Impacting Guatemala

A young adult from Guatemala, IGNITE Class 12 intern, Izabella, shares how being in the program has brought her out of her comfort zone and widened her worldview. She has a word of thanks for those who faithfully pray for and support Potter’s Field Ministries.

Dear sponsors,

Hi, my name is Izabella, and I’m from Guatemala City. A lot of interns came here very excited because they knew the necessity the country has and they wanted to help. I am embarrassed to say that even though I knew it too, I ignored it. It wasn’t until God called me to IGNITE that I saw the parts of Guatemala I have never seen before and their desperate need for Jesus.

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Iza praying over a local woman during an outreach

 

While being here, I have been able to grow in my relationship with Christ in a place excluded from worldly distractions. It is incredible to me how much I have been able to learn about the Bible and Jesus’ love. My heart is extremely thankful for the help and prayer you have provided. It is beautiful to me how you were able to be part of my journey. It completely changed my life, and I will never forget it.

Love,
Izabella

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IGNITE interns (left to right) Julie, Jess, and Izabella during an outreach in Xela, Guatemala

 

 

Hearts on Fire

“The work that Potter’s Field is doing in Antigua is changing lives…”

The following was written by IGNITE Class 12 interns Nick and Julie Borghi of Calvary Chapel Chattanooga. Our interns have already spent over a month serving on the field and getting to know the children who attend our various Kids Clubs around the world! One little girl, in particular, caught Nick and Julie’s attention.

Since our first Kids Club in Guatemala, five-year-old Marianny has grabbed our attention.  This sweet five-year-old is full of energy and always on the move.  Her mom, Sylvia, summed her up in one word – “active.”  Usually, Marianny can be found on the trampoline near the tent.  She loves to jump and climb.  Besides play time, Marianny’s favorite part of Kids Club is the songs that we sing under the tent.  Her favorite song is “Tu Me Renuevas” (You Renew Me).  She even sings and dances the moves to that song at her home.

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Julie and Marianny at Potter’s Field Kids Antigua

Also at home, Marianny loves to pray.  She always volunteers to pray for meals for her family and before going to bed.  Her older sister, Natalie, and baby brother, Alejandro, are watching her pray every chance she gets at home, and I believe that Marianny is showing them the light of Jesus that lives inside her.  Her heart is so big that not only does she want to pray for other people, but she also wants to be a veterinarian and help save the lives of animals.  Her dog and turtle must be very lucky to have her as an owner!  She also has chickens that she takes care of with her parents’ help.  Sometimes her cousin likes to help her, too.

Her cousin is her best friend and comes to Kids Club with Marianny every Wednesday.  When the two are not at Kids Club, they enjoy drawing and painting and coloring and playing princesses.  Marianny is always Elsa, but dresses up in pink because it is her favorite color.  Marianny has a big heart for others and a personality that draws people.  She loves Jesus, and we believe God has great plans to use her as a light in this world.  When we asked who Jesus was to her, the answer was, “everything.”  Out of the mouth of babes… (Matthew 21:16).

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Julie and her son with Marianny and her family

For two years now, Marianny has been coming to Potter’s Field Kids Club, and we are so happy to have her.  She found out about Kids Club from a pamphlet she received while an IGNITE class was doing an outreach.  The reason that Marianny’s mom keeps bringing her back is because our Kids Club teaches children how to pray to God.  Marianny was once ashamed to pray but now loves to pray every chance she gets.  This child’s biggest prayer has greatly impacted her Mom and Dad.  She prays every day for her Dad to get a job.

The change of heart in her prayer life happened during a medical clinic at Calvary Chapel Antigua when someone with Potter’s Field prayed over her.  Since that day, Marianny’s attitude has changed, and she has grown a love for the Bible stories.  The work that Potter’s Field is doing in Antigua is changing lives.  What we may see on the front end is just seeds being planted, but other classes of IGNITE get to see the fruit that comes from it.  Marriany is a little girl who not only has been transformed by the Holy Spirit that lives in her, but she has also been a light to her family and ours as well.

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Unless the Lord Builds the House…

It was in October of 2014 when I was last in Uganda before my wife, Michelle, and I traveled there on April 24th -May 1st of this year. We were blessed to be able to spend time with Potter’s Field Ministries’ recently deployed IGNITE interns serving there, minister with and to the Calvary Chapel Entebbe (CCE) staff and church members, and to simply fellowship with our brothers and sisters there in Uganda who are so dear to us and all who serve with Potter’s Field Ministries (PFM). In addition to those reasons for going, there was also another purpose for our time there – to be a part of a building dedication that had been years in the making!

