Nieuwe Dockumer Courant | 2nd of January 2019 | Kollumer Courant
How God changed Jannie’s life.
She’s got a passion for traveling, the sewing machine and God. These three aspects run like a thread through her life and come together during a special trip that she will make this year to Zambia. Jannie (46) from Ee speaks openly about her mission.
Jannie was born and raised in Ee and still feels at home over there. Yet she leaves her safe haven behind and leaves this year – probably after the village festival – to Zambia. She wants to help women who are forced, due to circumstances, into prostitution, slavery or they start trading alcohol and drugs. How? By teaching them how to do the sewing and pattern drawing, but also by telling them about Jesus and the Bible. “I hope that women will feel loved again, that it will change their lives, just as God has changed my life,” Jannie says.
It all happened in 2012. Jannie remembers it like yesterday. ,, I was not feeling happy at the time. I was still recovering from Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease, which gives problems with your thyroid gland. At my work I was given a different job, which did not suit me and my relationship had just ended. I felt lost and I thought: just shoot me. A friend of mine introduced me to the Pentecost conference in Biddinghuizen, a Christian event that attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the country every year. From the moment I drove up the field something happened to me. I immediately became emotional. ”
‘Give up everything and become rich’
During the church services in that Pentecost weekend people can come forward for prayer. “As a down-to-earth Frisian and a reformed girl I thought: I am not going to do that,” Jannie laughs. But on the last day something special happened. ,, I already had an inspiring weekend and had a special conversation with a missionary who had given up everything in the Netherlands to start a chicken farm in Ethiopia. The service was about the Holy Spirit that morning. It really touched me. At a certain moment they asked: who wants to receive the Holy Spirit may come forward. I immediately thought: YES! At that moment I felt myself warming up from my toes until the top of my head. I was the only one given the book ‘Give up everything and become rich’. To me that was a clear message from God. ”
Jannie had entered the weekend with hyperventilation and with a sense of peace and quietness inside she returned back to her village. “My life has changed since then. Not that there are no problems anymore, but I see everything in a different perspective. I discovered that you do not only have to be a nurse to do missionary and development work. There is also plenty to do in the field of textiles and that suits me perfectly. After art school I always worked in textiles for different companies and traveled all over the world. So I was confident about realizing my missionary adventure. ”
Yet a feeling of fear got to her. ,, I knew that I should let go of everything I had. Especially my mother, my work, my cats and my house. I found that difficult. But when I lost my job this gave me the opportunity to prepare myself by following a study to become a Pastoral Counselor. I am amazed all the time about how well the Bible has been put together. My mother became ill in 2014. She had cancer in an advanced stage. I prayed a lot with her. That helped her. We have also talked a lot about Heaven, the place where there is no more suffering and misery. That gave her peace. ”
After the death of her mother and the completion of her studies Jannie went to her beloved country Australia to get a rest. Two weeks later she left for Namibia to attend a Discipleship training. Back in the Netherlands, Jannie worked for a year as a Pastoral Counselor in Burgum. There she also led a church service for the first time. ,, In my sermons feelings are very important. People sometimes forget what church really is about. It is not about rules, but about believing. What you feel in your heart. ”
Jannie has learned to let go of things and to lay them down before God. This has helped her during her visit to the ‘Tabitha Skills Development Centre’ in Zambia. ,, I was allowed to have a taste of the atmosphere and life there and to cooperate with the team of the mission organization to see if there would be a place for me. Every single day I was there, I got a piece of the puzzle, until I knew it felt good to go back for a period of two years. I hope that I can pass on the Love of Christ to the women in Zambia. And that they will flourish again. Then I feel rich and my mission will be accomplished. ‘
Do you want to support Jannie in her mission?
There is a lot involved to go on a mission to Zambia. The project runs through Operation Mobilization. This is an international interdenominational mission organization. To make Jannie’s mission possible, money is needed. She completely depends on financial support for her living expenses. Do you want to support Jannie during her mission? Go to THIS page!
Text: Klasina van der Werf