Ambassadors

Ambassador Spotlight: Ashley Smeby, Haiti

Before traveling to Haiti, a family friend who had gone before told me I shouldn’t go unless I was prepared to have my entire previous way of thinking washed down the drain, and there is really no better way to explain it. I’m not sure there is a day that goes by where I don’t find myself thinking of the beautiful faces of the kids I’ve met in Haiti.
I think the biggest way that my mission trips have changed my life is opening my eyes and heart outside of my comfort bubble. Going on a mission trip to Haiti opened my eyes to poverty, and got me thinking about how I could help during the time when I was back in the States. After serving in Haiti in 2017, I saw the leather earring trend, and I have always been creative so I decided to make a few pairs for myself. I posted them on social media and they were a hit! I decided that this could be the opportunity to market them as “Handmade for Haiti” and this project would allow me to share the story of GoServ Global while also raising funds for projects in Haiti.
You can purchase my earrings on Etsy & follow me on facebook: @HandmadeforHaiti.
My Life
I live in Ames and work for an agricultural cooperative as a Grain Marketing Advisor and also makes T-shirt quilts through Custom Quilts by Ashley.

Ambassador Spotlight: Sheila Willms, India

My husband Rob and I have had a heart for missions for many years. Looking back, God was prompting us to get involved beyond just financial support, but we had no idea several years ago that He would lead us half way around the world to India. I guess His purpose for us was bigger than we could have ever imagined.
I previously taught at Waldorf University with Dr. Kristen Berg (GoServ Global India director), training pre-service teachers. When Kristen returned from taking some University students to India in 2016, she told me about Kuni (principal at Emmanuel School) who had been in prayer about someone coming to train her teachers. This small seed was planted, but I readily dismissed it for so many reasons. One of the main reasons is that I have a communication disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia, or SD. My disability can sometimes be a barrier with communication, and I thought maybe someone else would be better equipped to fulfill God’s plan.
Despite my “foot dragging,” God began to send me many messages through various people and events that made it clear that He wanted me to travel to India with Dr. Berg.
My husband Rob and I were led to support two young women at Emmanuel School. One of them, Pannina, is now in college (equivalent to our grades 11 & 12). She and another girl, Amni, walk down the long dirt road each morning to catch a taxi and attend college. I was able to walk that road with them this last December and speak with them about their educational aspirations and hopes. They are able to stay at Emmanuel School, receiving room and board and continuing their education because of sponsorships through GoServ Global. Another girl, Tappaswini had given me a note as I was leaving from my first trip. Because of her note, Rob and I were led to support her also. We are in prayer for her education, and most of all for her faith in Jesus.
On my first trip to India, the children and people that I met continually asked that I remember and pray for them. Many of them wrote their names in my journal. I printed off all of the girls pictures from the GoServ Global site in order to memorize their names. God reminded me that what they desired most was to be known. I knew it could be challenging as faces and hairstyles change but when I stepped foot into their dormitory unannounced and began calling the girls by name, I could see just how much it meant to each of them. Pannina, who had urged me to learn as many names as possible in 2017, had tears in her eyes and exclaimed, “You remember us!”
I’m thankful for GoServ Global, as this organization provided the scaffold that allowed me to meet people around the globe and move beyond my comfort zone! These experiences have truly changed my life and grown my faith in ways that I could not have imagined!
My Life
Rob and Sheila farm and raise purebred Angus cattle near Crystal Lake, Iowa. Rob recently retired from 33 years of banking and Sheila recently retired from Waldorf University. They have 2 children and 9 grandchildren, one of which was adopted from China.

