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Fall Volume 1, 2011-2012

Sharing news and light with friends of GEMS



GEMS Girls’ Clubs Executive Board Shirley Batts Portage, MI Cheryl Boer Eden Prairie, MN Cori Dykhouse Port Lambton, ON Susan Kepley Grand Rapids, MI Glennys Kuperus Hudsonville, MI Lia Leenstra Byron Center, MI Debra Liccar Crete, IL Henrietta Reinders Rockwood, ON Amy Schaaf Grand Rapids, MI Irene Vanderlaan Indianapolis, IN Mary Jo Vis Riverside, CA

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


“Why in the world are you doing that?” she asked with a genuinely puzzled, almost unhappy look on her face.

“Well,” I began slowly, “we are intentionally opening the ministry to countries around the world because that’s what God would have us do. It’s the assignment He has given us—Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior. That’s the vision we have: to see girls around Jan with members of the the world actively training team in Zambia, and enthusiastically July 2011. expressing love for God and others—girls equipped, motivated, and passionately engaged in living out their faith. And the only way we know to make that vision become a reality is to do the kinds of things that will make that happen. We’ve prayed for clear direction in this endeavor. We’ve created a new international website, separate from our North American site, that explains club life and offers easily accessible, affordable, downloadable curriculum and resources. We are

GEMS seeks to equip God’s children for His Kingdom.

in the process of developing online training videos to equip women in developing countries with the tools and knowledge they need to start and effectively run GEMS Clubs. And we are laying the groundwork for recruiting and preparing post college-aged girls to go and live missionally in locations around the globe. Their purpose will be to build relationships with and equip women to do what Titus 2 tells us to do: to teach and train the younger women and girls what is good. To teach them the things of God.” The expression on the face of my new friend had changed dramatically. Her eyes were wide and her mouth was standing open. Finally her mouth closed, then opened again as she began to speak. “Whoa. You guys are serious, aren’t you?” “Well, I guess we are,” I said with a chuckle. “We think it’s pretty important to be obedient to what God tells us to do. So we are working hard at following His lead.” “Hey, can I ask another question?” she asked. “Sure, fire away,” I said. “Well what about the girls in the US and Canada? Are you giving up on them?”

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Now I was the one with the puzzled look. “No. Certainly not. But I’m curious why you think we might give up on girls in North America. Actually we work diligently at staying relevant—introducing new events and resources, training and equipping our counselors, and expanding our web presence and social networking so that we can reach girls here at home. We recognize how difficult it is to be a girl growing up in our North American culture today. So we work hard and do our best to help girls come to know and love Christ and choose to serve Him. The aim, Micah 6:8, established for GEMS decades ago continues to be the way we show girls how to focus their lives: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. And from the evidence we see, girls in all provinces and states get that. Things are actually very good with the North American ministry. We continue to grow. We’re definitely not shrinking back from our commitment to girls here.” “OK,” she said, only now with a broad smile. “One last question. Where do you sign up for GEMS? I’m thinking it shouldn’t just be my daughter that gets to go to GEMS. I want to go too!” Yes, things are happening at the GEMS ministry—both internationally and at home. And we give thanks to each and every one of you for the faithful prayer and financial support that you provide.

Jan Boone, Executive Director

GET WISDOM: GO BEYOND THE GOLD! The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! The highway of the upright avoids evil; he (she) who guards his (her) way guards his (her) life. (Proverbs 16:16-17). In a culture that often values girls gone wild, GEMS is seeking to cultivate a generation of godly girls gone wise. When we pursue God and His wisdom, He gives us the knowledge and understanding we need to make choices that honor Him. This past July, nearly 500 women gathered in Fort Collins, Colorado for GEMS Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference to learn about the Annual Theme: Get Wisdom: Go beyond the Gold! “[Part of] the theme workshop activity, bow and arrow with words, focused on how as women and girls our conversation can be so sarcastic and hurtful. Why would we ever let those types of words come out? Do we not put our brain in gear before our mouth? We learned to shoot an arrow (word) that would turn around the sentence.” Kelly Ashley, Rosewood, CA

In addition to an introduction to the new theme, women received training in a variety of areas through various workshops and mass meeting speakers. “At conference, I took several classes that I felt would benefit myself as a counselor. Conference is so important in equipping our local GEMS club. Those of us privileged to attend brought back knowledge and information to share with the other counselors. It has encouraged and excited me for the new season and hopefully I can pass this on to the other counselors as well.” Mae Rishel, Rosewood, CA As always, women experienced refreshing times of worship and meaningful fellowship; they received practical tips for club and challenges for their own faith walks, and they had time to plan and prepare for the upcoming season. “The conference was a huge blessing, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to attend with four leaders from my club. They were all very impressed with the weekend and have a much better sense of why I’m so excited about the ministry! Plans are well underway for our fall workshop, and having attended the Conference makes me want to bring a piece of that to the ladies in my area.” Tracey Tuin, Abbotsford, BC Visit the GEMS website ( to learn more about the new theme and to see pictures from Conference!

WE’RE HEADED TO CHICAGO Plans for the 2012 Annual Counselors’ Leadership Conference are well underway! Make sure counselors from your church don’t miss out on any of the workshops, speakers, worship, training, and encouragement we have in store for them at Wheaton College in Chicago, Illinois, July 12-15. Pastors and church leaders can find out more about Conference on the GEMS website ( Learn what Conference has to offer, and then encourage members of your GEMS team to attend. Year after year women return from Conference refreshed and equipped with new ideas for inspiring and mentoring the girls in your church. The discounted, early-bird registration fee will be available starting in January.



