Well my third and final internship is coming to a close. And although I am stoked out of my mind to go home and see my family and all my pals, I am very sad to leave this one. I was sad to leave all of them. But for some reason, my time in India feels unfinished. I will make no promises of returning, because it’s not my place to know the future. But something has stirred within me, a fire that won’t be put out so easily. Whatever I end up doing with my life, I can never again feign ignorance for the lack of proactive action fighting for social justice in our world. That was a mouthful, basically what I mean is that I cannot pretend that I have not learned what I have learned here. You can’t ignore a bullet that hit you right in the heart. Maybe I can only make a lasting difference in the lives of a few street kids. But that would be so worth it. To give a few kids a chance in life that should be their human right. I certainly can’t save the world, but I can do my part. If I backed away now it would certainly be a greater wrong than if I had remained in my bubble of ignorance.
Don’t freak out those who love me that are reading this. I’m still getting on that plane tomorrow. I’m actually planning on going back to school for a couple of years if all goes well so I’ll be living in Canada for a few years yet. And social justice also needs to be fought for on Canadian soil.
What I am really trying to communicate is that I have learned so much from my time at ISM. During this last internship I was sick so often that it just became a joke. But I have encountered a part of God that I had only glimpsed before. I have known God as the sovereign creator, and God as my closest friend for almost my whole life. But now I also know God as the dad that fights for every one of his kids, who has made bigger sacrifices and has shown more grace than any earthly father even has the capacity to give. Who is reaching out to even the most rebellious of souls, always.
This has been a very important 7 months in my life. I can feel the weight of it. My faith has solidified on a solid rock where it was pretty shaky before.
So here’s to the God that chooses to be our dad, even when we’re the worst kids ever.
For Narnia! And for Aslan! (Just thought I’d throw that in there)
- Sarah Ricker – ISM 09.14
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)
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:
3 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, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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!
When you come the mission field, you can’t go a day without seeing pain. Horrible pain. It’s easy to start ask God ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’ ‘Don’t you love people?’ ‘If you love people why don’t you intervene?’ It’s okay to ask God these questions but it may reveal a lot about where you are in your relationship with Him. So how to do you walk through those thoughts and even doubts about the love of God?
As a side note – It is fascinating that I’ve never been asked this question by people living in India, Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia who certainly knows a lot more about suffering than we do. Why?
When we ask this question the complaint is against God’s character: ‘Can I really trust God when I see so much pain?’ If you are sure that you can trust Him, regardless of the pain you see or are experiencing , there is no temptation to turn away from Him because He is the only one who can help.
Maybe the reason we question God’s character when bad things happen or we see suffering is that we live lives largely independent from Him. In other words, do we actually trust Him even when things are going well? When life is easy we don’t really need to trust God for anything. I think for many this can cause us to live as Christian Atheists. We are Christians but we live like God doesn’t exist.
As I mentioned, I have never been asked questions about God’s love and suffering by people living in SEA. In fact, when I visit churches in parts of the world where they are faced daily with great pain and suffering, they inspire me. They aren’t asking, “where is God?” They trust God in everything, Suffering is part of life, part of being human and living in a fallen world. They don’t expect life to be perfect, in fact they expect suffering. When times are really hard, they cling to Him because they have already learned to trust Him when things are good and they know when things are bad that there is no other answer but God. They can’t take a pill, get a job, borrow money or run to a government agency for help.
Maybe we struggle with suffering so much in the West because we are so comfortable and ‘safe’ most of the time that we feel we don’t need God. We don’t rely on Him on a daily basis and therefore we don’t really know Him as we should. I think this is at the heart of asking ‘why?’ When suffering comes along, it is not so much that it takes us away from God, but it reveals to us that we haven’t actually had to really trust Him or we haven’t been close to Him in the first place.