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Final preparations on the two-story educational building and courtyard

Potter’s Field Ministries has been involved in the private Christian school at CCE, Calvary Chapel Christian School, since it’s very beginnings. Over the years assisting in the building of needed educational buildings, providing funding for the administration for the school and, especially dear to us as a ministry, providing scholarships to hundreds of kids yearly to attend the school and get needed education, PFM has been blessed to be an intricate partner in all the school has grown into. As is always the case, school growth has led to the need for added facilities and, at the time of my last trip to Uganda, there were plans drawn up for a two-story educational facility, though the actual building of it was still just a dream. That dream came to reality over the past two and a half years, and it was our privilege on Friday, April 28th, to be a part of the dedication of this new building, along with our IGNITE interns and overseers.

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The Mayor of Entebbe cutting the ceremonial dedication ribbon

It has surely been a long haul for Pastor Craig Linquist, founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Entebbe (CCE), and the staff of CCE, in seeing this building come to fruition and dedication day was truly a celebration of perseverance but, even more so, a special day to acknowledge the provision of the Lord. What started in July 2015 with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by the mayor, local dignitaries, and CCE staff and church members, was culminated on that Friday with many of the same people in attendance along with many others, including individuals from the local school board and even a member of their parliament. There were speeches, performances by the kids in the school and also some from our Potter’s Field Kids programs, and the unveiling of dedication plaques. I was blessed to be able to unveil the “Donor Plaque” acknowledging the many partners who the Lord worked through to build the new facility, which not only includes six new classrooms but also a computer lab and a library! We were privileged to get to know Ed and Germaine La Guardia, who provided the funds specifically for the library, dedicated in honor of Germaine’s father.

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Pastor Craig Linquist of CC Entebbe (left) with Ed and Germaine La Guardia

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Children reading in the new library!

All in all, it was an incredible time being involved in the final preparations of the building, including the planting of plants and setting up the library, and we will long remember the smiling faces of the kids and their parents as they marveled at what the Lord had provided for them. I can’t say thank you enough to Pastor Mike and Pam Rozell, along with the staff of Potter’s Field Ministries, for the privilege of representing all of them at the dedication, as well as for all the special times of fellowship we had with our IGNITE interns and those who call Calvary Chapel Entebbe their home church and school.

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Performance by some of the children enrolled in Potter’s Field Kids Uganda

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The planting of the “Donor Tree”

Blessed Faithfulness

Connor Strong is an intern in the Potter’s Field IGNITE Mission Training School. Over the last six months, he has traveled to Cambodia for seven weeks and joined Pastor Michael and Pam Rozell in their Touring Ministry. The following is a thank you letter from Connor to the sponsors of Potter’s Field Ministries for their faithful prayers and support. Together we are making disciples of all nations and making known the name of Jesus.

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Connor Strong with IGNITE Class 11 teammate (Noah Ehrhard) and their overseer, Zach Martinez

Looking back at the last nine months of my life fills me with such joy and humility. The IGNITE Mission Training School has opened so many doors in my life that I wouldn’t have expected in a million years. Starting in July 2016, I spent three months in Guatemala for training, then I was blessed to go on tour with Potter’s Field Ministries as a part of my six-month field time. After traveling the United States, my teammate and I spent seven weeks in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and now we are serving in St. Petersburg, Florida alongside Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg! I know that it all seems like a lot, and it is. However, I’ve grown to learn how truly blessed I am by this ministry and its faithful sponsors and supporters, without whom, almost all of what I’ve been able to experience wouldn’t be possible.

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Connor in Cambodia

In November I stood at the back table of a Potter’s Field presentation and watched many people come and sign up as regular supporters and select Cambodian prayer children in our program. Not even two weeks later I was in Cambodia sharing Jesus with the same kids who those people were praying for. I even watched a young girl receive a bike as a gift from a sponsor. It really hit me, what I’m a part of, and that our supporters are truly affecting the lives of young children globally and young adults who are seeking after Christ. Your donation and support do so much more than what surface level might show. Now, at the beginning of the re-entry phase of IGNITE, I can know and trust that the course of my life will never be what I thought it was. This ministry will continue to have opportunities to build relationships and shape lives across the globe because of the faithfulness of sponsors that God has blessed Potter’s Field Ministries with. With you, we can continue encouraging people and children to pursue Christ forever and ever, ‘til the whole world hears.

