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)

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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!

Meet Carly Doucet coming to ISM September 2015 – internship Place of Grace – Thailand

Hi! I’m Carly Doucet and I will be joining ISM in the fall of 2015!

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To say I’m excited for this adventure would be an understatement! This opportunity is a dream come true and I can’t wait to see all that God has in store. I heard about ISM about a year ago and immediately knew it was something I needed to do. Although I had no idea when it would be possible, one day I came home and knew it was time to apply!

Here’s a little bit on me! I was born and raised in the very small town of Belledune, NB where I attended a small church in a place called Nash Creek. Growing up in the church, I was exposed to many missionaries; it was upon meeting a young missionary couple when I was 5 years old that I knew missions would be a big part of my life. I was, however, tested in my patience as my first mission experience took place only 6 months ago in the Dominican Republic. This wonderful experience fueled my already existing passion for international ministries and left me longing for more.

I am currently a 4th year Nursing student at the University of New Brunswick; upon completion of my degree I look forward to gaining experience in the profession I love to someday use these skills internationally. Over the past 4 years, I have been transformed not only as a student but as a follower of Jesus Christ. My relationship with Jesus has blossomed and I continue to passionately pursue Him in everything I do.

Volunteering as a counsellor at a camp in Debert, NS for the last 2 years, I quickly discovered in myself a passion for children’s and youth ministries; working especially close with teen girls, my passion has taken a specific turn in that direction. This combined with my passion for Missions; Place of Grace seemed like a perfect fit! I am so excited to begin this new chapter in my life and for God to mold me and make me further into who He has made me to be!

Mariana from ISM 01.14 is returning to SEA for a year. Read her journey here!

A few days before I left my internship last year, I told my hosts I had a bachelor thesis to write in order to finish my degree (because I studied business, it could be a business plan instead of a thesis), and I’d be happy to write a business plan for them, if they had something in mind. So they  said they’d like to have a business plan for their ministry and would be happy to have me write it. So I kept in touch with my hosts throughout the whole year, and some other staff that work at the ministry.
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As I continued with my university degree it took me a good amount of time to start enjoying my course. Business management wasn’t my first option and my first year and a half was hard because I didn’t like the course and wished I could be doing something else. God did a deep work in me to turn my attitude around, and gratitude and enthusiasm about my course started growing in me in my 3rd year only. By then, I knew I’d have to do a long final project, so since that year I started to ask God to give me some interesting topic to write on. The Lord totally answered my prayers and from the first word to the last of a 60-page plan, I was thrilled and loved writing it. A couple of times my internship hosts wrote me saying my work was a reminder of God’s love and provision.  So good!
In November, my internship hosts from 2014 wrote me saying they were opening a position for business development in January 2015 and they asked me if I’d be willing to go back. My heart shouted a loud “yes” haha. I felt the Lord confirming that in my heart – it was so clearly right. I had an interview via skype with the HR person  and it was a really good conversation, she just kept saying “the position fits you well” all the time. So what happened next was really unexpected. They wrote me saying they were  taking some critical decisions they needed more time before the position was available. So I continued waiting.
My “waiting season” lasted for almost three months. It wasn’t easy to wait at all! I think it was the first time that I was really confident the Lord was opening a door but then circumstances drastically changed and the Lord seemed so quiet… what was happening? Had I done something wrong and the Lord was closing the door? So many times I felt weak in my faith… wishing I could love Jesus better and believe he was leading me, even if the lights were off! I had told a few people that I was going… and then had to tell them that I wasn’t sure anymore… Should I be doing something else? Everyday I’d wake up and check my emails to see if there was any message but  nothing… my parents encouraged me to stop waiting for an answer and simply assume there was nothing for me there.
A couple of weeks before I had first heard of the position – I had a vision of Jesus taking me by the hand and leading me somewhere. Everything around us seemed blurred, but I could clearly see him leading me. Then a week later I had this other vision with a similar message. We were face to face, he was holding my hands, and we were soaring. I had nothing beneath my feet nor anything around to hold – just his hands. When I got the email offering the job, I thought “o cool, God was preparing something for me and he’s leading me!”. But now things seemed to be going wrong… I remember one day, when I wasn’t feeling really well, my boyfriend was praying for me and he said, “Lord, help her to believe you’re still leading her”. And he answered that prayer, too.
I learned not to be anxious or worried, but to bring every single thought before the Lord in prayer. When I was feeling weak, I’d just ask him for faith, that the answer would come in good time, whenever he felt I was ready for it. I asked him to equip me for whatever he had in store… whether in South East Asia* or not. I asked him for a faithful heart that would be willing to serve him wherever he wanted me to be, even if not in my dream job position.
Then just a couple of weeks I go I received the email – I could have the job. I’m so grateful and excited! I can see now that the Lord answered my prayers and strengthened me so much. I’m so confident that he has a great year ahead. There will be so much to learn, but I’ve just confirmed once again that he’s trustworthy. Unpredictable, but trustworthy. Such a privilege to have my faith tested and increased, to see his power made perfect in my weakness… Such an honour to accept a job that was hand-picked for me. So good to be reminded that He’s the one who inspires love and trust in me… and when I ask him to help me to love him more and better, he’s generous in his gifts. :)
Please be praying for me :)
Mariana – Sao Paulo Brazil
*Location in SEA not specified for privacy reasons

Meet Praise Phiri coming to ISM 01.15 – internship Global Cafe Cambodia

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)

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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

Praise lives in the UK.

