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Devotional #4 – The Painful, Yet Necessary Effects of Pruning
January 4, 2020
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January 17, 2020
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Team Kerkstra – Follow Our Journey

This is the team that will be in Guatemala from January 12-19. Please be praying for each of these team members:

  • Bill DeBoer
  • Mike McKendrick
  • Earl Scholl
  • Corinne Vander Well
  • Carrie Beyer
  • Emily Scheidel
  • Mark Karelse
  • Colin Boughner
  • Amy Bastian
  • Curtis Potter
  • Kristin DeKock
  • Carroll Burgess
  • Isaac Wilde
  • Kurt DeKock
  • Mohamad Farran
  • Todd Bos
  • Norma Jazwinski
  • Tim Poll
  • Joshua Parm
  • Meredith Miller
  • Hector Castillo la Rosa
  • Zachary Fisher
  • Steven Henrickson
  • Dan Arner
  • Chris Smith
  • Warren Potter
  • Tina Potter
  • Arley Parson
  • Cathy Elders
  • Katie Elders
  • Erin Elders
  • Mike Martin
  • Roger Avink
  • Wesley Vraun
  • Ryan Postma
  • Nate Berens
  • Edward Smith


  1. Jen Fisher says:

    Hey Zach! Hope all is well 🙂 We miss you lots!!! I can’t wait to hear ALL about your adventures!!! It’s cold and snowy here so enjoy the nice weather 🙂 I love you!! ~Jen

    i miss you so so so moch from brody i love you dad

    • Kurt DeKock says:

      I miss you all like crazy too! I cant wait to see you. All is well down here. This is more of a moving experience then I could have ever imagined. I hope you and I can do this together someday. Tell the kids I love them. See you soon! Love Zach\Dad

      • Jen Fisher says:

        It’s so great to hear from you babe! Brody keeps asking me if you have written us back. I’m glad to hear that this has been such a moving experience. I would love to come next time with you 😘 I am sure you are blessing so many with ALL of your AMAZING talents that God has give you. Can’t wait to see you soon. Stay safe and enjoy every second of this opportunity. Love you lots!

  2. Angela Fisher says:

    Hi Zach dad an I are proud of what your doing. Please be safe you have a lot of people who love you back home. Can’t wait to here about everything. Dad an I love you very much.

  3. Dee McKendrick says:

    Glad you got there safely.
    Hoping all is going well!
    Stay in touch as you can.

  4. Beth Dubay says:

    Hi Uncle Kurt and Aunt Kristin. I hope you are being blessed by Gods wonders and I hope you are being the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, using your amazing gifts and talents. I’ve been praying that VBS is going well and Aunt Kristin I hope your health is good! Praying for you everyday and hope and pray that all the families take Jesus in there hearts on Wednesday. I hope the medical clinic does well, and the outreach to villagers to see Gods love is everywhere. I hope people in your group have courage to share there story in finding Christ for me that was empowering and one of my most memorable moments. I love you both and can’t wait to here all about your trip

    • kristindekock says:

      THanks so much – it’s going so well! Healthy. Well! Everyone in both of our houses accepted Jesus!!!!!! My family had 7 kids and a mom and dad and Kurt’s had a 20 day baby. Keep praying for our team as we share tonight (and other nights) and for testimonies coming up – I feel the spirit moving thru the team and nudging, but as you know some times those nudges need to be hard to get the courage to share. THanks again for praying daily – I can feel it! Love you!

      • Dad Rynders says:

        Posted on another comment of yours, but will say it again: Prayers for safety coming home and continuing growth for those new family members in your village. PTL!!!

    • Kurt DeKock says:

      Thanks for the note, always great to hear from you. Things are going really well, Kristin is doing great…keep up the prayers! The families all accepted Christ, some re-committed their live to HIM, for sure alot of celebrating in heaven. Just got done playing with Naomi and other children in the orphanage, they are busy down there! REALLY missing my own kids…..if they are trolling this site shoot me a note. IN HIM, Kurt

  5. Thelma A Vermeer says:

    Hi Kristin and Kurt,
    Praying for your leadership and the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you serve the KING!

    • kristindekock says:

      THANK YOU! Another amazing trip loving the people we meet who invite us into their lives. Tomorrow is a medical clinic – that will be my time to hear what Nemo is thinking (man taking over the administration of VBS) and sharing the tools you helped me with – thanks for praying over that! PBM is more amazing of a ministry than I remembered – love being back after 4 years !