Ambassador Spotlight: Jim Loonan, Domestic

I was first introduced to GoServ Global at a mini home show in Colfax, Iowa in the fall of 2017. GoServ had a Sukup Safe T Home® set up, so I started asking questions and took some information.
When I retired in January of 2018, I contacted Paul at GoServ Global to tell him I was interested in doing some volunteer work, so he invited me in for an interview. During our discussion the topic of safety came up since my former job was a safety coordinator. By the end of my visit I had become the “Safety Director”of GoServ Global.
While I was there, we also did an online chat with Dennis Anderson, who was in Dallas working on some flooded-out houses. It was determined that it would be a good idea for me to go to Dallas to see how the Disaster Relief group operated.
Joel and Linda Zwiefel were planning a trip down there in February so they were kind enough to provide me with transportation there and back. I was in my element when I was able to construct a built-in cabinet in one of the houses.
Back home, I was able to assist Dennis constructing (and tearing down) a few Safe T Homes® for different shows in Iowa.
Then came the floods of Iowa in July 2018. Working with Dennis and different crews, we helped move appliances and other things from flooded basements.
We finally landed at a house in Des Moines that had 36 inches of water on their main floor. With the help of various crews, we gutted most of the house and started insulating and dry walling. My wife Juanita and I made many trips there to work on various aspects of the reconstruction. It finally reached a point where the family could see the light at the end of the tunnel and took over the project themselves.
At one of our visits to the house, (the wife) Yolanda asked my wife and I how she could ever repay us. We told her to just “Pay it forward” when they were back on their feet. At Christmas this past year, they did just that. Instead of buying presents for themselves, they bought presents for people less fortunate.
Also, during the time of the floods, the tornadoes hit central Iowa. GoServ Global to the rescue. My wife and I spent a few days assisting this very professional group of volunteers clearing trees from the streets and from houses.
I will try to assist GoServ Global whenever possible. I would like to get involved with the construction of a Safe T Home® out of country sometime. My wife and I are already involved with mission work through our local church. In fact we will be going back to Africa for the third time this summer and back to Red Bird Mission in Kentucky for the third time.

Ambassador Spotlight: Joe Lukes, India

I first got started with GoServ Global when I heard on KJYL Radio that they were looking for people to go to India on a mission trip. I have wanted to do mission trips for a few years, so I talked to Terry Baxter about it. Originally, I was going to go to Haiti, but ended up going to Peru instead. That was 2015.
The following year, GoServ Global’s India Director was in the States so I got to meet him. And that is the year I got to go to India. Our team ministered at pastor’s conferences as well as to the pastors in the bush. We prayed one-on-one with the people. We dedicated churches and performed baptisms. And we served at the school.
I have helped fund money for bicycles and motorcycles for the pastors in the bush so they can get from place to place. I have funded for building churches.
My wife and I have also served in Guatemala with GoServ Global.
My Life
My wife, Marianne and I have 2 sons, Geoff and Shaun, and 4 grandchildren. I am self-employed as a mechanic, so it works great for me to go on missions trips as needed.

Ambassador Spotlight: Deb Schmidt, Guatemala

I have always had a passion for serving my Lord through mission work and serving people in His name. I have taken the youth of my church on many domestic mission trips. Every time I have gone, the Lord has blessed me way more than I could have imagined.
In 2013, I took my first mission trip to Haiti with GoServ Global. Not only did we build homes, we built relationships. This is what started my love for international mission work.
In Jan. 2017 after hearing about Mark Lee’s vision to build a church and Christian school in Guatemala, I teamed up with total strangers from Mason City, IA to go. I arrived with strangers but left with a whole new family of sisters and brothers in Christ, that included all the people at the church and all the kids. When I got home, I knew I would return, so in Nov. 2017 I took a group from my church back to Guatemala.
I just returned from my third trip to Guatemala. The most important thing I get to do is share my love of Jesus with them. I believe the only way we can be world changers is to spread the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When you go on a mission trip with GoServ Global, you go to serve, but you come home served by the people with so much of God’s love.
My Life
Deb and her husband, Roger live in Garner, IA where they own Schmidt Trucking.

Ambassador Spotlight: Shaylyn DeYoung, Haiti

My first experience with GoServ Global was our sponsorship of Rose. We started sponsoring her in 2012. We loved sending letters and gifts to her with Ken (DeYoung), and looked forward to the occasional phone call and letters we would receive from her. I was finally able to go to Haiti for the first time in March 2016. For once I was not pregnant or nursing a baby…so I jumped at the opportunity. It was on this trip that my heart was shattered and I was forever changed. I grew up in South Africa, so I was not ignorant of poverty, but I had never experienced it in this magnitude until I went to Haiti for the first time. Yet, despite the extreme poverty that I saw, and the vast number of orphans I met, I was blown away by the Haitian people and their resilience and friendliness. I fell in love with the land. From the majestic mountains, to the clear blue skies, to the enormous palm trees, to the wide expanse of the ocean. It is just beautiful. I also fell in love with 180 orphans that I hold so near and dear to my heart. I have also made very close friends with some Haitians, to the point where we even call each other “family”. My life was forever changed after that first trip.

