Missionary trip leads to newfound passion

Jenny Kestler with locals in Rwanda

Courtesy of Victoria Bolduc

Jenny Kestler with locals in Rwanda

Tatiana Valenzuela

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“Even though I’ve struggled through really painful things in my life, it makes me joyful that I’m pointing people to something greater than I could ever find on earth.” Jenny Kestler was struggling with depression and a series of unfortunate events, until one day she happened to find a church where she first heard about the gospel message. 

That one day at church changed everything for her. The healing and freedom Kestler found in her own life from God, birthed a passion to share this newfound freedom, with others.       

Kestler’s passion for God has led her to start conversations with people about religion as a whole, with questions such as why we were created and why we are on earth. “I love talking to people and hearing other people’s opinions, even if they’re different than mine,” said  Kestler. “I love understanding other people’s beliefs.”                               

“Three years ago I went on a trip for 11 months in 11 different countries called The World Race, ” said Kestler.  This trip’s purpose was to help those in need, specifically in communities that were struggling physically, financially, and emotionally. 

The World Race made an impact globally through aiding various ministries and organizations, specifically in Central America, Asia and Africa. “Those 11 months were one of the greatest experiences of my life, where I was able to share my passion for God fully,” said Kestler. 

It was on this journey that she experienced the fullness of what it meant to live out her greatest passion in life. She experienced the social, physical, and emotional effects that sharing her love for God caused. 

Socially, she learned that many natives believed that Christianity was a religion formed by the government to use as a means of control. This belief then made many people against the idea of God. 

On the contrary, she learned that others were open-minded and able to relate to relationship with God from their experiences in the church, saying how it had helped them cope with the stresses of life. 

Emotionally, she says that a lot of people have been touched by what she has had to say and has been able to see more situations where people are not ready or willing to accept the message of God. Kestler says that she has seen how many feel a need to be perfect to have God In their lives. “People tend to think that they need to reach a certain standard to have God, when in reality, all you need to be is yourself,” said Kestler. 

 In the end, she says that people hearing about God’s love for them has made an impact on how they see life, and the internal peace they come to realize they can have. 

Kestler plans to use her passion for God with people, specifically for any person struggling with the same things she did in her past. “I want to let people know that they are not alone in their sufferings,” she says. 

Currently, Kestler is pursuing a degree in social work, in hopes of forming a career where she can reach out to people in desperate need. This would create an open door one day to do what she is really passionate about, inspiring broken people with the love of God. 

More specifically, Kestler’s desire is to use her skills intimately with people one on one. Counseling a woman who is in a physically abusive relationship through prayer, could bring healing. “Sharing my passion for God with others has made me feel a lot more empathetic with others because they’re hurting,” she said. 

God’s love for others is what fuels Kestler to have empathy and compassion for them, which in turn, motivates her to share His love for them. Counseling as many people in painful situations as possible through God’s love, is what her heart truly beats for.  

Not only has her passion for God given her a heart for people, but it has also matured her perspective of them. “People have been affected by me sharing my passion for God by helping them realize that there’s something greater in life, even if it’s not necessarily them believing in God.” 

 

Talking to strangers about God has also allowed her to have healthy conversations with people, even if they may disagree. “I am ultimately trying to send the message that God loves them no matter what,” said Kestler. 

 

This verbal practice, has taught her to see that it is okay to disagree with others. In contrast to the hateful speech, online users tend to use, Kestler finds freedom in healthy communication. “Sharing my passion for God with people has been beneficial for me; It has taught me how to navigate a healthy conversation without anyone leaving the discussion emotionally hurt.”