CABLE fall 2010
the Counselors’ Newsletter
A publication of
Reflections GEMS Girls’ Clubs
Shirley Batts – Portage, Michigan Cori Dykhouse – Port Lambton, Ontario Susan Kepley – Grand Rapids, Michigan Glennys Kuperus – Hudsonville, Michigan Lia Leenstra – Byron Center, Michigan Henrietta Reinders – Rockwood, Ontario Amy Schaaf – Grand Rapids, Michigan Lyn VanTol – Spring Lake, Michigan Mary Jo Vis – Riverside, California
GEMS Girls’ Clubss
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 Graphics & Web Designer – Nicole Zaagman
Did you ever think that becoming a monk would be the way to go? I mean having the opportunity to spend your whole life living simply and being simply devoted to God? Sometimes it sounds like the perfect, worry-free life. I mostly have those thoughts when life is difficult, when circumstances or people have created stress, and I’m thinking about how I’m going to get through the mess and the stress. Escaping to a monastery sounds like the perfect plan at that moment!
or easy tasks in His way. We cannot bear the load alone and expect to stand strong. We need Him and His power to be at work in us. That’s why this year’s Feed the Fire theme is such a relevant one. We need God. We need Him. And He’s good with that. No matter what we’ve done or said or thought, He wants to show His love to us and help us live the right way.
Perhaps you’ve had similar thoughts. Life is so daily, No one can make you pasand daily we must tend to Jan speaking on passion at the sionate for Christ. You have a myriad of responsibilities GEMS Leadership Conference. to first make a choice – to be that are potential stress proa passionate follower, and ducers. But it is really in the then act – build into your life the spiritual ordinary things, the daily situations that disciplines necessary to keep that passion our character is revealed. We either show growing. May each of us daily make the our Christ-likeness or our natural self. choice to passionately pursue Him! Let’s The things Jesus did were the most menial live out the theme together. of everyday tasks, and He was never stressed. That should be an indicator to us that it takes ALL of God’s power working in Executive Director us to accomplish even the most common
Modeling Integrity Are You Showing Jesus to Your Girls? GEMS strives to bring girls into a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. We want to equip women and girls around the world to live radically faithful lives – acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.
To do that, the ministry relies on YOU, dear GEMS counselors, to actively engage in girls’ lives – to be a living example of Jesus as you teach, mentor, and love them each week in club.
Fall is here already! For many, summer is a season to take a break, to be refreshed, and to be reenergized. This past summer’s GEMS Leadership Conference was an amazing time to do just that!
We understand that it is a huge responsibility, and we want to equip you to do your job as a counselor well. But a large part of your success as a mentor and teacher is up to you. We would like to challenge you to use integrity at all times – honestly modeling for your girls what a life devoted to Christ looks like.
As this season of GEMS has begun, know that it is important for each of us to be continually refreshed and renewed – to continually be in a relationship with God. This is His sincere desire. It is from that relationship that we are able to serve.
GEMS provides an array of materials for you to choose from. Your club has the ability to pick which curriculums will best suit your girls. Please remember, though, that all GEMS materials are copyrighted. Purchasing one copy and then giving your girls or fellow counselors duplicates is against the law. The same is true of any of the electronic resources GEMS provides – including the music CDs and creative movement DVDs available for purchase. Please refrain from illegally copying any of these items – not only is it dishonest, but it sets a poor example for the girls in your club.
As leaders and counselors, you are incredibly important. You are the ones who regularly connect with the girls: you speak to them, support them, and encourage each girl God brings to you. You are important. You are privileged. You are Jesus’ hands, His feet, His heart, to the girls. This is a calling to be fired up about!
We acknowledge and fully understand that with the state of the economy many churches and Christian organizations have tight budgets, but the sale of these materials is crucial for keeping the entire international ministry of GEMS going. The income they generate allows us to continue to produce new materials for you to use year after year. If you are unable to buy the needed curriculum for your club, please contact the GEMS Service Center and we would be happy to give you more information about our Adopt-a-Club program that allows clubs that are financially blessed to assist those in a time of need.
As a board, we pray that you are richly blessed through this year’s theme. We ask for your prayers, too: for guidance and wisdom as we seek to faithfully lead.
May the song of our hearts be: Light the fire in my soul, Flames, make me whole So light the fire in my heart again.
