Category: Updates

Kairos Intern

Dear Friends:

We kicked off new programs this year for young people just out of high school (or a year into college). The summer program is call Kairos Adventure Guides (KAG). During the summer, the KAG participants helped lead our summer adventure trips for young people in grades 7th—12th. It was a full summer; the Guides were only in Lansing for a total of seven days—just enough time for a good night’s sleep and to do laundry!

We also have begun a Kairos Internship Program (KI). This program is similar to our former Stand in the Gap, but allows the participants time to take classes or work a parttime job. Thomas Bielejeski, from Minnesota, shares with us a bit of what he has experienced and done so far as a Kairos Intern.

“I decided to do KI because I wanted to take a year off after high school and do a mission year somewhere. The Kairos Internship Program  offered me a chance to live in Christian community and have Christian support and fellowship as I serve on mission. At the end of this year, I will then spend the summer leading Kairos adventure trips. Both give me the opportunity to grow in my faith and confidence in leading people. 

“A challenge for me was not knowing what my year was going to look like when I moved to Michigan. I didn’t know many people in Michigan, and somehow I didn’t feel like I would fit in very well with them. So, I was a little apprehensive about the year ahead.

 “However, I have discovered that even if you don’t know anyone in Lansing, after a month or so you’ll feel like you’ve known them forever! The people here have been super welcoming and are always willing to do anything with and for me. 

“I am currently working part-time at Chick-fil-a and working part-time for Kairos. I’ve also been participating in the University Christian Outreach (UCO) Formation Program and helping with their outreach to students at Michigan State University and at Lansing Community College. One of my biggest highlights has been having morning prayer at the UCO men’s house and being able to spend a lot of my time with the guys living there.

“For the future, I’m considering staying in Lansing for another year to serve more with UCO and live in UCO household next year.”


Thanks for supporting young people like Thomas who are stepping out of “comfort zones” to grow in the Lord and serve him. We are delighted in the “yeses” young men and women are offering to the Lord. Please keep them in your prayers. Thank you for being a partner in mission!

Boys Summer Trips

Dear Friends:


We had three great boys trips this summer. Our veteran trip leaders, Stan Mathay and Brian LaLonde, were joined by our Kairos Adventure Guides, CJ Peine of Minnesota, and David Ludwig of Michigan. We also had some great dad volunteers who joined us. Brian tells us of some faith adventures, three of which he refers to as answers to “pavilion prayers.”


“Our 8th grade New York canoe trip was very rainy this year,” says Brian. “It was mostly OK, because we are out on the     water most of the time. However, on the final day, we usually do a steep hike and then end with a campfire and honoring of each other.


“It was pouring down rain and quite cold on the last day, so we needed to improvise. We were not going to be able to pull off the hike, so we drove into the nearest town, which was Lake Placid—the site of the 1980 Olympics, where the U.S. beat Russia in hockey! (The adults were a bit more excited about this history than the boys were.) What we needed was some sort of pavilion to have our final dinner, prayer, and honorings to wrap up the week.


“So, as we were driving into Lake Placid, we prayed our first pavilion prayer: ‘Lord, we are going into town and we need a place to spend this day.’ As soon as we pulled into town, we spotted a beautiful band pavilion. We spend part of the day there. Then, we drove to a trail head and took a short hike. We all got soaked and were quite cold.


“We returned to our campsite, knowing the site would be flooded. We drove to another small town and prayed our second pavilion prayer. We drove into town and—boom—there it was! A beautiful pavilion where we could do our whole evening. Many of the boys brought in their sleeping bags to stay warm.


“Our 9th grade trip to Wyoming was the place of the third pavilion prayer. Normally it is very dry and we sleep outside under the stars. However, at our first stop, the wind picked up and there was lightening. We ran everybody back to the van about 11 PM. We did not want to set up tents because there was no grass; it was just turning to mud. We drove two more hours and prayed another pavilion prayer. We drove into a little mountain town, looking for fairgrounds. Once again, a great pavilion was spotted at 3 AM. We all pulled out sleeping bags and slept soundly on the concrete.