After reading about The Esther School in her SHINE brightly Magazine, 13-year-old Margaret Rothrock knew she could help. “My friend Lydia and I decided to sell cookies to raise money for [the school],” Margaret wrote the GEMS staff recently. “We did, and we earned much more money than we expected. I hope it helps with building the school!”

This past June, a team of six women returned to Zambia to conduct an annual counselor training and to start six new GEMS clubs in the Lusaka area.

As girls across North America continue to engage with their sisters in Zambia, the deepening impact of GEMS mission focus there is evident. Girls continue to take God’s call to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8) seriously as they bless girls half a world away.

This year, though—the training team had some company. Sixteen people Artistic rendition of The Esther School from across North America traveled to Chongwe to The Esther School to work on various building projects and to host a Vacation Bible School with some of the preschoolers from the village. Highlights from the trip include:

HAND ‘N HAND Hand ‘n Hand—a micro-financing program uniting women and girls in Zambia with clubs across North America—will be back this year. Handcrafted goods and herbal tea from Africa are paired with gourmet cookie and soup mixes and sold by girls in the US and Canada. The proceeds are used to help Zambian clubs become selfsustaining while supporting local clubs, as well. North American clubs will decide when to host this fundraiser, so if you’re interested in placing an order contact your local Club Coordinator for details!

• Working alongside the Zambian crew—laying the bricks for the library and clinic at The Esther School.

• Celebrating all the work that has been completed at the school: The first teachers’ home is complete, the preschool/kindergarten classroom is complete, and the library/clinic is nearly complete now as well!

• Working with local preschoolers and helping them see what The Esther School will mean in their lives.

• Making curtains for the teachers’ home using foot treadle sewing machines! They made the house ready for the North America teachers that will live there.

• Eight area pastors and their wives were encouraged, built up, and trained by a pastor and his wife from Ontario.

• The first group of CITs (Counselors-in-Training) took part in a graduation ceremony and became counselors. The women were elated to see these girls achieve this milestone!

• Getrude, the first Zambian pre-school teacher for The Esther School, started training for her new role in which she will partner with a teacher from North America.

CULTURE OF PRAYER Two years ago, GEMS Annual Theme focused on Philippians 4:6. And when women and girls across the US and Canada spent a season diligently praying–the impact was incredible. After witnessing the powerful effects of this theme, the GEMS Executive Board was led to intentionally cultivate a culture of prayer throughout the entire ministry. Members of the GEB meet regularly for prayer and are asking others to join them or to start their own regular prayer meetings in their regions. In addition, each week GEMS Training Manager, Lenae Bulthuis, coordinates a prayer email between all of the Area Coordinators and Leadership Trainers (the key volunteers who provide training to counselors across North America) that lifts up individual as well as ministrywide prayer requests and praises. The new GEMS website also has an area where visitors can submit their prayer requests. Members of the GEB then spend time praying for each praise and request. Be sure to check out this new feature and encourage its use often!

As plans move ahead to open The Esther School in 2012, we are excited about everything God continues to do through GEMS mission focus in Zambia. Visit the GEMS website (www. for more updates and developments.


THANKS AGAIN! GEMS ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC As GEMS continues to challenge young girls to live passionate lives that embody justice, mercy, and humility—we continue to rely on willing contributors to the ministry! GEMS would like to extend a special thanks to the sponsors and golfers who made the 15th Annual Golf Classic possible.

The GEMS website has been completely revised with an all-new look and updated content. Stop by and see what’s going on with the ministry!


Thanks again to these businesses and individuals: Event Sponsors: De Jong Enterprises, Inc. Michael J. Liccar & Company R & M Construction Myles & Glennys Kuperus Richard & Judy Eppinga John & Linda Van Singel Alan & Terri Kaiser

As progress on GEMS International continues, the website is now up and running. Read more about this new component to the overall GEMS ministry and discover how women and girls around the world are being impacted by the new curriculum.

Lunch Sponsors: Custom Design Components, Inc Cart Sponsors: Eenhoorn, LLC Precise Machining, Inc Gerrit & Cori Dykhouse Dale & Jan Boone Hole Sponsors: Deurloo Farms Stroo Funeral Home Best Way Disposal Ajacs Die Sales Corp. WDS Construction, Inc Jason & Shelley Kuipers Harry & Henrietta Reinders Bob & Barb Miedema John & Margaret VanderPloeg Tee Sponsors: Zuidema Interiors Red Arrow Dairy Superior Seafoods Co Havit Supplies A&B Rentals Fountain Hill Counseling Center Marino Insurance Services, LLC Kevin & Amy Schaaf Gerald & Suzanne VanWieren

Contributors: Kenneth & Joan Feyen David & Linda Fink Don & Barb Bellinger Ralph & Irene Drost Robert & Linda Westrate Richard & Mary Vlietstra Bruce & Patty Gorter Scott & Cheryl Brill Jeff & Charla Melby Brad & Cheryl Boer David & Shirley Batts David & Judy Hopkins Simon Feddema William & Grace Lamberink Duane & Marge Westrate Nathan & Cassandra Reinders Petra Arends Bluewater Orthopaedic & Sports Supply Wallaceburg Bookbinding & MFG. CO Steven D. Lyzenga DDS Grand Buick All Star Printing Lewis Paper Ideal Printing

Top Distributing Wise Photography Rycenga Building Center On The Border Graphics Unlimited Russ’ Fields Fabrics Calvin Bookstore Cornerstone University Ludwicks Cindy’s Hair Care Meijer BD’s Mongolian Barbeque Cascade Roadhouse Janie’s Cookies Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille Pilgrim’s Run Golf Club Mines Golf Course Watermark Properties Maple Hill Golf Course Broadmoor Country Club Ironwood Golf Course Pines Golf Course Gleneagle Golf Club LochenHeath


Fall Connection Point 2011  

Sharing news and light with friends of GEMS