My best friend has said many times that ‘to know Jenn is to know the places she has been.’ And honestly, that is true. I even joke that the best question to ask me is not “Who are you wearing?” but “Where are you wearing?” because every day, I make sure to wear at least one accessory from somewhere around the world – I want to remember what I have seen and experienced and not let the dailiness of life push those things aside in my mind.
I remember the very first time I felt my heart nudged to The Church globally – I was having trouble sleeping one night when I was in the 6th grade, and I began perusing the newest Brio magazine (a Christian teen girl’s magazine) – the main article was about their last mission’s trip to Rio de Janiero, and something in my heart nearly burst. I remember going downstairs and talking to my stepmom who just let my little heart explore this new found passion. The next day, we wrote to Brio asking if I could go on their next trip, but they said I was too young. So from that moment on, I began saving every penny from allowance, odd jobs, gifts, etc. I would get angry at my parent’s for getting me Birthday or Christmas presents because I wanted only money to put towards the longed-for trip – and after two years, over $2000 was saved, and I went on my first mission’s trip to Quito, Ecuador with a large group of teen girls from around the country with Brio.
The reason I tell you this is because my life has NOT been the same since reading that article as a little 6th grader. Since then, God has allowed me to travel to 20 countries and 6 continents, mostly on mission’s or ministry trips.
And that has shaped my very fabric. My lens is made up of that trip to Quito doing street ministry (and I was the clown!), experiencing the joy of a tiny village in Uganda on an island only found after a 2 hour leaky canoe trip, worshipping in mass at 5am with the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India (formerly Calcutta) and having my heart broken as we served with the sisters, spending a week in the Ural Mountains with a youth group from Celyabinsk, Russia, hearing the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic in the mountains of Syria, being equipped with leaders around the world at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney, having an unforgettable connection with a woman dying of (but LIVING with!) AIDS in Rwanda, helping teach and serve local church worship leaders in Galway, Ireland, worshipping with a passionate church body in Damascas…
I promise I am not telling you these things to give myself props or anything – but these have truly shaped who I am, and God continues to use these experiences to refine an unquenchable passion deep in my spirit for The Church nationally and globally. For a long time, I assumed God would call me to work in the field over seas – and I remember on my last trip to Africa, feeling very strongly that God had instead called me to use these experiences with and the passion for The Church globally to infuse into my ministry (whatever it may look like) in the States – frankly, that was a hard pill to swallow at first, and I resigned to the fact that I may not get many more opportunities to go over seas – and yet, as soon as I surrendered that, He allowed more opportunities to open up to serve and learn from The Church globally.
For the first time in my life, I have been able to say that I feel absolutely called to full-time ministry. And yet, I have no idea how that will look. While in Sydney a few years ago, God placed three things strongly on my heart as a calling…
- a call to be a lead-worshipper
- a call to The Church nationally and globally
- a call to teach and equip leaders of The Church
And yet again, I pray somehow my heart comes across in all of this – God is calling me into a season of obedience and trust as I walk into the vast unknowns that lie ahead – and in that, I feel that He has called me to just lay this out there in an act of obedience.
All of this to say, an opportunity to travel through the Holy Lands in Israel and Jordan has arisen for December 30 – January 9. This trip in and of itself has proven God’s faithfulness in my life – that this year, which has honestly been a huge testing year for me, is book-ended with trips to the Middle East – the blogs from my time in Syria and Lebanon can be found in the January archives 🙂 This trip, like the one to Syria and Lebanon is with Christians Broadcasting Hope and will be led by Pastors Jim Lyon and Kimberly Majeski. I will be blogging every day and photographing the trip for CBH, but it is my responsibility to raise all funds personally, amounting to $3952.19 plus some ground expenses. And already, before I really started fundraising, God has provided $2,860 through the generosity of the body of His people – leaving $992.19 plus a bit extra for ground expenses to be raised. I am blown away by God’s provision!!!
This is a huge hit to my pride because I am not in a financial place to pay the remaining amount myself, against all saving efforts (as God has also called me to begin seminary next year, which is another topic entirely! ha). However, last year was the opening of Jenn’s Bake Shop – the little name I use to raise money for ministry trips. I LOVE to bake, especially around the holidays, so this fit perfectly.
How Jenn’s Bake Shop works is you can order any bake goods you would like and I can deliever or ship anywhere in the country. I just let you know the shipping cost, and you can donate whatever amount you feel led to – even $5 helps tremendously!
Some of the past favorites include…
- Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies
- Spiced Pumpkin Bread
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chai Shortbread
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies
- Gluten-Free cookies in various flavors
- Chocolate Chip Ginger Blondies
- Pretty much anything that can transport easily!
If you are interested in supporting through Jenn’s Bake Shop, message me on Facebook or Twitter, and I will send you my number so we can talk about the details of what you would like 🙂
I would also LOVE to have your prayers – and I promise I am not just saying this – but I really feel like this is going to be an important trip in my life of ministry, especially shaping the framework of the Scriptures as I embark on seminary next year.
Thank you all so much for taking time to read this – your support throught that alone is HUGE!!
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” -Rom. 11:36