating high school this year from Napanee and after ISM, I plan on attending either a Christian university or Bible College to study counseling and theology, with the hopes of attaining my Master’s in counseling to eventually work with teens and more specifically teen girls.
A couple years ago, if anyone were to ask me if I’d be interested in going on an overseas missions trip, my answer would have been absolutely not! Not because I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ but because I was not always the most outgoing person, in addition, I was and still am a germaphobe, and quite honestly, it terrified me! However, it has been over this past year that God has really been working on me and as a result, I have grown greatly in my spiritual walk with God and in many other ways as well. He has brought me through many great challenges and tests over these past few years, all of which have been used to get me to where I am now, which is a place where I can say with absolute certainty that I am 100% willing and ready to go out into the world to show Jesus’ love, just as He commands His children to do in Matthew 28:19-20.
I found out about ISM through Sandra McIntosh when she came to speak at my church during our missions convention and it was during Sandra’s presentation of ISM that God first placed the idea in my head and heart. After talking to her about the school and the opportunities available, I knew right away that God wanted me to do this! Over the following few months I wrestled with God quite a bit about going because I was still a little uneasy about taking such a big step like this, but I finally gave in and decided to apply and my excitement has been growing ever since!
The hopes that I have as I embark on this journey to Nightlight to work with exploited women in a jewelry business and have opportunity for bar ministry is to not only gain some amazing missions experience and get the opportunity to experience another part of the world, but to also have the opportunity to fully engage in a totally different culture and see how these women live, what they go through, and to just open myself up completely as I allow God to do His will in my life and use me to serve Him and be His hands and feet in the most darkest of places.
It has not always been an easy road for me throughout my high school years, however, it was through those challenges that God really showed me just how awesome He really is, as well as His amazing grace. It was also through these challenges that the Lord really placed a passion on my heart for young women and girls. All this to say that I am beyond excited for this experience and I look forward to seeing God’s will unfold not only in my life but in SEA. I know this is an experience of a lifetime and one that I know will be a major eye-opener for me and will change my life!
A big thank you to my Heavenly Father for providing me with such a fantastic opportunity to serve Him as well as a big thank you to Impact School of Missions for allowing me to come and for guiding me along this wonderful journey with such great support.
I have just completed my high school education in Drumheller, AB. I do not have any set plans for my future as far as a career goes, but I do know that I want to strengthen my relationship with God and have Him work through me to help others. I feel that ISM fulfills all of these hopes. Mission work has been on my heart for some time and when I came across ISM on the internet it seemed to click (no pun intended) and I wasted no time in filling out the application. Along the way the Lord confirmed for me that this was the right choice.
After my four weeks training in Thailand I will be traveling to the Philippines to intern in Noah’s Ark for approximately two months. There I will help provide care and support to the children and young adults that live there, I am thrilled to be a part of this. Matthew 18: 3 reads “Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”” This is part of the reason why children are so important to me and I am ecstatic to be serving in an area in which I can be near them, learn from them, and help them.
I am generally a reserved person so this experience will be a leap of faith for me. I am learning to trust in the Lord and I have faith that He will walk with me through this adventure and will shape me into who He wants me to be. I am excited to be apart of this enterprise and pray for the best.
I’m excited to start my training at ISM and internship at NightLight in Thailand! So here it goes… For those of you who haven’t read the story leading up to this decision, here it is:
It started when I watched the documentary “Furious Love” for the first time and saw how the love of God is freeing people from strongholds all over the world. One of the places featured in the film was Thailand. There is an organization there called NightLight. NightLight’s mission is to build relationships and provide hope, intervention, rescue and assistance to women and children exploited in the sex industry by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom. (Sidenote: You can buy their jewelry on their website http://store.nightlightinternational.com/ if you are interested. The more jewelry orders, the more women can have the option of employment at NightLight.) When I saw the film “Furious Love” my heart was broken for those individuals who are in mental, emotional, spiritual and physical captivity. God awakened a love for them and a passion in my spirit to set the captives free. “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.” Isaiah 61:1
Another thing that some of you may not know is that I have been to Thailand before, Bangkok, in fact, and didn’t know at the time about this issue. (I was ten or eleven.) But I knew that I wanted to go back because it was one of the most beautiful, lush places I have ever been. I attempted to go on a study abroad to Thailand, but it was a no go because I felt like God was saying the timing wasn’t right. After watching “Furious Love” it all clicked. This is why I have a passion for Thailand and Southeast Asia. This is why I shouldn’t have gone on a study abroad program before. God had a different plan for me. I contacted the director of ISM the day after watching the film and asked if they have any internship or volunteer opportunities available. She responded that they did in fact, starting in September of 2012.