What should we do? Often when we are upset by our circumstances the first thing we should do is the last thing we do. The best thing you can do when you are upset or confused is to get into the Word of God and pray. If we aren’t close to Him in the first place, the last thing you want to do is spend time with Him. If you’ve been a Christian for awhile it’s so easy to do and say the right things and not even really believe them. The Word of God is supernatural and spending time hearing the voice of God through the Word helps give you the right perspective and helps you to know who He really is. To know HIm is to love Him. If you aren’t in the Word you can’t remember the truth and start doubting basic things like GOD IS LOVE which is true regardless of the circumstance. The Word reminds you of that on every page. If you don’t feel like reading the Word or praying start by asking God for a hunger and thirst for Him. Ask Him to help you to fall in love with Him. Forcing yourself to read the Bible and pray isn’t the way it was meant to be. If you have to force yourself it probably means your love is waning. Love drives us to be with Him. If we aren’t in love with Him we’re likely living on the fumes of former days where we did vibrantly love Him and that’s why we starting doubting and asking why. Another helpful thing is to talk to people in the midst of suffering who have an unshakeable faith in God. Their joy in their pain helps you understand what faith looks like and that circumstances don’t need to affect faith because God is trustworthy and He never changes.
The good news is. even in the questioning, He loves you – He is used to His children trying to live in their own strength or running from Him and yet , if you cry out – He’s standing right there. Arms outstretched – waiting.
Hi! I am Jennifer Johnson and I’ll be starting my internship in September 2015 at Samaritans Creations in Bangkok.
I grew up in the church and I have been blessed with an amazing family and lifestyle. I have never had to want for much. I am so thankful for all that my life has been this far. But I can’t help but feel that this blessing also hinders me. The devil hides and captures people in satisfaction and mediocrity. I am a daughter of the living King as well as a daughter to my father and treated as such by many close family role models. I have been surrounded by amazing men my entire life, men that have taught me to bring this world more good than bad, to never stop fighting for an intimacy with God, and to love each and every person with a passion, just as God loves us.
Being dipped into the world I have found that everyone desires to be loved, and not everyone has gotten a chance to feel the kind of divine love that is ready to be poured out upon them. I feel called to share this drowning love with others that I have been so fortunate to feel for myself. I have found freedom in knowing our Creator and Father. And in knowing him I have found so much grace, mercy, and rest.
God has taught me many lessons in the past four years that I have spent at school and the main thing I know now is that I need to get up and go with His light shining on me, my walk in faith needs a leap and he is calling me to empower women. Faith in God has grown as I consistently call on him for a path. From all angles in my life sexual trafficking as been brought up, and now that I know so much about the topic, I feel like God has put this directly in front of me for a reason. I am an equality advocate; racial and gender prejudices make me cringe. I feel so honored to have been loved by my Father in heaven, and my earthly Father, I feel it would be selfish of myself to not share this love with as many people as I can.
There is one verse that is constantly consuming my mind; I think the world needs to hear it. Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Hello! My name is Marcie Braun and I will be interning in Bangkok in September of 2015. I am from Saskatchewan and I am so excited to be serving for five months at Samaritan’s creations in Bangkok!
I have known for a while that I have wanted to take a year off from school and focus on service. There is such a vast amount of opportunities out there and I found the decision quite overwhelming. ISM drew me in with its focus on specific ministries. The word “go” on the promotional video immediately struck my heart. Being presented with all these decisions, I felt that God just kept telling me “go”.
I did not hear the whole gospel until I was 12 at my church’s youth group. I gave my heart to Jesus at a Bible Camp and God has been drawing me closer to himself ever since. A passion for the Bible became significant in my faith as it gave me so much assurance while living with parents that did not support me being a part of the Church. I was blessed with my sister Kelly who has interned at ISM in following God under these circumstances.
Camp ministry has been a way for me to grow in leadership and has spurred my desire for others to know Jesus. Learning more about the issue of human trafficking that I was previously unaware of, I felt a compassion that I had never felt before. I knew that I could not ignore it. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of God’s work in curing injustice and comfort hurting people. This will be my first time doing missions abroad. I am still in awe of how God has given me this amazing opportunity to intern.
