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A publication of

Cable Winter 2012 | the Counselors’ Newsletter

Unexpected Surprises It’s been a great week. Debbie started it. In the middle of a discussion about other things, she stopped the conversation and said, “At a conference a few years ago you said something that has become a kind of plumb line for my life. You said, ‘do what you can.’ Ever since hearing you say that, I’ve made decisions about how I invest my time based on that simple command. I know it was God speaking to me through you.” Amazing. How did that impact her so, Lord? I wondered. Two days later, Susan made my mouth stand open when she said, “My daughter, Rachael, says she will never forget what you said to her. It’s as if what you said changed everything for her. You said, ‘You will be someone God will use in a mighty way when you are older, because He is already using you in big ways right now.’ It’s like now she wakes up every day looking for someone she can help!” Wow, Lord, I remember that conversation… but not nearly like she remembers it! Lenae brought the icing to the cake for my week. “I cannot tell you how much I’ve learned from you. Remember when you told me that girls and counselors in clubs will listen to what I say only after they know how much I care? I’ve never forgotten that nor anything else you’ve told me. You’ve impacted my life... my faith so much.” Huh? What? Me? … As I reflected on those conversations, a deep emotion flooded over me. My feelings were NOT rooted in any sense of personal accomplishment. Rather, the feelings came from a deep sense of gratitude to my Abba Father. He was the

One that had given me the opportunity to be a part of the lives of these three women. As I reflected on that reality, I could not help but also think about the opportunity He has given me to be a part of all of your lives as well, GEMS counselors and girls—past and present. It has been a tremendous privilege that I will for the rest of my life cherish. Think about your own life and individuals God has used to grow your faith. Was there an older woman somewhere on your journey that’s impacted you? Likely there was because, in Gods plan outlined in Titus 2, that’s how it is supposed to work: older women teaching younger women the things of God—older women teaching what is good. We teach what we’ve learned so that those that come behind us can benefit and their faith can grow.

GEMS Girls’ Clubs EXECUTIVE BOARD Shirley Batts – Portage, Michigan Cheryl Boer – Eden Prairie, Minnesota Cori Dykhouse – Port Lambton, Ontario Lia Leenstra – Byron Center, Michigan Debra Liccar – Crete, Illinois Henrietta Reinders – Rockwood, Ontario Amy VandenBerg – Grand Rapids, Michigan Irene Vanderlaan – Indianapolis, Indiana Mary Jo Vis – Riverside, California Cindy Visser – Zeeland, Michigan

GEMS Girls’ Clubs STAFF

That, dear hearts, is what the whole ministry of GEMS Girls’ Clubs is about: building relationships so that the baton of faith can be passed on to the next generation.

Director of Urban Ministries– Renee Bacon

It has indeed been my great privilege to have the opportunities I’ve had to pour into the lives of women and girls what God has taught me. I have not always done that perfectly, but I’ve always had the passion and desire to give my very best to the work God has called me to. Now, as I leave the position of Executive Director, I do it with a full heart of love and gratitude to God and to all of you for allowing me to be a part of your lives. It has been my great joy to serve the King of kings and my Everlasting Father through the GEMS ministry. To God be the glory forever!

Graphic & Web Designer – Lisa Hunter

Executive Director – Jan Boone Training Manager – Lenae Bulthuis Customer Relations Specialist – Michele DeHaan Managing Editor – Kelli Gilmore Art Director – Mark Topolski Conference Coordinator – Alecia VanHulzen Senior Editor/Publications & Web Coordinator – Amy White Executive Secretary – Gert Wolfert