After having multiple forms of confirmation that I am called to get involved in the abolition movement for human trafficking, I was still struggling with the “when.” Timing and decision making aren’t the easiest things for me and God knows that. So when I got peace in my spirit in the beginning of April about going to Thailand I decided to just go for it. I knew that if it was right, God would work out the rest. I found out the day I started filling out the application that there was one intern spot left for the September session. I flipped out. Then I filled out the rest of the application quickly. After an interview with ISM, I received a letter of acceptance on April 27, 2012. To top it off, on April 30, 2012 I got an offer for a Research Analyst Internship for the months of June and July of this year!
What God says is true. “All things work together for the good of those who love God.” Romans 8:28
To start I guess I’ll tell you a little (or a lot) about myself.My name is Jael Stewart. I’m a missionary here in Bangkok Thailand, helping out with whatever I can. I became what I consider a missionary at a very young age. When I was 7 years old my family and I started working with and showing the love of God to prostitutes, drug addicts/ dealers and the homeless. Being around “the outcasts of the world” all my life, and my experiences with them, has really impacted me and my decision making. In the future I would like to pursue a career in psychology and medicine so I am able to help those suffering with mental disorders.
I’m proficient in four martial arts (Aikido, Youn Wha Ryu Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Muay Thai Boxing); I also enjoy RPG games, drawing, cosplay, (yeah, I know I’m a geek) studying pagan religions, and, as stated above, studying psychological disorders.
I learned about ISM through Sandra Mcintosh while I was at her house for dinner and I thought it sounded like a great way to learn more about what I believe in and to grow my faith. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and very I’m excited about auditing the ISM course.
Hello my name is Janohah. I would describe myself as a very outgoing person; I love to meet new people and make as many friends as possible. I also enjoy drawing, swimming and martial arts. I have been involved in missions work since the age of 7 and have been traveling my whole life; living in many countries and visiting many more. I have volunteered at homeless shelters in the United States, crisis nurseries in Malawi, Africa, and most recently I have been volunteering at Antique Café, a coffee shop that helps transgender sex workers develop new skills for the workplace.
I have spent my whole life looking forward to what will happen in the future, when I am on my own and able to make life decisions by myself. After high school I plan on going to medical school to study to be a plastic surgeon. As a plastic surgeon I hope to continue my missionary career by traveling overseas with Doctors Without Borders and helping burn victims and people born with cleft palate. I believe that God has given me the gifts of healing and attention to detail and with these gifts I would like to make a difference.
I also have a large heart for people who aren’t generally accepted in the Christian community. The kinds people who have influenced my life the most are the transgenders, the prostitutes and the homeless communities. Because I have lived in so many different countries and have been exposed to their lifestyles at a young age I have grown to love the outcasts and the people who aren’t generally looked upon as “people”
I found out about ISM through Sandra McIntosh who enabled me to enroll in the program. Given that I am not of age to enroll in the ISM program I am extremely thankful for the opportunity which was given to me. I’m excited about being able to Audit the ISM program, meeting the other students, and furthering my knowledge of the Christian faith.
I have currently just completed a double major in Family Studies and Community Development from Western University in London, ON. Throughout my undergraduate career I felt like God was calling me to something bigger, but I did not know what that was. ISM was mentioned at my church one Sunday, and I felt like the Lord was telling me to go. I kind of put it off thinking I couldn’t do it and that I needed to get my carrer started in order to pay off my debt. However, a few months later the Lord spoke to me again telling me to go. This time I filled out my application and sent it off right away. Everything has been falling perfectly into place after making this decision, so clearly it IS the Lord’s plan for me to “go!”.
I am super excited for this upcoming adventure! I have already been to Ukraine, Guatemala, and Africa. I have not been on a mission’s trip on my own, so this is a whole new ballpark for me. The first four weeks I will be in Bangkok Thailand receiving some bible teaching. Then I will be serving at Noah’s Ark in the Philippines for eight weeks. Here I will be working with children ages 0-18 helping to provide care, and whatever else the Lord would have me to do.
I really believe that this will be a tremendous time of growing in the Lord and continuing to discover who I am in Christ. I am SO excited to see how the Lord is going to use me, change me, break me, and mold me during this next season!
