A Very Normal Day

Do you ever have those days that are rough around the edges, no matter how hard you try to smooth them out and make them better? I had one of those recently. Actually, it was today.

It started with a couple of snooze buttons. I usually pop out of bed at 5:00 six days a week, but today I snoozed more than once. I was feeling a little unprepared for this afternoon’s math exam so I dove into studying as soon as I was up, even though God says, “Seek Me first.”

I barely had time to stuff an egg sandwich in my mouth before I headed out the door for school, but lo and behold there was half an inch of ice on my windshield and I couldn’t find the scraper. I chipped away at it with a dustpan until I had a tiny peephole.

My 8:00 English class wasn’t fun. It’s hard to be 33 years old and trying to learn how to write a thesis and develop an argument when you have practiced keeping your opinions tucked in and not arguing for your whole life. I get tired of feeling incompetent so much, especially since incompetence is one of my least favorite feelings.

I skipped history class and went to Ellie’s poetry recital at her school. This was a sweet, bright spot in my day. Ellie recited “Now We Are Six,” by A.A. Milne which cousin Rachel taught her on her 6th birthday in NYC this year. She was just perfect!

I went back to college for my math exam and I wasn’t sure if the answer was dispersion or distribution, but I did my best. At least now I understand what it means when people say that their kid is in the 90th percentile for height. That always made me scratch my head, but no more.

A guy in my class asked me if I was ok because my teeth were bloody. I have no idea why, but they were. I went down the back staircase and I met a guy holding a ladder. He was very polite and made room for me, and I said cheerfully, “Excuse us!” There was no one else around.

I went to the wrong parking lot in the freezing cold, because I forgot where I had parked.

So I stopped for ice cream on the way home but there was construction and terrible traffic and a big fence right across the shortcut I usually take. The drive thru took long and my ice cream was literally warm when I drank it.

I came home and quickly swept the floors because friends were coming over for tea, which was another very warm spot in my day. One of my kids bit the other and then lied about it. So we bundled up nice and warm and went out to play in 33 degrees. Adam made baby Jesus in a manger out of the leftover snow and Ellie climbed a tree. Some students came outside to hug the kids and they made me laugh. The sunset over Pikes Peak was just perfect.

We ate dinner in the dining room, and the mashed potatoes were surprisingly cold. But the meat was good. I have a big research paper to write and a speech to practice and a rhetorical analysis to polish, but I thought it would be good to complain a little and get it out of my system before I tackle my homework.

Truthfully, I feel a lot better now. A day with minor inconveniences and small embarrassments just keeps life interesting and fun.

A New (Little) Addition

Exciting news! We have been living in two hotel rooms for about four years now, and the time has come for us to expand. The housing team on our campus offered us the empty room next to our living room and when they offered an inch, we suggested a mile. We asked if we can take out the wall and make a bigger living room and a small bedroom for the kids and we will even get a large closet! A closet to me, is like a Ferrari to you.

We had seriously considered buying a house here in the Springs, but when we prayed and fasted about it, the proverbial door slammed shut. Now we get to stay in the rooms where we have already made lots of improvements and built a kitchenette, plus we will enjoy the luxury of more space and finally our kids will have their own bedroom. They cannot fathom this arrangement, but we their parents definitely can.

We are praying and asking around to see if anyone with construction skills wants a free trip to Colorado in December. We might throw in some food. A ski day could even be arranged!

Simple Obedience

I loved yesterday’s church service. The whole service was focused on missions, specifically the least reached in the 10/40 window. (see picture)


This is exactly what our Y-base is focused on.
The core of the message was that we need to pray for the unreached outside the States and right where we are. It is a simple message. For me, the hard part is doing it.

When we first joined the mission in Colorado Springs, I learned a lot about the least reached. The 10/40 window is where most of the unreached people groups are. There are still whole groups of people that never heard the gospel and the % of Christians in their group is 0.

I don’t know about you but I want to get up and jump on the first plane and start living among those groups and be Jesus to them.
The one thing our mission does well is training! We don’t just go, we make sure we are equipped and know how that culture receives the gospel best.

In my day to day, that translates into teaching people how to do business and specifically marketing. Often the countries in the 10/40 are closed to the gospel and it is illegal to preach. Business is a door into those countries which isn’t the only benefit. Business creates jobs, boosts the economy and gives the owner direct contact with the locals. Often the businesses we work with have a social bottom-line. We work with businesses that hire survivors of human trafficking; they’re focused on people.

