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Impact India 360
Meet the February 2011 Team!

Hello fans of CEM India! For the past several of years, the team blog has been a fantastic way for all of our family and friends to get live day to day updates on short term trips to the CEM campus in Dowlaiswaram, India. It is a live real time journal expressing what is happening on the trip on many different levels. It is a great way to pray for us as we know, this is ultimately a battle for the hearts and minds of precious people in advancing a Kingdom of compassion in places like India. An initiative like this would never happen without a great group of individuals who have been called into it. Let me introduce the team in their own words:

Katie Ried – This will be my first time going to India. I have felt called to go since first hearing about it last year, and despite the many obstacles that stood in the way of my going this year, God has helped me overcome them all. I am really excited to serve in India, form connections with the children of CEM, and grow in my relationship with God.

Chris Mayes – It’s been eight years since I was in India! A lot has
changed since I was there. I’m excited to see all the new development and most of all, Jaya’s family and all the children! It’s such an eye opener to all that God is doing around the world and not just in my tiny corner. And the Indian people cause me shame in how much joy they have. It should be a time of growth for me and hopefully, a time for me to serve these people. I’m really looking forward to it!

Michael VanConant – This will be my second trip in a row to India. Not many days pass that I don’t think of my brothers and sisters at CEM. I relive my time there often and am excited to have the opportunity to do it again. I look forward to meeting the rest of the team and seeing what God has in store for this trip.

Chad Petherick – I am 22 years old and just graduated from Albion College in May with a degree in Liberal Arts and a Major in Economics & Management. I am currently working at a Wealth Management & Coaching Firm, Mackey Komara & Dankovich, as an Associate Wealth Coach. I love spending time with my family, my girlfriend Scarlett, my friends, and my new cat Minnie. My last mission trip I went on was in high school to Iquitos, Peru and I remember how close I felt to God by helping others. Seeing the joy of the people of Iquitos definitely made me think about the blessings in my life and the amount of things I take for granted. Being the only Petherick that has not been to India yet, I figured it was time to go and let God grab my heart in India like he has the rest of my family.

Dr. Craig Mayes – I look forward to serving again in Dowlaiswaram, India- a place that has become my second home. Since my first trip in December 2000, I have had a front row seat to witness God’s heart for the poor and his ability to provide through men and women who are truly following Jesus. I think this is my 14th trip, and I expect that my heart will be broken, captivated, and challenged again as it has been each trip.

Sarah Million – This will be my third trip to CEM and I couldn’t be more excited to go and see my friends in India. God has certainly stretched my view of the world and it took a trip to India to teach me how far God’s love reaches. I love spending time with the children and staff at CEM and look forward to loving on every child there. I am so blessed to be able to go again and be the hands and feet of Jesus. What an honor! To make it even better, my fiance is going on the trip for the first time and I am excited to share this with him and see how he is impacted.

Kimberly Watson-Hemphill – I am looking forward to returning to CEM for the second time with my husband, Robert. I can’t wait to see the kids from Grace Children’s Home again! In particular, I am looking forward to meeting some of the college students that we have been supporting – it will be great to put faces to the names that we see back and forth in emails. Thank you to the Kensington team to allowing us to serve with you.

Robert Watson-Hemphill – This trip is my second to India, and I’ll be going again with my wife Kimberly. I look forward to being a part of this cool Kensington team and serving alongside them in India. India is such an amazing place and Jaya’s family is doing such beautiful work in the community. I can’t wait to serve and hopefully play a game of tag again with a hundred kids chasing me.

David Droste – This will be my seventh trip to India! I began praying for the Indian people in about 1995 and continue to do so. On my first visit, in 2005, I absolutely fell in love with the Indian people and have been so blessed to be able to return. God is doing an amazing work through Jaya and his family!

Bethany Droste – This will be my first missions trip. I am excited to have the opportunity to go to India. My dad has always told me all about it but I never knew when I would be able to go. Now I am thankful for this chance to go with him. I am eager to serve God in a different country and I believe he will do amazing works in my life and in the lives of the people in India.

