A Far Greater Purpose

 This post was written by Justin Holden. Justin is an American missionary with WME living and working in the town of Liberec, Czech Republic. Our Czech trip team was privileged to meet him during our time at Kristfest. You can learn more about Justin and the work he is doing in the Czech Republic on his website –

Before going to Kristfest I was told I was going to be the only American there.  There was a mix of excitement and fear when I heard that – excitement that I would have so many opportunities to speak Czech, fear because I would have so many “opportunities” to speak Czech.

So I got to Kristfest, and I found out that I was not going to be the only American there.  What wonderful news!  I was looking forward to meet the other Americans, but I was also a little “iffy” about it, because sometimes Americans can be a little high-maintenance.  I soon found out how high-maintenance Jason was! (Just kidding, Jason!  You know I love you!)

But really, it was great getting to meet the Ignite team – incredibly great, really.

Just to rewind for a moment, living in Czech has been a dream come true.  As a missionary, you get to see a lot of things, come to know a lot of people, and really see lives changed.  I have known for a long time of the call of God on my life to be a missionary, but in the waiting period it felt like God kind of forgot about me.  Moving here reaffirmed in me that God didn’t forget about me, and that he wants to do big things, even with a person like me.

Being on the mission’s field has a price, though.  Part of that price, for me, is being so far from my family.  Just a week before Kristfest, I came back from visiting my family back in America.  My family isn’t perfect by any means, but we love each other.  Actually, we have been through so much together, and we have formed some deep bonds through all of the trials we’ve faced together.  Being in America was wonderful, but leaving never gets easier.  In fact, just the opposite, it gets harder and harder to leave my family behind.

Fast-forwarding back to Kristfest, the Ignite team couldn’t have known how I felt, or what it was like for me.  I did the ministry thing and let there be “less of me and more of [Jesus],” and that was the attitude I had throughout Kristfest.  No matter how I felt, I know that God has me here, and I will follow him, despite how hard it might feel at the moment.

Getting to know them was so easy; we all just clicked.  Looking back, it was kind of a nice “half step” to getting back into the groove of things here.  The team was so accepting and so encouraging.  We didn’t do anything particularly spiritual together – we just acted like “home”.  We had fun, laughed at each other, got sick together, played card games and totally freaked out some Slovaks that have no idea what it means to have a good ole, American time together. (Seriously, that night I think we laughed so loud the entire camp heard us!)

It’s worth mentioning that God obviously had some plans for all of us meeting.  One night while we were praying for other people, we ended up getting prayed for and prophesied over by Correy, the speaker from Australia that preached that night.  Correy started praying first for Ian, and as we saw that we kind of all gather together to pray for Ian at the same time as Correy.  I didn’t hear much of anything that was said to Ian, but I felt the presence of God.  Then Correy moved to Jason, so naturally I moved behind Jason to pray for him as well.  I wasn’t planning to have Correy pray for me, though.  Honestly, I don’t consider myself very important when it comes to response time after a preaching.  I usually have the focus of praying for other people that need God to touch their lives.

As I was praying for Jason, Correy reaches right over him to prophesy some things to me as well.  The crazy thing is that the prophecy was for both Jason and myself.  One of the things that stuck out to me was when Correy said, “You aren’t meant to just be in the background.”

That sentence got to me; it opened my mind to how narrowly I look at the plan of God.  I see myself in the Czech Republic and I see that he has me working with a local church in a city in the north.  That’s a great honor, but it isn’t something “glamorous” to me.  That’s totally fine with me; I don’t need the glamour or the fame – I just want to serve him.  In fact, I love serving in general; I’ll do whatever I can to help and serve someone else.  Where I was off, though, was that God has so much more in store.  He wants to start a movement in the Czech Republic, and he brought me here to be a part of that.

It is amazing how God speaks during times like that.  If Correy had just been praying for Jason at that moment, I could totally understand it.  Of course Jason isn’t meant to stay in the background.  Of course he is meant to be a key part in touching this nation and influencing the Body of Christ in this country.  Even the least spiritually sensitive person can glean that information just from talking to him about Czech.

