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 Kristy Devries and I am from Woodstock, Ontario. I am thrilled to be joining ISM for the January 2016 semester!
I will be partnering with Global Café as well as other missionaries in Cambodia for four months following one month of training in Thailand. I am unbelievably excited and thankful to have this opportunity.
I am 24 years old and graduated last year from University of Guelph with a degree in International Development. God wrote missions on my heart at a young age and I am stepping out in obedience to that call through this internship. I have been thinking about joining ISM for the last two years and have finally made the decision to GO. I am looking forward to seeing God demonstrate His amazing power because I know I cannot do this on my own. I am excited to see the way God will move in my life and those around me, and how I can learn to serve Him better while in Thailand and Cambodia.
In Cambodia I get to serve alongside a few missionaries and at Global Café in Phnom Penh. For February and March I will be helping with English teaching, computer skills, a slum church plant, and community health evangelism! I will also be taking a crash course in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. For April and May I will be serving at Global Café teaching English, doing community development projects, administration for Child Care Plus, and youth ministry! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for this season and these amazing ministries!
Hi! My name is Brittany Tetford and I’m from Brampton, Ontario.
I’m so excited to be joining Impact School of Missions in January 2016! After four weeks of training at ISM, I’ll be leaving for Abundant Love in Chiang Mai, Thailand for three months. Abundant Love is a children’s home that provides underprivileged children with a safe and healthy place to live, an education, and the opportunity to hear and understand the Word of God.
Here’s a little bit about me! Since January, I’ve been working as an education assistant and supply teacher. I graduated from Liberty University in December 2014 with a degree in Elementary Education. Before attending Liberty University, I received a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Sheridan College. Also, I’ve worked many summers as a camp counselor. As you can see from my education and work experience, I love working with children! I admire their joy and simple faith.
Although I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing over the past few months, I was feeling really unsettled. I’ve always wanted to do missions work overseas but I didn’t know when or even where. I began to pray for direction and look for opportunities and that’s when I heard about ISM through my cousin Krista (who is also attending ISM in January 2016!). I knew I had to apply! I’m so thankful that I’ve been accepted to ISM and finding a ministry that seems like a perfect fit for me.
Moving to Thailand for four months is a huge step of faith! I’m nervous about leaving everything familiar to me but I’m ready to be the hands and feet of Christ and live out my faith in a different way than ever before!
Hi, I”m Krista Budgell and I grew up on Georgetown, Ontario Canada and I recently graduated with a Nursing degree from Ryerson University in Toronto. Prior to that I received a degree in Psychology. I love reading, baking, being outside (especially by oceans), and spending time with friends and family.
It took me several years to decide where I wanted to go with my life and my career. After completing my first degree, I did not have a clear direction for my future. It wasn’t until I put my full trust in God for his guidance and direction in my life that I decided on nursing. Although I had to start from the beginning, I am so thankful that I did. I thank God for allowing me the time and opportunity to figure out where I wanted to go with my life. Since beginning nursing school, I have felt such a love and compassion for the people that I have provided care for. I spent the majority of my clinical experiences with homeless individuals, many of whom have HIV and other chronic illnesses and I knew right from the start that this was where I was meant to be. I felt such a love and connection with each person that I worked with. I was able to use the amazing love that I was shown in my own life and share it with others who needed someone to talk to. I learned that sometimes showing love is as simple as giving someone a smile, or being there to listen when someone needs to talk.
I have always wanted to volunteer overseas but due to being in school, the timing never felt right. When I graduated in June, I did not have a clear idea of where I was going to go post graduation. I started to pray about my options and the decisions that I had to make. Shortly after, I was forwarded an email about Nikki’s Place (Agape Home) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. After reading this email, I knew that this was the opportunity that I had been waiting for! I was immediately excited. Nikki’s Place is a home for children who are living with HIV. After spending January 2016 in Bangkok for training, I will be heading to Nikki’s Place for 3 months. I am so incredibly excited to spend time with and love these children. God’s timing is perfect and I am so excited to see how he is going to use me to spread his love!
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!
In her book Birthing the Miraculous, Heidi Baker writes, “The Lord is looking for those who are so in love with Him that they will say yes when they are wooed and still say yes when great sacrifice is required”. When I said “yes” to ISM and to 6 months serving in Cambodia, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. When I said “yes” to quitting my job, spending most of my savings, and packing my bags for a place unknown, I was also filled with some fear. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know why God had called me to this place at this time, but I was certain that he had.
My month of training with ISM in Thailand was incredible. I felt prepared for ministry in Cambodia and excited for what was to come. My “yes” was certain and palpable. In Cambodia I served with Daughters of Cambodia, an NGO that empowers survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation through alternative employment opportunities. My role with Daughters was as an Assistant Operations Manager for one of the restaurant/spas.
My first few months in Cambodia were difficult. Although I loved Daughters, I was sometimes frustrated with my role as I felt like I was essentially managing a restaurant and doing customer service, something I did not like to do. Another of other factors left me feeling discouraged and frustrated. My “yes”, while still there, was losing its heart and meaning. As the halfway point of my time in Cambodia neared, I decided I had to make a choice. I could choose to just get through the next three months, or I could choose to fight for joy and thrive in the plan that God had for me. This wasn’t easy- I truly had to fight and struggle some days. Some days my “yes” had a bit more grit to it than sparkle. However, the more I fought for joy, the easier it became. God filled me with a deep love for Cambodia, its people, and specifically the girls I was working with. God showed me that my role managing the restaurant gave me an opportunity to live out each day with these girls and to encourage and support them in such practical ways. I started to see how I could use my skills and experience as a caseworker on a daily basis, and was even able to help train the Khmer manager with some of these skills as well. By the time the 6 months were up, I didn’t want to leave. God had truly transformed me and my heart for Cambodia was full.
Coming back home, I felt a bit lost. It was difficult to translate the things I experienced in South East Asia back here in Canada. I knew I had to get a job, but I didn’t want just any job. I didn’t want to settle. God started a good work in me in South East Asia that I knew wasn’t supposed to just end upon my return to Canada. But I had no idea what that looked like. When I was still in Cambodia I started to make a mental ‘wish list’ of the type of job I wanted. It was very specific. For starters, I wanted to work with a non-profit, but I didn’t want to be doing front-line work. Specifically, I had hoped to continue to work in the area of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. I am also interested in potentially pursuing law in the future, so I wanted to be exposed to that environment as well. Not to mention I had to be qualified for the position and it needed to be somewhere close I could commute to. Honestly, I didn’t think this job existed. But God is faithful and He provides! A mere month after coming back from Cambodia, I found a job that was exactly as I had hoped for, down to the smallest of details.
I am now working as a Project Manager for an organization that works to prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation of youth and children in British Columbia. I am coordinating the creation of a manual that will equip youth-serving agencies to recognize and report human trafficking of youth and better support victims as they go through the criminal justice process. The one difficult thing about this job is I sit at a desk most of my day. It can sometimes seem a bit separate from the work on the ground, but the end result of my work will hopefully help to rescue and support victims of this terrible crime. When I am lacking motivation, all I have to do is look at the wall behind my desk and see the photos I have of the girls I worked with.
When I applied for this job, I initially thought I was under-qualified. However, even though there were other qualified applicants, it was my experience in the field that tipped the scale in my favour. I had no idea that my experience with ISM and Daughters of Cambodia would directly tie in to my work once I returned. Clearly God had a plan: all I had to do was say “yes”.
Jannelle Dyck – ISM 09.2014