“The 7th grade boys trip to Virginia did not include a pavilion prayer but the boys (and us) had faith-building experiences. One happened on the last day. We hiked two miles to a river swimming hole. It is a favorite spot for us to swim and get a bit cleaner for the ride home. On the hike back, one of the boys realized that he had left his knife at the swimming hole; he was crushed. He wanted us to let him walk back the two miles to get it. Well, that was out of the question, but we all prayed that the knife would be there the next day when we hiked back by that spot on our way out. The young man was really shaken and just could not believe it would be there. He said he wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. Turns out none of us got much sleep because it was a windy night (the kind where the gusts of wind blow the tent down in your face).


“The next morning, the boy hiked ahead with me. When we arrived, the knife was right there. This was a miracle to the young man. He was joyful and encouraged, even jumping around with joy. The rest of us were a bit dragging from the sleepless night!”


We hope that many of the 7th grade boys will return to do the 8th grade trip next year. Brian is sure the “knife story” will be one that the boys will use to increase their faith when the going gets hard. Thanks for being a partner with us in bringing youth at all stages of life closer to Christ. We very much appreciate your prayers and financial support!

Allegheny Ascent

Dear Friends:


What a summer we are having! Over 100 young people participated in our Kairos trips this year: a new record. This month we are reporting on our 7th grade girls trip to the Allegheny Mountains. This trip was the first with just the 7th grade girls. Instead of setting up camp each evening, they stayed in one place and did hikes during the day.

As a special bonus, two former “gappers,” Katherine Kebe and Olivia Harvey, helped staff the trip. It was really fun to have them both back serving in Kairos together. Here are a few of their comments and observations from the trip.

“The trip was so good and very, very blessed,” says Katherine. “This   mission was dear to my heart because I can attribute the foundations of my own faith to a trip just like this. The goal of this trip was to set and build those faith foundations, and to plant seeds in the hearts of these girls of what being in community with other Christians can look like. We wanted to foster relational foundations for these girls with each other, but most importantly with their Lord. I sometimes forget the way that the Holy Spirit works in our daily life, but this trip was living proof of the impact He makes in our lives! There is no other way that thirteen 7th grade girls from all over the country would be so tightly bonded within a matter of a few days except by the Holy Spirit.

“I am convinced more and more of the value of being together with other Christians; that the work the Lord is about in our world will be moved forward by Christians together. It was truly an honor to serve and love these young women and I certainly pray that they will continue to draw near to the Lord and the life He has for them! What a gift to be a part of such a mission.”

“The trip was great,” Olivia says. “The girls had a lot of fun, and they bonded really well together. Of course, there were some unforeseen challenges, but the Lord was definitely guiding me and the other leaders through them, and it was such a grace-filled trip!”

We are hoping to expand to more trips next year, especially on the girls side.  We are planning for an 8th girls grade trip, along with having trips and events for each high school grade. The goal is for the youth to form strong bonds of friendship and support (as well as having lots of fun), that will sustain them through their college days.

We owe you, our faithful partners, many thanks for being supporters of this mission to young people. God is calling a new generation to know, love, and serve Him. This summer has been a fruitful season in this work. May the Holy Spirit be withyou, ever drawing you nearer to the One who saves!



Your brother in mission,

James Munk

Kairos Director


Kairos in the Summer

Dear Friends:

Summer is upon us and our long-awaited trips are beginning this month. Our new “Kairos Adventure Guides” begins June 13. This program is for college-aged people who wish to serve as staff on Christian adventure trips.

For our first year, CJ and David will be paving the way for our future Guides. In between trips, they will be living in household with other men and receiving training. They will be staffing all four boys’ trips, serving in a “big brother” role for the boys and as models of Christian men. They will be joining our veteran leaders Brian LaLonde and Stan Mathay, along with other adult volunteers.

Another first this year is our “Kairos Summit” in June, being held outside of Atlanta, Georgia. This long weekend retreat/adventure is for juniors & seniors in high school. They will hear presentations from University Christian Outreach and Saint Paul’s Outreach, be given talks about vision for living their lives in fellowship with other Christians, and how to discern what the Lord might want to do with their lives post high school. Another goal is to equip our youth to engage the “world” intellectually by looking at some main “thinkers” throughout history. There will also be day adventures and service projects. We currently have 18 youth signed up for this first-ever event.