GEMS Board President
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“We are still on “Cloud 9” about Feeding the Fire! in our community and church. I can’t wait to get the year rolling, and I was honestly
not feeling that way before Conference!” – April
“I had many doubts about the details of going but
God worked out every one of them. My only regret is not having gone when I first became a counselor; I think I would have had different
views of working with the girls.” – Nora
Hearts on Fire Minnesota Nice: A style of pleasantness, courtesy, cooperation, and helpfulness associated with Minnesota culture; a form of Midwestern charm (A. W. B. Simpson). The Local Conference Committee, area GEMS Counselors, speakers, and volunteers truly embodied “Minnesota Nice” as they welcomed nearly 600 women from across North America to the 2010 GEMS Girls’ Clubs Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference.
In addition to the various workshops women attended, mass-meeting speakers Marilyn Hontz, Angela Thomas, and Dr. Laurel Bunker offered engaging messages that helped them absorb the Annual Theme and apply it to their lives and their respective roles in club.
This past July, counselors gathered at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota to spend the weekend learning, growing, worshipping, and being equipped and inspired for their work with girls.
God’s presence was obvious throughout the weekend as He blessed times of worship and fellowship in rich and meaningful ways. As always, Conference was a time for women to be refreshed and inspired in their personal faiths while preparing to mentor young girls throughout the GEMS season. If we didn’t see you at Conference this year, we would love to see you in Colorado in 2011!
And, while no actual smoke detectors were activated, these women set the campus ablaze as they were challenged to Feed the Fire in their hearts and lives – to overcome any areas of apathy and seek an authentic, wholehearted relationship with God (read more about this year’s theme on page 4).
Conference Handouts Did you attend conference but miss one of the awesome handouts available at the expo? Or, just looking for new ideas as you go forward with your season? All of the handouts from the GEMS Expo at Bethel University are available to download from the GEMS Conference website. Simply visit www.gemsgc.org and check out the leader’s tab.
COME TO COLORADO! The 2011 Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference will be here before you know it! Next year’s Conference will be held at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado July 7-10. Without a doubt, you will be refreshed in your own faith walk and equipped in countless ways as you return home with new ideas for inspiring and teaching the girls in your club.
You won’t want to miss featured speakers including Lisa Harper (Woman of Faith Tour presenter) and Ray Vander Laan (Biblical scholar and founder of That the World May Know ministries)! A discounted, early-bird registration fee will be available online starting in January.
Club News Annual Theme Each GEMS season, the Annual Theme is developed around a passage(s) of Scripture. Bible studies, service projects, crafts, games, and other activities are created to make the truth of God’s Word come alive for the girls. This year, GEMS wants to equip women and girls to Feed the Fire as we explore what it means to passionately serve the King of kings! Lukewarm? Don’t Miss This!
Don’t Forget! Club Coordinators – please remember that the Service Center needs to receive your dues by November 15. Also, if you have not already done so, don’t forget to update your counselor list. You can do this quickly and easily on the GEMS website (www.gemsgc. org).
Online Resources Don’t miss the countless online resources available to your club! Download theme-related clip art (including the icons that represent each of the PASSION disciplines found in the Theme Resource Book – see page 5 for more information), Bible reading plans for your girls, prayer bookmarks, and all the PowerPoints you need for a theme night. Visit the GEMS website today!
Our culture too often accepts casual Christianity as a suitable norm. One of this year’s theme verses speaks to the kind of apathy that is rampant throughout North America.
Revelation 3:15-16, says, I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. John is writing to the church in Laodicea. Laodicea was located near two notable cities – Hierapolis, known for its hot, spa-like waters, and Colosse, known for its cold, pure drinking water. But the waters of Laodicea were stagnant and lukewarm. The hot water of Hierapolis was used for healing, the cold water of Colosse was refreshing and revitalizing, but the lukewarm water of Laodicea wasn’t good for anything. John uses the imagery of these three types of water as a warning to the church. The people in Laodicea were diagnosed as stagnant, complacent, and self-satisfied – rich in physical wealth, but impoverished by apathy and spiritual pride. The word lukewarm went beyond describing water – it described a body of believers that had become nauseating to God. Self-sufficient, halfhearted, apathetic, and Christians byname-only are repulsive to God and are ineffective in accomplishing His purposes.
The second theme verse, Romans 12:11, says, Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. This year, we want to show girls how to overcome areas of apathy and keep a fire for God burning brightly in their lives – zealously serving Him in everything they say and do! Join GEMS Facebook group and share how your club is Feeding the Fire!
