My name is Cindy Alexander and I live in Edmonton Alberta. I am excited to come to Bangkok in January and serve at Place of Grace.
I had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home and learning about God all my life, surrounded by wonderful Christian friends and influences. It has been a journey of learning to rely on God and follow His plan for my life.
Every time a mission’s team from my church came back and gave their report, there was a little tug on my heart to go and serve, but the timing was never right. I had also always told myself that after University I would go travel and experience another culture. ISM combined both of these things and after being at the back of my mind for a year, (combined with a lot of thought, prayer, and encouragement) I finally applied.
After a month of learning I will be interning at Place of Grace for 3 months doing admin work and helping with their programs for children and youth who live in the slums. I have been a youth leader for the past four years and I love seeing the impact that spending time and building relationships can have on their life. I also had the opportunity last summer to go and help run a summer camp for youth in London. The directors of Place of Grace are originally from London, and I can’t wait to see how God integrates my past experiences into a new culture.
I am so excited to come and serve the people of Thailand! This is going to be an adventure and I can’t wait to see what God is going to teach me through this experience!
Hi! My name is Amy Kobelt. After training in January 2016, I am excited to begin volunteering at NightLight in Bangkok for 5 months!
I’m from Langley, BC (which is about an hour outside of Vancouver), and just this past April I graduated from Trinity Western University with my undergrad degree in Honors Psychology. I love the ocean, and anywhere outdoors. Singing and song writing are two of my favourite hobbies, as music has always been a huge part of my life.
I grew up in a Christian home, and have always been surrounded by family and friends who share my faith. Though I always believed, it wasn’t until my first year after high school that I realized I needed a personal relationship with Jesus to get me through life. By trusting and listening to what his plans were for me, I ended up going to Haiti for a month after my second year of university. This trip opened my eyes to what foreign missions looks like, and I learned more about how to rely on God daily, for the things that I need. He showed me how much he loves all of His people, and my heart was broken by the many dimensions of poverty I experienced there. At the end of the trip I knew that I wanted to try going on a longer-term trip, as one month wasn’t nearly enough time to effectively invest in the local community and learn from them. Throughout the next two years at school, I studied more about the complexities of social issues including gender inequality, poverty, prostitution and slavery around the world. This served to stir up a God-given passion in me to learn more about these issues firsthand, which led me to seek out missions opportunities targeted at sex trade workers. Cue my discovery of ISM and Night Light!
This past winter I began working at Mercy Ministries, first as a counseling intern, and then as a full-time residential support worker. Building relationships with these broken, but brave women has been such an honour, and I am excited to apply and refine my current knowledge-base through my upcoming trip with NightLight!
My name is Rachael Paddock. I’m 18 years old and have just recently graduated High school. Hallelujah! With the fall school year drawing near, and college acceptance letters rolling in, I wondered what I should do my first year out of high school. I wanted to go somewhere. Travel, but with a purpose. This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Malawi Africa on a missions trip, and it was incredible. I realized that this is what I was meant to do with my life: overseas mission work.
So with September drawing near I made the bold decision to approach some missionaries named Vaden and Joyce Williams in my church, and offer them my services. I briefly explained that I was an able, willing body, who would help wherever needed in their place of residence; Thailand. Within 48 hours the two missionaries, had a place for me to stay, Thai classes for me to attend, and a place for me to volunteer.
This coming October I will be living and helping out at the “Home of Abundant Blessing,” in Ban Mai Sawan in the province Chiang Mai. This school and home along with another- the School of Abundant Love, provide a place for the local hill tribe children to receive an education. It also provides a place where they are safe from being ensnared in the horrors of human trafficking.
The Home of Abundant Blessing is for children and teens from grades 6 to 12. My duties will include helping the staff, learning, teaching basic English to the staff and helping the 167 students with their English homework. I will be staying in Thailand for a year and I’m so excited to experience the culture and most importantly spread the word of God while I’m there.
I believe that the Lord can do a work in Thailand and I’m so privileged and eager to be a part of it!
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
I believe that the Lord can do a work in Thailand and I’m so privileged and eager to be a part of it!
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
Hello, my name is Kayleigh Boveri and I will be starting my internship in January of 2016.
