Right Time Right Place: Jodi Vander Heide

It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed someone, eh?
Jodi Vander Heide, most recently of Houston (BC, not TX!)
is working with Christian Reformed World Missions in Ukraine
She has spoken at Telkwa CRC a few times and we’re happy to be
partnering with her!  You can keep up with Jodi via her blog.

Jodi (second from left) and friends at a face painting youth night

What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the name Jesus?
Jesus, lover of my soul.

How did you make the decision to move to and work in Ukraine?
The first step was me reading in my bulletin about mission opportunities. Then a few weeks later my curiosity lead me to research more. Then I emailed the CRWM representative – Ken. He wrote me back instantly and had a huge hand in encouraging me to take up this position in Ukraine. But, my reservations let months pass before I finally responded to the voice of God leading me here. At that point – the moment of response – Ken said something that has stuck with me ever since: “Jodi, you keep coming back to this same position (searching out the Ukraine mission field). Do you think God is trying to tell you something?” And yes, I think he was!

What is your favourite part of the mission work you’re doing?
I have many favourite things! I like having coffee with people, going on a walk and chatting about life! Or being presented with a wonderful message every Saturday at Bible study. I get to enjoy and laugh with the students at the English classes I Palanok Castle in Mukachevovisit. I like that I feel I have gained another family here in Mukachevo, being accepted by the other missionary family. The thing that impacts me most would have to be hearing the stories youth tell me about their lives. I have heard stories that bring me to tears, fascinate me, or simply bring a smile to my face. I believe we are called to share life together – and that is what I hope to continue doing.

Name something you miss from back home.
I miss people understanding my fast English! I miss being able to express myself successfully and easily. But, I also miss my family, friends and church… and peanut butter.

What advice would you give to someone interested in working with a mission agency overseas?
Don’t go into a mission project – especially overseas – thinking it will be like a vacation. It’s not. Things are rough, frustration levels increases in many situations, and things take a bit to get used to. But, in saying all that, there is also something quite majestic about seeing another part of God’s world and meeting God’s children in a different culture and language, who often have a different way of worshipping God. So, be prepared to learn and embrace something different than what you know… There may be something fascinating to discover.

Mukachevo on a fall evening

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