Thursday, May 31, 2012
Meet Miss Kayleen Smith, another wonderful young lady on this mission team!!
Kayleen grew up in Anoka, MN. She graduated from Totino-Grace High School in 2008. She has recently graduated from The University of Wisconsin Stout with a degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and concentrations in Independent Living and Occupational Therapy. Kayleen has been very passionate about working with people with disabilities and volunteering since she was in junior high. Kayleen works as a Personal Care Assistant for Lutheran Social Services, as a Respite Coordinator for Friendship Ventures, and as a Travel Leader for Ventures Travel. As a Personal Care Assistant, Kayleen teaches independent living skills and advocates for persons with intellectual disabilities. As a Respite Coordinator, Kayleen provides respite services to families and persons with disabilities by providing weekend excursions and camps for people with disabilities throughout the year.
This summer, Kayleen will spend the majority of her time working with Ventures Travel as a Travel Leader taking individuals with developmental disabilities on vacation. Ventures Travel travels all throughout the United States, and Kayleen will have the opportunity to traveling to San Francisco, Wisconsin Dells, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, The Black Hills.... and MORE! Kayleen stated, “I absolutely LOVE my jobs, especially Ventures Travel because it gives me the opportunity to experience two of my favorite things in life in one job: working with persons with disabilities and traveling. I love being able to promote the independence of persons with disabilities and being able to provide the opportunity to travel to someone who may not have otherwise had the chance. I learn so much from the clients I work with and value the relationships I form with them. Our memories and experiences are priceless!" In October, Kayleen will be heading to Thailand to work for a non-profit organization called the Father Ray Foundation for 6 months where she will volunteer with 850 children and adults with disabilities in Pattaya, Thailand. During this time she will teach English, teach vocational skills, work in the school for the blind, teach independent living skills, and help the Thai teachers. Kayleen's passion for living a life serving those in need is evident through the life she has chosen to live.
Kayleen’s passion for volunteering began when her junior high curriculum required her complete some volunteer hours at Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis. Once she transitioned into high school and college, she was active in the volunteer organizations and participated in several mission trips throughout the years. Kayleen had the opportunity to go to Alabama to build houses...New Orleans to do Katrina Relief... Camden, New Jersey to work with several different organizations.... to Galveston, Texas to do hurricane relief....and to Louisiana to repair and build homes. Through these short term mission trips and other various volunteer opportunities Kayleen has taken part in, she believes God has been preparing her heart for the trip to Haiti with Healing Haiti.
I am very blessed to have Kayleen be apart of this short term mission trip to Haiti. Kayleen and I got to know each other pretty well in high school when we were in a small group together. At that point when our paths had crossed, Kayleen and I were going through similar troubles and were able to use each other for support. Our paths separated for a short time throughout college, but have come back together for this wonderful mission trip experience in Haiti. I am so thankful that God has called Kayleen to serve beside me in Haiti.. and look forward to watching God use Kayleen in many incredible ways!
Please lift Kayleen up in prayer as she continues to prepare her heart and her mind for Haiti! May God provide for Kayleen's needs at this time of preparation!!!
Monday, May 21, 2012
Meet Mr. Anthony Edholm,
one of our two wonderful men on this mission team!
Anthony Edholm grew-up in Andover, Minnesota, and graduated from Totino-Grace high school in 2007. After graduating high school, Anthony moved to Omaha, Nebraska to attend college at Creighton University. He recenetly graduated in the pre-med program with a degree in Biophysics. Anthony says, "I chose to go to Creighton because of its outstanding medical school. Being a pre-med student at the same university gave me an opportunity to experience the medical field in ways that most pre-meds would have not been able to." Anthony's ultimate goal is to be a physician, specifically an oncologist. He has recently decided to defer medical school and accept a job offer from Teach for America as a high school physics teacher in Los Angeles, California. Teaching will provide Anthony an opportunity to shine his light and encourage the heart of our youth, and I know he will be able to touch many young students' lives. After teaching, Anthony plans on returning to Creighton University School of Medicine to complete the final steps towards his career aspirations.
Anthony and I were friends in high school, and have remained in-touch over the years. Anthony became really interested in Haiti after seeing all my pictures and hearing stories from my trips. He says to me about Haiti," I am certain that this is something that I need to experience!" When Anthony told me he wanted to come with me on my June mission trip, his voice was full of excitement and confidence.. there was no way he was going to turn down this opportunity to travel to a third world country for the first time and to serve in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. I know the kids in Haiti will love Anthony's positive energy and caring heart. I am so blessed to be able to serve next to this kind-hearted man and to watch his Haiti journey unfold!
Please lift Anthony up in prayer as he continues to prepare for his heart for Haiti! May God provide for his needs at this time!!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Meet Miss Angela Rodgers,
Another Rookie on Our Haiti Mission Team!
Angela has informed me that since she was a little girl she always knew she wanted to help other people and that this has been a common theme in her life. Angela's giving heart will now extend beyond the work she does at Hammer to the mission work she will be doing in Haiti. Angela says,"When I saw Kristina's post on facebook late last year, it really stuck with me and I knew this trip was something I was meant to do." I am so blessed that my experience in Haiti has captured Angela, and that she has answered the call to create her own Haiti experience. This will be Angela's first mission trip, and one I am sure she won't ever forget!! Angela says," I am excited to go to Haiti to serve, learn, and expand my horizon. I am also very excited about the relationships and connections I will be making during this trip. I am hoping to make some lasting relationships and beautiful memories."