Jan Boone Executive Director 1



How great, how great is our God Age to age, He stands And time is in His hands… …including the time of the GEMS Ministry. And now, from within His time-holding hands, we recognize a significantly special time of celebrating our Executive Director Jan Boone’s time of leadership for the past 18 years. During her time as Executive Director, the ministry has been blessed in many ways! Some of the initiatives and programs she led include: the name change to GEMS Girls’ Club, ongoing curriculum development and improvement, SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazines, inspiring themes, celebrating the 50th anniversary of GEMS, launching GEMS Clubs internationally, the opening of The Esther School in Zambia, expansion of leadership training opportunities through GEMS Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference and the ACTS program, introducing Get Connected! Camp, and the creation and expansion of the GEMS website— recognizing the changing face of technology and the impact this has doing ministry. This is to name a few! Many women and girls have also grown in their relationship with God, directly and indirectly, through Jan’s leadership. Truly, only God understands the full ripple effect of her leadership, because it ripples and re-ripples through each of us. He placed her here for such a time as this. It has been an exciting time of change and we give thanks! Jan, thank you for giving so much of yourself and for your obedience in allowing God to use you as His servant for such an exciting time in the GEMS ministry. “Thank you” seems so small, but know that it comes from many hearts; hearts that are also saying thank you to God.

Club Coordinators—watch your mailboxes in January for information about GEMS Sunday. You, as well as your pastor, will be receiving a theme outline, a litany, a children’s bulletin, and a sample of the bulletin covers available through the GEMS Service Center. Don’t wait to meet with your pastor to start planning!

E-newsletter—if you’re not currently receiving our monthly e-newsletter, email to start receiving updates on the ministry as well as inspiration and ideas for your work in club.

Canada Post Publication Sales Agreement #41124116, return undeliverable copies to Cable c/o GEMS Girls’ Clubs, PO Box 39, Norwich, ON N0J1P0

God continues to hold the times of GEMS in His hand— past, present, and future. As we move through this transition in leadership, we invite you to check the website for updates. And, as always, your prayers for the ministry are so appreciated. Serving together in Jesus’ name,

Henrietta If you have questions for the GEB please send them to us at boardquestions@


If you would prefer to receive an electronic copy of Cable, send a note to to be added to our email list. Be sure to include your name in the body of the email!

GEMS 2013 EXECUTIVE BOARD ELECTION RESULTS We would like to thank all of the women who let their names stand on the GEMS Executive Board election ballot. The women nominated will actively help direct the future of the GEMS ministry. Please keep Mary Jo, Amy, Mary, Pat, Henrietta, Cori, and the rest of the GEB in your prayers as they use their gifts and skills to impact girls around the globe!

Mary Jo Vis

Mary Jo attends Hope Community Church in California. Mary Jo was a Calvinette and Junior Counselor (CIT) as a young girl, and has more recently served for 14 years as a counselor, Club Coordinator, Area Coordinator, and member of the GEB. “I have enjoyed working with girls who come from a variety of backgrounds at GEMS… It has been a privilege and an honor to be a part of this ministry. Serving on the Board is an opportunity to impact girls not just locally but globally as well.”

Amy Vanden Berg Amy attends La Grave Avenue Church in Michigan. She grew up as a GEM (Calvinette), was a CIT, has been a counselor at almost every level, and has served on the GEB. “My passion has always been missions which led me to do a great deal of inner city and community building mission trips throughout high school. In college I followed my passion into the field of Social Work. I’m overjoyed to take this step in my involvement with GEMS.” Mary Klingenberg Mary attends Ancaster Christian Reformed Church in Ontario. Mary was a GEM (Calvinette) before becoming a counselor at age 24. She returned to GEMS in 2002 and has served as a counselor for eight years and as a Club Coordinator for almost four—planning camp outs, fundraisers, service projects, special events, worship, craft nights, and retreat time for counselors. “I see God working powerfully through GEMS among women and girls around the world, and I am committed to reaching, loving, and serving them as God leads!”

In addition to these three-year elected board members, the following women have been appointed for a one-year term.

