1. Childhood
  2. Career Paths
  3. Spiritual Development
  4. Experience 2009
  5. Called to GO
  6. What am I doing now?

How did I get to today?

1. Childhood
I am the youngest of 4 children, my sister being 4 years and one month older than me, with the 2 brother between us.
My family all went to church when I was growing up, But I did not have a very happy childhood.
I remember wanting to, and allowed to be baptised when I was 5, after professing to be saved at around 4,
but I don’t remember this profession.
My Mum walked away from the church when I was around 6 or so, I never knew why,
but my Dad continued faithfully taking us for as long as we wanted to go.
After Mum walked away from the church, I suffered emotional neglect.
We all lived together but we never talked, rarely argued, my parents were there but emotionally absent.
I was on my own. I did not know it the, but at this time, a cloud of depression,
anger and helplessness was settling over our house. It still amazes me to learn all that was happening in my family
at this time of my life… but that’s not my story to tell.
In primary school I was never popular, rarely having more than one ore two friends,
but extreme bullying occurred in grade 5 and 6.
At age 12, I remember coming home from church and not knowing if I was saved or not,
climbed on my bed, and said to God, “if I’m not saved, save me now, I know you’re real and that you
died for me. Please save me!” Peace washed over me. I’ve never doubted my salvation again.
My God and His salvation are forever. (Romans 8:35-39)
Again in high school I received bullying in year 7 and 8, I was extremely unpopular and awkward,
and I really struggled in my studies. Through yr 9 – 11 this tapered off and I gained a group of good friends that
encouraged me to do well in my schooling and built my confidence in myself and my abilities.
At home my life was turbulent; two of my siblings were into the three majors… alcohol, drugs, and sex.
They both moved in and out of the home on a regular basis, both arguing with everyone else…
I never really saw any resolutions.
My Mum moved out when I was 15 saying that she loved Dad but wasn’t in love with him.
I was crushed and devastated, but not surprised.
Life calmed down now for about half a year. It was just Dad and sibling #3 and me at home.
We got along well, I felt safe at home, I read my bible often, I talked with God all the time and my studies
were going well for the first time ever. I was happy. It was late in these 6 mths that
Mum called one night to tell us that she was gay. I was a mess.
No one at Church or school could ever find out!! I hid my life from the world. I wore a mask.
Then my eldest brother moved back in, and life was extremely difficult again.
He was heavily into drugs, and sold them from our back yard.
Verbally, he could (and did) crush me,and physical violence was always
a real threat. I was dieing on the inside and contemplated suicide often, I had to leave.
In the summer between year 11 and 12 God heard my cries, and made a way for me to move to Ballarat,
Where I was discipled and baptised. I completed my final year of high school and then
spent a year working in fast food…that was all I was good for.

2. Career paths
In 2001 I was eighteen, and God had already been tugging at my heart for some time.
I knew that I would never be content with a normal life, with church on Sundays and work all week.
I knew that God would require more of me and I was happy to give it,
but I wasn’t sure in what direction God was going to take me.
After a long time of soul searching, I was reading a page from “our daily bread” called “the value of a child”
the verse was Mark 9:37. Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me.
And I heard God speaking to my heart “That’s it Jenny, That’s what I want you to do.”
The next year I began my studies at TAFE toward a certificate three in Children’s services,
which I completed three years later.
During that time I worked as a Live in Nanny to a boy with Autism,
and later as a relief worker in several day care groups. After my study
was complete God moved me to nanny work for the next two years,
where I was also given the opportunity to work with some children in
the South Australian Foster Care System. (A very rewarding and challenging role)
The work of a Nanny is rewarding but financially limiting. So I started to
look into ways I could balance my passion for working with children
with financial stability, my church ministries, and my desire to go on a mission trip.
This led me to study in Business Administration, for which it turned out I had quite a knack.
And so I entered the period of my life I call…“crazy busy”.
I worked as a Nanny, most days, then at McDonalds (for stability)
three nights a week, and the other nights I spent at TAFE. I loved my
administration studies, and couldn’t wait to get into the field. And it seemed
that God was keen on it too. Around about the
same time that I felt God calling me back to Melbourne, all my nanny work dried up,
and people who were offering me administration roles just months prior,
were now saying there was no work.
Within a week of beginning my search for work in Melbourne, after months
of searching in Adelaide, a potential employee offered to fly me to Melbourne
for a one week trial. During this time I interviewed at ANZ, and at the end of the
week was offered both jobs. I started with ANZ two months later, in early 2007.
I am viewed by the management at ANZ as a useful and reliable senior member of staff.
This full-time permanent work with ANZ, allowed me to embark on the
ever elusive mission trip that I had always wanted.