From the end of June into July, the 8th grade boys’ “Adirondack Adventure” will happen in upstate New York. This is our second year doing this trip, which took the place of our annual Algonquin canoe trip. It worked really well last year, as Covid restrictions meant we could not travel from the U.S. into Canada. This new trip includes both canoeing and backpacking. We have 20 youth registered from six states, which means we have to split the trip into three groups to respect the wilderness environment.

New this year is our 7th grade girls trip also from the end of June into July. This trip is dubbed “Allegheny Assent.” As of this writing, 14 girls are participating. We will stay at one location for sleeping and hold day hikes. An important goal for the trip is that the girls meet and get to know other Christian middle schoolers. We hope they will form relationships that will help build for their future YES retreats. Elements of the trip will also include prayer together, scripture meditations, and personal sharing. Two GAP alumni are running the trip, along with Kairos staffer Molly Kilpatrick and other staff volunteers from five states.

In the middle of July, we have a canoe adventure for 8th – 9th grade girls; they will travel to Minnesota to canoe the beautiful Boundary Waters. This trip is led by veteran Sandy Buchner. We will also be splitting the group in three to respect the fragile environment of the north country. Currently, 13 girls are going to embrace adventure and Christian fellowship.


Concurrently, another trip we have long held in July is the 9th grade boys “Rocky Mountain Jamboree.” This is our most rugged trip, wilderness hiking in the Rocky Mountains. We currently have around 20 guys attending from eight states.

Finally, at the end of July, we have our classic 7th grade boys Virginia trip: Appalachian Rendezvous. On this trip, we are bound to encounter both rain and cool wildlife (including wild ponies). We have many pictures of boys hiking in rain ponchos as well as welcoming ponies into their campsites!

This is the first summer we have nearly 100 youth participating. Next year, we plan to expand further and add a couple of trips; we are especially planning for high school girls. Our 9th & 10th grade girls’ program will begin next year.

The two Kairos vans will see lots of use. Even with two vans, we will be renting more to meet our needs. This is a great problem to have; the Lord has been good to us!

We are very excited to be able to hold youth trips that seemed out of reach a year ago. Thanks so much for your support in our efforts of reaching youth via these high impact trips. Having these “stretching” adventures with other Christian youth and with phenomenal staff is life changing. Young people remember these trips and the impact they had for their whole lives. Thanks again!

Your brother in the Lord’s service,

James Munk

Kairos Director

Thy Kingdom Come

Dear Friends:

Greetings in the Lord! After the great disappointment of needing to cancel the 2020 Youth Equipped to Stand

(YES!) Retreat, our staff was determined to make a “live” event happen this year. Two years in the life of a teen is an eternity. We had a “virtual” retreat in 2020, which was certainly better than nothing, but does not compare to the power of praying together and being together. Stephen Giles, our YES! Re

treat director, filled us in on YES 2021.

“Our theme was Thy Kingdom Come! It turned out to be a very timely theme for 2021. In our staff prayer before the retreat, we sensed that our youth needed to hear the Lord and by touched by Him; that it was time to re-engage after the ‘pause button’ that was the past year. We felt that the youth needed to be moved toward ‘wanting to want’ what the Lord had for them. To move towards being loyal to Christ and not to the world. Only in the Lord is our hope.

“We had 160 youth (about 2/3 of a ‘normal’ YES! Retreat) in person, and about 30 more participating online. Travel was not possible for teens from some states, and not at all for Canadian youth. Michindoh Camp, where we held the retreat, had Covid protocols, and we were able to use those to make as safe a retreat as possible. We could be outside without masks, and when indoors we masked and kept to our ‘pods,’ which were distanced from other ‘pods.’ The pods worked great for housing, meals, worship, talk sessions, discussion groups, and prayer ministry.

“All the kids were repeating how great it was to be there, but the happiest group had to be the sophomores—they missed what was supposed to be their first YES! Retreat last year. They were really ready to engage! The teens were right there, participating in worship, and attentive during the talks and breakout sessions.”

Here are a few of the comments that the youth wrote on their evaluation forms:

“For most of high school, I believed the lie that I was only ‘tolerated’ and not actually loved by anyone. During the prayer session, I asked for prayers to deal with this lie. As soon as my small group started to pray over me, I felt a very strong sense of love and fellowship from God and from my group.”