Thank you, beyond what my words on paper could express,

Connor Strong

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At Potter’s Field Kids Club in Guatemala during training phase of IGNITE Program

Potter’s Field Kids Kenya: Cedrick

The following was written by IGNITE Class 11 intern, Michael Buduson (Calvary Chapel Webster) on one of our Potter’s Field Kids, Cedrick

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Cedrick is, most likely, my favorite kid at the Potter’s Field Kids Club here in Kenya! Every time I see him, he has the biggest smile on his face, and he always calls me over to sit down to talk and play with him. There’s a lot about Cedrick that makes him stand out among the other kids. For one, his English is far superior to even some of the older kids. He understands the language very well and can speak in complete sentences with the proper structure. In fact, the only issue he has is a hard time differentiating between “he” and “she.” The masculine and feminine concept doesn’t really translate well here since, in Swahili, the word ‘yeye’ means both he and she, so to him its the same thing. Also, like many here in Kenya, Cedrick is one of those who likes to respond to questions with his eyebrows. If the answer is to a question is yes, he’ll usually slightly tilt his head back and raise his eyebrows high along with a small grin while, if the answer is no, he’ll usually just raise them without the tilting of the head or smile. I have gotten to where I can with about an eighty percent accuracy what his answer is at times like this!

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Cedrick is one of those kids you can just sit with, talking and laughing for hours. What stands out above all that is special about him, it is the joy, love, and hope that he has – it is just amazing. The reason I say this is Cedrick has a condition where he is unable to walk. He doesn’t know why or the cause, he just knows that he has very little feeling in his legs and is unable to move them or support himself standing. Because of this, he is almost always carried everywhere he goes and usually requires a seat where his back is supported so he can sit upright. But even his condition doesn’t stop him from laughing and playing with the other kids. Even without the use of his legs, he’ll crawl around the ground to play hide and seek or to race or just to explore. I’ve given him the nickname ‘Superman’ because of his heart, strength, and determination that he possess. Plus he also loves Superman. We would play hide and seek together, and when it was my turn to look for him, he would always try and sneak up behind me to scare me. Every time we gather in the sanctuary for kids songs, I always carry Cedrick in and he would have me sit right next to him, or he would ask if he could sit on top of my shoulders to see better.

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Cedrick has been attending kids club here in Kenya for a few months now. He’s brought by his mom and ever since coming he’s been able to connect with other children and make many new friends and have a great opportunity to learn about God. Cedrick lives with his mom, aunt, and his baby brother. His dad is always working so he only sees him on certain occasions, but he loves to spend time with him. Usually, when he is home, he likes to watch tv or play his racing game on his mom’s phone, but one of his favorite things to do is to cook. He says he loves cooking for his mom and will always make her sausages and chips (french fries). He also loves to listen to music, and when he gets older, he wants to learn how to play the drums and the guitar. When he’s all grown up, he plans on being not just a pilot, but also a doctor, that way he can save people while he’s flying. He has very high hopes for the future. Cedrick is very thankful for everything that God has provided for him, his family, his friends, his ability to cook, and even without the use of his legs he is so thankful for the life he has been given. He fully believes that God will heal his legs and that he will be able to walk and run. I am so thankful for Superman Cedrick and the joy and love he brings every week to Kids Club. Pray for his family and their continual provision, for his legs that he would be healed and have the ability to walk, and for God to continue to bring love and joy into his life.

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Dear Ministry Friends,

We truly can’t believe we are starting our 25th year of Potter’s Field Ministries! Time surely does fly. Pam & I and the entire team and staff look forward to what God has in store for this milestone year!  We would appreciate your continued prayers.

We would be remiss however if we didn’t share some of the highlights with you from 2016, that through your partnership, you helped make possible.

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Pastor Michael and Pam Rozell at Potter’s Field Kids Guatemala

We started our first domestic Potter’s Field Kids Club on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, MT. We have deployed seven interns for service there and also hosted two short-term mission trips.  We trained 42 interns in 2016 through the IGNITE Mission Training School at our Headquarters in Antigua, Guatemala where they ministered to thousands of children in our locations on four continents.  (These were our two largest IGNITE classes ever and these young adults represented an equivalent of 21 years of missionary service.)  We also hosted 18 mission teams at our Center in Guatemala where over 250 people from 16 different churches across America joined us to serve.

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IGNITE interns serving during an overnight outreach in Escuintla, Guatemala

In our three locations in Africa, we have had some of our largest Potter’s Field Kids Clubs ever!  In Uganda, we had 1,000 kids in attendance this past Saturday alone. We also did 17 island outreaches where 3,828 children were reached; in Kenya, 566 children came to PFK Club and our work in The Democratic Republic of the Congo has an average of 600 kids per week.

