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When I first started getting involved in missions, I didn’t have a clue what I was in for. I was a senior in high school and had only just started to embrace the faith that I had grown up in. My relationship with Jesus started to become truly my own, and I recognized that I needed to start actually living out my faith. I was excited to serve Jesus, bless others, and, let’s be honest, experience fun and adventure while traveling. The spring of my senior year, I ended up going to Haiti with my church, which I saw as a great opportunity to plunge into missions and see what serving God was all about. The trip was absolutely life changing. God opened my eyes to the brokenness in the world, but more importantly, He began to open my heart. He began to give me a heart for the lost and broken and started showing me what is truly important in life. I was hungry for more!

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduating high school, so I decided to take a year to work full time, save money, and get more involved in missions. That year I went to Haiti again with my church and took a trip with Reign Ministries to Macedonia. I was becoming more and more passionate about missions and ministry, and I knew I wanted it to be a part of my life, but I didn’t have a clue what that might actually look like. Not only was I still unsure about what I wanted to do with my life, but I was beginning to recognize my desperate need for discipleship. My faith was becoming stagnant. I wasn’t moving closer to Jesus anymore. My head was filled with all kinds of knowledge, but it wasn’t all making it to my heart. Through my Macedonia trip leader, I heard about Kairos Discipleship School – Bible teaching, discipleship, and missions! Count me in. It sounded like exactly what I needed, so I signed up.
I learned and experienced a ton during Kairos. Being discipled helped me immensely. I actually started to move closer to Jesus again. The things that I knew in my head were starting to become things that I knew in my heart. I began to actually understand that God loves me deeply and that I don’t have to earn that love. One of the biggest things I recognized was my constant need to surrender everything to Jesus and let Him be on the throne of my heart and life. Honestly though, I still wanted to be in control of my own future, and I wanted to hold on to some of my own values. I had decided that I wanted ministry to be a part of my life, but I thought I could do it my way. I made plans to go to college the year after Kairos, hoping to eventually work in politics or business. I wanted to make missions and ministry a part of my life, but not my career. Those things weren’t wrong in and of themselves, but my motivations behind them were. What I was really valuing was money, success, and comfort.

That’s when God stepped in. I felt Him strongly calling me to put aside my own plans and trust Him with my future. I was presented with the amazing opportunity to intern with Kairos. That meant not only another year to continue learning, but also the opportunity to grow in my leadership abilities through discipling others. This year as an intern, God has done so much in me. Slowly but surely, He has continually brought me back to the basics. He has softened my heart and has given me His eyes to see.

While on the Kairos international mission trip in Kenya this year, I had the privilege of leading a girl named Mary to Christ. It was incredibly powerful to see her accept Jesus as her Savior despite her fears. Her family was Muslim, and she was concerned that they would reject her for making the decision to follow Christ. God didn’t have to let me take part in that, but He chose to bring me into Mary’s story. Through this experience, He spoke to me about the surpassing worth of knowing and following Jesus, whatever the cost may be. He gave me a more eternal perspective and an excitement to take part in what God is doing to reconcile all of creation to Himself. I haven’t been dragged anywhere kicking and screaming. God has changed what I am passionate about and what I truly value. Whatever I do, I want it to glorify God. I want my life to be all about loving Jesus and being like Him. I want a life filled with deep, meaningful relationships and lots of opportunities to bless and love others.

I cannot possibly know all that the future holds for me, but I know that God has His hand in all of it. I can’t say that my life so far has been anything close to what I expected, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m only twenty years old, and God has already taken me to Haiti, Macedonia, Greece, Honduras, and Kenya. I have grown so much through setting aside my own plans and submitting to God. I have learned and done things during my time in Kairos as both a student and an intern that will impact me for life, and the relationships that I have built with people during this time will last into eternity. I am incredibly excited for the future, and I have never regretted saying “yes” to God.

Jack Hansen
Kairos Class of 2018
2018-2019 Kairos Intern

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Devon, our school leader, told me on Saturday night that the church we were going to attend the next day in Nairobi, Kenya had asked for a Kairos student to speak, and he wanted me to give my testimony. Now, I love public speaking, so I was excited to have this opportunity. I planned to rehearse my testimony a thousand times because I wanted to do a good job. I had to make sure I knew what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, and how long it would take me to say everything. I’m confident in my ability to speak, so I was confident that if I practiced enough, like anything else in life, it would be perfect. In my testimony, I wanted to communicate that I had ran far from God, but He was behind me the whole time waiting for me to turn around and tell Him that I needed Him and that I couldn’t do life without Him. I wanted to plan out exactly how I was going to give this talk so that it would be the most impactful for everyone listening.

