Report: “In Tents” Young Woman’s Discipleship Ministry

June 5, 2017
Bernadette Veenstra

Several years ago, Ann Bjorlie was burdened to start the “InTents” discipleship program for young women. Her vision was to inspire and prepare them to serve God where He has placed them, with the gifts He has given them. Since 2010, Ann has welcomed many young women into her life and home, exposing them to the example and wisdom of godly women in all stages of life.

The Vision for In Tents

The name “In Tents” comes from two women in the Bible who served God “in the tent.” Sarah and Jael were faithful women whom God used. Both women were asked to act outside of their “comfort zone.” Jael helped win a great military victory that gave peace to Israel for 40 years. Sarah is an example for us to follow. She showed respect for the leadership in her life and became the mother of God’s chosen people. Women today can strike victories in the Kingdom of God.

The program runs for two weeks, beginning with ice-breaker games and a light supper on the first Sunday, and concluding with a debrief brunch on the final Saturday. The program is nonstop learning and hands on application of many spiritual and practical skills. The first week starts out with two long days learning how to study the Bible. Kathy Morell leads these sessions, alternating lectures with practice study sessions, emphasizing the online resource, eSword. Kathy’s session is then built upon by Bernadette Veenstra, as she teaches how to share what you’ve learned studying the Bible, by teaching children’s Bible clubs. Kathy Holiday teaches a session on the ministry and practice of hospitality and cooking for crowds. Days are spent cooking, and then hosting a community supper.

What is “In Tents”?

Testimonies and life stories are shared, by older and younger, married and single women. A five-Day Bible club is led by the attendees. We pray together and sing together and laugh together. One young woman teaches how to share the gospel, using paint board techniques. An older woman shares her life story of being a missionary and also tips for visiting nursing homes. A variety of gifts and callings are modeled, skills are taught and practiced. Discipleship happens in the Bjorlie home, alongside the normal every day tasks of housekeeping, child rearing and cooking. Two weeks seems hardly enough time to impart all the info or to take it all in!

Many young women have been through the program, and we are praying about the young women who will attend this year. We are praying for cleared schedules and prepared hearts. Discipleship and following the Lord always incur sacrifice. That is no less true when attending the In Tents Discipleship Program. But, following the Lord and discipleship is also very rewarding. No one will leave “In Tents” unchanged. Skills will be learned, life long friendships will be made.

The dates for “In Tents 2017” are Sunday, June 18 through Saturday, July 1. We are very excited about what God will do in our lives and in the lives of every woman involved. Please prayerfully consider joining us yourself or encouraging a young woman to attend. This is a faith ministry and our attitude has always been, “freely you have received, freely give.” We do accept gifts, but we do not charge the young women for their training. The In Tents program is held at 3736 Knaap Street NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan,49525. For more information, details, cost, please contact contact Ann Bjorlie or Bernadette Veenstra.