Our pastor, in his sermon, was very practical. He pointed at this app called: Unreached of the Day. It shows you a detailed description of one of the unreached people groups. With the prayer points provided you can intercede for the unreached. I have been using this app and I love it!
It is something I can do before I go myself.

That’s exactly how we look at Joy going back to school. It is a preparation for something bigger we don’t fully understand yet. We are excited though to see what God has up His almighty sleeve!

Thanks for praying!

Bunch ‘o pictures, narrated by the kids

I just forgot what we were supposed to be doing – Adam
We are at Washington DC and we were staying at a house with Naomi, that is our cousin and we are going to a coffee shop-Ellie
We are at the zoo. We were looking at the butterflies, no it was not. We were at the desert. (Ellie insert: Ellie was standing on a AC vent and her skirt flew up) – Adam

What is going on?

This upcoming week our life is going to change! Joy is going back to school.
I am very excited about this and Joy is too, she just has some added anxiety to her excitement. From the very first thoughts about going back to school I knew God was behind it. It seemed very impossible at first, and that is exactly what made me believe it was possible. Believe me, the last thing we need is another bill for school and books and what not. But God provided! Joy did some research and applied for several scholarships and now the first 2 semesters are paid for in full.

The second hoop to jump through was our schedule.
It was very overwhelming to try to figure this out but once we had clarity on what Joy was going for, we nailed down a perfect schedule. Joy will attend classes at our community college on the days Ellie and Adam are both in school and she will take one evening class. In this way she doesn’t miss much time with our kids and I can keep working as I was before.

The part I am most excited about is what the future will hold. Joy will be able to take what she is learning and bring it into practice. After she is done studying if the Lord wills it, we will move overseas and go where God sends us. We appreciate your prayers!

It has been too long

When I saw that our last post was published on October 11th, a short wave of excitement went through my brains. What a blessing that we never mentioned our new years resolution of writing more blogs in 2019!
Nobody will ever know that our last born DNA of being lazy and dependent on mom kicked in hard this time.
Our blog actually fell off the internet for a little while and our dear brother PD graciously picked it back up and restored our and the url’s dignity.

In the meantime we are still doing missions in Colorado Springs and for some of you we are still at the other side of the country/world.

I will be leaving for Thailand and Nepal when this month hits the middle and will stay there till it hits the end.
I will be going there with our Business as Missions team. We will be taking a few local business guys to introduce them to the companies and people we partner with in Asia and hopefully get the local business owners to come alongside the BAM people to do some long distance coaching! We also will be attending a Business As Missions conference where there will be a “shark tank” where new business ideas will be presented and hopefully funded by the sharks.
Two students of our School of Business and Entrepreneurship will present their business plans, which they developed at our school on our campus.
The conference will have several breakout seminars and I will be teaching one of them on Online Marketing.

As I wrote in the last blog posted on October 11 2018, I (Hj) now have officially left the coffeehouse and stepped into my full time role with Kairos Traders. It has been going really good and I am excited for all the things God is doing in the area of fighting human trafficking. Kairos Traders started off the new year great! We joined a local co-op space in a prime location in downtown Colorado Springs and we started selling at Kairos Coffeehouse.
I am working on our website right now to get it ready to sell wholesale so we can create many more jobs for the businesses that employ survivors!
We are hoping that this year the online store will grow by a lot so if you want to contribute you can go there right now and buy yourself or someone else a beautiful gift for Valentine’s Day or any other day, that builds a community where there is no trafficking of people! Please pray that our work will spread rapidly so we can prevent and work against trafficking. www.kairostraders.com

Committed Necklace

Let me write a little bit about Joy and then I will call it quits.
Joy is still working here locally, reaching out to the women that work in the massage parlors. One of the ladies came to know the Lord not too long ago and that was a direct answer to prayer. Two people joined Joy’s team and in the next week or two they will be doing a Valentine’s Day outreach where they will take 30 of our students from here at our campus and give gifts and prophetic words to the working women. In the past this outreach has been really good. Please pray that the students will hear from God clearly and that the women will receive the gifts.

Thank you for reading.
I am in the process of creating a FB page for our mission work so you can stay up to date a bit better, while writing more blogs! (lol)

Newsletter kind of update

I am writing this blog post on September 30th! (Happy Birthday Sietske) 
Our fall quarter is in full swing and here is little overview of what we are doing. 

Adam is in preschool 2 mornings in the week and Ellie officially started kindergarten. I homeschool Ellie on Mondays and Joy does Fridays and on the other 3 days she goes to school. So far so good. I enjoy having Ellie at home and it is such a blessing to be involved with her school in such a unique way.