3. Spiritual Development
God has always had His hand on my life, for which I am so thankful.
Though I don’t always understand His ways or timing, I know he is good, and he has a plan,
and he is faithful to complete it for the willing heart.
From the time I was in year nine, till almost the end of year twelve,
I was convinced that God wanted me to go to Bible College after high school.
Then at the end of year twelve, my pastor decided that I shouldn’t go.
I was devastated. I don’t know why for sure, God has never told me, but
I was obedient (crucial for that church), and I still believe that God rewards
the obedient. I continued to be faithful to church and my ministries to the children of the church.
When I moved to Adelaide in 2002, I saw God’s faithfulness in teaching
me his ways, and growing my faith in him. In my five years there I was
able to learn under amazing men and women of God, and I made a
real family for myself there. There were many struggles too, including
several times of extended unemployment, with it was periods of not
having enough food on a daily basis, and homelessness.
(Though God always provided a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. He is my faithful provider.)
I thrived in the church at Aldinga Bay and undertook several ministries;
Sunday school, Youth group, Music ministries (singing and audio control) and one blessed home group.
All the while being lovingly and patiently guided into a deeper relationship with our Father.
As well as this I joined Shine Choir. This vibrant God loving and fearing
group of young people really fostered my passion for singing praise to God
and leading others to worship Him. Also Shine fostered my professionalism
in ministry and the desire to give my all in every service opportunity God gave me.
I learned about planning a worship service and ministry trips, and showing the grace of God to hungry souls.
After God so clearly led me back to Melbourne I immediately began
searching for a church where I could be active, and get good teaching,
and that would foster my desire to invest in a mission trip. Suburban was not
a hard choice. The first 2 months of sermons met me right at my point of
need and I knew God was there. Once I was settled I began looking for
opportunities for a mission trip, and finding none, in early 2008 I began saving and planning my own.

4. Experience 2009
As I planned my mission trip, I asked every missionary I could find the same question
“So, how did God show you where He wanted you to go?” and the
answers came back as many and varied as the people themselves.
So I learned that God will use many ways to have His will known,
and no one way was better or more right than the other. This is how God chose to show me.
I had to first define what I wanted to do? What did I want to achieve?
What was the best way I could help? And of course I needed to decide where to go.
When I shared with a wise friend my dilemma over where to go
he said this “just choose, step out in faith that God will guide you,
and if you’re headed in the wrong direction, He’s in control, He’ll get you on the right path.”
So I made some simple decisions. Africa, Orphans, to simply show
God’s love and care to children who have no one to love them.
After making enquiries at several orphanages, I had a response
from one where I thought I could live out my call to serve God
through serving these children. So I began planning my 8 week stay at Sanyu Babies Home,
in Kampala, Uganda.

As time went by, there were many changes in my work environment.
I made the decision to quit my job upon my return to Australia.
Then one day the thought occurred to me, if the only reason I
was limiting my trip, time wise, was because of work, why limit it?
Why not quit before I go, extend my trip, travel and minister for as
long as I can afford, then come home and look for work when I’m done.
It was a great idea, fully supported by everyone I spoke to, including my boss.
He could see that I was unhappy, however he could see that perhaps after traveling
for a while it would be beneficial to me to still have a job when I returned home.
He put in the application for and supported me in gaining a career break.
This is where ANZ “holds your job” for you for a set time, then when
you come back you enter at the same level, if not the same position
you left. I felt that I could afford to live and travel for eight months
on my savings. So all I needed to find now was…“what would I do for the extra six months?”
I had no intention of ministering in Asia, but I had already booked
my tickets, and they travelled through Thailand, so I began asking
around for Orphanages I could work in. My sister suggested I go
to work with a family she supports in Thailand, so I contacted them
and filled out all the forms, and I was set for a two month stay with
the Schmidt family beginning in April 2009. I was running short on
time at this stage before I left for Uganda, so I decided I would stay
in Thailand after my two months with Baan Jai Dee, and while I
was there I would look around for another place to go after my time was done.
My time in Africa was amazing, the adventure of a life time. I was
able to really get to know how the orphanage worked, the staff
(all Ugandan) and the children were just so precious. The office staff
would come to me with computer problems, and would often just
want to chat about the children and life in general. They were kind,
and supportive, and would often ask “which child are you taking home?”
my response was always the same “I wish! But Australia won’t allow it.
” By the end of my stay I could see that the Children were happy
and healthy. The management was doing a wonderful job of raising their
own support, and actively finding “forever homes” for the children.
Sanyu is a Babies home that was started by a British missionary,
but was now very successfully being run by Ugandans.
As much as I loved them, they did not need me, this is not the place God was calling me to.

