For those who do not know me, I’m Jannie. Raised with Jesus and with the sewing machine close by. Two important aspects in life. Faith, creativity and activity, within work and hobby, something that really makes me happy!
Being a 10 year old little girl, I started making clothes for my Barbie-dolls. On the ‘Gazelle’ handsewingmachine which belonged to my mum when she was young. I am still the proud owner of this machine! Beautiful! After making Barbie-clothes I started to make clothes for myself and soon there was nothing too complicated for me to manufacture. After secondary school I attended a school for Fashion and Clothing and after graduation I went to the Minerva Art School in Groningen. I wanted to become a fashion designer, a creator of new things. Soon my creativity turned out to be influenced by my technical insight. I designed clothes knowing that it would be possible to manufacture them. Having this knowledge made it difficult for me to become a fashion designer. It turned out that the technical side of clothing was more of an interest to me and something I was quite good at.
After Art School I worked for a few years as an assistant buyer. Due to circumstances at work, I had the opportunity to go backpacking around Australia for 1 year, starting April 1998. A ‘Working Holiday’, which meant I was allowed to work in the country. What a beautiful country and what a wonderful time it was! Such a blessing! I got to know a lot of valuable people and I’m still in touch with many of them.
After returning, it was difficult to find my way again in the Netherlands. Australia took a piece of my heart and every time I go back, I feel at home and it’s difficult to leave again…..
I was able to find work again quickly, after I got back in April 1999. Mainly my work concerned the purchasing and production process of clothing. For work I had to travel a lot to different countries. In all the jobs I had, I worked with a lot pleasure.
Still, always there was something else on my mind. Going oversees helping others through the love of God our Father. So I decided to resign my job in 2007 and just see where the future would lead me. But God had other plans with me, I was able to apply for a job near where I lived and even got this job. The same type of work and again a lot of travelling overseas. I was happy, but the desire to go in mission never left my mind. But thinking about that made me realize that it was hard for me to let go of all certainties in life…….
In 2012 I didn’t feel well, I was down and depressed. I had been sick for a while, reintegration at work did not go well and in my private life things also could be better. So I said to God “Just shoot me, but this is not what I want anymore”. Fortunately, God did not shoot me, but instead He touched my heart. At the Pentecostal Conference ‘Opwekking’, God showed me a message; ‘Give up everything and become rich’. *
I released all my certainties in life and surrendered to Him saying; “God here I am, just tell me what to do………”. When I said this, I slowly got a warm feeling inside of me and peace in my heart. What exactly happened is hard to explain, but God’s Spirit was able to take full control.
From that moment on I’ve been looking for possibilities to go in mission. But where exactly did God want me and how did He see this ……. so I started investigating some options. I went on a 4 week mission trip to Benin in November 2012. After I got back, I found that I wanted to be more equipped. I wanted to get to know God much better to be able to help others. Due to circumstances, I lost my job in 2013, which gave me the opportunity to start a 3 year study Pastoral Care. A study fully drenched with the Word of God and a study in which I completely depended on Him. By the end of 2016, I completed this course and after this total period of time (my mother also passed away in 2014) I could go and enjoy ‘my country Australia’ and all the lovely people I know. Enjoying the beautiful nature and enjoying my time with God. Looking at and thinking about what steps I should take.
In February and March 2017, I felt blessed to attend a Discipleship Training School with Operation Mobilization in Namibia. Mission, training and evangelism. My wish was to soak in the Gospel in English language.
After returning home, the process continued thinking about how Mission for me could look like. The whole world is in need of the Gospel, so what would I do, stay in the Netherlands or go overseas. It took some time to figure out that I actually already knew deep in my heart that I want to go…………abroad. At a certain point, I embraced that idea and started the search for a mission’s organization and a project that would suit me.
In the meantime I have been visiting the ‘Tabitha Development Center’ of Operation Mobilization in September 2018 in Zambia. You can read my travel report here. God showed me that this was a place where He wanted me.
A process of preparation followed …….. An exciting time with many steps that had to be taken. But I knew and know that God will bless my steps on the way that I go.
In the meantime I left for Zambia on the 14th of July, 2019 and I am still working there. You can follow my stories by reading my newsletters.
* Partly through the book ‘Give up and get rich.’ On adventure with God in Mongolia ‘by Hanneke van Dam.