A verse that encourages me is: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
-2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Every time a session of ISM comes to a close I’m surprised at how quickly 4 weeks can pass. For me the weeks are full of discovery. Every class is different and every student has something unique to offer. Even when we come from different cultures, and unique spiritual backgrounds, one thing that always remains the same: The desire to bring hope to hurting hearts is the reason everyone comes. How beautiful is that? How amazing is it that we get to inspire this generation a little more, and that putting feet to dreams is a job? It’s a privilege to work with this generation, year after year. There are so many beautiful young adults who are wanting to make Jesus known in the world and bring the GOOD NEWs to anyone who is willing to be be loved. Pray with me that this class of 01.15 will be so filled with the Holy Spirit that through them His beautiful, life changing presence is felt:
in the streets,
the taxi cabs,
the back of motorbikes,
on a bus,
in the market,
in the brothel,
on the train tracks,
in the mountains,
on the littered streets,
in the office,
and around every dinner table.
Be strong and courageous ladies – the Lord your God is with you. Jesus’ love is a powerful, unstoppable force and He lives in you.
The Call of Jeremiah Jeremiah 1:4,5
“The Word of the Lord came to me saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah then puts up his fists as it were and says “But I’ don’t know how to speak, I’m only a child. ” Then with a mild rebuke the Lord tells Jeremiah Don’t say that! “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Don’t be afraid, I’m with you and I will rescue you.” vs 8
Often when we read this or hear this preached we are inspired to get out there and follow God’s call with abandon and gusto. We leave our pews with our pompoms on and get excited about declaring God’s love and truth in our world. But life isn’t a fairytale. Hard times are inevitable. For Jeremiah when King Josiah died, Jeremiah’s hardships as a prophet of God increased. His message aroused immense hostility and death threats, especially in his own home town, Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:21). Even his own relatives conspired against him and betrayed him (Jeremiah 12:6). NICE!
His persecution increased in Jerusalem when a priest named Pashhur sought out Jeremiah to have him beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin for a day (Jeremiah 20:1-2). After this, Jeremiah lamented the hardship that had come to him for speaking God’s words. It was difficult to have become a laughingstock to the people and a target of mockery (verse 7).
Later, spiteful men obtained the king’s approval to arrest Jeremiah for prophesying disaster. These men then lowered Jeremiah by ropes into a cistern, and he sank into a layer of mud (Jeremiah 38:1-6). When another court official learned about Jeremiah’s fate, he persuaded the king to let him rescue Jeremiah before he starved to death at the bottom of the cistern (verses 7-13).
Yet Jeremiah knew he had to speak the message God had given him. He wrote how, if he tried to resist speaking what God told him to speak and tried to not even mention God’s name, God’s words became like fire in his heart. He was unable to hold them in (Jeremiah 20:9).
God told Jeremiah that if he would boldly speak His words and not shrink back in fear of the people, He would give him the strength he needed to withstand the persecution. God told him, “I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail
Often in life we are hit with difficulties. We have relationship problems, health problems, loneliness, self doubt, that job you wanted just doesn’t come through, the finances aren’t there, the ministry you are helping has leadership problems, living in another country as a missionary is way harder than you ever thought it could be, your internship doesn’t look like you thought it would, you have visa issues and the difficulties continue to mount up so high you can barely remember the call or you think your must not have heard God correctly.
