Posts in Nikkie Brink

LET’S DO THIS

March 10th, 2017 Posted by Nikkie Brink

I’ve got the Peace that passes understanding down in my heart – Lyrics I learned growing up in Sunday School at such a young age. Not until now, however many years later, would I actually discover what that feels like. Peace, real peace in this chaotic world. Peace that rises above any fear, nerve or doubt. Peace like this can only be attainted when God is our focus, when he is at the center, when we fully put our trust in him. Discovering that this peace has come at such a time of uncertainly, really not all that logical. Defying logic is what faith is about. Too much logic can be a struggle and that can only bring us to a place of defeat if we look for answers outside of our maker.  
Preparing for this new chapter in my life brought on a lot of reflection. One of my friends started a journal for me while this all played out and I’ve been looking back through some of the posts. Last February she wrote, Psalm 138:3 “In the Day when I cried out, you made me BOLD with strength in my soul.” I praise the Lord for the boldness and strength he has given me.
A week has almost passed here, in some ways it feels like I never left. Taking the first few days to settle in has been so beneficial. I may or may not have been allowed to go to jump right in like I would have probably chosen but in that, I was given the opportunity to soak it all in and adjust. In the 6 months since I left Zambia, I went back into western pace of life pretty quickly. Filling my time with whatever came up, not wanting to miss a moment or opportunity to spend time with family & friends. The month of February I planned to slow my pace down, well that didn’t happen to say the least. Those last few weeks were busy – which satisfied my “multi-tasking loving self”, but didn’t give me a lot of time to process. Now thinking back through the growth and journey God’s has me on, I’ll forever be in awe of this humbling life. God is good.
 I am SO BLESSED by my team here. I can’t imagine coming into this without the hospitality and love they have shown me already! These people are gifts from God.

Alright – Let’s get down to the ministry details. My main focus will be administration and finance. Last summer, as an intern, I got started on working with the finances of EMIZ (Elijah Mission International Zambia, Poetice’s on ground partner) and I will continue to help streamline this process. I’ll be working side by side with Debbie, my local ministry partner who has been working with the finances for a few years now. Along with administration and finance, I have the opportunity to work with some our other programs with in EMIZ. Helping Christine with the mobile clinic and joining back in as I can with Girls Revolution.
One (of the many! ) reasons I love this organization is the chance we get to join with and support the other programs within EMIZ. The Music Academy had its first recital of 2017 this week. We got to check out what Brad, Mr. Steady, Isabel & Allan have been up to with their students this year. How encouraging to see the joy of the students who have been working so hard!

I also got to attend the Thursday afternoon meeting of Girls Revolution! Mar’peh, Courtney, Mercy & Amber have been dedicated to these young women and it shows. Despite the challenges the new school hours have brought this year, a lot of girls came out to join us! So many warm hugs from familiar & new faces. I just love these young women and their passion to learn and grow in Christ.
I started working through the 2017 finances that Jeremy (the director of EMIZ) has been taking care of. Taking this responsibility off his plate will give him time to get back to his passion and responsibilities within the ministry. We are all passionate and gifted in certain areas and our entire staff is committed to advancing the kingdom through those.
I have been overwhelmed with the support of those around me. I am humbled beyond measure of for the generosity shown, those who have chosen to financially support me and those who have chosen to prayerfully support me, you have truly blessed me. God chose you to be on this journey with me and I am ever grateful that you partnered with me here in Zambia.

GOAL: Be more intentional about taking pictures!

A place called Home.

September 9th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016, Nikkie Brink

It’s a strange feeling packing up and leaving a place so familiar yet a place that you’ve only been for 12 weeks. A place where you’ve laughed, cried, grown, ate, slept and lived, home, a place I now call home. For someone who’s only ever called West Michigan her home, Zambia didn’t take long to take on the same status. I’ve realized home is what you make it, home is where the Lord wants you and has you. The expression goes “there’s no place like home”, which I agree with, but I’d like to add something, home isn’t always one place. As ‘The Elijah House’ emptied of most of our new family, my heart ached for the journey to begin again. I’m not ready for this to end, this temporary home doesn’t feel the same with out the all the members of our family in it. And that’s exactly it, moving out doesn’t change what we’ve gained. The Lord had this planned specifically for the time that it happened and it’s time for the next part of what the Lord has up his sleeve.

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This place that is so different than my first home yet instantly became another home. The work of my Heavenly Father amazes me. The way he adapts us to certain circumstances and brings us half way across the world, to the unfamiliar, to bring us closer to him. Makes me wonder how many homes I’ll have before my heavenly home. It also gives me such a comfort and peace that no matter where I am the Lord dwells with me.