Before YES, I was having a difficult time worshipping and really seeing the Lord as the King…worship had become foreign to me. With COVID restrictions, it had been so long since I was able to do praise and worship. Coming into YES Retreat 2021, learning the theme was ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, I knew I was in trouble. But during the first praise and worship session, everything just clicked. As I sang, I thought about all the struggle of the past year, and it just hit me. I suddenly saw all the victories the Lord has won in my life; I realized that he has won THE victory; that he is powerful and mighty. And all I wanted to do was lift my hands and praise him and worship him and sing to him. My soul cried out, ‘You are my King and my God.’”

“Although I come from a very faith-based family, where my parents set an amazing example of having Christ on their ‘thrones,’ during my junior year and the beginning of my senior year of high school I had lost a lot of my faith. I didn’t really care about my relationship with the Lord, and I went to church only because my parents made me. I love riding and training horses, but I put horses and school on my ‘throne’ rather than God. During YES 2021, I was able to realize who should be King of my life. I was one of the people who stood to say that I wanted to give my life to Jesus and set Him on my throne. It will be a daily choice, but the retreat gave me exactly the push that I needed to turn my life around in the right direction: toward Je-sus.”

“The YES Retreat in one word: phenomenal. In two words: life changing. In five words: best weekend of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so at peace with my life and whatever plan God has for me than during the retreat. I don’t think I can describe the pure fulfillment I felt in the Lord and how many things changed in that moment. And that feeling didn’t just go away when I went home. I intend to carry what I learned at the YES Retreat into the rest of my life and grow upon it.”

Well, that makes all the work worth it! Many thanks to Stephen and his staff for making this retreat happen. Thanks to the Lord for all the answered prayers for the retreat. It is humbling to be used by the Lord to reach his precious young people and see them respond to the call to follow Jesus, for their lives, for the rest of their lives. Thanks so much for being part of this ministry. The Lord is blessing our partnership in reaching young people!

Your brother in Christ,

James Munk

Kairos Director

Kairos Summer Trips

Dear Friends in Christ:


Van Fundraiser Update: We did it! Thanks to the generosity of many people, we have surpassed our goal of $40,000 to purchase two vans for our summer programs! In just over three months, our partners have overwhelmed us with abundance. (If you were meaning to donate, still feel free; extra funds will be used for maintenance and a trailer purchase.) We are currently shopping—what a great blessing!

Last month, we started a series talking about how we are working to sharpen our focus in Kairos. This month, I want to tell you about one very important element of this: our summer trips.

We have been offering summer adventure trips for many years, but mostly for boys, grades 7 to 9. Going forward, we are planning trips for junior high girls, and expanding our trips through the end of high school. As a side point, that is why our van fundraiser was so important; to run these new trips, we will need the wheels.

We are making these changes for a few reasons.  First, while something like the YES! Retreat has a big spiritual impact, because it has gotten so big, relationally it becomes harder for youth to get to know young people from other locations. The bigger an event becomes, the more likely people are to hang out with the people they   already know.  We hope that our summer trips will work against this – we will only have about 20 youth per trip, and youth going on trips will be with the same class every    summer – so by the end of High School, they will have some strong, supportive, relational bonds.

As we expand our summer trips, one new adventure we are planning is a special trip for upperclassmen: we are calling this the Kairos Summit. This trip will focus on “what comes next” after high school, with an emphasis on connecting youth to our missions after graduation.

By the time a senior graduates high school, he or she will have had the opportunity to attend four YES! Retreats, five outdoor adventure trips, and a Vision Retreat. So, what happens after high school? Glad you asked!

We are instituting Kairos Adventure Guides. This will be a 3-month summer program of training, living in community with others in Christian household, and serving on the Kairos adventure trips.

There will be two parts to the “Guides” program. The first year will be aimed especially at recent high school grads, but open to all 18–22-year-olds. The second year will be open to veteran staff.

The Guides will receive training as they live in either a men’s or a women’s household while they are doing their training weeks. Training will include camping together, serving together, learning how to be an effective youth leader, and how to be safe in the back country as they lead trips. Then they will spend a lot of time “on the road” staffing various youth trips.