Jannelle Dyck – coming to ISM 09.14 Internship Daughter’s of Cambodia

Hello!jannelle

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!

Our Interns continue to SHINE! – Daughter’s of Cambodia endorsement

At ISM we train students to serve the ministries they are interning with sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and excellence.  We tell every student jokingly to change their name to Aaron or Hur during their internship because they are now commissioned to hold up the hands of of those doing battle – no matter what that looks like.  We aim to produce foot washers who happily serve ministries where they need them the most!  Our two recent ISM students and interns at Daughter’s of Cambodia have done just that.  We are so proud of them!  Way to go Sarah and Bonny!daughters-logo-2111

Emma at Daughter’s writes…

“I wanted to write to you and let you know what exceptional volunteers they have been, and continue to be.

The things which have really been a wonderful help have been:

- Mature, grounded faith in Jesus;

- Willingness to do everything and anything they are asked to;

- Focusing on the job descriptions Daughters have given them;

- Previous professional skills experience in design/art therapy and child care/nursing;

- Humble, servant hearted approach;

- Spending time observing and learning when they 1st arrived;

- Adaptability to culture and the local staff’s needs;

- Continuing to be servant hearted and professional as they end their time (many people ‘check-out’ near the end of their volunteer time and become less dependable, they are not doing this, they are continuing to work hard and end well, which is a great help);

We have been so appreciative of their work ethic, servant hearted attitude and skills, which has been so helpful to Daughters, we rarely have such great volunteers. We wish they could volunteer with us for longer, and will welcome them both back to the Daughters staff team if they ever wanted to come back. I’m sure this is because they are both such wonderful people, but also they are a credit to ISM recruiting and preparing them for their volunteer positions. We would love to have more volunteers from you in the future.”

Emma – DOC – Volunteer Supervisor

Somebody’s Child – John Robinson – Place of Grace

The church is doing amazing things all over the world. Let’s celebrate all the good God’s beautiful people are doing EVERYWHERE!

One of our partners, Place of Grace is an amazing ministry that you could  chose to do your internship!  51WViKk5tnL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_

John Robinson and his wife Gillian are the directors of Place of Grace.  John has written several books about his life journey.  “Nobody’s Child” described John Robinson’s journey from brutal foster homes, through borstal, prison and life on the streets, to his discovery of the transforming love of Christ.  His second book is Somebody’s Child. In 2004 he received the Unsung Heroes Award. “Somebody’s Child” continues John’s story.   It can be found at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Somebodys-Child-Story-Hope-And-Streets/dp/0825461499/ref=pd_sim_b_1/279-6693175-2783620?ie=UTF8&refRID=0Y9VTQ92RM11MY213YB0

John told me this week after he wrote Noboby’s Child God whispered to him, “you are Somebody’s child.”  He and his wife seek to help disadvantaged families living in the slums in BKK know they are loved deeply by God. To intern at Place of Grace please apply at www.ismsea.com

 

How much can you do without Jesus? – Bonny Tam (internship at Daughter’s of Cambodia)

How much can you do without Jesus?

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2 weeks ago, I finally started being involved in the street children ministry at ‘Love146’. I would go every Saturday and spend the afternoon doing art therapy with around 20 children. The ‘centre’ is a semi-open space located strategically in the midst of bars and night clubs where prostitution happens. ‘Love146’ rented 2 shops – one for outreaching to male ‘customers’ in that area; one for offering a safe space for children to hang out. Our children have very complicated backgrounds, and I will save the details here. But what I could see and hear is that they ‘live’ amongst violence, crimes, gangs activities, day in day out. I expected the work to be hard, and I prepared deligently, but in fact it was much more challenging than I could ever anticipate.

In our first session, I found myself in a deep pit of madness and mess. There were so many distractions around us that the children could not care less what we were doing. The Khmer staff and I tried our best to pull their attention back, but our effort proved frail. It was a disaster. Hardly anything worked out as I had hoped. One of the boys even got so angry that he threw my shoes down the street… I can’t actually recall ever feeling that useless and discouraged…

Then I retreated to my quiet place and asked the Lord to show me the truth. How did He actually think about it? About me? I thought I did everything He had inspired me to do, but nothing worked. I felt so ashamed that I was not doing the children any good and not bringing Him glory. I cried out to God, I knew that they were street children, I knew that I could not expect discipline and respect from them, and I tried to love, but I didn’t know how. My heart was breaking apart, and I was desperate for the Father to tell me what HE actually thought!

