Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Slovak Breakfast

I invited 15 women to my home.
I shifted all the furniture in the family room and dining room.
I dusted and vacuumed and dusted again.
I laid out a spread of food!. Hard rolls, butter, sliced meats & cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggs, yogurt and granola. (It was my best attempt at a genuine Slovak breakfast)

I prepared my presentation.
I practiced when nobody was around.

It was my Missions Breakfast. I wanted to communicate to those who have supported our work with Next Level International and those who have expressed an interest in what we do, all that I have in store for this upcoming year.

It's pretty exciting!

Another school year is coming to a close and with it my Parental Education job of 13 years. Pending some funding issues with the State of Illinois I may or may not return. If I do it will be in a could be in a completely different position.

Because of that termination I made a decision. A decision to become more involved in an organization I've had the pleasure of working with on an extremely part-time basis over the last 5 years.

I asked the Women's Development leader if I could take on some more responsibility. I was beyond pleased when she didn't even have to think about it. Linda said "Yes!" so fast, I had to ask her if she wasn't sure she needed to think about it first!

 So with a dining room full of women, I presented the vision of Next Level International's Women's Development and I explained about EMERGE,

Emerge's vision is to call women out of the shadows into their God-given destiny and purpose.  It also exists to equip and train women who are developing or refining their leadership skills.

what I do for EMERGE,
I've had the extreme pleasure of participating in 4 European and 2 North American EMERGE Women's Conferences. I've prepared gift bags, hand wrote delegate notes, administrated the conference details, worked the registration table, presented at breakout sessions, keynoted, developed an online community, written resources, blogged, shared an encouraging word and listened to countless stories of the bravest, most remarkable women on the plant.

and what EMERGE has done for me. 
I'm a small town girl. My husband and I planted and pastored the same church for 12 years. We labored in love over a small congregation in a small town. We never had our sights set to move up and out into bigger churches in bigger communities where pay was bigger and recognition was more accessible. We committed to serve a small group of believers. And we did. Until we wanted to work with Next Level International.
I said all that to say this: EMERGE helped me. It made me EMERGE in my own way. If you look at my resume, it's got nothing to boast. No degree. No family name to propel me. No books with my name on them. I just served. Served my congregation. Served my family. EMERGE drew out of my giftings. It invited me to be transparent with the ups and downs of ministry and life. To share of my experiences. To tell my story. To encourage other women who's journey was similar. To be a support to others.
And an amazing thing happened. As I shared. As I was I who benefited. I was strengthened. I saw that my story made a difference in another person's life. Which compelled me to search myself deeper. To be honest and real. We connected over tears and hugs and I've made lifelong friends from Czech Republic, Canada and Slovakia.

I am extremely thankful to Tana, Lola, Janet, Jen, Kara, Leslie, Lauren, Connie & Amanda for coming and listening to the vision in my heart to further work with EMERGE. This summer will be very exciting as I work diligently to create an effective online place where women from all over the world can connect, receive resource and encouragement as they fulfill their God given destiny and purpose. EMERGE has a mandate to reach 1 million women. I believe the EMERGE website is a key to making that happen. It will be my pleasure to transform my dining room table to a portal that reaches, teaches and encourages women all over the planet.

As this is a missions ministry it is my responsibility to raise the expenses covered for the conferences in Estonia and Czech Republic (locations of  EMERGE conferences this fall). I've set up a convenient and easy way to give online. All donations are tax-deductible as NLI is a registered nonprofit. I told the women who attended the Mission Breakfast there are 4 ways you can help support this missions work:
  1. make a monthly financial commitment
  2. sponsor a trip
  3. make a commitment to pray
  4. advocate on my behalf (I'm available for speaking engagements &/or your small group or Sunday School class can sponsor a woman to attend conference.) 
A slogan among the Women's Development team is "We get to do this!". It's a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with. It's my honor to work with NLI. I work for EMERGE. I am EMERGing.

If you'd like to partner with this exciting work you can email me at www(dot)starski(at)hotmail.

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