Throughout life we are told that if everything goes right then we have the favour of God on our lives. A perfect life means your are living under blessing right? If things fall apart or don’t go as we expected, well maybe we’ve stepped out of God’s will, our we’ve somehow messed up. I probably thought that way myself at one point in my life. I do believe that when you honour God and seek him first you are blessed and live life to the full, but blessings as some define them are not necessarily (or even often) financial or material or perfect health. The scriptures are full of great, exciting calls, often followed by great hardship. We need to remember that the circumstances don’t change the call. Difficulties don’t mean the call has left us, or we didn’t hear correctly, it means you are living a normal Christian life. The blessings in the difficulties are dying to self, learning dependance on the Holy Spirit, learning to consider it pure joy when you go through the trials (James 1) because God is really at work in your life. Perhaps those fighting through hardship are the most blessed of all.
Is God in the middle of the hard stuff? Always.
Hi! I’m Kate and I’ll be moving to Bangkok with ISM in January 2015!
I grew up in an amazing, loving and supportive Christian home in a small town in Minnesota, USA. When I was little I used to spend hours reading books about far away lands and strange and mysterious people throughout time. My favorite stories were the ones about World War II and the Civil War in America. I always pictured myself as the hero who hid Jews from the Nazis or smuggled the African slaves North to freedom. But for a long time I never dreamed that horrors of slavery or mass racial discrimination still existed today. Eventually as I grew up I became aware of injustice all over the world. It infuriated me, but I had no idea how I was supposed to change anything.
Then in April 2014 God spoke very clearly into my life telling me that He wanted me to set His people free. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. God has given me so much love, hope and freedom, now He was calling me to share that with his other children. Over the years I’ve had plenty of glamorous dreams for my life, but when I pursued God’s plan for my life He was faithful. I started by reading books about trafficking, prostitution and slavery all over the world. Next, I began to look at various organizations to volunteer with and God led me to a local ministry that helps women coming out of trafficking or abusive relationships. Although I love working with the ministry, God knew that my heart longs to be overseas in exciting new countries, therefore He led me to ISM.
I am so excited to begin this next chapter of my life living out God’s plan! I’ll be interning with Samaritan Creations helping to provide alternative work for women coming out of the sex industry. I know God has so much in store for this ministry and these woman and I just can’t wait to be part of it!
ISM has impacted me a lot this past month, a lot more than I ever anticipated. The classes, the teachers, the trips, even the dinners, were so informative and thought provoking. Lessons on culture shock, spiritual warfare, self reflection and everything in between. I got to wake up every single morning being excited for the day and encouraged by the teachers, and my fellow interns, that God is there beside me every step of the way. Through the classes, I got to have a deeper understanding of God and how to really hear Him which pushed me to work on my personal relationship with Him even more. Having prayer and worship every morning was another huge thing for me, pushing me to a more godly life, and enjoying every minute of it. Through ISM, God has taught me more about myself, His plans for me, how He created me, humility, understanding, compassion, healthy relationships and more. There’s so much more I could say but we’ll leave it with this, it’s clear what God is doing through ISM and I’m glad I get to be a part of it.
My experience with ISM has been transformational! The teaching is sound and incredibly practical, the environment for learning (Bangkok!) is amazing, and the staff and speakers are all incredible! In this setting I have experienced God in a whole new way. My faith has deepened and I have a renewed desire for the Holy Spirit to saturate every aspect of my life! I feel equipped not only for ministry but better equipped for life in general. To put it simply, these past four weeks with ISM have been life-changing!.
I came to ISM expecting to learn a lot. However, not only have I been exposed to ideas and harsh realities in the world that I had no concept of before, but I have been made more aware of God’s love and heart for people than I have ever experienced in my life thus far. Jesus said himself, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into the harvest field.” (Matthew 9: 37). I plan to live my life as a full time missionary, my time at ISM has confirmed that call on my life. But what stuck out to me the most was the huge need in the world for God’s love to be made known to all people. If a young person reading this is debating whether or not to go to ISM, and they feel God tugging on their heart, or speaking in that still small voice, then it may be time for them to step out in faith. Much like Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water. God created us to do so much more than just sit in a boat, but we will only experience that if we step out in faith. And God is always faithful, even if we start to drown, he will always be there to pull us up.