Before I practiced even once, I felt God beckoning me to pray, so I began praying that God would clear my heart of anything that would make my talk about me and divert the attention from Him. As I prayed, He began to strip down my heart and speak to me. God told me that if I surrendered myself to Him that He would use me. He told me that I could get behind the pulpit and deliver the best testimonial in history, but it wouldn’t matter if the Holy Spirit wasn’t present. The most I could do is make people smile or make them think, but if there was going to be a move in the hearts of people, it would only come from God. He told me that nothing I could say would make any impact for His glory if I relied on my own ability.
I spent that Saturday night praying for God to empty me out and fill me with His Spirit. I prayed that He would use me as an instrument and to not let any part of myself get in the way of what He wanted to say through me. I didn’t practice a word of my testimony.

Sunday morning, I woke up early and realized that I was about to speak in front of a church without having really practiced, so I went outside to go over what I was planning to say. Again, before I recited a word of my testimony, I felt God pulling me into prayer. As I prayed that morning, God started stripping down my heart and speaking to me even more. He said, “This is not about you. It is your testimony, but you’re not here to talk about yourself. I did not do what I have done in your life so you could talk about who you are and what happened to you. I worked in your life so you can speak about who I am and what I’ve done.” If I were to speak and only talk about my story and fit God into it in a few places, then I would have made a terrible mistake. I was not there to tell my story. I was there to talk about God’s character. My testimony is similar to that of the prodigal son in Luke 15. God reminded me that Jesus did not tell the story of the prodigal son to talk about the son. The story is about the love, kindness, mercy, and grace of the Father.

By the time we got to the church, I had reviewed my testimony exactly zero times. I was called up to the stage to speak, and as I walked toward the front, I was a nervous wreck. I remember saying, “Good morning” into the microphone, but I barely remember the rest of the time I was at the pulpit. God took complete control of my mouth. I felt the Holy Spirit take over, and I wasn’t about to try and stop Him. The next thing I know I’m handing the microphone back to the pastor and walking back to my seat, not entirely sure what I had just said.
Afterwards, many people came up to me and told me things like how great my testimony was and used words like “anointed.” I wasn’t sure how to react because I was very aware that I had absolutely nothing to do with how well it went. All I did was surrender myself to God, and He used me.

Throughout my time in Kenya, God taught me that Kingdom work is always about Him, not about the workers or the people being reached. He also taught me that without His divine intervention, we can make no impact whatsoever for His glory. If we make God’s work about ourselves, it is no longer His work. If we try to do God’s work on our own, it is no longer His work. What makes Kingdom work impactful is when it is centered on bringing glory to God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, not what we do or how we do it. All God asks us to do is surrender ourselves to Him and, if we do, He will use us.

By Jeremiah McCarthy
(Kairos Student – Class of 2019)

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Welcome to the Family, Boost!
We believe that students who are empowered to grow and to serve can have a profound impact in the world to build God’s kingdom. However we realize that the 5-7 week mission trips that we offer through Royal Servants isn’t for everyone. And thus, Boost Mission Trips was born! Boost is a way for us to offer shorter trips for students AND provide a resource to help you build your own trip!

While Royal Servants summer mission trips last between 5 to 7 weeks, Boost Mission Trips offer an opportunity to experience the awesome parts of Royal Servants but in a much shorter time frame (7-14 days). These trips will be available to a large group of students- all you have to do is sign up!

Youth Pastors, Leaders, Teachers etc:
Building a mission trip that takes a group of students to new places and accomplishes effective, responsible ministry can be an enormous task. It demands time, resources, connections, meticulous planning, administrative support, and so much more. We hope to lift the burden of planning and organizing the trip so that you as a leader are free to invest in your students and the ministry at hand. Every trip is customized to fit your group and to make sure your efforts are meeting real needs.