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Potter’s Field Kids Uganda

We have started a new PFK program & expanded our borders to a second location in a neighboring town in Costa Rica.  I took a team and a potter’s wheel to Cambodia in Phnom Penh and did a presentation at our partnering church, New Life Fellowship.  Our domestic horse camps doubled in size with 98 kids attending our 11 camps in Whitefish, MT from May through December.  We partnered with Child Bridge & CASA ministering to foster kids and Lighthouse Home for disabled adults. We also hosted an annual day camp for 30 underprivileged kids from TurnAround Ministries from Atlanta, GA.  We just completed a three-day Holiday Horse Camp.

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First Potter’s Field Presentation at New Life Fellowship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As we reflect on all The Lord has done this past year, we can say without hesitation, we experienced the God “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”  Eph. 3:20.  To Him be the Glory!!  We could not do this without your faithful support & prayers.  Thank each of you, our partners in ministry, for an awesome year!

‘Til the Whole World Hears,

Pastor Michael and Pam Rozell

Founders, Potter’s Field Ministries

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‘Til the Whole World Hears!

The Shepherded Life

The following was written by J.J. Stark of Kootenai Christian Fellowship. He shares on his year of serving in Browing, MT as a part of IGNITE Class 10. We hope you will be encouraged by the words of this young man as he testifies to the goodness of God to reward a life that forsakes all for His kingdom. The work God accomplishes in and through our interns in the IGNITE program would not be possible apart from the faithful support and prayers of our sponsors. Together we are making disciples in all parts of the world for the One who loved us first.

The Shepherded Life

Ignite: to set ablaze with fire, to initiate a new venture; it rings of expectation, promise, and hope.

IGNITE: that which God does to the life yielded to Him.

My name is J.J. Stark, and this is the account of my IGNITE Class 10 internship. IGNITE, a branch of Potter’s Field Ministries, is a one-year missions and discipleship program. It is broken into four phases: Training, Field Time, Re-Entry, and Home Church service, and designed for young men and women who desire to serve the Lord in a deeper way.  The transformation that takes place in this single year is radical and lays the foundations of faith in Him that cannot be removed.

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During my time in IGNITE, Psalm 23 became alive and tangible to me. Interestingly, it parallels and accurately describes my transformation starting in IGNITE that continues to take place now. Let this be a testament to God’s supreme mercy, grace, and love displayed.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

  The three-month training period began in Antigua, Guatemala. Being from a small town in Northwest Montana, this was an incredible time for me solely by experiencing the culture. The training center truly has God’s hand on it and turns down the noise of the world so that His voice can be heard. Every morning was a time for each intern to have personal devotions, instilling the importance of setting the Lord above all else.  Most days were spent in a variety of classes with different pastors and instructors, preparing us for the field on which we were to serve. These were anything from Biblical studies on characters like Moses, Nehemiah, and David, to puppeteering and classroom teaching methods. All throughout training we did outreaches into the city such as pancake breakfasts and hospital visits, where we would put the learned methods of sharing the gospel to action. Also, we participated in the weekly Potter’s Field Kids (PFK) Club held at the Center. Getting to minister to and interact with the kids was a delight, and despite the language barrier I still managed to get to know a few children. These were the “green pasture and still water” experiences, as I gleaned and grew tremendously from them. My favorite time in training was our “On the Mount” class. This was designated time occasionally given to take our own time and sit before the Creator: be it reading the Word, praying, or worshiping Him.  It was here that my biggest battles were fought, where I wrestled with the Lord, and where I learned to let go of “me” to let God be God. Now, On the Mount has become vital to my walk with Christ Jesus as I live for Him, as “He restores my soul.

The most pivotal point during training for me was the night of team commissioning for Field Time. I was put on a ground-breaking team for a new PFM Location: Browning, Montana, USA. It is located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation just east of Glacier National Park. As excited as I was for the commissioning, I must admit I was simultaneously shocked and confused to be going there! Like I mentioned before, I am from a small town in Northwest Montana only a few hours from Browning, so it almost felt like I was going home. Little did I know, however, it would teach that “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me…”

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The Blackfeet Nation: A once strong and proud people, horse-mounted warriors controlling vast tracts of land throughout Northern Montana up into Canada; a people who have since been used and betrayed over the years, and have sunk into poverty stricken and near hopeless living conditions. Yes, in our very own United States of America there exists a place that feels as though you have entered a whole different country (and a third world country at that). Not only on the material level do they suffer, but spiritually also. Into this setting Team Browning went, and upon arrival, it felt as though a dark cloud was hanging over the town. For the first time in my life, though I couldn’t have defined it then, I felt I was walking “through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Although during training there were frequent sessions for my team on Browning, the information and preparation were somewhat limited due to it being new to PFM Location. Despite knowing it was going to be difficult starting out, I still found it a hard transition. Coming from the structure and activity in Guatemala to a lower activity location and having to formulate our own structure was challenging. Establishing relationships was an interesting process, and there were many!