  6. Kim Miller says:

    Hi Meredith and friends! We are thinking of and praying for all of you and the amazing journey you are on together! We love and miss you, and know that you are sharing your blessings with those less fortunate…..we are so proud of you and miss you!!! XXOO Mom, Dad and the whole clan 8:)

    • Meredith Miller says:

      Hi Mom! We’ve made it to the PDM Base near Chimaltenango and just ate dinner–they even made us brownies! We had such an amazing time building for our families in Los Lotas and can’t wait to see how the rest of the week goes. I love you all very much! Tell Jer I said Hi and I love him! I can’t wait to tell you about everything that has happened this week, and there’s still so much more to come! <3

  7. Katie Alvesteffer says:

    Hey Isaac! Been thinking about you everyday 🙂 Hope you having having a great time and being safe! I have been writing my notes each day about what’s been going on here. I hope traveling was fine and that you haven’t got sick! My parents and I are praying for you. I love that you are on this trip and hope it’s everything you hoped it would be 🙂

    • isaac wilde says:

      Hey you! its good to hear from you, been mising you and everyone from back home. cant wait to see everyone and share what a blessing this trip has been. the travel down wasnt bad and thankfully i havent got sick and i hope it stays that way. this trip has been everything i have hoped for and so very much more, such and eye and heart opener its unreal. but you know me and i had to be the only one to broke a chair at camp and fall on my butt lol. but i have been writing my notes and cant wait to share it all. please give my love to everyone. cant wait to see you. love you

      • Cam and Jenny VanDyke says:

        Kurt and Kristen,
        Too funny you are on this trip, my brother is Tim Poll! Make sure you play some dutch bingo! 🙂 hope all is going well!

      • Katie Alvesteffer says:

        Excited to see you soon! Text me when you arrive at Atlanta so I can get an update on ETA 🙂 it’s been an uneventful week, which has been nice. I’m going to help watch Fletcher and Adeline tomorrow while Maria and Al finish moving into there new home. Today I’m bringing Melissa and Brandon to the airport cause they are going to Mexico. The kids are staying at my parents house for 9 days so I’m going to hang here today and spend time with them. I am just so glad that you are loving this experience. You have such a big heart and God is working though you 🙂

        Love you so much!!!!!

      • Katie Alvesteffer says:

        Excited to see you soon! Text me when you arrive at Atlanta so I can get an update on ETA 🙂 it’s been an uneventful week, which has been nice. I’m going to help watch Fletcher and Adeline tomorrow while Maria and Al finish moving into there new home. Today I’m bringing Melissa and Brandon to the airport cause they are going to Mexico. The kids are staying at my parents house for 9 days so I’m going to hang here today and spend time with them. I am just so glad that you are loving this experience. You have such a big heart and God is working though you 🙂

        Love you so much!!!!!

  8. Barb Hanson says:

    Hi Sweetie, want you to know we are so proud of you and praying daily that you will have a life time of memories. God with you now, God with you always.
    We love 💕 you so much,
    Grandpa and Grandma

    • Meredith Miller says:

      Hi Grandma and Grandpa!! I’m so glad to see your message, we just ate dinner at the mission base and are relaxing before our devotions later tonight. I can’t wait to show you pictures and tell you about the work we are doing here–all because of Him! I’ll talk to you soon! I love you! <3

  9. Morgan poll says:

    Hey tim! We are thinking of you often and miss you so much! Praying all is well and that you are having a good time. We love you!

    • Tim poll says:

      Hey Morgan it has been a amazing 3 days!!!. I have so many great storys to share with you cant wait to see you soon.
      tell the kids i love them so much!!!!. and tell Reese that her stuffed animal is in the loving arms of a very greatful little girl named karen !!! who loves it very much..
      please keep praying for our group.
      love you so much !!!!!!

    • Tim Poll says:

      Hey Morgan! It’s been an amazing 3 days! Have lots of stories to share when I get home. Can’t wait to see you and the kids – Love you LOTS!

    • Tim Poll says:

      Make sure you go join the paradise bound ministries page on facebook! they are posting videos and pictures. love you

      • Morgan poll says:

        So good to hear from you! Happy to hear all is well!! Can’t wait to see you soon! Ps. Kids are excited to see/hear about everything! Love you lots! Xoxo

        • tim poll says:

          love you! cant believe we only have 2 days left! give the kids lots of hugs for me and tell them i love them! also tell dad i got to drive the van back to base yesterday it was a crazy fun time!! love you so much xoxo!!

