Meet Jenn Johnson coming to ISM 09.15 – Internship – Samaritans Creations

Hi! I am Jennifer Johnson and I’ll be starting my internship in September 2015 at Samaritans Creations in Bangkok.

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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.”

Meet Marcie Braun – Coming to ISM 09.15 – Internship Samaritans Creations

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!

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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

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

Unstoppable

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.

Is God in the middle of the hard stuff?

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.

Meet Kate Juhl – coming to ISM January 2015 – internship Samaritan’s Creations

Hi! I’m Kate and I’ll be moving to Bangkok with ISM in January 2015!

kateJuhl

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 Class of 09.14 talk

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Julie Gosen

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.

 

Jannelle Dyck

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!.

Sarah Ricker

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.

Abby Zantingh

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!

 

Amanda Riebersal

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.

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!

Kylie Hobern – ISM intern 09.13 is returning to serve in Thailand

My decision to go to Thailand on a mission’s trip was something that I had thought about for a long time, but never really felt prepared enough to do. God gave me a heart for missions as a young child which naturally led me into a career as a nurse.  I focused on my career for many years and felt God lead me into the area of sexual health.

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If I am honest, I did not see how God could use a sexual health nurse on the mission field, teamed with the fact that I had not been to Bible college and did not have a PhD in theology.  After seeing a DVD on missions working with women in the sex industry in Thailand I felt a real pull towards this type of work, and so applied for ISM, and subsequently set off for three months in Thailand.

 

Thailand challenged all my perceptions, not only of missions work, but also of myself as a person and my walk with God.  I felt this was a chance of a lifetime so I decided to embrace every opportunity that presented itself.  On some level I viewed Thailand as an opportunity to see if Missions was for me, if God wanted me there, and ultimately if I was good enough.

 

My internship was at ‘The Well’ In Bangkok and being a part of this team was a major factor in me wanting to return.  The internship co-ordinator, Richard, was great in not only challenging me in stretching myself throughout my internship, but also matching my skills and passions with the needs of the organisation.  I found this enabled me to really see where God could use me and it also helped me to feel a valued part of the team.

 

My experiences at both ISM and The Well enabled me to put reality to what had been on my heart for many years.  Serving in every opportunity that arose gave me a heart not only for the women in the sex industry, but a love for Thai people and Thailand in general.

 

What I have learned and love about God is how He just flips all you think you know on its head, and then and only then can we really see what he is trying to tell us.  The one thing God taught me through this experience is that missions are not primarily about personal skills and biblical knowledge, (although they do help) but that mission work is about being willing to serve.  Like Isaiah who in his dream heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”, I too am willing simply just to go so that God can use me to minister to those in Thailand.

I’m now in process to return and I’m looking forward to what God has ahead.

– Kylie