God wanted to remind me, though, that he has a greater reason for me to be here.  The things he has called me to do and he has gifted me in will be put to use, and it will further his kingdom.  Essentially, God was putting a challenge to me, and that challenge is to trust his purpose in my life.  It’s not always easy, and the cost is often high, but following the call is always worth it.

Throughout the entire week, the Holy Spirit kept bringing the verse from Mark 10:29-31.

Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (ESV)

After Kristfest, I went to Prague to spend as much time as I could with my new friends.  When it came time for me to leave, Jason gathered the team together to pray for me.  That was a second blessing, because it was so good to be looked at and have the value in me called out once again by people I had only just met.  Not only did they bless me with their prayers, but they also reaffirmed (yet again) the things that God has been speaking to me for years.

So, I’ve never been to Ignite, and I have no idea where Monmouth, Illinois is, but I know that God is doing some great things in that place.  The team that came was so wonderful, and I am so proud to be able to say that I met them.  I’m so proud to know that we are all a part of the same family, and that God is uniting his children in amazing ways to encourage, lift up and to call out the potential he has placed inside of each one of us.

I just want to leave you all with this one thought:  No matter where you are in life, and no matter what you are feeling, God wants you to know that he has a purpose and a plan for you.  You are not forgotten, but you are loved, and with him, you are a part of something far greater than yourself.



Set on Fire

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

Going to Czech this year with Ignite was my first missions trip, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew (well, hoped!) that I would be able to have a huge positive impact on the lives of those I was serving, but I didn’t actually think God would move in me in the immense way that He did.

During the second week we were there, we were able to participate in an amazing worship night (led by Rivers and Robots, a band from Manchester…if you don’t know them, definitely check them out!). One of the songs that was played said, “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control; I want more of you, God.” These words stirred something up inside of me that I can’t explain, but I had a sudden desire for God that was stronger than I’ve ever felt before. I felt like there was nothing I could do that would get me as close to Him as I wanted to be at that moment (believe me, I tried – I even attempted to stand on a chair during the song just to be two feet taller). Before the trip, my faith was drained, and I was kind of just “going through the motions” as a lot of people call it. In that very moment of worship though, I had never sang anything truer: I could honestly say that I wanted more of God than ever before, and I wanted Him to totally overwhelm me with His presence.

The sequence of events that happened is all kind of a blur now that we’ve been “back in reality” for a week or so. However, it was around this same worship night that Jason gave a message about what it truly meant to be a disciple of Jesus – following so closely to Him that the dust from His feet would kick up on you as you walked behind Him. The combination of this message with the worship night we experienced prompted me to rededicate myself to God, sincerely asking Him to set me on fire for Him because I can’t get enough of Him. I can honestly say that I’ve never been on fire as I am for God now, and the years during high school and college that I lost Him and was searching for Him have finally ended. This trip showed me that God had been reaching for me the whole time; I just had to reach back. I’ve always known “God has a plan for me”, but there’s a huge difference between knowing this and believing it. After this trip, I can say that I not only believe it, but am excited for it too.

The trip wasn’t all about me though like I’ve made it sound so far. During this same week, we spent lots of time praying for people at Kristfest. I’m not the most comfortable praying out loud for people, especially people who don’t speak my language (thank God for Lucie, our translator!), but sometimes God puts us in the places we feel least comfortable to reveal Himself the most. That’s exactly what happened one night while I was praying for a girl during worship. She had told our translator that she felt like God didn’t love her. When the translator told me this, all I said to her was: “You are good enough.” She immediately broke down crying, and continued to cry into my shoulder while I prayed for her to believe that she deserved God’s love and He loved her no matter what. I’ve never felt used by God in a way that had this big of an impact before. Being able to tell someone that she is good enough for the Creator of the universe to love is something that can totally change someone’s life, and there was something powerful that happened during this night of prayer with this girl. I can’t really think of the words to say to describe it…but it was everything I imagined a “God moment” to be.

