Newsletter – Volume 43

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Newsletter – Volume 43

April 22, 2024

This Week

Confessions From the Back of the Pen
Meet Kim...

Kim Zanting is part of the congregation I served in Pella, IA. She is one of those people who will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what she thinks. She doesn’t mind stirring the pot and I think she gets a kick out of throwing folks a bit off balance. Like most black sheep messengers, she marches to the beat of her own drum. She is driven by compassion and makes a point of making sure other black sheep feel seen and heard. And that is what drove her to the work she does as a social worker in a small town riddled by the challenges of poverty and drugs.

I grew up on a small family farm. I loved the outdoors. My brothers and I loved playing in the river that ran across the back of our property. I was one of those kids who loved both my privacy and being social. Our family was also very alert to the needs of the people around us. We were raised to care about our neighbors. I remember bringing meals to the people down the street. When we grew out of our clothes or we were getting the new furniture, the older things were always passed along to people who might have need. We didn’t see it as anything especially noble, it was just what we did.

I was also the kind of person who liked to question things. I still remember getting in trouble in religion class for asking too many questions. One teacher actually told me to stop talking. I guess that is why I always had trouble at traditional churches. I also felt a bit out-of-sorts at the Christian College I attended. I finally found some validation at the secular university where I finished my degree. Then came marriage and children.

As a mom, I was about the kids and not so much the house. We were the place where the other kids loved to hang out. It was not unusual for us to buy pizza and put it out on a table in the driveway, while the guys in the neighborhood played basketball. We were casual and ready for whatever. Once my last son was finishing his schooling, he said to me, “OK mom, it’s your turn!” I had always talked about going back to school to get my Masters, and I felt like his encouragement was part of how God spoke to me. I went back to school and loved it. I worked with troubled kids. It was both draining and renewing. I knew I found my true calling.

Although I resisted the idea of coming back to Pella, there were just too many signs from the Lord that this was his will for us. I have found my place both professionally as a Clinic Director in Newton and in a church (Grace Fellowship). In both places I get the chance to be intimately involved in people’s stories, which is something that motivates me every day to do what I do.

Word of the Week

Ecstatic

Adjective: The feeling or expression of overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement

I lost my favorite pen. It was not only expensive, but it also had sentimental value. It was given to me by a dear friend on the 10-year anniversary of my serving as senior pastor of the church in Columbia, MO. I wrote many sermons on yellow legal pads using this pen. I was actually the last one in the office to get a computer, because there was something about writing things out long-hand that helped me remember.

So, having misplaced the pen was a big deal. I looked for it everywhere. I retraced my steps dozens of times. I looked for it in drawers, closets, boxes, and bins.  Even after weeks of searching – it was nowhere to be found.  I even prayed about it. “Lord, you know how much this means to me AND you know where it is, might you help me find it?” Still nothing. Then, while cleaning out the car, I found it in the rail under my driver’s seat.  I cannot you tell how delighted I was to have found it.  It reminded me of the story from John 15, where the shepherd rejoices enthusiastically over the lost sheep that is found!  God rejoices over every turn we make towards him!  Not sure we realize the depth of joy we can bring to the heart of God!  He is ecstatic over us! Let that knowledge bring you fresh encouragement this week!

A Book I Am Enjoying

My Story

Synopsis: This is a book where my mom (Kitty Kok) answers 54 questions about her life, everything from her earliest memories at home, to her time in an internment camp in Indonesia, to talking about what inspires her.

Her story is a fascinating one! She:

  • Is the daughter of missionary parents…
  • Is a POW survivor…
  • Left her beloved home country with 2 children under 3…
  • Raised 5 kids (4 of whom are active in ministry)…
  • Is a prayer warrior…
  • Is a healing minister…
  • Is an artist (and now author)…

 

For years we have been trying to convince my mom to write up her story. And she finally did it! While we were together for my niece’s wedding she surprised us with it – giving one signed copy to each of her adult children. I have decided to relish it for the next year, reading one chapter a day. Loving it. So proud of my momma! Listen to my interview with her.

Prayer Focus This Week

My Wife Carol

A lot of attention has been given to my bout with cancer, and I am grateful for all the prayer support I have received. But this week I would ask for prayer for Carol. She has struggled with headaches most of our married life. She has sought all kinds of solutions – prayer, chiropractics, nutrition, massage therapy, immunotherapy, supplements, medications, different glasses. You name it, she has tried it. This week, she is getting laser surgery to remove pressure in her eye. She had her right eye done two weeks ago, and her left eye will be done this week. The surgery is required to mitigate a pre-glaucoma condition that is part of her family history. But we are also praying that it might provide some relief for her headaches. Please consider joining me in that prayer.

A Deal Worth Exploring

Pocket Prayer Devotional For Your Grad

I remember what it was like sending our kids off to college. One of our most fervent prayers was that are kids would hold fast to the values they learned in our home – particularly as it related to their spiritual journey. If you have a graduate this year, you know the feeling. We would like to help provide you with a resource that they might actually read AND we’d like to give you a special price on our Pocket Prayer Devotional. Simply join us at the Hutto Wine Bar, 105 East Street Hutto TX, next Friday, April 26 from 4:30-6:00pm to pick up a signed personalized copy.

What better graduation gift? And for the first 5 purchases we will throw in a free beanie – because they are just that cool.

If you can’t join us, you can also e-mail me at pietvanwaarde@gmail.com. We will still honor the discount, and we’ll stick it in the mail next week.

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