Short-term mission trips are what we do, and Boost Mission Trips is our way of offering that to you. Check it all out here >>

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What are people saying about Kairos this semester? Check out these posts from social media!
My heart is full! Thank you Jesus for the sweet friends you’ve provided and how you are shaping and molding me more and more like you!
God has been showing me this past month that HE is my true source of joy. No worldly activity can bring me as much joy as being in fellowship with Him. Kairos has given me the space and time to connect with God and pursue Him fully.

I have sure loved getting to know these people and Jesus more these past few weeks! God has been so faithful to me and has really reinforced that fact that my identity lies in Christ alone.
God has been moving so tangibly around me. Calling me to dance in the deep and step out in faith. Showing me that He cares too much about me to let me stay in the shallow end of His love. I constantly struggle with believing His plans for me are best. He constantly challenges me to trust in His perfect goodness. Which brings me to Psalm 34:4-5, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.” In all my fears, I choose to believe He is there. I choose to believe His ways are higher than my ways. Even when my eyes can’t see, I will trust the voice that speaks.
Praise God for incredible new friends to love deeply and to laugh loudly with.
My smile keeps getting bigger every day. Thanks Jesus.

“At the foot of the cross, the ground is level.” I heard this saying in class on Tuesday… this means a lot to me. God has the authority and power to use anyone He chooses. Ruth got a whole stinking book in the Bible, and she wasn’t even a Christian until God decided to use her, and He changed her heart. It’s incredible what can be accomplished when we say “yes” to God. There are parts of myself that make me feel “less than” and unlikely to be used by God, but it’s always the unlikely that He uses. The weaker I get, the stronger I become because of Christ. At the foot of the cross, the ground is level – I need to only say “yes” to Jesus when He calls my name.
It blows my mind how different each of us are, and how unique our stories have been, but God did a good thing bringing us together. We might not understand it, but you know, God knows … Thanks for making me laugh harder than I ever thought possible … Thanks for being such amazing friends.
What can I even say? Walking through life with these girls has taught me about the gift of openness and vulnerability. They are each unique and beautiful image bearers of Christ, and they carry with them their own personal stories of God’s goodness in their lives. I am blessed beyond measure by each of them and the life they bring to my life.

We are wrapping up week two of Kairos with a trip to the North Shore to teach on Spiritual Disciplines. Learning, growing, and laughing so much already, and we still have 7 ½ months left together!
And this is why I was brought across the country – to be enfolded in unfailing love and to be given unbridled joy. This is where I’m most myself. This is life with Jesus.
God has done this really cool thing where He’s allowing me to watch and learn from these girls this year as they pursue Him. Each of them wears vulnerability, grace, compassion, and love with immense strength – even as some struggle with anxiety and hard decisions. They rock. I’m so grateful I get to be a part of this small group and learn more and more about Jesus through the ladies He surrounds me with. Gosh, this life is the good life.
Life has changed so drastically, and I couldn’t be more joyful about where God’s taken me … Lives are changing, the kingdom is growing, and God is showing up. What a beautiful way to spend my life.

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Our time in Honduras was incredible! We flew in on the 12th of February and spent our first five days at the headquarters of Mercy International in Yamaranguila, a small town in the mountains of Honduras. While there, we were able to play with the local kids at the town park and share a few testimonies of how God’s love has completely changed our lives. We also spent a day at an orphanage. While we were there, we helped them dig a trench for electrical wire that will power a new house for more girls.

On Friday the 16th, we hiked further up into the mountains to reach remote villages. We stayed up there until the 24th. While in the Opolaca Mountains, our students gave a seminar on “Serving in the Community and Church.” After the seminar, we had a work project collecting stones from a river bed so that the locals could begin building a retaining wall to keep erosion at a minimum around the church. After that, we helped level the ground where they are going to pour a porch floor and put in some bathrooms for a church being built in Santa Maria. We also dug out the side of the mountain to create more room for future projects.
On Friday, February 23rd, we concluded our time in Santa Maria by leading the inaugural church service where our students shared testimonies and preached. There was a fantastic turn out, and God moved powerfully in the service! We were honored and thankful to be part of what God is doing in this region of the world!
By Devon Harris
Kairos Minneapolis School Leader

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Our Fall 2017 semester has come to an end, and we thought it would be fun to show you what our students have been saying about Kairos during the last few months. These are quotes taken from their social media pages as well as from updates they have sent to family and friends.

“Gotta love the friends.”

“Pursuing God with this bunch has been a blessing. I can’t wait to see how God will use us throughout this year.”