      • Catie says:

        Timmy! Hope you’re having an awesome time!! Love you!

  10. Eric Bolt says:

    Team Kerkstra,

    We are praying for all of you for safety and health, but just as importantly if not more, that the Holy Spirit uses each of you to be His hands and feet. Thus seeing and feeling His never-ending love for you to come closer to Him.
    Praise be to God for you!

    • kristindekock says:

      Thank you! Keep praying! We’ve seen some pretty incredible things in Las Lotes and my health is definitely been carriesd by your prayers! KEEP THEM COMING! We’ve got 2 big days of medical clinics and I get to spend some time with Nemo discussing his future role in administrating some VBS at future medical clinics – just pray God leads those conversations and for those days as they will be incredible too. Pray for our team too for the devotions we are headed into and the opportunities to find their words (or let God give them words) for testimonies! Love you, our family of God!

      • Dad Rynders says:

        Talked to your lovely daughter this morning. She has been sick. Cold. Stayed home from school Fri. Great chatting with her. Jesse out scooping snow. We are in deep freeze. High of minus 2 next 2 days… Blessings on your way home! Deeply thankful for your health status. Praying that the ministry deepens the faith walk of all the new Christians in the village. You have been the hands and feet of Christ himself all this while! Amazing!!!
        Dad Rynders

  11. Jeff Beyer says:

    Hi Carrie, praying that everything is going good and you’re having a good time. I’m looking forward to hear all about it. Love and miss you, Jeff

    • Carrie Beyer says:

      It’s been an amazing experience. The people in the village are so friendly, today we dedicated the 5 homes we built and all the family members accepted Jesus! Praise God! We are now settled into the base camp. The view is incredible. Tomorrow we head out to the med clinics. Please continue to pray for safety for the rest of our trip Love and miss you too!

  12. Sarah says:

    Hi Steven! I hope you are having a good time. I miss you, but I know you’ll be home in no time. I love you and hope the rest of your time down there is great!
    I love you <3 xoxo

    • Steven Henrickson says:

      Hi Sarah, everything is going good. it was hot earlier this week, but it is cooler now. i love you and ill see you sunday night.

      • Sarah says:

        I hope you’re enjoying the work everything down there. I know how much this experience means to you and am so glad you are having this opportunity. I watched the video of you at school getting in my car yesterday to miss you less 🙂 I love you so much and can’t wait to give you a big (not too tight) hug 🙂
        Loving! Sarah <3 xoxo

        • Steven Henrickson says:

          The Work is very fulfilling and a lot of fun. My body is sore, but all of the pain has been worth it to connect with the people down here. The experiences down here have been amazing and life changing. I hope you are having fun with Chris (tell her I say hi). I love you so much!

          • Sarah says:

            I love you so much! I will tell her hi. I’m glad you’re enjoying it and that it is so life changing. I can’t wait to hear about everything you’re experiencing. Try any new foods? Frijoli chips? Haha those are good. Not sure if they make them anymore. I’m sure you’ll keep enjoying your time. The experience has already affected your world view and I am so talk about that and all that’s going on. We’re having a girls night with grandpa on Saturday. Should be fun 🙂
            I love you so much and am so glad to hear it’s going well. Love you xoxo

  13. Tim Smith says:

    Hey Ed and Friends,

    Praying for the group. Hope everything has been going well. Sending prayers for the people you are serving as well that they will be blessed by you being there. Can’t wait to hear about the trip. Proud of everyone in the group for being the Jesus to those you encounter.

    Tim, and Family

  14. Chris says:

    Hey Ed and team,

    Just wanted to tell you Larry and I and our small group @ church are lifting you all up in prayer. Praying for good health and spiritual strength. Can hardly wait to hear ALL about your trip.
    We are so very proud of you and we know God is pleased. Blessings to you Ed and your team. I’m thinking you will tell of how you have been blessed by those you have served.
    We love you and miss you,
    Mom and Larry
    ps Tim and Donna say HI

    • Ed Smith says:

      All is going great here. please keep praying, Gods work is definetly being done here. specifically keep praying for spiritual strength! as a team we need it. please let tim know that it is going well here.

      thank you

  15. Richard Poll says:

    Have a great time and don’t try to run the project.

    • Tim Poll says:

      will do! cant wait to share the storys and amazing things about the trip with you. please keep praying for the team as we continue to minister to these people.

