For the next two weeks I asked Mike Verkaik to share some of his heart with you as Mike officially started with Oceans Ministries September 1. Please lift Mike, Dawn and their family up in prayer as they have taken this faith journey.
When my son and I were in Israel, our guide stopped us as we were walking to look at the side of a hill. What we saw were small sheep paths that were weaving up and down the mountain. That picture taught me a lot about our Father’s leading in our lives. For me, as I look back on my teaching years that took me from coast to coast and eventually to Oceans Ministries, rarely do I see a straight path.
During my teaching career I always found great joy and fulfillment in investing in the lives of young people. Ever since I graduated from college teaching and coaching has provided me with countless opportunities to do so. In the math classroom, it is an “Aha Moment”, when a student’s smile lights up their face after patient questioning helped them grasp a concept for the first time. In coaching track it is celebrating with an athlete after a personal best is achieved after months of training and pouring confidence in them they could reach their goal.
Since 2014, God has also placed me on a new path to invest in high school student’s lives, co-leading trips to Lesotho, Africa. This past year Tim and I have had many discussions about how God is ruining students’ hearts for His kingdom through our trips to Lesotho. The movement by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the participants has been amazing and contagious. We have seen this movement through student testimonies shared with teen moms, a young woman answering an alter call at a Basotho church, and countless moments where we stand in awe of His orchestration of events. I am so blessed to have a part in helping trip participates experience the kingdom God in Lesotho. Watching our Father make Himself known there is something I can never get enough of.
Tim and I have also both been blessed to disciple these young lives after their trip is completed. This summer, after returning from Lesotho with a group from Holland Christian High School, a young man texted me, “Hey Verkaik, yesterday Ben and I were talking about how we both have helping with mechanics in Lesotho on our mind. It doesn’t seem to fade. Was wondering if we could talk it over and throw some ideas around.” Later that week the two young men stopped at my house and shared the dream our Father had placed on their hearts. I smiled as I sat and listened in amazement at the passion and vision they were given to use their skill in auto mechanics. They shared ideas and questions for over an hour as I listened, prayed and wondered. My main question was, Abba, what are you going to do through these two young men on fire for your kingdom? Later that week I received a document with the details of their plan. For now, we talk, wait in anticipation and pray. This is just one example of how our Father is implanting a passion in young lives to use their gifts, serve long term, or ponder what God would have them do next.
Watching these young peoples hearts being ruined for the kingdom has ruined my heart, and given me a greater passion to follow with confidence and trust this curvy path I am on.