Threading the Theme The Theme Resource Book contains everything you need for hosting a Theme Night for your club. This is an invaluable resource and a great way to start your year off right. But, don’t stop there! You can thread the theme throughout your GEMS season in countless ways as you remind girls how to Feed the Fire! Practicing spiritual disciplines is crucial in cultivating a fiery faith. This season, we are using the acronym PASSION to help girls remember disciplines they can use to Feed the Fire. They should pray constantly and study God’s Word, serve others, interact with God’s people, open up and talk about God, and notice God in the ordinary. These disciplines are a great place to start as you focus on threading the theme throughout the season.
PASSION Props Do you open or close your club meetings with a time of praise and worship? Use a prayer journal, Bible, shovel, chain, megaphone, and super-large glasses to represent each of the PASSION disciplines. Keep the items in the front of the praise and worship room throughout the year, or have the prop up front that corresponds to the lesson in SHINE and Sparkle. As girls are gathering for praise and worship, invite them to come forward and share how they’ve been feeding the fire outside of club. They should hold the item that corresponds to the PASSION habit they’re sharing about. You can download icons that correspond with each discipline from the GEMS website (www.gemsgc.org) for another visual reminder for counselors and girls.
Take it Home The Theme Devotional and Object Lesson Booklet offers a special feature called Family Connection Time at the end of each lesson. Encourage your parents to read an object
If the counselors in your club are reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan as a devotional this season, check out the GEMS website to download sample discussion questions and to get links to videos of Francis introducing each chapter. SHINE brightly – Digging Deeper
Beyond the Bible Lessons In addition to the theme-focused Bible Lessons in SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazines, each issue will focus on one of these spiritual disciplines. Through feature stories, quizzes, activities, and articles, girls will get a comprehensive look at how they can incorporate practices into their daily lives that will keep a love of God burning in their hearts.
lesson/devotional thought within a week of their daughter hearing it at club. Before you give these books to the parents, fill in the dates on the index page that you will be leading each devotion so parents can read it to their families accordingly.
If you don’t have time to get through all of the resources Connections offers for teaching the Bible Lessons in SHINE brightly Magazine, your girls can go online and download the Digging Deeper questions to complete on their own. This is a great way to encourage girls to continue their Bible study at home!
PASSION Wall Designate a PASSION wall or a bulletin board in your club that allows you to focus on one PASSION discipline each month. Incorporate quotes, verses, and activities to inspire girls and keep the disciplines fresh in their minds each time you meet!
Get More Ideas Online! For specific ideas for your wall, download the Threading the Theme document from the GEMS website (www.gemsgc.org). This document is also full of other ideas for continuing to thread the theme throughout the season. From snack time, bulletin boards, and activities relating to each spiritual discipline, this is an invaluable resource for engaging your girls and showing them how to continuously Feed the Fire in their hearts and lives!
We Missed You! As your season gets underway, stay connected with your girls. If they miss a meeting, let them know you care by sending a “We missed you” postcard. You can order postcards online or by calling the GEMS Service Center (616.241.5615 ext. 3032). We’re not the same without YOU!
We’re not the same without YOU!
we missed you at
Club ideas A Gift from God Three friends from Sioux Falls South Dakota are getting hands-on as they discover what it means to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. “We should give to others,” said nine-year-old Jessica Meyers. “We have so much stuff and so many people have nothing.”
Get Connected! Camp Nearly 160 girls gathered at Miracle Camp in Lawton, Michigan to experience Get Connected! Camp this past August. During the weeklong camp, middle schoolaged GEMS from across North America exited the confines of their everyday lives to make new friends, experience new adventures, and explore God’s Word as they learned the value of a real, authentic relationship with Him. With the help of 24 college-aged TLCs (counselors), 3 CITs (counselors-intraining), and countless volunteers, girls connected with God’s truth and learned His desire for their lives in everything from friendships to purity. Discovering new ways to deepen and apply their faith isn’t the only thing girls got to do during the week, though. Each camper had a chance to take advantage of the high ropes course, zip line, water blob and other fun activities in addition to participating in drama, crafts, and praise and worship. Over and over again girls report how camp inspires, encourages, and equips them – not to mention how much fun they have! Visit the GEMS website to see pictures and watch a short video from camp.
Jessica, Madison, and Rachel are ready for their first customers to arrive.
Jessica, along with her sister Madison and their friend Rachel Rentschler, knew they could do more. The trio decided to host a rummage sale to raise money for GEMS in Africa, and in May of 2009 they did just that. The girls petitioned friends, family, and their church’s congregation for items to sell, and received enough donations to fill the garage they were using for their sale. This generosity coupled with the girls hard work sorting and pricing all of the items resulted in $500 being earned to donate to Africa. “I had been saving up money by doing different jobs around the house and for my grandma and getting donations from family before this,” Madison said. “My parents doubled whatever I earned…[but] this was a good way to raise more money. I thought it was cool that so many people donated stuff.”