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The growth in our eclectic family wouldn’t be contained to the walls of The Elijah House, Livingstone, Zambia or even Africa. This experience has grown me in more ways than I could have imagined, some I’m sure that I don’t even realize. And we as a family got the privilege of witnessing each others growth over this winter. Growth that undoubtably could have happened without each other but how cool that God chose to bring us together do make it happen. We’ve all heard the same teachings, mostly been around the same ministry and programs yet we’ve all grown in such different ways, specific to us, all at the same time!

“Far be it from me to not believe,
Even when my eyes can’t see.
And this mountain that’s in front of me,
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea.”

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God brought me to Africa with this song and he’s sending me home with the same one. Going home to Michigan for the next few months seem like a mountain. A mountain I have confidence that God will throw into the sea. I’ve certainly had some mountains in the last few months that I wasn’t confident would be moved, but mountains that WERE MOVED! Praise the Lord. As I process through what exactly happened during EXP I can’t wait to jump in to the next season ahead. I’m fully embracing whatever God’s got next for me, because no matter the hill or the valley they have their purpose.

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What a whirlwind the last 12 weeks have been, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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NikkiBrink ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikkie Brink • 2016 International Immersion Intern

True Humility

August 3rd, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016, Nikkie Brink

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Humility- something I’ve always coupled with pride. You’re either prideful or you’re humble, plain and simple. I’ve never considered myself to be prideful person so I must be humble, right?! The Lord, and his actual humility, allows me to continually search out what humility should look like.

When given the time, my nature is to plan. And plan and plan and plan. Usually I would see being too busy or distracted as a negative thing. In the last few weeks a new perspective has shown me how the Lord wants to work though me. It’s allowed me to put more of my dependence on the Lord. Beat the Drum was busy this year, in a good way. Having done the program a few times in the past I had a plan in my own mind going into the week. As per usual God has his plan, that differed from the plan I had. Going into the teaching week we had prepared as if we, as partners, would have our own classes. We ended up changing things right on the fly. We had 4 class rooms to show Beat the Drum. The next day teaching began and we were thrown another loop, there were less students than even the day prior. So on the fly we created new teaching groups. The days following the Lord did his thing. Having to switch things and shoot from the hip, as the saying goes, the Holy Spirit led and instilled his timing in each of us. Far better than what any of us could have planned, the students were attentive and completely receptive to what the Lord spoke through us. Going into the week my prayers were to reach the students in any way that the Lord would want to, start a spark in their relationship with the father, but selfishly I also want to be able to personally connect with the girls. No matter what happened I knew that Gods plan was above all better than anything that we could imagine. The teaching and connecting with our group far surpassed my own hopes and predictions. The week looked nothing like I would have  pictured, thank goodness. Gods plans are so great. Who knew that when I get out of the way he shows us what’s fully capable in being a vessel.

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The power of prayer is incredible. Learning to grow in prayer with the power of the Holy Spirit continues to get better and better. I’m finding that is one of my favorite parts of life with the Lord, it’s never a stand still, there is always room to learn more. Our week in Lesotho was covered in prayer, day and night, and it was evident. Watching the Lord answer our prayers right before our eyes is something I will never forget. Praying for situations I felt inadequate in taught me another level of this humility thing. Having the Holy Spirit completely lead my prayers isn’t something new but knowing the actual words that I use aren’t what matter took a new significance. The Lord placed me in new situations of prayer, situations where I didn’t really understand what was always going on. But yet in these situations no matter what my words were he taught me he was going to work through them, right or wrong. Seeing the Lord answer prayers of healing and deliverance right in front of me was overwhelming. I’m still processing and trying to comprehend some of these moments from the past weeks.

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Even as I write now, I know this is what the Lord wants me to write about and I can’t find the words. I look for my own words from his idea. When I submit my weakness to him, even in simple tasks, he comes through. So why does it take me endless time and thought to get to this point… I realize that it’s a learning and a growing process. Something I will never be complete in. Having the humility to admit my weakness in such areas, it opens up the door to so many more areas that I need to humble myself. When looking at it like a task it seems endless. Learning to look at humbling myself as a privilege of giving my problems to the Lord. He says to cast all our cares upon him because he cares for us. Early on in my relationship with the Lord I wanted to be at a certain point in my walk before I would be willing to admit my weakness, I wanted to conquer my battles myself. Writing it now, it makes no sense.