This trip has left a lasting impact on my life. There aren’t enough stories to tell or pictures to see that explain the way God changed me during this trip. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to go on this trip, and to anyone reading this, thank you for your support and prayers in sending a team to Czech. You have had such a powerful influence on the lives of those who went and those who were served, and that influence will last longer than a lifetime.



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.    

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.

Read more

Why Do You Fundraise for a Mission Trip?

Here at Ignite, we love missions.

In fact, we encourage every student to take part in a mission trip at least one time in their lives. We believe a mission trip has the potential to change lives — not only of those we go to serve, but also those on the team. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, grows your faith, and helps you see the world in a much different way.

Our students love going on an Ignite mission trip.

But there is one part no student likes — raising the money to go.

Fundraising Misconceptions

It’s uncomfortable asking people to give you money to go on a mission trip, especially when it seems like they get nothing in return. I mean, who likes asking others for money? It can be awkward, intimidating, and down right humiliating.

That is, if you don’t understand what fundraising for a mission trip is all about.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to fundraising for a mission trip, both for students and for their parents:

  • It’s nothing more than begging others for money
  • It’s asking people to fund something you should pay for yourself
  • It’s a sign that your family can’t provide for your needs
  • It’s getting free money without any benefit for those who give
  • It’s inappropriate to ask others for money
  • It’s wrong to go do work in another country when there are so many needs here
  • And the kicker: we don’t want the family getting uncomfortable with you just asking for money (Our students get this one a LOT).

Many parents see our form of fundraising — sending out letters asking for money — with the lens of one, if not all, of the reasons above.

And once they see fundraising letters through those lenses, it’s difficult to see anything else.

But, you see, fundraising for a mission trip isn’t about the money.
It’s about the partnership.

Missions Partnership

As followers of Christ, we are called to take his truths to the end of the earth (Matthew 28:19). It was the last charge Jesus gave to us before He ascended back into heaven, which means: it’s non-negotiable.

However, realistically, not all of us can physically go on a mission trip. There are jobs to work, bills to pay, and kids to watch.

That’s where supporting a mission team comes in.

When we fundraise for an Ignite mission trip, we aren’t asking people to just give us money so we can go do our thing. We’re asking people to partner with us — to join together with us as we plan, prepare, and ultimately go to impact lives.

Making an Impact

Financially partnering with a mission trip makes you a part of what God wants to do. You are a conduit — providing a way for others to bring His truths to the nations. And when lives are changed — God credits that life change to everyone involved: the team who went and the team who gave financially.

Those who give financially aren’t just donors. They are part of the mission team.

One day, when we find ourselves in heaven and Christ is showing us how our lives built His kingdom, there will be a number of people you never met before who thank you for the impact you made — simply because you paved the way financially for someone else to do the work of bringing the gospel to them.

That’s the power of supporting a mission team.

When we send out letters, we aren’t asking people for a handout.
We are asking for a partnership — a partnership in changing lives and seeing others come closer to Christ.

And we don’t want to deny anyone that opportunity.

That’s why we send out fundraising letters.

Partner with Us

Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of others? Consider partnering with our Czech Republic team! Each team member needs to raise $3,400 in order to cover the costs of this trip, for a team total of $17,000. Please pray about partnering with us to reach young people in the Czech Republic with the gospel of Christ. Click the button below to make a secure, online, tax-deductible donation today!

[button href=”” align=”center” bg_color=”#000034″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Donate[/button]



Czech Trip Planning Underway

Planning for our annual trip to the Czech Republic this July is underway!

This past weekend, our Ignite Czech leadership team met with trip leader Jason Vana to begin talking through ideas for the trip, including outreaches, retreat, and focus of our time there.

