My Faith is a Rom Com Cliche

This post was written by Jill Turley, a member of our Czech 2014 mission trip. This is her story.

You know that moment in a lot of romantic comedies where two complete strangers happen to literally run into each other for no reason other than the plot calls for it and these two strangers end up falling completely in love with each other and become more important than life itself? When you see it as a viewer, it’s really corny, completely cliché, you absolutely see it coming, but if the movie’s good enough, you don’t even care and you find it really beautiful? That’s my faith.

When I first heard about the trip to Czech and was considering going, it didn’t really seem like that big or hard of a decision. I’d been out of the country before, and I’d been on missions trips before (a very different kind, but missions nonetheless). My biggest concerns were: would the job I was applying for at the same time interfere with the trip, would I be able to eat the food, and would my parents go for the idea of going to a random country with a guy I’d known for 6 months (I’m very much an adult, but seeing as I still live in their home, they do have some say in the matter). Well, I didn’t even complete the job application, I was confident in my ability to eat new foods when I know I have to, and after a little convincing my parents were on board too. At that point, I was genuinely happy that I would get to go on this trip, but I didn’t really feel the excitement that other people did, and I didn’t fully comprehend the impact the trip would make on my life. Now that I’m a week into being home, I realized, like a rom com character, how naïve I was. When we first arrived I felt completely like a fish out of water. I was in a strange country, with a strange language, with all these people that I was just trying to remember names, I couldn’t understand signs or even the currency we were using, I had gone over 30 hours without any real sleep, and I was just overwhelmed and tired. I didn’t entirely know what to say because I didn’t know how much each person could understand. I didn’t know how to start a conversation with someone from halfway across the world that I just met. I didn’t know all these things, and yet I was supposed to be some sort of spiritual inspiration in these people’s lives? Looking back, I know I had an impact. I know because a room of 30+ people raised their hands to say that our team made a difference to them in some way, and I know that statistically I had to have contributed to those hands. I know because I prayed with people and felt something within me, as I know they did too. I know because I felt strong walking around completely exposed in a circle of people talking about insecurities and pointing out my own, and that shouldn’t be possible. I know because, through Christ, talking about my life and the lives of others and having faith during the hardest of times, I made almost everyone in a room of 59 people cry and feel something strong and moving. I didn’t make an impact because I knew the language or had this deep spiritual wisdom that no one else I encountered in Czech had. I made an impact simply because I was myself. I talked and prayed with and got to know the people I would anywhere else: the people I could relate to. The teenage girls that I could understand because I was in their shoes a short time ago. The young women my age that if we went to the same college, I know for a fact that we would be friends. The women frustrated at their families (particularly some men) for not embracing faith and God the way these women feel that their families should. The ones searching for reason for all the messed up stuff going on in their lives. The ones that don’t feel like they’re worth it for insert inaccurate reasoning here. The guys that were easy to talk to and you just want to have fun and interesting conversations with. I know that I probably didn’t greatly affect any men in their 30’s, and that’s alright, because that’s not who God called me there to impact. I didn’t expect to make that many friends when we arrived in Czech. Even throughout the trip, I didn’t think I would have that many people I really held close to me. There were moments throughout the trip when I had seen a lot of people tearing up at the thought of leaving. I had remained oddly calm at these times (especially because the best thing that tends to make me cry is seeing people I care about crying) for the majority of the trip. It wasn’t until our very last night in Prague, mere hours before we needed to wake up at an unholy hour in the morning and make our way to the airport and start our journey home. We said our last goodbye to our last friend we had made in the country, and it finally hit me: all these wonderful people that were doing amazing things were gone. At the very least, the next time I would get to see any of them in person would be in a year’s time. That’s if I even got to go again next year. The teams are small, there might be people who haven’t gone at all that get to go instead of me, I might have a job that won’t allow me to take the time off. The possibility of not getting to see these people in person again absolutely terrified me. I more than teared up, I full on started weeping (much to the concern of my poor teammate/roommate who was trying to sleep like a normal person). I normally don’t completely miss people, it’s one of my character flaws. I’m sitting here REALLY missing my Czech friends right now. Now while the idea that I might not get to see them in person again still scares me, I know that that’s not going to stop me from making an impact on them, and them making an impact on me. I have dozens of new Facebook friends that I get some sort of message from every other day. I have every intention of staying in touch, and doing whatever I can to be able to go back. Even though there’s a lot that we don’t have in common, there’s a lot that we do, our faith being the biggest thing. We all run to God in our times of need and our times of rejoicing (not all the time but we all make the effort) and that’s an amazing and beautiful thing to share. We were all brought together to support each other, to open up to one another, to trust that a complete stranger can become a great friend, to love each other. Like a rom com cliché, Czech and I ran into each other out of nowhere and formed a bond that can’t be broken. And to me, that’s the most beautiful way it could have happened.    

Sow & Water

As I went back to the Czech Republic for the second year in a row, I had high expectations for the entire trip. Last year I had seen God perform miracles, seen lost come to hear about Christ, and countless people recommit their lives to Christ. I had seen God move powerfully, and I was fully prepared to see Him move again.

It became clear soon after we landed, however, that this trip was not like last year’s. During the first week I found myself scrambling to keep up with changing plans, missed my devotions, and did not talk to one person from outside the Church about Christ.