Pat Scott

Pat attends Baymeadows Community Church in Florida. Over the last 35 years she has served GEMS in a variety of roles. She has been a GEMS counselor at every level, led praise and worship, organized crafts, and worked as Club Coordinator in addition to being a Leadership Trainer for her area. “I am excited to serve on the GEMS Executive Board mostly because I feel God is calling me to this position; I am excited to see what He has planned. I also want to serve because I love the GEMS Girls’ Club ministry and am very passionate about every aspect of it—from reaching out to girls everywhere and working to bring them into a personal relationship with Jesus, to building relationships with counselors all over the world and seeing God’s work in Zambia and The Esther School.

Henrietta Reinders Henrietta attends Acton Bethel church in Ontario. She has served GEMS as a counselor, Club Coordinator, on two Local Conference Committees, and on the GEB. She has also been very involved with God’s call to Zambia. “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve on the board for the past years, and I feel led to fulfill God’s call to the fullest!” Cori Dykhouse Cori attends Wallaceburg Christian Reformed Church in Ontario. Cori has been involved with GEMS for 35 years as a counselor, Club Coordinator, Council President, Local Conference Committee member, and a member of the GEB. “I have loved the GEMS ministry and all it stands for…I love working with the girls and seeing what God can do in their lives!” Sally Jansen of Zeeland First Reformed Church in Michigan, has also accepted a one-year appointment, but no photo was available at the time of printing.

Nominations welcome! Do you know someone who has: • Evidence of a mature faith, a genuine commitment to Christ, and a passion for building His kingdom • Familiarity with and dedication to the GEMS ministry • Proven communication skills • Vision – and the ability to articulate it to others • Sensitivity to constituents and supporters • Ability to attend bi-monthly board meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan • Ability to travel to annual conference If so, consider nominating her today!

GEMS Board Member Nomination Form Nominee Name Address City State/Province Zip/Postal Code Phone Email Church/Organization Pastor/Sponsor’s Name Reasons you believe this woman would make a valuable contribution to the GEMS Executive Board:

Your Name Address City State/Province Zip/Postal Code Phone Email 3

HAND ‘N HAND In 2009, GEMS started an all-club fundraiser in order to launch an even more dynamic partnership between Zambian and North American girls. Girls in the US and Canada sell cookie mixes and handcrafts created or inspired by our sisters in Zambia. Some of the proceeds stay with the local club, and some return to Zambia to help clubs become self-sustaining. If you missed the fall campaign, there is still time to participate! Simply get your orders into the Service Center by March 15! You’ll be glad you did! “The girls get very excited for this,” explained Marilou Juckes, Club Coordinator from Edmonton Bethel Community Church. Her clubs successful Hand ‘n Hand campaigns speak to the excitement the girls generate over the project. “I usually give them about a month. Many of them ask for TWO order forms because they are sure they can exceed the number of spaces on a single sheet!” Marilou said they make sure to promote Hand ‘n Hand around the church and put order forms in church mailboxes as well as using bulletin inserts.

After joining with other clubs in Edmonton to adopt a Sister Club, the girls were even more tuned in to the importance of Hand ‘n Hand. “They know that some of the funds goes to while they know they help our club (Edmonton Bethel Community uses their share of the campaign to send their girls to their end of the year campout), they know the benefits for our sisters in Africa also.” Marilou admits she was skeptical of the process when she first started as the Club Coordinator. “I wasn’t too keen about having to fundraise,” she said. “But after seeing the quality of the product and hearing the success of past years, this has really stirred something in my heart. To know that we can also help a group of girls who may otherwise not have an opportunity like ours, it just sparks a fire in me! I cannot explain how much it drives me…It’s wonderful to be a part of—how can one not get excited?” Hand ‘n Hand fundraisers can be offered anytime January through March. Contact for details.