I grew up in a very supportive and religious home that consisted of attending church every Sunday with my family for as long as I can remember. As I got older and my parents gave me the opportunity to decide if I wanted to continue with my faith, I fell away from God for a period of time. Midway through my freshman year of college I began to feel as though there was something missing in my life and decided to attend a trip with National Community Church to work with both The Well in Bangkok and Breakthrough Thailand in Khon Kaen. I was sincerely challenged in my faith during that two-week period. While I was there I saw a lot of hardship, while simultaneously noticing God’s constant love showered over each and every girl and woman in the program, making me want to have a larger part in it. That trip truly stretched me and helped me rediscover and commit myself to a greater relationship with God.
Since leaving Thailand I have had a constant itch to return to this beautiful country. I also felt strong ties to the sex trafficking industry and wanted to continue to influence it in any positive way possible. This year I was notified that I had the opportunity to graduate from college a semester early and wanted to be sure that I spent that extra period of time working towards something meaningful which truly meant something to me. Thailand and Breakthrough Thailand were the first thoughts that came to my mind. I was extremely excited when I saw that ISM offered internships for Breakthrough Thailand, and was even more excited when I received my acceptance.
While I have previously worked with the organization and am somewhat familiar with it, I know that there is much more room for spiritual growth. I hope to have a positive influence during my duration of the trip and learn a great deal as well. I know that this trip will only deepen my faith and His light will shine through every aspect of it. I cannot wait to return to Southeast Asia and witness all of the glory that He is conducting!
My name is Kaitlin Hicks, I’m coming to ISM September 2016 and I’ll be interning with Nightlight International in Bangkok.
I’m from a collection of small towns across Missouri and Kansas in the United States. I grew up in a Christian home, and for the majority of my life my dad was my pastor. I received Christ as my savior when I was five years old but through the course of growing up and life I became very complacent in my faith and apathetic towards church and the word. Through missions trips, church camps, and youth conferences I would rekindle my passion, but it would almost always die away quickly. Thankfully during high school I really began seeking God, without the urging of my parents, and my faith began to grow into my own. After high school I completed a two year internship at Honor Academy of The Ozarks and through this program I became grounded in my faith and matured as Christian, person, and leader.
During my junior year God awakened a passion in me to help people in human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking. Instead of fading like so many things in my past, as I grew older the passion inside of me for this cause only strengthened. God gave me Isaiah 61:1-3 as the passage to stand on for my future and, as I prayed about it I knew God was calling me to this type of ministry. I currently volunteer with Nightlight Branson and I love it. I am so excited to come to Bangkok and intern there; it will be challenging, eye opening, and rewarding.
I also love Jesus, my siblings, my parents, serving in youth ministry, serving at Nightlight, and hanging out with my friends. I enjoy reading all kinds of books, writing, singing disney songs, watching Tangled over and over, and gummy bears.
Hello! My name is Ryan and I will be doing ISM in September 2015.
I recently graduated from a bachelor’s program called Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo, Canada. As I have been learning about integration in the academic world, God has been teaching me that there is not one part of life that the gospel does not profoundly impact and no matter where I am at, there is always a bigger dream that God has for me.
At a conference last year, I was inspired by keynote Viv Grigg, social entrepreneur, and prolific missiologist. He spoke about his experience in choosing to live among the urban poor in the slums of the world’s megacities. At the same conference, I was challenged by these words from Nigel Paul, founder/director of MoveIn: “There are many who are willing to go but planning to stay… and not enough who are planning to go yet willing to stay.” I said to myself, How can I possibly go to the slums? I wouldn’t know how, or where, or what to do… but, on the other hand, how could I not go? If indeed this is God’s call, how can I say to him, “Sorry God, I want plan B instead because it sounds easier.”? No, there is nothing in this world that I want more than Jesus himself, and if Jesus is going to the slums, then I will follow him there. “For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7) I am planning to go and willing to stay.
My plan is to spend the month of September in Bangkok, Thailand doing four weeks of cross-cultural ministry training with Impact School of Missions. At ISM I will learn the necessary tools and knowledge for surviving and thriving throughout the next eleven months or so in Manila, Philippines. I will live in a squatter community experiencing the culture, practicing slum-life, and knowing the joys and sorrows of the slum-dwellers. And I am so excited to see how God’s spirit is active in such communities. I will also continue to work for the MoveIn Vision Team. MoveIn is a movement of ordinary Christians (not paid missionaries) forming teams to prayerfully move in among the unreached urban poor to build relationships with their neighbours, pray for them, and ultimately make reproducing disciples. I am a pioneer helping to start the MoveIn movement in the Philippines, mobilizing Filipinos to move in among the unreached urban poor, the slum dwellers, of Southeast Asia. I am so excited to think about hundreds of rich and poor Filipinos forming teams and moving into the worst of conditions just to pray for and love their poor neighbours who have never heard the gospel.