Psalm 27:10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

So I travelled to Thailand in April 2009, to begin my two months
with Baan Jai Dee, in Chiang Mai. After a rocky first few weeks
(Thailand took some getting used to) I settled in nicely, and we found
that I could best be used in the office, relieving Sam of some of her
many office tasks, and freeing her up a little to spend more time with
the children, and on developing the home. As time went on I also began
filling in wherever needed, with the children, and household tasks.
I found that I loved my time with the children, and I loved my
time in the office, a perfect balance. I felt completely fulfilled.


Psalm 72:12-14 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight

I was still looking for another orphanage to work with after
Baan Jai Dee, but not getting very far. While this was a little
discouraging, and frustrating, I was confident that God would work it all out.
One night during one of our many chats Sam said “Allan wants me to
tell you that you are welcome to come back here any time you want.”
I was flattered, and encouraged. This meant that they were happy
with my work and I was being useful. I praised God, and went
about my work. Another night a few weeks later, again in a late
night chat Sam said “We are really happy with your work, and we
would like you to come back one day” and on another night, “we would
be happy to have you stay for as much of your six months as you
can give us” This was agreeable to me, as none of the other orphanages
I had enquired at had responded positively. So we made arrangements
for me to stay till mid October. A few months later Sam asked me
“We’d like for you to come back”. I said that I would have to pray
about that and see what God did. I began to question God about what
life as a missionary would be like, and how could I do it on my own
(Husbandless that is). Through sermons and bible readings, and chats
with other missionaries God impressed upon me that he would be
my provider, and comforter, and reminded me of a verse I learned
years before. John 16:32b “… yet I am not alone, my Father is with me.”
So I slowly made steps in the direction I feel God leading me.


5. Called to GO
Is 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

When I returned to Australia I continued to develop my plan on how to
begin service with Baan Jai Dee, and I kept in close contact with Allan and Sam.
I could see how he had been moulding me my entire life to do this Job.

In consultation with Pastor Tim,
I began searching for a Mission Agency. I spent a considerable
period of time searching for an appropriate Mission Agency that I
would be able to partner with to return me to Baan Jai Dee permanently.
Baan Jai Dee is an independently originated group, which now
has a Thai board and is a fully registered Thai, not for profit organisation.
In total I contacted around 7 or 8 agencies, and the outcome
was not as positive as I had hoped it would be.
The basics of the problem is twofold:
1. Agencies are saying “we don’t have the recourses on the ground
to care for a missionary who is not working towards developing our projects.”
2. Baan Jai Dee began as an independant project, and is now a registered not for profit foundation in Thailand,
Agencies do not want to send a missionary to work in a place that they do not have control over.

6. What am I doing now?
After many setbacks and prayerfully seeking God's will over the last three years, an opportunity came across my
path to minister at Sahel Academy in a desperately needed administration role,
(Sahel Academy is an International Christian school located in Niamey, Niger Republic, West Africa).
Within five weeks I have been accepted, medically cleared, and appointed to go through SIM Australia (Serving In Mission).
SIM has requested that I arrive in Niamey before the school term starts on the eighth of August 2012,
which leaves only ten weeks to prepare.......eeeeek !!!!!

Lord willing, I plan to be working at Sahel for a minimum of twelve months.
I believe this is an amazing opportunity to serve and learn while I wait,
and I can see God flinging the doors wide open as I step out in faith.
He is blessing, comforting and guiding. There is much to be done in the coming months and years.

So that's me up to date… if you’re the praying type, please pray that God will provide everything
I need in order to go to Sahel. Pray that God will prepare my heart to minister to this community
and give me wisdom during this (all so brief) preparation stage.
Pray for my family as they come to terms with their Aunty/Sister/Daughter living so far away.
My needs are large and the time is short, so if you are the giving type and you would
like to partner with me as I join Gods work in Niger please go to the Support Tab above.
Head to the Link Tab to explore more about the amazing work God is doing in West Africa through Sahel Academy.

If you woud like to be involved
there are soooooo many ways, please contact me for further details.

Blessings Always





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Jenny – 18 mths

Jenny at Sunday School - 5 yrs

Jenny Grade 6

“I remember at twelve years old,
seeing a news report on orphans
being neglected in China and Russia;
I would never be the same.”






Interviewing at ANZ 2007














Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those
who cannot speak for themselves, for the
rights of all who are destitute. Speak up
and judge fairly; defend the rights of
the poor and needy”




Psalm 68:5-6a A father to the fatherless,
a defender of widows, is God in his holy
dwelling. God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing…



Psalm 9:18 But God will never forget
the needy; the hope of the afflicted
will never perish.






Jenny at Mae Sa Waterfalls Chiang Mai




Romans 10:12-15 For there is no difference
between Jew and Gentile—the same
Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who
call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the
name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they
have not believed in? And how can they
believe in the one of whom they have not
heard? And how can they hear without
someone preaching to them?
And how can anyone preach unless they are