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A publication of

Cable spring

2012 | the Counselors’ Newsletter

Reflections - In over Your Head? Ever feel like you are “in over your head?” Like there is no possible way you can get everything done that needs to be done. No possible way….

of negative thinking can go away as quickly as it came in if we choose to remove it from blocking the light. Choose to stop stinkin’ thinkin’.

Would it help to know that you, dear sister, are not alone? I’m feeling that way right now, actually. No possible way I can do it all! And if I let myself think that thought for more than the minute it took me to write about it, everything around me will begin to grow a little darker—it will be just like when a thick cloud passes in front of the sun and makes everything colder. I absolutely know that cloud will come if I allow those thoughts to stay in my mind. I’ve been down that road way too many times before not to know. My mind will betray me, and I’ll be into stinkin’ thinkin’!

Well… I’m actually feeling better already. My mind is in a better place. Talking to you about the struggle has helped. Thinking about my Power Source, God, has really helped. Stinkin’ thinkin’ versus right thinking is what we will be studying in club next season. But it is on my mind today because it’s a daily battle. I’ve needed to win the fight today. And I’m so thankful God gives us the tools and makes His power available to us to win the fight for our minds.

Stinkin’ thinkin’ sets in when we allow negative, self-defeating, discouraging thoughts to linger in our minds. The enemy creeps into our presence whispering his lies, tempting us to continue thinking negative thoughts, and keep our focus on ourselves and away from the Lord. The ONLY way we ever rise above being “in over our heads” in the first place is to rely on God’s power rather than our own. It requires focusing our mind. Fixing our thoughts on God rather than on ourselves. God is more than able. He is ALL powerful and can do ALL things. Through Him, we are more than conquerors. The cloud

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 Director of Urban Ministries– Renee Bacon

Dear sisters, thanks for all you do for the girls in your care. Thanks for reaching out and loving the counselors you work with in club. And thanks for being my sister in Christ today—for listening and affirming. That’s what the sisterhood of GEMS is all about. Encouraging one another. Spurring one another on to love and good deeds. Helping each other as we journey this life together.

Executive Director – Jan Boone Training Manager – Lenae Bulthuis Customer Relations Specialist – Michele DeHaan Managing Editor – Kelli Ponstein Conference Coordinator – Alecia VanHulzen Publications & Web Coordinator – Amy White Executive Secretary – Gert Wolfert Graphic & Web Designer – Nicole Zaagman

Jan Boone Executive Director


PRESIDENT’S LETTER Sing with me, how great is our God! Altogether sing how great, how great, is our God! There is much to be thankful for, to sing about and to give God glory for. The upcoming GEMS Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference is a time to come together to give Him glory together. Many women have been, and will continue to be, refreshed and inspired through GEMS Conferences. Whether you are in a good place or a difficult place—it is a special time to be together and encourage each other. Other happenings in the GEMS Ministry that invite the soul to sing include: • T he added focus on ministering to girls in urban areas. The needs of girls throughout North America are diverse, and we get to go with God to help meet those needs. • GEMS Call to Zambia and GEMS International. As leaders around the world learn about GEMS and start groups, celebrate with them, pray for their efforts, for support, for encouragement, and for joy. • The anticipated opening of The Esther School in Zambia this September. • GEMS Girls’ Clubs Golf Open—Friday, May 18 at Diamond Springs Golf Course in Hamilton, Michigan. Come, join in support of this event and the ministry, and celebrate ministry supporters. • G  et Connected! Camp this summer! • An ever-growing weaving of prayer throughout the ministry.