Things seemed to only get worse during the second week: the camp we stayed at had multiple issues, transportation was difficult, and my spirits fell. I looked at what had happened during the trip and all I could think of was how this trip had not lived up to last year’s trip. I had failed. Even worse, God had not shown up.

But then, the night before we left to come back home, I found myself reading 1 Corinthians 3, and suddenly I understood. Last year’s trip had been a year of planting, in which we had preached to the lost, prayed for the broken, and cared for the hurting, but this year was a year of watering.

I had encouraged a girl who gave her life to Christ after our visit last year.

We led a retreat to bring the youth of the local church into a closer relationship with God.

We had even been the prayer team for a worship night featuring a band from Manchester and a preacher from Australia.

I had forgotten that sometimes, God sends us to strengthen those already in the Kingdom. New Christians are always a good thing, but all Christians need care, and this year we had been the love of God to Christians who needed it.

This trip had not been a waste, it had simply been different. I had spent the entire two weeks trying to plant new seeds and bring new people to Christ, and in doing so I had almost missed all of the watering and growing of experienced Christians that God had been doing. Last year we had planted. This year we watered.

I can hardly wait to see what God will harvest.

Read it for yourself: 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

Unexpected Father

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.” Genesis 17:4

This past Thursday, I had the privilege of leading a session at Kristfest helping young men navigate from boyhood to manhood.

I’ve been excited about the session ever since I was asked to lead it back in April.

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In It All

This year, I experienced a new Czech first while at Kristfest.

I got sick.
Like, really, really sick.

We still don’t know what disease swept through the camp, but early Tuesday morning, over 30 people found themselves incredibly sick.

Whole body aches.

Four people even went to the hospital.

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Known By Name

This year during our week of outreaches in Cesky Tesin, I was struck by the number of kids from the community who knew my name.

We would walk into an event, and all I would hear was a resounding Jason from the younger kids.

I didn’t know many of them – probably only talked to them a few times, led an event they participated in, or gave them a hi-five sometime during a past trip – but they knew me, and made sure to say Hello, Jason every time they saw me.

It was a weird feeling.

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Blessing Behind the Fear

Fear. It’s been an attractive factor of our trip this year.

Every night during our time of outreaches, we’ve put various young people through a number of competitions in fear factor-ish style.

And it’s been great.

Of all the events we’ve done – be it workshops, community dinners, speed dating, and even our showcase – the fear factor events we planned were the most attractive.

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Wake Within Me

Every year as we get ready to head to Czech, I tend to get a single song stuck in my head. It’s a song I end up playing over and over again. A song I whistle and hum to myself. A song that makes me pray harder – and begin to cry – about what God wants to do.

This year, that song was Wake.

And God has been using it to stir within all of our hearts.

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Praying for the Czech Trip

In a few short days, the Czech mission team will board a plane and begin our journey to what will become a very life-changing trip.

God is going to do something BIG.

Now more than ever, we need your help! We know God is going to show up and change lives on this trip, which means: we need prayer!

If you are interested in praying for our team while we are ministering in the Czech Republic, you will find a list of prayer requests below, as well as a downloadable copy of our itinerary. Unless marked, all times are recorded in Czech time – 7 hours ahead of Central Standard Time.

Prayer Requests:

  • Safe travels to and from the Czech Republic (including driving, plane flights, bus and train rides)
  • Health for every team member – both American and Czech
  • Ability to adjust to the time difference quickly and easily
  • God’s presence every time our team members speak or pray
  • Hearts of the Czech youth and young adults to be turned towards Christ
  • Lives to be changed
  • Young people showing up to our outreaches and retreat
  • Distractions and hinderances from youth coming to our events or retreat to be destroyed
  • Favor on our team as we minister to people
  • Czech young people to experience the presence and power of God
  • Courage and boldness to step out in faith and do whatever God asks of us
  • Young people to encounter God during our Encounter Retreat
  • God’s Spirit to guide us every day
  • Fear to be overcome
  • Young people to experience a new level of hope


You can download a PDF copy of our trip itinerary by clicking the link below.

[button href=”” align=”left” bg_color=”#000034″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Czech Itinerary[/button]


Periodically throughout the trip, our team will post updates on the Ignite blog. During the last week of the trip, while at KristFest, there won’t be any updates as the team won’t have access to internet. Click the button below to see all updates pertaining to the Czech 2014 mission trip:

[button href=”″ align=”left” bg_color=”#000034″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Czech Updates[/button]



Making Disciples

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”  Matthew 28:19

A few weeks ago, I received one of the greatest compliments about Ignite.

I was chatting with one of the leaders of Kristfest – the national youth camp we will help with during our trip to Czech – and he was explaining why my team was chosen to lead the sessions we will lead.

You see, this year’s theme is partly on discipleship, and what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. Throughout the week, our team will lead all the breakout sessions related to discipleship.

The reason? Apparently even in Czech, Ignite is known as a ministry that makes disciples.

I was humbled.

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Starting New Chapters

This past weekend, a number of Ignite Monmouth members walked across the front lawn of Monmouth College for the last time. Amid the clapping and picture taking, tears and goodbyes, these former students are now college graduates.

They started a whole new chapter in their lives.

They said goodbye to the place they called home for four years, to venture out into the unknown.
They are leaving dorm rooms for apartments.
Cafeterias for kitchens.
School work for desk work.
And security for the hope of employment.

A new chapter has begun.

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