I am so blessed to have Angela on this young adult mission team traveling to Haiti. Angela and I went to high school together, but didn't get to know each other well since she was in the class above me. Our paths crossed in college during my freshman year when I decided to pick up the dreaded 2:40 pm Intro to Psychology class. The only familiar face in the class was Angela (and one of the incentives for helping me get through the late afternoon class)! We spent the semester sitting next to each other, helping each other with homework/notes, and getting to know each other. Our paths crossed again before my January trip to Haiti when Angela saw a post I had made on Facebook looking for young adults to come to Haiti with me. While I was in Haiti this January, Angela contacted me again and told me she was in!! The news topped off the awesome day I was already having in Haiti!! I look forward to serving next to Angela and watching Haiti break her wide-open!
Please lift Angela up in prayer over these next few weeks as she continues to prepare herself for this humbling experience in Haiti. May God provide for Angela's needs during this time of preparation!
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
Meet Samantha Johnson, a rookie to the
whole Haiti experience!
whole Haiti experience!
|Sam at her college graduation party!|
|Sam and Kristina at the First Annual Healing Haiti Sweetheart Ball!|
Friends for over 18 years!!
Sam graduated from Totino Grace High school in 2007 and Iowa State University in 2011 with a degree in technical communications. She has worked at St. Jude Medical in St. Paul for a year now as a medical technical writer. (I may have to consider hiring her as being my personal editor!)
Not only will this rookie be traveling to Haiti for her first time, traveling to Haiti will be Sam's first trip outside of the USA!! Sam says, "I'm really excited to follow Jesus' footsteps in Haiti, but very nervous because I've always been very sheltered and comfortable and this experience will force me to be outside of my comfort zone." Sam's love for singing, laughing, dancing, and enthusiasm for life will make it easy for her to connect to the Haitian people!!
Sam and I have been friends since kindergarten. We've grown up together and have remained the best of friends over the years. She has watched me experience Haiti time and time again... she has heard my stories, seen my pictures, read my blogs, and supported me every step of the way. When Sam heard that I was leading a trip to Haiti in June, she took the leap of faith to join the team. From the very early stages of the trip formation, Sam had been preparing her heart and her mind for witnessing things that would make her uncomfortable. I am so very blessed that she has taken the courage to experience Haiti for herself... rather than just experiencing it through me. I am excited to watch her break WIDE OPEN and to be able to serve beside her. I could not ask God for such a more beautiful experience to add to our lifelong friendship.
I ask you to lift Sam up in prayer as she prepares herself to be completely broken. May she find comfort in the Lord and through her teammates as she witnesses some truly heartbreaking and uncomfortable circumstances. May God give her what she needs as she continues to prepare her heart and mind.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Meet Danielle Goetzke, one of my two co-leads for this young adult mission team.
|Danielle with one of the children at Gertrude's orphanage.|
|Danielle's fun-loving personality is hard to miss!!|
Danielle graduated from Hill- Murray High School in 2008, where she was highly involved in peer ministry, volleyball, hockey, and softball. Currently, she is a student at The College of Saint Benedict. She was just accepted into the nursing program, and is finishing her minor in psychology. Danielle has high hopes of someday working as a hospice nurse, and is now building her experience as she works as a nursing assistant at Heart to Home, a senior care facility. Danielle says, "I get the opportunity to walk the elderly to the gates of heaven to meet their maker, daily." In addition to her busy schedule, Danielle still finds time to work another job at the St. Cloud Country Club as a beverage cart girl.
I had the opportunity to meet Danielle in the spring of 2011 after I returned home from Haiti. We met for coffee on our study breaks at a coffee shop on campus and shared in conversation about Haiti. Danielle was preparing for a trip in August with 8 other people from Eagle Brook. While in Haiti, Danielle was touched by the beauty of seeing the face of God everywhere. She says, "I loved the person I was in Haiti and knew in my heart that I needed to get back there ASAP. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Haiti again in June as a co-lead. I am ecstatic about the experience and to see what God has in store for our team. You really feel God's glory at all the ends of the earth."
I am so blessed to have Danielle on my side as a co-lead. She has such a gentle heart and optimistic personality... I know she will make a great co-lead and help strengthen the team. After Danielle's trip in August, the two of us connected again and thought it would be neat to lead a young adult mission team in Haiti. Our original plans were to make it a Bennie-Johnnie team, but as the months passed God placed other young adults in our paths; He had something else in mind for this week... and both of us were open and excited for God's plans!! Danielle and I have been dreaming of this trip for 9 months.... and it's truly a blessing to watch it come to life. I look forward to serving beside Danielle in June!! Who would have thought that one year ago, while chatting over coffee, we would be leading a team of young adults to the place that broke our hearts... changed our lenses to life.
Please lift Danielle up in your prayers as she prepares her heart for co-leading our mission team in Haiti. May God strengthen her for the journey and provide for her needs.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Meet Sara Ross: one of the two co-leaders
on this young adult mission team.
on this young adult mission team.
|Sara with the kids in Cite Soleil, Haiti October 2011.|
|The kids of Cite Soleil love Sara's attention!! (March 2012)|
I ask you to lift Sara up in prayer as she prepares for Haiti and as she helps co-lead our team. May God provide for her needs.