Since that first trip in 2016 I have tried to visit Haiti at least three times a year. I have been fortunate to have taken my three oldest children with me, and have also been able to go with my husband, Heath. We actually led an FCA group together to Haiti in December 2017. We also now sponsor three children. We continue to sponsor Rose, as well as twin 4-year-old boys, LeLe and LiLi. All three are very much a part of the DeYoung family.

My Life

When I am not working on letters of communication between sponsor and child, or collecting much-needed items for our friends in Haiti, or working on the next Sunday School lesson I will teach for Rivenson at Junior Church, I am a “stay-at-home” mother of 5 who coaches Youth Swim Team year-round and also coaches Youth Triathletes in the summer. I love volunteering for GoServ Global within child sponsorship and it has been a joy for me to see how many children are sponsored and the wonderful letters and gifts that are sent between child and sponsor. So, thank you to all the sponsors who make my job such a joy!

 

Ambassador Spotlight: Al Koenecke, Haiti

January 2012, I read an article highlighting the Safe T Home® and GoServ Global’s involvement in Haiti. It was intriguing to see how Iowa companies, Iowa ag people, the Governor’s office, and an Iowa-based charity were involved in this project, but it disturbed me that this cool thing was going on around me and I hadn’t known anything about it nor was I a part of it.

Going to Haiti has changed my thinking on everything I do: how I view my involvement in my local church, my giving, how I worship, my work, and my family. It’s become apparent to me that God wants to use my time, talents, and resources to glorify Him here at home and elsewhere, and to be intentional in instilling eternal values in my family and friends.

 

My Life

My wife Lori and I have farmed in the Burt area for more than 35 years.

 

Ambassador Spotlight: Brad Burkhart, Peru & Guatemala

When Mark Lee spoke to our church board meeting about the possibility of partnering with him and GoServ Global, I knew God was calling us to be involved beyond prayer. We spoke several times after that meeting and in just a few short months, put together a team and raised all the necessary money to go to Peru.

Our experience with GoServ Global has radically changed my wife and me as individuals and as Cornerstone Church. Those team members who served in Peru with Mark have stepped out in faith and started several bible studies and discipleship groups. We are excited about what God has done in the hearts of our church in the area of missions and look forward to what He has in store for us as we pursue global missions involvement.

My Life

I am married to Val and am the Associate Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Boone, IA.

 

 

 

Ambassador Spotlight: Chuck Virgil, Domestic & Haiti

I enjoy meeting people working at a disaster site. There is a trust that can only come from God when, within a few days, we share our life stories – warts and all – and come away with a mutual respect.

Chuck and his wife, Shirley have also helped GoServ Global procure dental equipment for the Haiti Dental Clinic. “Through donations of local dentists and a local dealer, the Haiti Dental Clinic will have an office that will be as efficient as any here in the States,” says Chuck.

My Life

Chuck served in the Navy as a dental technician repairing equipment. After his discharge, Chuck & his wife continued selling and servicing dental equipment and now the couple lives on the family farm helping the family who rents their land. Chuck and Shirley live in Sutherland, IA. They have 2 sons & 5 grandchildren.

 

Ambassador Spotlight: Danna Larson, Haiti

I was first introduced to GoServ Global when my uncle Conwell started going to Haiti and I was able to go with him on his second trip there. God started stirring in me a love for Haiti and the people there, and I started praying about what my role was supposed to be in serving there. God started showing me that my role was tied to worship.

I started out as an orphan sponsor in 2012 and have loved supporting Kimlie in this way. I have made several trips to Haiti since then, and God started opening doors and connecting me more and more to worship in Haiti. In August of 2015, Pastor Rivenson Dige shared with me his vision of starting a recording studio in Haiti because they have no worship music recorded in their native language of Creole. I reached out to a producer friend of mine and in January of 2016 we packed as much recording equipment as we could fit into suitcases and hauled it to Haiti to check it out.

Long story short, God wrecked our hearts for Haiti and called us to start Matchlight Records so we could record worship music in places like Haiti where currently none exists.

Being involved with GoServ Global has really changed every part of my life. I went from working a corporate job to quitting my job at a church to starting Matchlight Records. Throughout this journey God has continued to show me that this life is not about me but all about Him and His glory. I’m blessed to be able to work alongside GoServ Global as this journey continues to unfold!