A Journey of Many Choices
About this time last year, while I was in Cambodia I was already seeking the next step. Return to my old job in the UK? I had a couple of things that God said, one was to study His word and in a year from now I’ll know. I thought in a year I’ll know because I’ll be doing it… and study? What kind of study… lessons or to study his word more seriously on my own? After praying a lot I felt it was right to leave my current job, but after doing so I had a mini freak out. However God comforted me and reassured me that it was the right thing to do. It seriously was a huge deal to me, leaving a lovely team and a quite rewarding job. Nevertheless things seem to look more golden when you are not in the mist of it. Pushing doors and feeling as though I needed some type of security while in Cambodia I applied for another nursing job back in the UK but more of a safeguarding role. They called me for interview but it was the day before I left Cambodia and I was unable to re-arrange the interview. Once I arrived home I had a seriously busy month or two, but after taking time to rest and reflect and breath! I kept asking the same question… “so what’s next?” many people asked me “when are you returning to Cambodia?” or “what are you doing now?” All I knew was that I wasn’t retuning to Cambodia yet and my reply to the latter question was “I’m talking to you!” because that is all I knew, I was living each day as it came. I really don’t think in my time of waiting that any of it was wasted. I also felt as though God would honour my next step. I pushed many doors. I applied to work in safe houses in the UK. In the mean time I joined a nursing agency as I needed to get some pennies in. I thank God because I have got regular work through them. With lots of ‘nos’ coming back my way I took a break from seeking what was next. I asked God “if your going to honour my next step then why is every door shutting?” So I looked to what He told me in Cambodia and thought, study His word. So I applied to a Missions college (All Nations), looking around I couldn’t stop crying. It felt so peaceful and the place was so full of God’s presence. (I felt rather a foolish not being able to stop crying). I believe in the brief moment while I was looking around All Nations, God was healing me and confirming to me the call He has put on my life. I had such amazing talk with some of the tutors. I applied and was excepted in. While I was applying to All Nations I started a Beth Moore study on Daniel and learned so much from it. The doors also started to swing open, my old job offered me some maternity cover, which was so hard to turn down. A shelter I had applied to asked me to apply again. With every door that opened I just started to laugh. I love Gods sense of humor and His timing (well maybe I don’t ‘love’ His timing, He does seem to leave things to the last minute but it sure is perfect)! I also had a decision to make about which entry level I wanted to go into at All Nations. I believe God left it for me to choose. The decision of entry level was tougher than it should have been. Praying and seeking I met up with my uncle and we opened the book Operation World and looked up Cambodia. To our amusement it was supposed to be prayed for that day. Trying not to read to much into it but thanking Him for the confirmation that going to Cambodia was right. It was something I decided to put on the shelf for later. On one of my night shifts I was chatting to God and said. “God you need to tell me what I am to do, people will soon be waiting to hear my decision.” I heard God clearly, He replied “what do you want?” getting quite emotional I replied “To please you, that’s all I want.” any offer could be right. The conversation stopped there, but I didn’t feel that the conversation was over. When I returned home from my night shift, I checked my emails before heading to bed and I had received an email from Daughters of Cambodia asking if I was interested in returning. Again I laughed, it was a slightly different laugh though, more at the confirmation that this is the choice that God would be pleased with me to take. Therefore I am returning to Daughters of Cambodia in January 2016 as the day care manager. I didn’t see myself returning quite so quickly. I can clearly see that God gave me lots of options to show my true feelings. Even though I was acceptant of the other choices, none of them stirred me up or excited me as much as going back to Cambodia. During my time of applying to All Nations I wrote about how God called me to become a missionary from an extremely early age and I think it really helped me to realise that God has confirmed this calling in my life time and again. Even though I knew that I was called to go… it wasn’t a topic I was comfortable in sharing publicly mostly because I didn’t know when or where. Maybe you could say I became a little scared of it becoming reality rather than a dream. As I grew older the thought of living a life of faith made me feel as though people would see me as “strange” or that in some way I needed to change who I was because I didn’t fit the “norm” for a missionary. God told me before I left for Cambodia in 2014 to be myself, that small statement got me through a lot. I was surrounded by so many great godly people I felt a little inferior, but laying my insecurities aside he still used me and I know that He isn’t finished with me yet. I’m excited about returning to Cambodia (for at least 1 year), it is also a bonus that I will also know what to expect. I am still preparing myself a lot, I know the road ahead will lead in many tough battles. Therefore I’d appreciate prayers and support along the way, it truly means so much and please never forget how powerful prayers are.
