Serving those who are responding to God’s call to love.

Taylor Braaksma

I grew up in a Christian family. I went to Sunday school and even a Christian school. I knew about God, but mainly because my parents wanted me too. I didn’t really understand much about it. I went to a summer camp through my church almost every summer since I was younger. Camp Forest Springs (the summer camp) plays such a huge role in the person I am today. So many people I’ve met there have helped me change for the better. In the summer of 2013 at camp, we had a speaker named Jim. It was my first year at the middle school aged camp so things started to get a little deeper than usual. At one of our final sessions, he had us close our eyes as he was asking us questions. He asked, “If you were to die tonight, would you for sure go to Heaven?” Hearing that scared me, because I honestly didn’t know. He told us to raise our hand if we weren’t sure and then gave us the opportunity to pray with our counselor to accept Jesus as our Savior. That was the first time I made the decision -- for myself -- to follow Jesus. Those who have gone to camps or retreats are likely familiar with the saying “Camp High,” and that’s definitely what happened to me throughout middle school and high school. I would come back from camp fired up, but then eventually that would go away because I wasn’t surrounded by all the other kids my age who were just as fired up as I was. I’d get into a continuous rut where I would fall into a negative mindset and then camp would come around and the relationship with Jesus would be stronger than ever. Junior year was a very bad year for me. I invested my time into toxic relationships rather than focusing on my relationship with God. I didn’t really have any real friends and I was overall very sad and depressed. Going into camp that summer, I had such a negative mentality. Through that week, God worked through my counselor to help me open up and get back on the right path. After that it was a roller-coaster. I would get into a negative mindset and then realize God was there no matter what and it would go back and forth. Recently, I went to a youth conference where God worked in my heart and pulled on my heart leading me to get baptized just recently. My relationship with God is now better than ever and I don’t see that changing.

Through high school, I didn’t really have any friends. I spent most of my early high school involved in friendships that weren’t bettering me whatsoever. I went to Districts Youth Conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in the beginning of January and as we were walking around to different booths, I felt God calling me to get involved in mission work. An organization called Apex was there and I was talking to them and I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I needed to do it. I feel like God is calling me to do something out of my comfort zone and to get out of my shell in a country I’m unfamiliar with. I want God to use me on this trip and to better my faith so that I can spread the gospel in another country as well as my own.

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ORGANIZATION

Loves Calling International, Inc.
11953 Ellison Wilson Road
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Phone: (970) 270-0314
EIN: 47-4298542