“Through the time I have been at Kairos Discipleship School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I have experienced growth on tremendous levels. God has truly been doing a work in my life here. I have learned many things such as Spiritual Disciplines, Prayer, Worship, and The Heart of God. Things that I once thought I knew [have been] radically shaped through the process of humbling myself and being teachable. As I continue this year, I will be reading books authored by very influential writers in the Christ-following community. I will be memorizing scriptures and passages because this is what we believe to be beneficial in our Christ-following walk – to disciple others with biblical facts behind our beliefs as well as growing in our relationship with God.”

“God is preparing me for a job that may very well be hard and uncomfortable, but he has been preparing me and equipping me with the ability to spread the gospel no matter where I go.”

“[Having] fun with the staff and other Kairos students. We’ve been learning so much. God is truly doing some great things, being challenged daily!”

“These guys are awesome. Love spending time with Godly men like these.”

“It has been three months since I landed in Minneapolis and started my program at Kairos, I’ve already learned so much. Whether it’s in the classroom or camping out or interning at church, Kairos has taught me a lot about God and what He’s doing in my life.”

“[I have been challenged through] being actively involved in my small group, being discipled one-on-one, and the day-to-day biblical teachings. I have been challenged to live a life fully surrendered to Christ. God has been prompting me to challenge my pre-established beliefs and to seek the Bible for the original content’s meaning. Another thing that God has been teaching me is that I need to be spiritually disciplined. Through silence and solitude with God, making a habit of reading my Bible every day, and being spiritually disciplined in fitness. I have learned to use my time wisely. The question that has come with this is, “Am I using every moment of every day to build God’s Kingdom?” I recognize how great of a calling this is, and I am learning that only by God’s strength and grace can this be fully accomplished.

I cannot think of a better word [than cultivated] to describe this season of life. God is refining me to be more like him and to live in humility, servitude, and grace through this eight month gap year program of intentionally growing and getting to know God intimately as my Father. He is refining me into who he wants me to be, not who I want to be. I have been learning that I cannot just believe what people are telling me, I need to back up my beliefs with facts. Researching the history and context to interpret the original meaning behind a Biblical passage is crucial in correctly understanding God’s Word. What a beautiful place it is when I am in the hands of God as His image bearer.

I have recently learned that the steadfast love of the Lord does not grow weary which has transformed the way I view myself and the people around me. As a Kairos class, we go on bike rides together, tour the city we live in, and we live as a family together. Kairos is fun and an answer to prayer because through this school, God is changing me. I get to experience missions further, intern at a local church and pour into the people there, and I get to be used by God in ways that I never could have imagined. Through the love of the Lord, I am changing to have an eternal mindset that impacts the way I live.”

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Painting as a Form of Worship

Take a moment with me.
Sit back a second and reflect on the character of God.
Consider who He is; what He has done.
Ponder His love for you.
Now answer this question, “What does that look like?” Not in words, rather in a picture.
What does He LOOK like?

Worship is the feeling or expression of adoration and reverence to God. These feelings or expressions can come out in many different ways. Most often we see it in words through song in church on Sunday morning. Worship is also mentioned in the Bible through bowing, shouting, dancing, and playing musical instruments.

One of the ways that I choose to worship is through art. The very first sentence in the Bible is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God is the ultimate creator; the original artist. And we, the culmination of creation. We not only see the beauty of His creation all around us, but we see it in His word. Just read the detailed instructions for the tabernacle, the place God would dwell with the Israelites (Exodus 25-27). It was ornate and majestic.

When I use art to worship, I first spend time in prayer and in the Word. I contemplate the things He is showing me; the truths I am learning and living in. And then I turn those thoughts and emotions into colors and pictures. Sometimes my paintings are of specific things (I paint a lot of trees), but a lot of time it is abstract colors and shapes. Regardless of what ends up coming out on the canvas (He’s not expecting you to recreate the tabernacle), the important part is the process. It’s about the time spent with your heart turned towards the Lord, loving Him, worshiping Him.