The Adventure Guides will be a summer-only program. However, there will be opportunity for young people who are looking to spend a year away from home. Some of them will want to take a longer time to serve, seek the Lord, and connect to a Christian community. They will serve with Kairos for 5-10 hours a week. Kairos will help them connect with the local University Christian Outreach, the local Christian community, find a job or take classes at a local college, and place them in a good living situation.

There are similarities to the Standing in the Gap Program, with important differences. For example, they will have enough time to have a part-time job or take some college classes. They also will not need to raise their whole support, as they did while in the GAP program. We are hoping to take the best pieces of the GAP adventure and make it more doable for both the young people and for Kairos.

I am very excited about our expanded and sharpened vision for working with youth. I am grateful to the Lord for giving me this adventurous life in Him, and for the opportunity to call young people to a radical life in Jesus Christ. Thank you for being part of this call. Your prayers and financial support mean more than I can express.

In our victorious Lord,

James Munk

Kairos Director



Kairos Vision, Goal, and Purpose

Dear Friends:

What is the vision, goal, and purpose of our Kairos youth work? Great question! This month we want to explain how we are sharpening our vision and focus to serve youth more effectively.

We have become clearer in recent years that our main mission is to teens, from middle school through high school. This includes helping them “launch” into supportive Christian environments: college or mission or employment. How do we do that?

First off, we work to help awaken an “adventuresome faith.” We want our young people to know that following the Lord can be the greatest adventure of their lives! Kairos sponsors high-impact events that call for a “discipleship response.” These are events that help teens build relationships with other Christian teens; that help them form an identity as a disciple of Christ; where great memories are made; and that offer teens a way to serve in return.

We offer young people a place in Christ’s mission. We help youth workers, parents, and leaders in their local situations to do the same. We are looking for a generous response to the Lord from our young people!

Sounds great, James, but how is this done?

Over the years, we have found that the annual high school YES! Retreat has been hugely effective in calling teens to Christ and moving them forward in their walk with Him. But, starting this summer, we will also be holding “class” trips (from 7 th – 12 th grades) that are much more narrowly focused on the needs of young people in each year of their teenage lives, which includes building relationships with peers.
For our post-high school youth, we will offer them the opportunity to serve as Kairos Adventure Guides on our many adventure trips. This will be an internship that goes for the whole summer, with opportunity to extend it into the fall.

We will continue to provide training – in person and virtually – for youth workers. A yearly “Youth Workers Summit” will be an important part of this. We will also help parents negotiate the “bridging points” where youth can most easily lose their Christian faith (e.g., the move from high school to college). We will hold a yearly online Parent Forum specifically to help parents deal with the media challenges their young person may be having.

In the next couple of months, we will explain more fully about these programs and how we are envisioning their blessings for our youth. We are moving ahead with the YES! Retreat this month, despite obvious challenges. We do not want to squander any opportunity to work with, call, and bring youth closer to Christ.

One of the blessings of the COVID-19 “down time” has been the opportunity to pray and plan and reimagine some of our programs. We are excited about the sharper focus and new initiatives. As you can see below, one of the important practical needs is for vans to transport our youth and staff to and from adventure trip locations. We are genuinely excited about the future of Kairos youth work.

Thank you so much for standing with us during this time.
Your brother in Christ,

James Munk
Kairos Director

The Barnabas Buddy Project

Dear Friends:

Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ! This month we salute youth group leaders    everywhere, and especially those connected with Kairos. We very much appreciate their love, creativity, and devotion to the next generation.

This past year has been a challenging time to work with youth. School closings, lockdowns, mask mandates, gathering size restrictions, as well as trying hard to keep the youth group leaders themselves healthy, have all made serving our young people difficult.

This month we highlight what some youth group leaders in Los Angeles have been trying through their “Barnabas Buddy” program for their youth group.

Christine Miranda is the youth group lead staffer and we asked her how this initiative was going and how the young people were responding.

1) What you have tried and what has worked?

“What we found worked well,” Christine tells us, “was focusing on the characteristics that Barnabas displayed in the book of Acts. For example, in Acts, chapter 11, three traits we see in Barnabas: being someone’s champion, continuously growing in righteousness, and learning to work with others. We used videos and integrated those lessons into real-life situations. We were hoping this would help the youth apply Barnabas’ virtues to their own lives. For example, how can we apply these discussions to our social media use, amount of screen time, and how we approach personal relationships?”