CLUB REMINDERS NEW Merchandise Watch your mailboxes in late summer or early fall for the GEMS Supply Catalog. With new theme materials—including an expanded Theme Resource Book—and lots of new merchandise, you won’t want to miss it! GEMS Sunday Most clubs will be hosting GEMS Sunday on either April 29th or May 6th. This event is a way to keep your congregation or organization informed about what your girls have been doing this season, while offering your girls a chance to give back and serve. Information for hosting GEMS Sunday is available on the GEMS website (www. Club Coordinator Mailing Club Coordinators: If you are not returning as the Club Coordinator next year, please inform the Service Center so we can ensure the correct person receives this information. In late June or early July you should receive a checklist for the upcoming season, SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazine renewals and invoices, as well as a Supply Catalog and order form.

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


The Amazing Race Counselors from Manhattan First Christian Reformed Church in Bozeman, Montana held an Amazing Race for their GEMS and their dads. “We had about 50 girls attend with their dads, grandpas, or brothers,” explained counselor, Jennifer Bos. “We gave the girls the invitation the week before, and one mom told me that her daughter made here dad sit and listen while she read him the entire invite.” Utilizing information from the Theme Resource Book and the Threading the Theme workshop from GEMS Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference, counselors created a curriculum that took GEMS and their special guys around the world. The halls of the church were decked out with flags from different countries, and counselors dressed up to represent the region where they were helping. At check-in, teams were given maps and instructions and were assigned a color. “The idea behind dividing them into colors was to stagger the groups to different events instead of them all going to the same places at the same time,” Jennifer explained.

And while our souls sing with all these special happenings, may we also let our souls sing for each and every leader and every GEMS girl who is drawn to God through the ministry. Prayer has been an integral part of everything happening through GEMS and through these prayers and through song, let your soul sing.

Henrietta Reinders GEMS Board President


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After opening with prayer, the pairs were released to try and successfully complete six challenges that tested their ability to work together wisely. Color-coded balloons led the teams to their stack of clues as they set out to Oslo, Norway, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Athens, Greece, Alexandria, Egypt, The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel, and Calcutta, India.

The event ended at a final checkpoint where each team received gold medal cookies and goodie bags with an assortment of treats. “It was so neat to see it all come together,” Jennifer said. “We worked both our theme and God into each event. I pray that He was glorified by the evening…We had many dads come and thank the counselors for a fun night and let them know how special it was to spend the evening with their girls. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun and we even saw a streak of competitiveness from dads. “The father daughter night is a night that the girls look forward to all year, and it is so awesome to see all the dads (and in some cases, grandpas and even brothers) there enjoying the time they spend with their girls. It truly was an amazing night!” If you would like more detailed information from each station this club created, please email

Threading the Theme

The Counselors from Bozeman took advantage of two key pieces of GEMS material. The Theme Resource Book outlines the theme experience each year while offering loads of additional materials including crafts, games, and all the information you need for conducting an opening theme night with your club. Next season, the Theme Resource Book will also include all the information from one of GEMS most popular workshops at Conference: Threading the Theme. Get ideas for keeping the theme alive all season through bulletin boards, openers, icebreakers, and more! Everything you need for hosting a year-end Family Celebration will also be included. These additions make this resource an even more invaluable necessity for every counselor in your club! 3

2012/13 THEME: THINK RIGHT— WIN THE FIGHT! Finally, brothers (sisters), whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 The average person thinks 50,000 thoughts a day. That’s 50,000 chances to honor God with our minds. That’s also 50,000 opportunities to get caught up in stinkin’ thinkin’! God cares about what we think about because He’s designed our minds to be our control centers. Each word we speak, each action we take, and each choice we make is ignited with a thought. Our thoughts direct our words, our words impact our actions, and our actions dictate who we become. Although Jesus won the ultimate war over sin, death, and wrong thinking, until we see Him face to face, there is an ongoing battle for our minds. If we aren’t aware of our enemies and properly equipped for the battle, they will destroy us with stinkin’ thinkin’ like unbelief, depression, fear, and negative thoughts. Because what we think determines who we become, this battle is literally a fight for our lives! To win the fight, we must think right! This theme will challenge girls and women to fight for the right thinking the Spirit desires.