While this was only the preliminary meeting, and we are still praying and thinking about specific details, the goal is to go to the next level in our impact on this year’s trip. Some ideas include: Read more

Small Dot. Massive Impact.

Katie Rose was a member of our Czech 2013 Mission Team. Below she shares how the trip with Ignite impacted her life. You can read more about the trip here.

When making the decision to go over to the Czech Republic, I knew God was going to rock the world. But as months grew closer, my relationship with God was more on the rocks than seeing Him rock lives. I still had faith that God was going to move and change, but I don’t think I realized how much it was going to change me.

Once arriving in Czech, you see, taste, and smell so many different things at once. You are experiencing a whole new culture, a new way of living, and you are thrown into it. I still had no clue what was coming for me. I felt lost and confused and questioned my purpose in even being there.

Upon settling in, starting to build relationships and experience the lives of each person we came into contact with, I was so blessed to speak and pray into students lives through the weeks. I got a glimpse into who they are, and who God has made them to be. I saw how God was working through them to do great and powerful things. I was just sent as an encouragement, as someone to come along side of them for just a short time, and speak into their lives. While even though at times I felt like I was just a small dot on this great scale of wondrous acts of God, I knew I was a key influential piece to our group. Every team needs a short person to be the butt of all the jokes, clearly that is why I was there.

Looking back on why I went – aas it worth me going? Did I made the right decision in being a part of this trip? The answer is so simple: YES. I built relationships with a group of people that have affected my life forever. They spoke into me. They became more than just people I met over seas, they became my friends. I went into surgery a couple weeks after returning to the States. While I did not have many visitors in the hospital, or friends from home sending me messages, what I did have was messages from the people in the Czech Republic. They had heard that I was in the hospital, and wanted to send me messages of encouragement and let me know that they were praying for me. What?! I had people across the world who cared enough to stop and pray for me, when I did not even have people in my home town.

This trip impacted me more than words can ever express. I am so blessed and thankful that I was able to go, and be a part of the community and the lives of people whom I met. I saw God change and mold my heart. He made it start beating for him, louder and stronger.

Image of a Lion

One blog post can’t convey all God did during our time at Kristfest.

I had the privilege of speaking the first night of the camp about how revival is a commitment, not a church service, feeling, or a moment full of the Holy Spirit goosebumps. I challenged young people from around the country to make a commitment to see God move long after the week was over. About 3/4 of the youth in attendance stood up to make that commitment.

I was able to lead two two-day sessions on prayer and the prophetic – training young people how to hear from God and speak encouragement over each other. I was told at the end of the week that many young people heard God for the first time in those workshops.

I also headed up two one-hour sessions titled The Effect of the Father, where I talked about how our relationships with our earthly fathers affects how we relate to our Heavenly Father. The first time I did that session, roughly 125 young people (about half the camp) attended – even though they had three other sessions to choose from at the same time. I discovered later that many young people in Czech grow up in broken homes.

I prayed for people, spoke into their lives, spent time drinking tea with them, and encouraged them that God wanted to move in and through their lives.

It was a powerful week.

But what stood out to me the most wasn’t the prayer and prophetic workshops. It wasn’t seeing multiple young people stand up and make a commitment to see revival in their country. It wasn’t speaking into the hurts endured from earthly fathers.

The most powerful moment for me came at the end of the week.

Minutes before my team was about to leave the camp and head to Prague, the national youth leader gave me a gift as a way to thank us for our work that week.

It was a glass vase with a lion’s head in the center and dirt inside.
You can see it in the picture above.

The gift didn’t mean much until he explained why he chose that gift.

This man, who has been the national youth leader for that denomination for years, said he saw me as a lion – I seem tame on the outside, but when it comes to the things of God, and to speaking into the lives of young people, I am a lion. I don’t back down. I don’t quit. I believe firmly that God can and will bring revival to the Czech Republic, even if it is right now the most atheistic country in the world.

And he said that with Jesus, the real Lion, I am helping to bring revival to his country.