  16. Kari Pigula says:

    Hi Meredith, we have been thinking of you everyday. We hope you are having the best time bringing joy to others. You make us so proud. We miss you and can not wait to hear all about your adventure. Continued prays for you and your whole team.
    Love you, Mom & Dad Pigula💙💛

  17. Corky Vander Well says:

    Hi Vander Well family. I am great, tried using my cell service, no luck Talk to you all on Sunday when I am in Atlanta. Love you all!

  18. Steven Henrickson says:

    Hi Sarah, everything is going good. it was hot earlier this week, but it is cooler now. i love you and ill see you sunday night.

  19. Jeremy Pigula says:

    Hey Meredith,

    Thoughts and prayers for you and the team. So proud of you for all you do! and miss you Can’t wait to hear about your experience!

    Love You,

    PS: The cats miss you too

    Jeremy Pigula

  20. Jeremy Pigula says:

    Hey Meredith,

    Thoughts and prayers for you and team. I am so proud of you and all that you do! I miss you and can’t wait to hear about your experience!

    Love you,

    Jeremy Pigula

    PS: The cats miss you too!

  21. Brian klaver says:

    Hey Todd. Cindy and I have been watching the posts and trust you are having an awesome time serving the Lord in Guate. We cant wait to hear about the experience and hear your stories. How can “safety Todd” even exist in Gaute??? Lol. See you soon.

  22. Bev Vander Well says:

    It’s Corinne Vander Well, not Colin

  23. Henie & Frank says:

    I’m just wondering if Mark, is the same Mark that Frank and I know from First Byron? If so , I just want Mark to know that I have gone on mission trips here too, four times. What a blessing it was for me. So, please say hello to Dan from me, and say that I am Nancy’s, aunt Henie, and he will know what you mean! So fir now, please reply so I’ll know this is the Mark we are thinking of! Gods blessings to all of you! Henie

  24. Dad Rynders says:

    Huge shout out to the Kerkstra Team! God has moved and moved in the hearts of all of you, and now as you witness and work, may he bring in a harvest of souls to his glory. It’s so gratifying to hear about the pull in your heart, Kurt, as he empowers you to organize this entire team. He has blessed you over and over, and you have responded to His call. Of course, we both humbly agree that the support of your dear wife is the root of it all… I’m sure you agree. Continual prayers for your safety and effectiveness. When you return, please package some warmth in your suitcase. It’s a mere -10 here this morning (but no wind, thankfully) Much love to the whole team!

  25. Becky Emmert says:

    Hi Kurt, Kristen, Corky, Dan and rest of the team!!! Praying for all of you and all that you will encounter! God is there with you and using each of your gifts for His Glory!!! Can’t wait to be down there in 3 weeks!!! Tell the staff I said to get ready!!! The fainting goat and I are coming back 😉

  26. Amy Wiersema says:

    Tim Poll
    Looks like a great trip! Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus this week,safe travels!
    Your MIL

  27. Joel, Noelle, & Leah Smith says:

    Hi, Dad (Ed)! Hope you’re having a good time. We love you.

    • Ed Smith says:

      hey, guys
      we are having an amazing time here! I miss you all so much. Noelle and Leah, your nail polish was shared with girls in the village last night and they loved it!

  28. Jenny VanDyke says:

    Can’t wait to hear all the stories tim! Looks like you guys are doing amazing work! Prayers for seeds to be planted and faith to grow!

    • tim poll says:

      Thanks Jenny! God is definetly at work here in the harts of these people!! please keep praying for us as we travel back on sunday

  29. Carroll Burgess says:

    I hope you and the kids are well. Things are going great down here. The weather has been great, as are the views. Please continue to pray! I was preparing my body to be worked physically. I did not prepare myself for the emotional and spiritual high I am going through. I love you, and tell the kids I love them also.

  30. Carrie Beyer says:

    Jeff, what an amazing night in the village last night! Relationships were made and lives were changed as they accepted Jesus Christ! We can see and feel the Holy Spirit working here. Great people, great views, great stories to share, Great God We Serve! Can’t wait to share my experiences with you. I wish you could be here to experience it too! Love and Miss you! Send a texi to Erika, Travis, Tyler, Jarod and Sydney for me and let them know I am enjoying this but missing them too. Peace!

    • Jeff Beyer says:

      Carrie, I’ll text the kids again=:) Can’t wait to hear all about it. Enjoy the last day of warm weather tomorrow, there is a storm coming our way tonight and tomorrow and it’s going to dump some more snow on us. Love you and can’t wait to see you on Sunday night. Jeff

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