WE WALK TOUR Girls matter. They matter in deep and profound ways. And that truth is at the heart of the We Walk Tour—a mother-daughter event featuring author and speaker, Sara Lynne Hilton. This past November, the tour kicked off in Holland, Michigan. GEMS and their moms or mentors gathered for praise and worship, followed by a dynamic presentation that demonstrated God’s desire to use girls—He gave them a voice and a purpose and He wants to use them to change the world. We can choose to ignore God—to turn to TV or clothes or popularity, but the reality remains that the Creator of the universe has big plans for each of His Children!

Don’t miss a We Walk Tour coming to an area near you! Check the website, MRM for more information and to purchase tickets.

After a craft/service project, snack, and a small break, moms went to a breakout session while girls got some time to learn even more from Sara.

Pella, Iowa–January 19

Edmonton, Alberta–February 9

We Walk is designed to inspire and equip girls and their moms to seek a godly life together, and this partnership was displayed in powerful ways in November as women and girls laughed, talked, worshipped, and prayed with each other throughout the morning.

Sioux Center, Iowa–April 6

Lake Wales, Florida–May 4

Bozeman, Montana-May 18



Our words are powerful. In fact, the Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. You would be surprised how influential our words can be in encouraging and empowering urban/other girls. Our words can give life to a girl in a death-like state or situation. They can also be most effective in nurturing and building a girl’s esteem and self worth. I saw this played out in the movie, The Help. Realizing the little girl she is caring for, Mae Mobley, doesn’t fit into the world she was born into, Aibileen, looks deep in her her eyes and tells her, “You is smart. You is kind. You is important.” She says it, and the little girl is learning the words with her. Mae didn’t quite know the value of those words at age two, but one day she would. Speak words of life to the girls at your club. Remind them of who they are and to whom they belong. Your words have value. They are important. And they will make a difference. A great way to speak life is to use your words wisely as you accentuate positive behavior and ward off negative behaviors. Here are some ideas to encourage positive interactions in club: “Shannon can you help pass out snack today? I love the way you helped KeKe with her craft when you completed yours. What a great way to spend your extra time while everyone else is finishing up.” “OK we are going to do our lesson, and we are going to go over/review it at the end. I’m going to choose people to help me but I’m looking for people who are paying attention, not talking while I’m talking, I love the way Meme is listening right now. Wow, you don’t know how much I appreciate that. I guess I’m going to have to give a little something-something for the person who really listens and has a good attitude. Please don’t make me have to give everybody something. I wasn’t prepared for that.”

A New Chapter It has been our deep pleasure to partner with Renee Bacon over the past 15 months. She has been an amazing asset to the GEMS staff—helping us obtain a broader reach and bring more girls into a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus. We are excited for her as she follows God’s lead in her life, and are thrilled to continue building on the foundation she has laid in our Urban Ministry. Dear GEMS Counselor, Can you believe another year has come to a close and a new year is dawning? Where oh where did all the time go? As I reflect back on this past year one of my highlights and bouquet of thanks to God is the opportunity I’ve had to connect to the wonderful GEMS family here, near, and far. I’m still amazed how God orchestrates and connects others the way He does. I know He’s omniscient, but He still wows me and leaves me in awe. How great is our God! Serving in the capacity of the Director of Urban Ministries this past year has been a tremendous blessing. I have seen the handiwork of God as He has shown a vivid snapshot of the urban/other girl for us to recognize and intentionally reach and point to Him in our particular communities where we live, work, serve and play. He has shown the relationships and endless possibilities that can exist when we break personal and societal barriers. God has opened this urban door at GEMS and I am glad to have played a role in helping to do so. As His Word

reminds us: one waters, another plants, but it is God who gives the increase. I believe with time and intentionality to the needs of the urban girl there will be much good fruit that will manifest. Having said this, it is with bittersweet joy that I will not be returning to GEMS in the upcoming year. It is a decision not made lightly but with much prayer. Although we can’t always trace God’s hand, we have to trust Him and obey anyway. I leave the position of Director of Urban Ministries but my passion and support for GEMS will remain. We are co-laborers, but most importantly we are sisters. At the recent We Walk Event I was introduced to a song that so eloquently expressed my heartfelt response to God about this next season of my life as I walk by faith. I think it fitting to share with you. It is the lyrics to “I Refuse” by Josh Wilson & Ben Glover. Here’s the chorus, check out the GEMS Leaders’ Blog for the whole song! I don’t want to live like I don’t care I don’t want to say another empty prayer Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else To do what God has called me to do myself I could choose not to move But I refuse Be blessed my sister. God loves you and so do I. I am including my personal contact information. Sharing the Joy, Lela “Renee” Bacon 317.727.6055