And as always, the Lord doesn’t like to address my questions directly, but He always tells me the answer I need to hear. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid because of them. For the Lord your God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6). When He had spoken this to me, I realized that in the midst of craziness and chaos, I had forgotten that He was with me. I too was distracted by the storms around,

For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2Cor 12:10)

and had forgotten about the treasure I hold – CHRIST IN ME, the hope of glory. So, the Lord didn’t tell me how I performed, He didn’t give me an evaluation report, He didn’t tell me what practically to do next time. He simply promised this: His presence.

In the process of these wrestlings of the heart with God, I said to myself: why do I get myself into all these troubles? If I hadn’t gone to ‘Love146’, I would leave Cambodia feeling quite happy and feeling I had done quite well. But now I have nothing to be proud of, nothing… And the Lord said, “that’s exactly what I want for you! Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.” His word pierced my soul. He wants my pride to be crushed to a point where there is nothing left in me, of me, to be boastful about; apart from CHRIST IN ME, the hope of glory. He also reveals to me that He is doing ‘cutting off branches’ and ‘pruning’ in me, that’s why I’m feeling the pain. What grace it is! It hurts, but I know that He is the loving gardener. I am in very good hands.

I am learning that “being strong and courageous” is not about me pumping up my confidence and putting on psychological defense mechanisms to protect myself from being broken in heart or poor in spirit. It is knowing the GRACE and POWER of God despite and IN my weaknesses. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight IN weaknesses, IN insults, IN hardships, IN persecutions, IN difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Cor 12:10)

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you

At the beginning of the month my flatmate Sarah and I went to Siem Reap for a weekend trip. To be honest, for various reasons, I really did not want to go. But as Sarah was very keen, I decided that I would go with her… but I prayed this, “Lord, I really don’t want to go. But if I must go, you must come with me. I don’t just want a holiday. Show me your glory in the trip.” And that’s what He did!

We arrived at Siem Reap at 4am. Very rarely do long distance coaches make it early, but there we were, hardly awake, standing at the bus stop in the dark, not quite sure what to do next. Then a tuk-tuk driver came and asked where we wanted to go. Among about 50 other passengers, we were the first ones to be ‘called upon’ by a tuk-tuk driver. We were a bit amazed but were too tired to think… so we got on his tuk- tuk and arrived at our hostel.

And so he was our driver through-out the day, and we did get to know each other a bit. Sarah and I did not plan to go to a church service on the Sunday, but the Holy Spirit prompted me to take the driver to church. So we searched for Siem Reap churches, and prayed that the Lord would prompt him to come with us. However, by the end of the day, he was getting a bit grumpy, and I felt like he might not want to drive us around on Sunday. If he would not take us, we would not be able to invite him to church. I didn’t know what to do, so I asked the Father to show me what He was doing, and let me partner with Him.

Sunday morning came, our driver didn’t turn up… but another driver appeared! Apparently he was sent by his friend who couldn’t come, and he was there to replace him! We asked him to take us to church, and while on the way, he said, “oh! this is the way to my home!” As a matter of fact, he lives very near the church we wanted to go to but he never knew the church existed! He ended up joining us in the service, and said that he would like to go back! Hallelujah!!

Brothers and sisters, I am so deeply amazed by the wisdom and sovereignty of our God. We didn’t set out on a holy mission to ‘save a driver’, but in His mercy, the Lord could use even a weekend trip to bring a lost sheep home. We didn’t choose the driver, but he chose us at the bus station. We didn’t choose his friend, he chose him for us. The Lord has chosen us and appointed us, each one of us, in all situations, so that we might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last; and so that whatever we ask for in His name the Father will give us (John 15:16). This weekend of many many amazing encounters started by a very simple prayer, from one person who was not even very willing to go! Brothers and sisters, let us not try to complicate His will, but simply trust Him and love Him like a child would his father. The eyes of the Lord searches throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His (2Chron 16:9). Let us lift up our hearts to HIm, fully, completely, without reserve – that He may show himself great, and that we may praise His glorious grace! Amen!

Bonny Tam
ISM Student January 2015 
Internship Daughter’s of Cambodia

Meet Kristen Thompson coming to ISM September 2014 – Internship NightLight

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Jesus met me in a love story and changed my whole life–He flipped my world, transformed my family and healed my heart. He brought me from the desert of Texas to a small town in Pennsylvania where I grew up among my five brothers and sister. After graduating high school in 2012, God led me to serve on a music ministry team touring the U.S. where I met people who would forever altar my perspective of faith and love–it was during this time the Holy Spirit revealed the nation of Thailand to me as our ‘next step’.  

 
I have seen God do amazing things–I have witnessed miracles and have watched strongholds being broken in the name of Jesus. My hopeful anticipation for His glorious work being done in this hour grows with every word and direction He gives. I can’t wait to experience Him in greater measure than I ever have before. I can’t wait to fall more in love with a people whom He is head over heels for. 
 
“Do not fear, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name. You are Mine! …When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you…For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” 
(Isaiah 43:1-4, 19)
 

 

Meet Sarah Colantonio – ISM Student January 2015 – internship – Noah’s Ark

My name is Sarah Colantonio and I will be interning through ISM as of January 2015! 

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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) //