One month at Impact school of Missions is almost up, and to describe the way God has moved is like asking me to write out in tongues! From eating at the most fantastic Lebanese restaurants God ever created to worshipping God, He is Lord of it all. Prison ministry and children’s ministry are a few ways in which we realize God’s heart and serve Him through compassionate hearts, and classes that do not shy away from God, His word and His truth cause you to think and truly seek God. His face shines while you focus on Him for a month, and being surrounded by people who love Christ is a sure way to spark your flame! From riding with awesome taxi drivers to praying in tears over one another, God is waiting, He is ready, and He wants to bring revival! He loves ISM and is truly working through this school to IMPACT His children for His kingdom! I thank God for the blessing of being here Sept 2014, an experience God used to shape, equip and grow me, and I pray will always continue to do so for His sons and daughters!
I cannot believe that my first month in Bangkok, Thailand is coming to an end. It has flown by! :) I want to thank you for all of your prayers and support. :) I am going to do my best to share with you all that has taken place and all that the Lord is doing.
I have been interning at Impact School of Missions for the past four weeks and I have learned so much. At first, I was reclutant to sign up for the school because I wanted to serve and intern right away. I did not think it was necessary to come to this school; however, I am glad the Lord told me repeatedly to come. I have recieved valuable training, instruction, and experience. The Lord has used this school to equip me properly so that I will be able to effectively serve in my upcoming internship.
Even though there has been stressful times with adjusting to a new culture, it has been such a wonderful time. In the first week, we learned about the Thai culture and how to handle culture shock and stress. We had an introductory Thai language class to learn some of the basic phrases. Then, we learned about their customs, traditions, and beliefs in order to effectively serve, work, and minister to Thais.
The second week was Spirit week. We discussed basic Biblical principles about who God is and how He is calling us to live. We learned about the Holy Spirit and how to walk out in the annointing. During the third week, we learned about ourselves and how to partner with God. We learned about our personality type and our strengths and weaknesses. We discussed the importance of spending time alone with God and the power of prayer. Lastly, on the final week we were taught how to effectively minister and serve. They stressed the importance of understanding the environment we are in and how to be a light to those around you no matter what you are doing.
In addition to the classes, we also toured the area and did local out reaches. On two different Sundays we were in charge of the children’s ministry at two different churches. One church was in the slums and the other was at a refugee church. We acted out the parable of the lost sheep and after that did a craft with the kids. Also, we did face painting, made ballon animals, and played games with the children.
Another outreach we did was going to a Refugee School which had about 14 students. We shared our testimonies and got to know the students stories as well. Then, we helped them practice for their upcoming play. In addition, we went to a refugee prison and talked to those on the inside. I am not even sure how to describe that experience yet. Furthermore, we participated in a bible study and taught English to ladies who had come out of the sex industry. That was such an amazing opportunity and even walking around in the “Red Light District” was eye opening. We learned a lot about different ministries working in that area. There is NightLight reaching out to the ladies, MST is ministry to the men, and an organization reaching out to the gender confused. It is amazing to see what the Lord is doing in Thailand.
I am so thankful for this month because I truly feel like I am better equip to serve effectively in my internship for the next 5 months. I have learned so much from all the different speakers who came to ISM to discuss their ministry and how to be an effective missionary wherever I am at. I have heard so many inspiring testimonies and stories and it only possible because of the God we serve. There is nothing that He cannot do. His love and grace is never ending and it is offered to everyone. He is a personal God and I have seen that even more while being here. He cares for all people and He wants us to be the light to the world and point others to Him. I wish I could tell you all my stories but it would be a very long letter. However, if you want more details please let me know. I am excited to start teaching English in Chiang Mai on Monday.
Remember the Lord wants to use you right where you are at for the people right next to you. If we are in Christ we are all missionary. We all have a calling, gifts, and talents so just be you and walk out in the Spirit of the Lord.