“Declare His glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among the people. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise … the Lord made the heavens.” 1 Chronicles 16: 24-26

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At the end of each year, we ask our students which teachings really impacted them. One answer we hear continually is Kevin Rusack’s (founder of Kairos) talk on The Father Heart of God. This year we asked some of our students to briefly tell us what they had learned. Here are their responses.
“For me to say that this teaching about the Father Heart of God was good would be an understatement. The truth is that God used it to change my thoughts and beliefs about who God is as my Father. In turn, that has changed my life. I look back to see how I compared my earthly father to my Heavenly Father. Although that’s not always bad, I now realize how false of a picture that can be at times. I now view my Heavenly Father as completely different than my father on earth in many ways. He’s the perfect Father, holy, and always desiring me to draw into intimacy with him. My Father is so personal and relational with me and that is constant. He was highly intentional in choosing me to be His child. Even the simple truth of Him being inclined to me despite my unworthiness and feelings of inadequacy at times, has been a new profound reality to me. I am incredibly thankful for the impact that God made on me through the teaching of the Father Heart of God!”
“Before Kairos, the Father Heart of God was never something that I really thought about or understood. After learning about the Father Heart of God, my view of my Heavenly Father is so much richer than before. I understand better now how God sees us. He is inclined to us, He delights in us, He wants to spend time with us, and He likes us. God didn’t begrudgingly save me only to keep me at arm’s length, but He adopted me so that He could call me His own. He delights not because of anything that I do but because of who He is. I feel like these truths have brought me closer to God by helping me to better understand in my heart who God is and how He thinks about me. I never have to feel like I have to work for His love or fight for His attention. He is my perfect father, and He is always there for me.”
“The teaching on the Father Heart of God was both eye opening and rewarding As we learn God has ultimately adopted us through the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ, it paints the foundation of the biblical understanding of God’s first love. When God created Adam and Eve in Genesis, we fell short of the glory of God. We fell into an individualized mentality that subjects God’s divine will in a conniving way. What’s more fascinating about His love is His sacrificial love. He continues to pursue us in adoption. As we were deep in our sin, and we so deserved the crucifixion God said, “No I will send my son because I want you.” The Father Heart of God is the ultimate picture of God’s character. He loves us!”
“I realized how much God delights in me. I am fully known by Him, and He likes me! I know that He really cares about me. God will take care of me and provide what I need. Therefore, I can confidently expect the best, and I can seek and delight in Him as well. I know that His love precedes performance: I don’t need to prove anything to Him. Thus, I can choose to do things with God and not for God. The biggest take away for me would be this: ‘I know that I am loved, adopted forgiven and free, and that I have nothing else to prove.”
“Kevin Rusack spoke on the Father Heart of God. I took his teaching to heart. Seeing God as the Father is not my common mindset. I used to think of God as being the condescending judge that will scrutinize every action. This is a horrible representation of how the Father sees His children. When He looks at us, He doesn’t see a criminal awaiting conviction. Instead, God sees His perfect son Jesus when He gazes upon us even though we are impure. Not only does the Father love us, He likes us and enjoys us as His children. All we must do is accept His love.”

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Meet Nate!

by Grace Horst

Kairos’ Student Highlight – Meet Nate (Minneapolis)!

What is one way you’ve seen yourself change this past year at Kairos?
“One way I’ve really changed is maturing in my faith and really being a better leader. I feel like I’ve been led well here at Kairos, and I feel like I’m better equipped now to lead others.”
What is one thing that has helped in your leadership development?
“One thing was the Boundary Waters trip that we just got back from. That really helped me see what a leader has to do, how they prepare things, etc.. I feel like after that trip I gained a ton of respect for leaders that are leading me – seeing all the behind the scenes stuff of what happens. I appreciate and respect them much more now that I’ve seen all that they do.”
What has been the primary theme of what God has been teaching you this year?
“Something I’ve really learned is how we have to have our desires after God. We can’t live our faith without Him. We can’t try to do it on our own. We have to truly just want God more than the things of the world to be able to live out our faith. With the things that our sinful nature wants, we really have to want God more than those things. I’ve been convicted with that more this year than I ever have. Am I loving God more than the things of the world? So, that’s something I’m really going to take away from this year.”
Now that you are about to graduate, what are you most looking forward to outside of Kairos?
“[I’m] looking to disciple. I feel like I’ve been discipled through this whole season. I just feel like discipling others is something I’m really excited for – just being able to use what I’ve learned to be able to teach others. One of the scripture verses talks about now that you’ve heard all the teachings, now go out and teach others what God has already commanded us. That’s something that has just really stuck with me, and I think I will really take away from the year as well.”

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