Fundraising can be daunting. I’ve been fundraising for 10 years and I want you to know that God inspires people to give but you have to do the work. The ministry you are partnered with is counting on you. A few important things to remember:1. People want to give so you have to let them know about the opportunity. How do you do that?– an email with all the details about what you are doing and why you are doing it. State in the email how much money you need exactly and when you need it. Let them know how they can give – if online – provide the online link – or through a cheque – where do they send it? What do they write on the cheque? Then you need to write updates to the people you’ve sent the email to tell them how much you’ve raised. Keep them in the know about how the fundraising is going. Mail Chimp is a great way to send good looking emails with a donate button right in the template. I know several students who have raised their entire budget from an email (but don’t depend on this method alone). You have to keep sending updates and following up.2. Meet with people – get together with friends, your boss, your neighbours, church friends and friends of your family and tell them you really need their support. Tell them how much and when you need it.3. Hold a party at your house all about the country of your internship, culture, language – have food from the culture- put together a presentation and give them the opportunity to give that night.4. If you are artistic, sing, play, draw, dance – whatever your skill set is, use it to raise money – have a music night, talk about your internship, ISM and give them an opportunity to give5. Ask your young adult ministry if they’d do a fundraiser – Dessert auctions really go well. Ask all your friends to make cakes, your pastor etc – and let people bid. Auctions bring a lot of dollars in.6. Use social media – every form of it. Update people regularly.7. Speak to the Congregation – Sometimes church leaders will allow you to speak to the congregation about the missions trip, which can elicit financial support. Some churches will even conduct a special offering to help students raise funds for the trip. You can even attend different small group functions to talk about the trip and raise funds. You have to ask. The worst thing they can say is no.8. Advertise Your Mission Trip. Most churches have a weekly bulletin, and some even have a website and newsletter. These are all great places to advertise your mission trip and how to give. Ask if its possible.9. Raise Your Own Money. Sacrificial giving is often the most rewarding. In order to get some of the finances you need for your trip, you may want to sacrifice some of the activities that cost you money like weekly trips to Starbucks, movies, eating out, or new clothes. Instead of getting presents for your birthday, why not ask for financial support for the mission trip?9. Frequent Flyer Miles. Some airlines allow the donation of frequent flyer miles to non-profit groups. If someone you know is interested in donating the mileage to you , be sure to check with the airline first to see if your mission trip is eligible. Your flight is on top of your budget so this may help to cover the cost.10. Have a huge garage sale with your all your friends, family and maybe even the church- Get everyone to donate their items, and make sure the sale is advertised and open to the general public.11. Ask your young adult pastor or your church if it would be possible to have a jar in the foyer of the church or at every young adult event and do a “Change for Missions” jar. Over a period of three months ask the members to give their change for the missions trip.12. If you like you can break your budget down into bite size pieces and figure out how many people you need to give 25, 50 or 100 dollars and present it to people that way.The key is to do everything you can think of. A couple things to remember:– it sometimes takes a while to see your first donation – don’t worry – you do the work – the money comes in.– you aren’t begging – you are giving people an opportunity to spend their money on something that lasts for eternity. They can wrap their arms around the world with you.– people WANT to give to someone who is passionate about what they are going to do – so be enthusiastic about it.– the people you expect to give may not and people you never dreamed would give do.– friends who don’t follow Jesus will also give IF you present to them the WHY of the trip – show them the needOnce you GoUpdate FB, twitter – send emails, take videos and post on youtube, use instagram, start a blog to keep your supporters in the loop. The number one reason people don’t keep supporters – they don’t stay in touch. One day you might be coming back or need supporters for another chapter in your life so do this well and you will have life long friendships.God inspires people to give when you tell them your need! It will come!