The fall quarter is the biggest on our campus. Three weeks ago we gained about 80 students that are doing schools on our campus. The DTS alone has 64 students. The students are divided up in different interests which we call focuses. We have a calling and identity, worship, missions and business as mission focus. I am leading the business as mission focus. We have 5 students: 3 Americans, 1 from the Netherlands and 1 from Brazil. We have been blessed with a lot of Dutch people on our base and right now we total 5!!! (!!) We started to come together on Thursdays to watch Boer Zoekt Vrouw which is such a treat! I also am the Dutch student’s one on one, meaning we have weekly meetings of reflection and working out personal issues if needed.

One of the schools our campus is running is called the Bridge school. It is a transition school that helps the young students find their calling after DTS whether it is on our campus or at home. The Bridge students intern with different departments on our campus. Me and Joy both have interns this quarter. 
Joy is still doing her ministry to the massage parlors with her friend Heather. Right now they are driving back from an International Justice Mission conference with their 3 interns. IJM is all about ending slavery in our lifetime. I love seeing Joy chasing her passions and this is definitely one of them.

As you know I have been working at Kairos Coffee House for the last 2.5 years. I love working at Kairos, it is such an incredible ministry. 
Right now we have a very young team and it is so fun to walk alongside them. Recently I brought a few of our employees to a young adult church. I really wanted breakthrough for one of our employees who was struggling. It was such an honor to walk alongside him to show him God still cared for his life. God showed up for him that night; join me in prayer that his life will be changed.

Even though I love Kairos Coffee so much, Lord willing I will be leaving that team and join the Kairos Traders team at the end of the year. 
As you know we ran a kickstarter not too long ago and with that money I built the online store for Kairos Traders. It is starting a bit slow but with Christmas around the corner we will be a lot more busy! You can order anything you like from our store at www.kairostraders.com

When you buy at Kairos Traders you fight human trafficking! All our products come from social businesses in Asia that either prevent trafficking by providing jobs for the vulnerable, or work directly with the victims of human trafficking.  These businesses invest in their employees by providing health care, a savings account, insurance and dignity. Many of these employees come to Christ because they see Jesus around them.

This blog started in September and ended in October!

Adopt a culture

“The hard part about adopting a culture is to know when to tell it that it’s adopted” 

Hi, Hj here. (I’ll be coming out with some more blogs soon)

Let me take you back to a memory I recently had: 
I was out in a restaurant with 5/6 guys from our base. We were having some good old “bro time.”  We talked about work some but soon the main subject we discussed was football.  American football.  I was lost as they went over the details of teams and different players.  These guys knew a lot about all the players and all the teams.  No matter how hard I tried to talk about the weather or the New Testament, the subject always landed back on football. American football.

This is where my steep learning curve began. With the Carolina Panthers as my mock team I started to be interested in football. American football.
This was the best immigration idea I had so far and it worked! A gentlemen came into Kairos and he said he was from Minnesota. Right away I told him that I thought the Vikings were doing amazing this season and he said something like “they always start off great” and we had a great time talking in this language about a thing that was becoming less and less foreign to me: American football.

Now I hear you think, (your thinking is so loud) you shouldn’t conform to the people who chase vain things. The thing is though that back in Holland I can always connect with people because we will have at least 5,000 things in common including a heritage. Here, I am a foreigner. I play football without the American part. I dont speaka yo language. I am not loud. I don’t have a lot of connection points. So for me to connect with some guys over American football is a dream come true. When the Panthers played the Vikings, me and my friend went and watched the game together. When another team was playing, me and my family were invited to watch it. The game was on but the fellowship was happening with each other. We had a lovely night, I don’t remember who won or who played. I do remember that some friendships started that night, and they still exist today. 

Talking to the phone

I rarely, rarely talk on the phone.  Not to my mom, not to my sister or cousins or friends.  Basically the only people I talk to on the phone are my physician, dentist and optometrist.  Sometimes when people lock themselves out of the old hotel we live in, they might call in desperation to be rescued, but that’s about it.

The thing I have discovered this year is that I can now talk TO my phone.  This has been a life-changing discovery for me!  I have an iPhone (I don’t know which one).  It’s actually falling apart glass chunk by glass chunk right now, but I can still talk to it and it still listens to me.

My phone is young enough to have Siri, so I just tell her stuff all day long and she writes it down for me and I don’t even have to take my hands out of the sudsy water.  I don’t have a dishwasher, so my hands are in the sudsy water a lot.

When I’m cooking dinner and I use up the last of the olive oil, I say, “Hey Siri, add olive oil to my grocery list.”  And she has been trained to obey every single time without back-talk, which is refreshing.  She always says, “Ok, I added it.”  