Maria Gambone DeJesus
I am soon to graduate with degrees in International Business and Marketing from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, USA. Here is my story of how I came to find out about ISM:
As a Freshman in college I felt a passion and dream grow in my heart for the possibility of becoming a business woman doing international non-profit work. After a broken and stressful end to my high school years, I had finally fully surrendered to the truth that placing any priority above the pursuit of an intimate relationship with the God who created me and the Savior that died for me destroyed and confused so much of my life and emotions, and so many of my relationships. The next four years after that decision led to an adventurous, challenging, awe-inspiring and sometimes excruciatingly painful path. But through it all, this powerful, constant, faithful and loving God beautifully restored my heart and transformed the desires I have for each day of life.
During one particularly painful period, while clinging to God’s promises of change, restoration and healing, I got the opportunity to serve as a leader in my old high school youth group’s summer mission trip. There, in the middle of a tiny town, in the basement of a small church, our leader announced a group of special guest speakers. Annie Dieselberg, founder of NightLight, and her family, proceeded to passionately describe their work combating the sex trade, their heart for the women they serve and some of the powerful things God had shown them throughout their time in Bangkok. Afterwards, I went up to talk to Annie about her experience in this line of work and for career advice. That day in 2010 God planted a little seed in my heart, a little inkling of curiosity, which continued to grow in enthusiasm and power over the next year and a half.
Even if I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of following God to NightLight to serve Him with the passions, strengths, education and heart He had given me. It was like a dream that continued to grow in ever increasing fervor. I began to pray without ceasing for God to guide me to His will, to the right decision. Time and time again He answered those prayers with opened doors: that year I met and developed a meaningful friendship with an exchange student from Bangkok who will graduate and return to Bangkok with me; He also connected me with the Dieselberg family again through awe-inspiring circumstances; He placed me as an intern in the Digital Marketing department of the international headquarters at one of the world’s largest non-profits; the list continues.
Over that year and a half period I contacted NightLight two or three times to learn about opportunities to serve them. They even told me they couldn’t offer an official internship and that I should wait until December 2011 to apply as a volunteer. I waited until August before my heart couldn’t take it any longer. Then, the night before I had planned to fill out NightLight’s Volunteer Application, I read on the bottom of their website that they now offer official internships through the Impact School of Missions starting in September, 2012. Convenient, since that’s when I was planning on starting! I thank my Savior so much for the awesome journey He’s taken me on so far and more for the things yet to come. I also thank Impact School of Missions for enabling someone as young as me to follow Him where He’s sending me, knowing I don’t go alone. If you would like to follow this journey with me you can on facebook! Check out my page: http://www.facebook.com/nightlight! If you want to follow God on a journey of your own, apply!
Thanks for all your support!
Maria Gambone DeJesus
(Psalm 139:7-10; Ephesians 3:20-21)
I am currently enrolled in my final year of high school in Napanee, Ontario, and it is my hope to attend Humber College, after my ISM experience, to become a Funeral Director. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for Missions.
I grew up in a home where a relationship with Christ and His work was of utter importance. Missions has always been a priority for my family, so it has been a part of me since infancy. I love sitting and listening to the stories of what people have experienced and, more importantly, what God has been doing in their area of ministry. It always gets me excited when I hear about what God is doing in the lives of others in and around the world.
My father recently came back from a missions trip to Africa and that really opened my eyes to how blessed we really are in North America. It always amazes to see how, even though people are less fortunate in the physical aspect of material goods, they still give their all to God and worship Him with nothing holding them back – most times with more abandon than we do in North America; when we have every comfort one can imagine at our disposal.
The first time I heard about Impact School of Missions was when Sandra and Peter came to our church in Napanee, ON. It intrigued me so much I thought right then, “I am ready to go!” However, I was only 14 years old. I now realize that it wasn’t just in my physical age that was too young, but my spiritual age as well. So, I tucked the desire away in my heart and continued growing with God. I knew if it was His will for me to attend ISM, He would open the door for me in His time.
Then, a few months ago, I was reminded of ISM when Sandra ran into my dad at a conference. I knew this was my time! I prayed and talked it over with my parents and we were in agreement that this was the next step in my journey with the Lord.
After my 4 weeks of training in Thailand, I will be moving over to Chennai, India to intern at the Living God Church with Sarah and Christo Emmanuel. I am so excited to meet their family and work with them in their city. I know they will be a blessing to me, as I endeavour to bless them and help with their efforts in reaching souls for Christ in India.
I know there will be trials and times when I will feel discouraged; I hear life in India can be challenging. BUT I’m putting my full trust in God! Expecting that my life will be changed through this experience!