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Finding out that true humility is an act of surrender. Surrendering to the Lord’s will not my own. Crazy concept here people, when I actually ask the Lord to work and submit my will to his own, it happens. Finally pushing aside my own agenda and letting the Lord work through me. Once again the idea that seem so normal and logical in my mind tend to be the ones that take me the longest to actually realize. It’s a privilege to be a work in progress, HIS work in progress.

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NikkiBrink ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikkie Brink • 2016 International Immersion Intern

He starts before it begins.

June 29th, 2016 Posted by Immersion Internship - 2016, Nikkie Brink

MATTHEW 14
Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”
“Lord if it is you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come” he said.
Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out “Lord, save me!’
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “Why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat the wind died down. “Then those in the boat worshiped him saying “Truly you are the son of God”.

The word that brought me here.

Prior to these verses in Matthew 14, the Word says that the disciples were terrified and cried out in fear when they saw him walking on water. I have always wondered how the disciples didn’t know that Jesus was the one coming towards them. I mean he had just fed the five thousand (plus) with 5 loaves and 2 fish! However, in reality, the disciples reflect what my walk with the Lord can often look like. Fear and doubt took their presence in my time leading up to the internship. Making the decision to apply should be the easy part right? Not for this girl. The Lord’s patience and perseverance is the name of the game in my life.

Let me take you back. In 2010 I fell in love with a new part of the world. I had the opportunity to experience Africa. Since then the Lord has radically changed my heart through this continent. For years when I would pray, I would ask why Africa has had such a special place in my heart and what that means. Every time I leave, I leave in tears. That had to mean something. It has to mean something.

Giving up control. Is that real, do we ever really have control? Well I certainly liked to think that I did. My entire life was planned by me, at least that’s what I thought. The decisions I have made in my life have always worked out great. I took this as The Lord blessing me. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, a fulfilling job. But I always felt the pull of something more, something different.

After my short term mission trip to South Africa in August of 2015, something was different. I felt a pull to return to Africa very soon. Researching programs and opportunities for the winter months was at the top of my priority list as soon as I returned. Why in the winter? Because that’s what would fit into my schedule of course! Praying into what it would/could really look like, nothing really fit. I was puzzled when the opportunities I found did not weigh on my heart like I knew it should. I loved the concept of the internship, a nice thought but does it fit into my schedule, nope. However, the idea never left my mind. Every single day it was weighing on me. After prayerful consideration I decided it wasn’t for me and that I was going to be okay with a short(er) term trip. Ok cool God, let’s go to Guatemala.

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Day 1 BOOM. The Lord speaks!
Our evening devotions opened up to Matthew 14. I’ve never heard the Lord speak so clearly and so loudly. God spoke, telling me that I’ve made the decision about the internship on my own, that it was my decision not to apply. I began to question, did The Lord bring me this far from home to tell me this…can that really be? After a week in of praying over this while in Guatemala, the Lord was persistent in my reluctance. I came home ready to face my doubt and apply for the trip. After even more stubbornness the Lord remained faithful, through song, through scripture, through others, through prayer. How many hints does it take! The struggle to apply didn’t always come from myself, it also came with valid concern from the people who know me best. In realizing where my fear came from, the Lord brought me to the “control issue”; if you want to call it that. The control that I was taking into my own hands over my life. The Lord started showing me his plan and what an honor and privilege it is that he has a plan picked specifically for each one of us. I chose to trust in him into the unknown; and I applied. It sounds like such an easy concept- trust the maker of the heavens and earth, trust my creator. He’s growing me! A lot.

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In preparing for this experience my initial reaction was to pull back and keep control on everything else since I was giving it up elsewhere. I began seeking the Lord to reveal to me why Zambia, why now? I should be past the point of searching for something else. I should have my life figured out by now. His answer was to wait, in time I will show you why. But he was faithful to confirm that this was it, this was his plan. Isn’t it strange how when you ask the Lord for something and he finally answers we are reluctant to do it?

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Trust. The Lord is teaching me trust. That’s what letting go is all about. I’ve never been more grateful for the Lords patience. Here I am months later and the Lord has been revealing to me the ‘why’ Zambia question I once had. Reveling it piece by piece, not all at like I would have hoped. Do I know all the answers yet? No. And I’m finally to a point where I think that’s ok. I’m finally to a point of living in the present. No matter where he brings me, he’s going to lead me. And I think that’s pretty awesome!

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NikkiBrink ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikkie Brink • 2016 International Immersion Intern