 2) Have you seen some fruit?

“From this activity, our young people’s participations during our Zoom prayer meetings became more involved. They were able to take turns leading the worship and planning the activities for that day. Through this they were able to work on their relationships and encourage one another. 

“When we talked about how they were able to apply all that they leaned, they shared they were more aware and sensitive to the opportunities for them to be encouraging. One of our older boys has taken more responsibility to be a ‘big brother’ to the younger members of the group. He leads the youth ministry in worship. The youth then take an active part in whatever tasks they are assigned to make the meeting successful. Through this experience, they are able to work well with and take more part in the group that they belong to.”

3) What are some challenges you have encountered? 

 “As with all things, there are some of our young people who are still not as engaged as we would like them to be. We have also discovered that some of the concepts we have taught just do not ‘click’ well with our kids. For example, stories that are more geographically centered (like trying to trace the evangelistic journey that Paul and Barnabas did     together) do not resonate with all of them. We learn as we go!”

 4) What response have you had from the kids? 

 “All the kids who are participating have engaged well with each other.  Their discussions together have served as a major encouragement.” 

  This has obviously been a stretching time for our youth and youth group leaders. Youth groups are generally designed to be effective by the young people being together. We send a big “thank you” to all those leaders who are serving our youth at this time and remain dedicated to calling them to Jesus Christ—no matter what the challenges!

Here’s an update on our ongoing van fundraiser for Kairos adventure trips; after only one month, we are very encouraged! To contribute, go to our webpage: OR send a check to Kairos with “van fundraiser” on the memo OR use a smart phone to go to the link




Your brother in Jesus Christ,

James Munk

Kairos Director

Looking for a New Red Justice

Red Van with Guys working on Trailer

Dear Friends:

Greetings in the New Year! I know we are all hoping to see the end of the pandemic and the  beginning of a fruitful 2021.

Last summer, our faithful Kairos Fellowship van, dubbed “Red Justice,” rolled through its last mile. It  made it through the summer but died at the end of our last 2020 Virginia trip. We have had this workhorse  1998 Ford E350 since 2016. It provided us with over 30,000 miles over five summers, transporting at least  150 boys.

Kairos Fellowship is our outdoor camping program that forms junior high boys, ages 13-15, in strong  Christian character and equips them for a mature walk with the Lord. The program is designed for boys to  encounter and be challenged by the beauty of God’s creation. Boys form lasting experiences and friendships  with each other that are rooted in the Lord.

Over the coming years we will be expanding our trips to include another guys trip, and ultimately four girls trips as well. We’ve had some girls trips in the past, but nothing as consistent as for the guys. We are working to change that. In order for this to be possible, we need to purchase a new van, actually two vans if we can. These vans are essential for all of these trips. We need them to transport youth, staff, and gear. They allow us to offer the trips at a much lower price than if we had to rent vans for each trip. This month, we are launching a van fundraiser so that for next summer, and for many summers to come, we can have the vans we need to run these great adventure trips. “Red Justice” served at least 150 boys over five summers. Five years from now, our goal is to serve that many youth every single summer!

We are inviting you to make a contribution to this van fundraiser, helping us continue our mission for many summers to come. Any contributions you make will go directly towards allowing us to purchase these

vans. As a “thank you” for any gift to the van fundraiser, you will receive a cool bumper sticker from Kairos Fellowship (see right). For a $500 gift, we will send you a Yeti Thermos with the Kairos logo. For a $1,500 gift, you will receive both the thermos and a fleece. For a $5,000 gift, I may even be  able to convince Stan and Brian to take you on a camping trip!

Donate here:

Thank you so much for your support of all our programs for youth. We know by God’s grace, along  with your prayers and financial support, we will have what we need to serve young people and be part of  the process that brings them into Christian adulthood.

May God richly bless you in this New Year!

Your brother in Christ,

James Munk

Kairos Director

A Look Back

Dear Friends:

Many blessings of the Season to you! We asked Elisha Miranda, one of our Kairos staff members, to look back at her 2015-16 Standing in the Gap (GAP) experience as well as to her college days, to share with us how the Lord used those years to prepare her for her current work with Kairos. Elisha is from Los Angeles and came to Michigan for her GAP year.