The dirt in the vase is actual dirt from Czech – so I could bring home a piece of the country I love and am committed to so much.

His gift made me cry.

My desire over the last nine trips I’ve taken to Czech has been to see a generation raised up who would bring true revival to their country.

And I’m slowly starting to see it.

Kristfest was an amazing time of ministry.
But it was also a confirmation that God has been using my faithfulness in that country to bring real change.

Thank you all for your prayers for our Czech trip. God did some amazing things in the lives of the people we encountered…and in those of us who went. Your faithfulness to pray and support us financially opened the door for God to move so powerfully.

Czech 2013 Trip Itinerary

Our mission team is only a few days away from leaving, and they couldn’t be more excited to go.

Plans have been finalized, tickets have been purchased, messages have been prepared – the only thing remaining is for the team to pack up and go.

This is going to be a powerful trip for all involved.

The team has worked closely with our partners in Czech to build on the successes of past trips and provide genuine opportunities for young people to encounter Christ.

Our trip will consist of:

  • Multiple Invitations: where our whole team will be in the Svibice neighborhood, interacting with young people and inviting them to come to the outreaches;
  • Afternoon Workshops: where young people will engage in fashion, sports, or music and drama, and build relationship with our American and Czech team members. 
  • Evening Youth Group Services: where young people will hear the gospel preached in fun and creative ways, including:
    • Question and Answer Night – an evening where young people will be encouraged to ask questions about faith, God, and Christianity;
    • Exit Klub – This weekly group hosted by the Czech team is targeted towards new believers and those who have yet to make the decision to follow Christ. Young people will be challenged to stand firm in their faith in the face of persecution;
    • Removing Your Masks – Young people will each be given a mask as an American team member shares how the world pushes us to wear masks, and how Christ helps us take them off;
  • Workshop Showcase: where the youth involved in the workshops will showcase what they did, followed by a message and invitation to follow Christ given by an American team member;

Our team will also help lead sessions for KristFest – a nationwide youth convention, including:

  • Opening Session, led by Ignite President Jason Vana, challenging Christian youth that Revival Starts Within;
  • Study Your Bible Workshop, led by Ignite Leadership Coach and Board Member Ian Smith, training youth how to actively engage in the biblical text;
  • Prayer and Prophetic Workshop, led by Jason Vana, training youth how to pray and prophesy over others;
  • Media Workshop, led by team member Katie Rose, exploring how all forms of media shape one’s perception of oneself;
  • Effect of the Father, led by Jason Vana, where youth will uncover how their relationship with their earthly father shapes how they see their heavenly Father.

We know God is going to do something amazing both in and through our mission team during their time in Czech.

You can download a PDF copy of the trip itinerary to know what the team will do each day, as well as see a list of prayer requests for the team.


Gearing Up for Czech 2013 Mission Trip

Plans are underway for our mission trip to the Czech Republic this July.

Three individuals – Ignite President Jason Vana, Ignite Board Member and Leadership Coach Ian Smith, and Katie Rose – comprise the team that will represent Ignite this year in the Czech Republic.

During the two week trip, this team will spend five days working with the Krestanske Centrum youth group to reaching out in the Svibice neighborhood of Cesky Tesin. Outreaches include fashion and sports workshops during the afternoon, followed by creative youth services in the evenings. Our team will share the gospel by leading sessions on removing our masks, dealing with persecution, offering a question and answer evening about Christianity, and more.

We will follow up our outreaches by helping with KristFest, a nation-wide convention for Christian Czech youth. Our team will lead workshops on Studying Your Bible, Media, and training on Prophetic Prayer, while also assisting with prayer sessions, praying for youth, and planning an American Party. Over 200 Czech youth will be at this week-long event.

We ask that you hold our team in your prayers as they continue planning sessions and workshops to share Christ with youth who do not know Him, and youth who need encouragement and empowerment to be His hands and feet in Czech.

Stay up to date with the Czech team by signing up for our Ignite Connect newsletter.