Echoing her sister’s sentiments, Jessica added that, “It’s nice to help others, and the girls in Africa need our help.” Rachel’s parents decided to help the girls make this a yearly tradition, and this past spring the friends earned an additional $400.
When asked what they would like to say to GEMS in Africa the girls replied, “This is a gift from God; we hope it can help!” Have the girls in your club been inspired to look beyond themselves and help others? Visit the GEMS website to share your stories with us!
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Brick by Brick At the beginning of last year, girls from Ingersoll GEMS Club in Ingersoll Ontario were challenged to find ways to help build The Esther School in Zambia. “We wanted the girls to not only come up with their own ideas, but to also actively participate in their own mini fundraiser,” said Club Coordinator, Tanya Folkema.
Each grade level brainstormed and came up with ideas from selling baked goods and chocolate treats for stocking stuffers to making cards and a wood working project that they sold raffle tickets for. Counselors knew raising money would not be an easy feat since, in addition to participating in Hand ‘n Hand, their girls were also involved with all kind of fundraising projects for schools and sports teams. But the girls rose to the challenge and were able to raise over $160 to use for planting the orchards and gardens at The Esther School. “This project has truly been blessed by God, and we have prayed for this school throughout the GEMS season,” Tanya concluded. So far we have over 13,000 bricks for The Esther School, which means we have almost 167,000 to go in addition to raising funds for furniture, a playground, and the orchards and gardens. How can you challenge your girls to get involved this year? Stop by the GEMS website to get updates from Zambia, see the growing pile of bricks, and find out the current needs for the GEMS ministry there.
Resources for your Girls Give your girls access to fun craft ideas and recipes and get them in touch with other GEMS from across the US and Canada! The GEMS website is a great place for girls to use their voice by responding to polls, submitting their input on monthly questions, and joining discussions on a vlog (video blog) created just for them!
Girls can also listen to podcasts and get a sneak peak at upcoming issues of SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazines. Make sure the girls in your club are aware of everything in store for them at www.gemsgc.org!
Dynamic Youth Ministries P.O. Box 7259 Grand Rapid, MI 49510
Non-Profit org. US Postage
P.O. Box 39 Norwich, ON N0J 1P0
Grand Rapids, MI Permit #931
Everywhere Meeting the Savior
Sara Hilton has been the Senior Editor for GEMS for the past ten years. We thank God for her years of service as she spoke truth into the lives of girls through both SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazines. GEMS wishes Sara all the best in her future endeavors!
Green Truth How many paper, plastic, or Styrofoam products do you use in a month? Try giving up buying any food or drink that comes in a disposable container for a week. Too easy? Try for two! You’ll not only reduce the amount of unnecessary garbage you produce, but you’ll also be able to explore creative and practical alternatives to the throwaway lifestyle that has easily become our norm!
It is time for me to move on from my position at GEMS. For the past ten years, I have had the privilege of helping girls unlock Micah 6:8, He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. The story of Elijah on Mount Carmel has guided me in this. Elijah speaks up when no one else will. He climbs a mountain and challenges the evil king and his false prophets to a standoff. He suggests that both sides build altars and the God who lights the altar on fire is the one true God. The false prophets go first. They frantically call and dance and scream, but nothing happens. Finally, Elijah drenches his altar in water. He makes it impossible to catch fire. Then he prays that God will send fire so that the people will turn back to God. God hears and does the impossible. He ignites the drenched altar. I love Elijah for his courage and his fearless action. God had a job for him to do and he did it. I want to be like that. However, there is more to this story than Elijah’s action. It has taken many years and many failures to understand what Elijah understood. You see, Micah 6:8 is a call to action. God calls, we answer, we walk, we climb a mountain, we speak up when no one else will. But when it comes to the moment of true change, of true activism, that piece that turns people to God, I find I look a lot like that dripping altar – drenched in my sin, my guilt, and my inadequacy. The probability of me, dripping with all my faults, showing God to anyone is not likely. I’m saturated in too much sin. And when I don’t get the last line of Micah 6:8, walk humbly with God, I look a lot like those false prophets – frantically calling out to myself. And when I call out to myself, no one answers. The difference between activism and Christian activism is the last line of Micah 6:8, walk humbly with your God. As Christians we do our best to follow God, but in the end we say to God, OK, I followed. But let there be no doubt that the real miracle, the real power here is You. It is only You. So my dear counselors continue on the Micah Road. Act justly. Love mercy. And never forget to walk humbly with your God. Much Love,
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