“Looking back on my GAP year, there were many life-shaping events right away: moving away from home, learning exactly how unprepared I was to be away from home, and having exposure to different kinds of people. These and many other experiences prepared me to go back home, start college, and serve the LA community and outreach. Two takeaways that truly helped me in my service are these: just because it is hard doesn’t mean it is not worth doing, and being on mission for the Lord does not always look like praying over strangers on the street.

“These feel like common sense in some ways. Many things that are worth doing are difficult, but it was something that stuck with me as I took my flight home coming out of my year of service. As I adjusted to life back home and established new routines and tried to not miss my friends from Michigan so much, I had to do the hard work of reestablishing myself through a transition. There were many moments when I thought I was suffering for no reason, and that life was simply hard.

“When those thoughts came, I remembered my GAP Year. I remembered the equally difficult transition then, the challenges of getting used to my service, and the awkwardness that came with meeting new people when I was so used to keeping to myself. I remembered those personal hardships and the end results of what happened when I persevered and continued to do those hard things. Not only did I grow in my personal relationship with the Lord, but I also grew in relationships with others. I grew in knowing my own character. Those lessons stuck with me as I reached out to the students in my classes, struck up relationships with them, served in my community, and grew in my prayer life.

“I also had to switch my perception of what mission looked like in my situation. During my high school years, it was hard for me to find many practical applications for the talks I heard at the high school YES retreats or in my own youth group. However, in my GAP year, I saw life lived for the Lord in a variety of ways. Sometimes mission does look like going onto campus and stopping people on their lunch breaks and asking to pray with them. But other times it looks like being welcoming when a new face shows up to a prayer meeting. Sometimes it looks like serving your housemates by doing dishes. Sometimes it looks like normal life lived diligently for the Lord.

“This was so important for me to realize as I got home and started to do more ‘regular’ service for my home community. At first, I was restless and bored because I wanted to do more. I wanted to do the exciting and fun and high impact events that were still so fresh in my mind. I had to constantly remind myself that ordinary life can be lived well and can be used for mission. My GAP year helped me realize that while serving can look exciting, most of the time it just looks normal.

“Back in LA during my college years, I mainly served with high school youth as a small group leader. This included giving talks to the girls, helping them establish a prayer life, and supporting them in their many life events. I also served the wider Christian community by leading a testimony writing seminar. I was able to use a lot of the materials given to me by University Christian Outreach (UCO), along with my experience of writing my own testimony during my GAP year.

“As I was reaching the end of my bachelor’s degree program, I was looking to the future and what kind of job I could find which best served the Lord while also being a viable career. Initially, I was thinking about becoming a full-time missionary for UCO. As part of my discernment process, I contacted James Munk, my former Gap Director, who had also done work with UCO missionaries, and asked for his advice. During my talk with him, I explained briefly what I was looking for in a career and my discernment about being a missionary. After we talked, James offered me the opportunity to work for Kairos. He did not know it at the time but working for Kairos was something that I had wanted to do since high school. I took the next month to pray and discern this offer.

“I made the decision to move across the country to work for Kairos. Working remotely has its benefits, but there is nothing that can compare with working alongside people who have a similar vision and who are working on the same projects. I love the office camaraderie and being able to brainstorm in person with my colleagues.

“So, here I am back in Michigan. I work as the Kairos Assistant Director of Information. This includes event administration for our retreats, conferences, and programs. I also connect with youth group leaders in North America with the resources Kairos has to offer, and I am on the executive team for YES Retreats.

“Right now, the Lord is teaching me the same takeaway that I received on my GAP Year: that serving and being on mission is also in the ordinary days of life. It is in the emails I send; it is in organizing information so that others are able access it; it is in the day-to-day tasks. He’s showing me that the events I loved going to as a high schooler took a lot of diligent work, and that this kind of nitty gritty work matters. Working for Kairos now has been an incredible blessing and being able to look at how the Lord created a lot of building blocks for me to get to this point is something I am constantly grateful for.“

Thank you for your partnership with Elisha and all the other missionaries serving our youth! May the Lord greatly bless and protect you in this Season of Expectation and in the year ahead. We very much value your friendship and support in mission. God bless you.


In the Peace of Christ,


James Munk

Kairos Director