Summer in the City— Come to Chicago!

The theme will be introduced in greater depth this summer at GEMS Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference at Wheaton College in Chicago, IL. Each summer, women come away from Conference refreshed in their own faith walks and encouraged for their work with girls. This year’s Conference has several features you won’t want to miss! • A three-part theme experience! The Think Right—Win the Fight! theme will come alive as you learn about the invisible battle going on around us, hear the Annual Theme message, and head to a slumber party where you will walk through a theme night just like the one you’ll host for your girls. • Exceptional workshops. Grow your own faith, gain culturally-relevant information about working with girls, and get GEMS-specific training on all of our curriculums and materials. • Whispers of God prayer groups. On Saturday and Sunday morning you will have the opportunity to join other Conference attendees in these intentional prayer groups. • Windy City Cuisine and Comedy Night. Following some Chicago-style pizza, we’ll enjoy the comedy of River City Improv. You can relax and enjoy this special night of Chicago-style food and fun! Send in your Registration Form or visit to sign up, and join us July 12-15 at Wheaton College!

YOU CAN PLAY! For the 16th year running, GEMS is hosting a day of golf for friends of the ministry. And, even if you’re far away—you can play! We now have a Golfat-a-Distance option! Your foursome can golf at a course of your choice and we’ll recognize you at our local event and send you a complimentary goodie bag. The Golf Open is the only fundraiser held by the overall GEMS organization, and the money raised supports the ministry while helping underwrite Get Connected! Camp—a summer camp for early teen girls. This year’s Open will be held at Diamond Springs Golf Club in Hamilton, Michigan. But, even if you’re not in the area, you can help support GEMS through this annual event. Visit our website ( to donate a prize, sponsor a tee or a hole, or sign p to play—everyone is encouraged to find a way to get involved with this important fundraiser!


MARY, AN URBAN GEM Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a humble, ordinary young girl who made herself available to God. Her purity was used in a way no other human being has or will ever be used again. She was chosen by God to bring His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world and be His earthly mother. She was not selected because of her outward appearance, socio-economic status, or any reason other than God saw something in her that no one else did. He knew she had what it took to accomplish the plan and purpose He had for her life. Mary endured much ridicule. She had to remain confident and grounded— especially when so many others doubted her purity, including her fiancé. These reactions must have grieved her. Yet, she had to believe and encourage herself when others wouldn’t. She had to tolerate the gossip and lies without letting it destroy her. In spite of all the difficulties

she encountered, she persevered in obedience.

overcome, accomplishing the task that was divinely chosen for her. All she encountered and endured has given her a sacred legacy of being blessed and highly favored. God used this girl to revolutionize the entire world. He desires to also do remarkable works in and with the lives of Urban GEMS today, too.

Mary can relate to so many of our Urban GEMS because she understands what it means to deal with loneliness, shame, name calling, not being trusted or believed, stereotyped, abandoned, hurt, neglected, mistreated, misunderstood, talked about, and discouraged. Mary made a conscious choice to remain loyal and faithful to the God in whom she had an undying love, trust, and allegiance to. She believed that, with time, truth would prevail. Her pain and suffering did not cause her to turn to any negative behavior; it caused her to triumph and

GEMS SUNDAY IDEAS Many Clubs will be putting together a plan for GEMS Sunday sometime soon. While most of us look forward to sharing about such a wonderful ministry, the thought of coming up with yet another version of this annual event can be daunting. Thankfully, GEMS provides a litany and bulletin cover that can be used for the service and a very thorough theme outline to help the pastor plan his GEMS Sunday message (if you haven’t received these resources yet, you can download them from the website— In addition to those tools, here are a few other ideas: • Sing the theme song “I Want to Know You” once as a club and then maybe again with the congregation. Add the creative movement only if the girls really know it and have enough room to move. Use the CD unless your worship team is able to perform the song well. • Ask for girls and counselors (no more than 2 or 3) who can give a two-minute personal testimony (written out and reviewed ahead of time) about how God has impacted their lives through the theme. • During the offering or as a prelude to the service,

Would you pray about out efforts to take GEMS to urban communities and reach urban girls, near and far, and how you as a counselor can help? Who knows what God might do through a girl you help lead to Him.