It’s open

After so many years of planning and preparing, we’re excited to share with you that on September 27, 2012, 50 students walked to The Esther School to attend the very first day of classes! The first group of preschool and kindergarten students donned their uniforms and backpacks and were simply giddy to be welcomed into their new learning environment. Each classroom has an educator from North America partnered with a Zambian teacher. In addition to typical classroom work taught from a distinctly Christian worldview, students are learning about: • Natural resource management • Sustainable agriculture • Animal husbandry • Environmental conservation • Rural micro-enterprise • Vocational skills Please continue to pray and support the work God is doing through The Esther School!

THEME NIGHT! Every curriculum GEMS produces is designed to be flexible—it is meant to easily adapt to your needs. Big clubs, small clubs, girls from your church, girls from your community—no matter your dynamic, a little ingenuity is all it takes to bless your girls. Stacy Knapp from Port St. Lucie Sunlight Community Church in Florida had this to say about her club’s Annual Theme night kickoff:


“It was fantastic! There were about 50 girls in attendance which included a lot of new faces and that was nice to see. The girls loved the slumber party theme and showing up in our PJs! A few of the teachers at our pre-school brought their daughters for the first time and they didn’t stop hearing about it the whole car ride home. One little girl was most impressed with seeing the CITs on stage performing the skit and they are all eager to come back for more. The thing that touched me the most was learning that when a mom found her daughter’s Victory File in the bathroom and questioned her why she had left it there was told by

her daughter that she wanted to make sure to look at it every day before she went to school because she had some situations that this could help her with and she wanted to start every day off right! How awesome is that?! Bonnie Mulder-Behnia, Club Coordinator at Rosewood Church in Bellflower, California, said they tweaked the theme for their club with great results, as well. “We had a great night, “ she said. “It was fun.” If you didn’t host an Annual Theme night as a kickoff, it’s not too late to utilize the plan in the Theme Resource Book to bless your girls with a pajama party that they’ll never forget as they learn what it means to Think Right and Win the Fight!



Dynamic Youth Ministries P.O. Box 7259 Grand Rapids, MI 49510



Green Truth

If you’re stockpiling extra bottles of water or cans of soda for Christmas guests, or if you have lots of holiday leftovers to keep cool, forego the extra refrigerator and leave these items in your garage or on your porch if temperatures permit. You can save up to $23 a month on your electric bill by unplugging an extra appliance like a second refrigerator.

GEM BRACELETS Tanya Legro, Club Coordinator from Westborough Chapel of the Cross in Massachusetts, and her fellow counselors have found a great way to encourage their girls to share what they’re learning at GEMS. “We found simple metal bracelets ($1.99 each at Michaels) that each girl received on the first night,” she explained. “We also found different beads, crystals, and charms [that could be] added to the bracelets as they are earned by the girls.” Counselors then assigned various beads and gems to different badges that girls are working on. When they complete a given badge they can choose a new charm to add to their bracelet. “A group of girls may earn the same badges, but each bracelet will be unique,” Tanya said, “just like them!” More than just a piece of jewelry, though, counselors are urging girls to use their bracelets as a talking piece. “We are encouraging the girls to use these bracelets to tell others about what they’re learning when people comment on them. Our girls are very excited to earn these gems. I have seen some of them wearing their bracelets out and about!”


Winter 2012 Cable  
Winter 2012 Cable