Tag Archives: mission

Happy Anniversary! Reflections of the First Year

I spent time last night simply watching the snow fall with a warm blanket and an eager puppy on my lap. (One that currently will not stop barking at anyone who dare to try to shovel, so he may be free to a good home at this point.)

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In the midst of the endless to-do list filled with books to read, messages to write, paperwork to complete, and a puppy to entertain, I was compelled to simply stop and watch.  It was too peaceful and mesmerizing not to take in for a moment. And it gave me the time I’d been longing for and needing to simply reflect. You see in the midst of a “snowpocalypse”, Super Bowl festivities, and the typical activities of a Sunday afternoon, today marks the one year anniversary of the launching of MND GMZ Ministries. One year ago today, with the simple push of a button, MND GMZ Ministries became a reality with this simple blog. There was no going back! It was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.

And as beautiful as the falling snow looked last night, God revealed a stunning tapestry this morning that beckons one to continue to put the to-do list on the back burner, to curl up with a hot drink, to invite that playful puppy to stop barking and curl up with me, and continue to reflect on the past year.

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After playing in the snow a bit of course…

So as I sit and stare at the winter wonderland outside my window and think back on the last year, one thought consumes my mind: that of profound gratefulness.

I am thankful for family and friends that make up the MND GMZ Core Team. You have always encouraged, never once accused me of being crazy (even when I felt like I was), and have covered me in countless and unceasing prayers. MND GMZ Ministries is a reality because of your belief in its mission and your faith in Christ!

I am thankful for YOU – my readers, cheerleaders, followers, and friends. MND GMZ Ministries exists to bring truth where lies have taken hold, specifically truth about the source of our identity. Every time you “like” or “share” a post or encourage someone to follow this blog, you join in that mission.

Finally, I’m thankful that I’m as passionate about that mission as I have ever been and believe it is more important now than ever before. And I’m thankful to not be alone in this important Kingdom work. May we all work together to “reclaim the rules” that our true worth and identity is found as God’s beloved sons and daughters by adoption through Jesus Christ!

Here’s a few opportunities in which you may join MND GMZ Ministries in the days to come and what you can expect for year two!

First, MND GMZ Ministries Core Team will be having a prayer event Friday, February 6th at 7:00 pm. Prayer is the backbone of this ministry. It was born in prayer, launched in prayer a year ago, and has been bathed in prayer ever since. It is only fitting to mark the one year anniversary with prayer of thanks for the past year and prayer seeking guidance for the year to come. Join us from wherever you are. That is what is wonderful about prayer – it unites our hearts and spirits regardless of physical proximity!

Second, continue to follow, read, and share with others! Your social media creates a powerful chain reaction that allows the message to spread more quickly than you realize. Your role matters! Over the next week or two, you’ll notice a few of our favoirte “throwback blogs” as a reminder of the focus of this ministry, but then you can expect new blogs to begin to appear again. I have much to share but there are also some AMAZING guest bloggers line up as well! Whether old or new, keep hitting that “share link” button!

Third, I have the distinct honor and privilege of speaking at Central College next Sunday and Monday. If you are near the Pella area or know someone who is, you are welcome to come! The events are free and open to the public. I believe God will be present in powerful ways so please come join! And keep your eyes open for other speaking events in the future. There is an updated calendar and don’t hesitate to think of us for your next youth, college, or adult ministry event!

So, grab your favorite Sperrys, your brightest sneakers, prettiest pumps, or boldest boots. It’s time to journey into year two! And I couldn’t be happier you’ve come along!

~Karen

Hali’s story: Obedience, pursuit of passion, and God’s calling

There are conversations that seem to make an imprint on your heart and simply stay with you over time.  I’m not sure she even remembers meeting for coffee that day, but I’ll never forget it. I met Hali (pronounced with a long A, like Haley) when she was just a shy and incredibly quiet 8th grader. I was her church small group leader and due to her apparent mutism, I called her Hali (short A) for most of the year. (Who am I kidding, I still call her the wrong name more times than not.)

A note Hali wrote me in 8th grade. I like to reminder her from time to time of these sentiments.
A note Hali wrote me in 8th grade. I like to reminder her from time to time of these sentiments.

Now a senior in high school, Hali was facing decisions that loomed large and carried tremendous weight, namely what to do after graduation. Should she do what was expected and go to college like the rest of her peers or go against the flow and do something completely different?

She chose the latter…

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Doing something different takes tremendous courage. Smart, responsible, gifted, and focused, no one ever imagined she’d do anything other than go directly to college. College is the logical next step after high school, especially for someone like Hali. With dreams of becoming a physician, why not take the logical next step? Because something about the logical next step didn’t feel right. In fact, it felt wrong. So maybe doing something different doesn’t just take courage, but also takes obedience. Acts 5:29, “ If we have to choose between obedience to God and obedience to any human authority, then we must obey God.” And obeying God often means doing the illogical.

Hali has always had a heart for missions and so spent a “gap year” overseas with a missionary organization. In that time, God confirmed that Hali had reservations about pursuing medical school for a reason – becoming a doctor was not the next step. But what was? She still did not know. And yet she trusted that God had a plan and a purpose for her life. She believed He would be faithful and she patiently waited for this plan to be revealed in His timing.

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For two years she explored other careers in medicine, including becoming a local paramedic. And she developed ministry skills working with the very same youth group she was raised in and where I first met her so many years before. The passion for missions remained, the passion for medicine began to fade. And overtime a different passion she’d always had grew even stronger. A passion placed there by her Maker. A passion in line with His heart. A passion for those in bondage and in slavery. Hali’s heart is to see captives set free and captors brought to justice. Suddenly Hali’s calling seemed crystal clear…

And so today, my friend Hali moves to Chicago. She’s off to college in pursuit of her passion and in obedience to the Lord she loves. Today she takes another step in living out the calling placed on her life. Faith is still required. God gives us all a lamp for our feet to illuminate the next step, not a headlight to reveal the entire path. But He promises to go ahead, walk along, and hem in behind. He never leaves nor forsakes. And He finishes what He starts. And though I will miss her deeply, I could not be more proud or more inspired. And because she is way too humble to share her story, I felt compelled to do it for her. Because we can all learn from Hali… that following God takes courage to be different. That the risk it takes to obediently follow God is always worth it. That following God is an unbelievably exciting adventure. And that God’s call to serve His kingdom always aligns with the gifts, talents, and passions He gave us when He created us. Imagine that…

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Hali May, I’m honored and privileged to witness your adventure and I am waiting with eager expectation to see where the journey takes you. I have no doubt it will be to places and heights you could never imagine. “All this is why we are constantly praying for you, so God will make you worthy of the great calling you have received from Him and will give you the power to accomplish every good intention and work of faith.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)  ~Much Love, Karen Ann