Renee Bacon is the Director of Urban Ministries for GEMS. If you have questions or comments about Urban Ministries, please contact her at

show one of the many promotional videos GEMS has available on their website. • Serve the congregation by organizing girls to help as greeters, collecting the offering, serving refreshments and just being available to chat with people other than their friends. Last year we passed a basket of small wrapped candies during the service and asked each person (except the GEMS) to take two: one to enjoy right away and one to save for after the service and give to any girl who would join them in conversation about GEMS! • Publicly thank the congregation for the many ways they support your club—be sure to include your custodian for all the set-up and clean-up that your program requires. • Enjoy GEMS Sunday! Grace Moes is a counselor at Mississauga Meadowvale CRC in Ontario and has led praise and worship at GEMS conferences, camps, and events in addition to creating several worship CDs for the ministry.


THE ESTHER SCHOOL Jean lives in Manhattan, Montana where she is an early — MEET OUR FIRST TEACHER!

In the last issue of Cable we introduced you to the DeKams and the Roelofs—the first two families moving to Zambia to serve as Administrators at The Esther School (if you missed that intro, check out the GEMS website to find links to their blogs!). Now, we have the distinct privilege of introducing Jean Selles, a seasoned teacher and much-loved GEMS counselor and Leadership Trainer who will be moving to Chongwe to welcome the very first preschool class to the school!


WHAT: GEMS Get Connected! Camp WHEN: August 6-10, 2012 WHERE: Cran-Hill Ranch in Rodney, Michigan

From camper to counselor, Jill Deurloo can’t say enough about the impact GEMS Get Conneceted! Camp had on her life. How long have you been involved with GEMS? I started GEMS when I was eight. I am now 20 and I have been involved ever since. I went to Get Connected! Camp in both 2005 and 2007 as a camper. In 2008 I had the privilege of going to Zambia, Africa. We put on a Get Connected! Camp Zambian-style, and it was definitely a trip of a lifetime. The first day I started out with 8 girls, by the end of the 3 days we had camp, my group grew to 18. I walked away from that experience with tears of joy in my eyes. In 2009 I was a TLC (counselor) at Get Connected! Camp in North America, and I really grew closer to God through that experience as well as seeing several campers commit their lives to walk closer with God. What was camp like as a camper? What was your favorite part? Being a camper was a blast! Over the course of a week I was able to step out in faith and trust God. The high ropes and trust falls were some of the more challenging 6

learning and preschool teacher. She is widowed, has three grown children, and enjoys reading, gardening, and hiking. Why Zambia? Ever since GEMS began working in Zambia, I have had the desire to join its mission. When I read about The Esther School, I felt God’s persistent nudging. A vision began to emerge. The Lord showed me how he wanted to combine my passion for GEMS and my love for teaching preschool children into a unique opportunity to serve Christ in Kingdom ministry. I waited patiently as God opened every door to Zambia. As I crossed each threshold, the Lord revealed how he has been preparing me for the journey. No experience is ever wasted. I grew up on a rural farm where my mother taught

activities for me during the week. I have a hard time trusting others so it was definitely hard, but it helped me grow in my faith and also helped me see that with God all things are possible. My favorite part about camp was simple times of reflection and worship with our great God! He really worked in my life and camp helped me grow closer to Him in so many ways. What about your experience as a TLC (counselor)? What made you want to serve in that capacity and how did the experience impact you? Being a TLC was definitely a stretching experience for me. I wasn’t really sure in the beginning why I was to serve as a TLC, but I knew the Lord was calling me. One of my passions is to serve others and help them grow in there faith. God used this to serve the girls. One of my favorite parts of being a TLC was watching these girls grow in there faith. Some of these girls came from homes that were not serving the Lord, from mixed families, and hard situations. To see them surrender their lives to Christ and watch them grow in there faith was truly a blessing and brought tears to my eyes. When it came time to go home all my girls were crying, and so