Most often I ask her to remind me of things, and did you know I can have her remind me at a certain time or a certain place?  So when I’m driving down the road and see the fuel in our van is getting low, I tell Siri, “Hey girl, remind me to get fuel when I’m at the King Soopers on Centennial” since that is where we get our fuel.  And she does it! She reminded me when I was in the parking lot later that day.  

I say things like, “Set my alarm every weekday for 6:00 in the morning.”  Or “Remind me to pray for Christy every day at 3:00.”  Then I don’t mark it completed until I’ve actually prayed for Christy.  Talking to your phone can be so useful; I’m sure I’m still only discovering all the things it can do for me.  I write down all my dreams in a folder on my phone titled “Dreams and Visions.”  Since I discovered voice-to-text, I just recall my dreams out loud while I’m brushing my hair in the morning, and Siri writes them all down for me in the correct folder.  

I don’t often sing the praises of my phone, but today I thought I should since I’ve come to appreciate its prompt obedience to my every command.  It frees up brain space for me so I can remember more important stuff, like how to train my children about prompt obedience to my every command. 😉

Pioneering

For the past year and a half, my friend and I have been pioneering a ministry here in our city.  We go to places that are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking, and try to make connections with the women who work there.  It has been a long, sometimes grueling process of much prayer, research, networking, trying to grasp the issue so that we can create a strategy to help and bring Jesus to them.
Last week, two of my friends and I took our kids (eleven of them in total!) to one of these places where there were some friendly Thai women who seemed open to getting to know us more.  We gathered on Tuesday morning and listened to a worship song with the kids, then we prayed and asked God how He would like us to bless our new friends.
I took notes on my phone and I chuckled through some of them.  One of the little boys got a picture of Minecraft while he was listening to God, and his mom wisely told him he should maybe pray into that a little more and ask God what it means.
Almost all the kids got a word or picture from the Lord, and by the time we went around the circle, we could see that God was saying something to us about a birthday.  My friend had just had two dreams that week about eating birthday cake, and she felt God telling her to take a birthday gift along on our visit.
We loaded up in our three minivans and drove to Costco.  I picked out a huge cake that said “Happy Birthday!” and we drove across town, praying that we heard right about what we were supposed to do.
On the way, Ellie said, “Mom, I saw a picture when we were praying.”  Ellie was in and out of our prayer time earlier, so I hadn’t even asked her if she had heard anything from the Lord.  She is just 4, and I only told her that we were going to visit a friend.  She tends to carry the weight of the world on her little shoulders anyway, so I’m trying to keep her life carefree as long as I can.
I asked what this picture was that she saw when we were praying, and she said, “Mom, I saw these ladies standing in a row next to God and Jesus and they were all blind.  Then they looked up and saw beautiful golden heaven that was sparkling, and they saw angels. The angels said, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life!’ and then the ladies said it back to the angels and God looked over at them and they could see perfectly!”  One of the other kids in the car with us told Ellie she should share it with the women she was about to meet, but Ellie wasn’t interested.  She claimed she was much too shy for that.
Well, we descended upon this massage parlor, all 3 mamas and 11 kids armed with a giant birthday cake, flowers, paintings and a little gift bag with some earrings from Kairos Traders.  We were met at the door by Miss Jan (not her real name) who ushered us into a tiny room like a closet where we were pretty much stacked on top of one another.  “Who’s having a birthday?” my friend asked.  And Miss Jan said, “Me! My birthday was yesterday! How did you know?” Her eyes grew wide when we put the cake on the table.  We explained to her that God cared for her enough to tell us it was her birthday, and she kept pointing to her arm saying, “Goosebumps!”  The children shrieked unabashedly and showered her with hugs.  She kept telling us how lucky we were to catch her, since she is the owner of the massage parlor and was only there for a few  minutes that morning to check on things.
We had a grand time, singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles and then cutting the cake and passing it around to everyone while we got to know each other a little.  Before we left, the kids took turns laying hands on her and praying for her.  At one point, my friend looked up and said, “I feel like God wants me to tell you, ‘Goodness and mercy shall follow you.”  My little girl Ellie leapt up off the bed she was sitting on and said, “God told me that same thing!”  And she told Miss Jan the whole thing in a loud, clear voice while Miss Jan looked both astonished and teary.
As we drove home, Ellie kept marveling over the fact that even though Miss Jan does not know God, He knows her very well and He wants her to get to know Him.  We are praying for her every day, and hoping to start a Bible study with her and her friends so that they can get to know the Jesus who loves and cares for them.