I cannot say enough about how welcoming the pastor and his family were throughout the entire time, as well as the church body. The community, however, is still to this day one of the most unique I have been in.  The people seem to literally live day to day, with rarely any consist routine. Unemployment is high there, as well as the use of drugs and alcohol; it isn’t uncommon to see people wandering the streets and alleys doing whatever they want.

Shockingly, the children also wander the streets, despite whether they should be in school. Because of this “irregularity” in the town, it was interesting setting up the PFK Club there, and we found very quickly that getting consistent numbers of kids was going to be hard for a while. However, it was through this that relationships with them were planted.  We began walking around and advertising PFK, and soon we could gather a decent core group. Instead of idly roaming around town, the kids randomly started to come to the church more to hang out, outside of Kids Club. Home life for many of them is broken and very strained due to substance abuse, so for them to recognize the church as a safe place was good in one sense, but heartbreaking also. Often the homes lacked a father figure; I remember several different times young boys telling me that they didn’t know where their dads were. This opened a unique opportunity for me to build relationships with them just by spending time with them and taught me to be equally meaningful and intentional in ministering to every child, be it one or thirty. One of these was a little boy named BooBoo, who stole my heart with his sweet but also mischievous spirit. Many an hour did I spend with him, playing soccer, throwing a football, and teaching him how to rope. My prayer is that he saw the love of Christ through these things.

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“…Your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”

It was a tough platform to work with at times, to say the least, but looking back now it was nothing compared to the platform of my heart that the Lord had to work with! There was another element to the “valley of the shadow of death.” Despite the ministry that was happening all around me, I let myself become calloused to the very gospel message I was proclaiming. I began closing in and isolating myself from the rest of my team. It led to me going stir crazy with personal struggles because I was not crying out to God, and caused my team a lot of tension due to my self-impatience. Yet, it is most often in the valleys where the richest feed is found. God’s sovereign plan was to heat me to a temperature hot enough to reveal the impurities in me, as with dross in gold purification. During this time, Potter’s Field asked me to come into Whitefish to help remodel the new MUDMAN restaurant they were opening. This was the most pivotal time of the program for me. For the first time, I felt God’s rod and staff correct and comfort me, and then reveal the rich feast that was prepared before me.  It forced me to look at my life, and He showed me how I was not letting Him be supreme in my life. He is teaching me to be His lamb and to let Him be my Good Shepherd, who knows me better than I do, and does what is best for me, whatever it may take. I am learning to know His sweet voice and follow where He leads.

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“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Re-Entry was a wonderful time of reflection, as well as preparation for what lay in the future. Getting to see my classmates after being apart for six months and hear the testimony of what God is doing was rejuvenating. He is on the move throughout the world without a doubt, and lives are coming to Him through the salvation of the gospel. What was even more amazing was the change that had taken place in all of my classmates. Each of us grew dramatically, everyone having met the Lord in ways we never had before. This was only furthered as we began to process our field time and speak of the things we witnessed. Re-Entry prepared us for the return home and the transition back into our home culture. The classes helped us begin formulating the experiences into messages we could clearly relate to our society.

            Since being home, God has continued to mold me more into His image as I walk nearer to Him. I have had the privilege of getting to work alongside my pastor, not only through the church but also in his construction business. Being discipled in this way has been invaluable, as he selflessly pours into me in daily life. The Lord has called me through this time of Home Service to help lead and teach in my church’s youth group and Sunday school. Why He would use me in such a way is beyond my comprehension, but His ways are higher than mine. It has been an honor to be able to serve in this capacity, as the youth continually challenge me to draw near to Christ and seek His face.  Thankfulness to God continues to grow in me for each day He gives.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

IGNITE has taught me to glorify Him in every fleeting moment, and to shine His light into a dying world. But most importantly, God Almighty has taught me to say: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

‘Til the Whole World Hears

J.J. Stark // IGNITE Class 10 // Team Browning