me a sustainable philosophy of recycling, reusing, and efficient stewardship of resources. I was born into a supportive family—what happens to one, happens to all—we remain a close-knit family whose faith and values always serve as sources of strength and peace to each other. While raising my children, I learned that God uses both the joyful and the painful to transform us into a more Christ-like servant-witness. Education has taught me about developmentally appropriate practices. I cherish thinking about how to nurture each child as an image bearer of Christ.

What is your biggest prayer request? May I gain a deep appreciation and understanding for how God is at work in Zambia. I long to experience His wisdom as I approach new experiences and situations. May I be patient with others and myself; may God bring his heart into living practice. For others: May God keep my family safe. May God go before us, come behind us, and be the rock.

was I. We had grown so much together in one week. Nobody wanted to leave. We all knew that our lives had been changed, but we had to go back to reality and live out that light, that spark, that God had shone to us that week.

Girls who have been members of a GEMS Club for at least one year or more and have completed their sixth, seventh, or eighth grade of school by June 2012 may register for Get Connected! Camp. We are also looking for college-aged women to serve as counselors. Applications are available online (

What would you say to a girl who was still trying to decide if she wanted to go to camp this summer? Camp is amazing. If you are wanting to grow in your faith, or just not really sure what God has planned for you in life, camp is the place to be. Camp is a lifechanging experience. It changed my life and I know it can change yours, too. Come and experience God! He is alive and ready for you to come and lay your burdens on Him. Come! You don’t want to miss this experience of a lifetime! He is waiting for you!

What are you most excited for? I am most excited to see how God will use me, and my experiences, to fulfill His purpose at The Esther School. I am excited to meet my Zambian co-teacher, set up the classroom, and to meet the children that have been introduced to me through videos and posters!

Each day, girls will start by learning about a new theme. We call them critical life truths. These are the things that matter in their lives. We’ll talk about things they’re struggling with, wondering about, or maybe have never really thought about. Then, throughout the day, they’ll get to participate in all kinds of crazy-fun activities that help them understand that truth even more! Visit the GEMS website to get more information, to watch a video from camp, and to fill out a registration form!


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


P.O. Box 39 Norwich, ON N0J 1P0



Green Truth

As the days get longer and spring starts to turn to summer, many of us will make watering our lawns and plants part of our weekly routines. But, conserving water is a big part of protecting creation. And, in many regions, only an inch of water per week is necessary to keep lawns and other plants healthy. Keep a small can outside (think cat food) to track rainfall. It the can is filled to the rim, you don’t need to water!

MICAH ROAD MYSTERIES A Brand New Book Series from GEMS! Chances are your GEMS know Micah 6:8 by heart. But when you talk about what it means to act justly, do you every wonder if they really get it? Does it sink in that acting justly is a lifestyle and that loving mercy is a continuous endeavor? When Chloe and Tasha (the much-loved characters from The Micah Road Mysteries series in SHINE brightly Magazine) get their first big case, the ideas of justice and mercy come to life. The girls learn what it means to persevere in doing right, that there’s danger in being silent, and that a brutal truth accompanies every lie. Shadows in Tenebray Forest is the first full-length book published by GEMS, and it will help your girls understand more fully what justice and mercy look like in everyday life. Help girls go deeper into Shadows in Tenebray Forest with a Mini Mag! Buy the book and Mini Mag combo to give them quizzes, games, and fun insights into the characters plus thought-provoking questions for each chapter. This is a great tool for girls who want to start a book club or just learn more about the story and what it means to act justly!





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GEMS Girls' Clubs Counselor Newsletter