Dr. Sal Aragona – This will be my 13th trip to CEM in the last eight years. I currently serve as president of the CEM-USA board which oversees US funding of Jaya’s work in India. Besides “adopting” all over 200+ Grace Children as our own, I am looking forward to seeing the four story 70 bed hospital fully open and operational in becoming a beacon of light to thousands of the very poor who will experience the love of Jesus through compassionate medical care. My heart beats wildly for the Indian people. The are the most kind, honorable, courageous people I have ever encountered. It is an amazing privilege to be a small part of moving a Kingdom of love and compassion that cannot be stopped to a people so thirsty for a demonstration of that in their lives. Besides serving the very poor with dental care, I will be involved with final preparations of the CEM hospital to be a self sustaining ministry.

Jessica Gortat- This will be my 3rd trip to India in a little over a year. I have really grown to love the people of India with all of my heart. My first trip was a little overwhelming with the travel, time change, culture shock, etc. However, when I went back in October of 2010 I felt much more comfortable with the schedule and the people and really started to develop relationships. God opened my eyes to the fact that people are people no matter where you are at, and kids are kids, and the bottom line is we all just want to be loved. I pray that God forges even deeper relationships this time around. I can’t wait to get back to my family on the other side of the world!

Sue Dankovich – This will be my third mission trip and my first to India! Eight years ago while making my daughters prom dress, God placed on my heart to create a ministry titled Dollies and Dresses. Over the years I have prayed for direction and insight has to how this would take place. On November 21, 2010 while listening to Steve Norman talk about how God uses insecure people to make a difference in the world, my salvation history all came together in God’s perfect plan. The dollies are the Sewing School ladies and the dresses are what they create! I can’t wait to meet my “dollies” and share with them my love for sewing and my love for them.

Jeanette Wheeler – Over the past 15 yrs, the Lord has continued to break my heart for the things that break His. Since then, I have taught 12 years in the inner city, and have worked with sheparding women on their spiritual journeys. He has also given me the heart and passion for overseas missions. I have lived overseas for two one-year commitments that included living in South America, Asia, Africa, and Central America. I have also gone on three 2-week trips to Africa with KCC. I have yet to go to India, but the Lord has put a huge desire and burden on me for His people there. I am going with a heart of peace, servant hood, and love. I am just excited to see what He has in store for me to do and receive.

Jeff Petherick – This will be my seventh trip to India to be with Jaya, his family and all the children and staff of the CEM Campus. It’s my once a year reality check, reminding me that I have nothing to complain about and everything for which to be thankful. This year I am blessed to make the trip with my entire immediate family, something I have been praying about for years.

Chris Gortat – This will be my first mission trip. It is going to be an honor and pleasure to serve God by serving both the people of Dowlaiswaram and our team members. Why serve the poor on the other side of the world? God’s world is much larger than mine and if this is where I am being led, then His will be done :). Please pray for the team that we are steeped in the love of our good God and are able to be The Christ to the people of India.

Gina Petherick – This will be my second trip to India. I find myself in awe that I will be returning to India this February, considering I told my husband Jeff I would never go. This year I will have the privilege to share the experience with my husband and our two kids Chad and Kira. I am looking forward to our time at CEM and can’t wait to see all that God has in store for our journey. I feel extremely blessed to be able to go there and love on the kids both at the JEMS school and at CEM. This is a challenging trip both physically and emotionally so prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Andy Van Zee – This will be my second overseas missions trip but my first time visiting India. I have been impacted by CEM in the past through my fiance Sarah and am excited to be able to share her passion for the children by visiting myself this year. I am anxious to learn about the Indian culture and see how God uses me.

Greg Gortat – This will be my seventh trip to Christ Evangelical Mission. The relationships I’ve devoloped with the beautiful people of CEM keep me coming back. This particular trip is extra special because I am leading it with my new wife, Jessica. If you were to tell me 5 years ago I’d be doing this, I would have told you you were nuts! Following Christ can be quite the adventure.

Julie O’Connell – This will be my very first mission trip. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me. As an aspiring Dentist, I am very blessed to get the opportunity to use my knowledge to do God’s work in India. I am so thankful to have such a great team to help prepare me for our journey ahead.

Dr. Tom DiLoreto – This will be my fourth trip to India. It has been a great privilege and honor to serve our Lord by being part of his Great Commission on short term mission trips. I can’t wait to be with Jaya and the rest of the C.E.M. team which have always been a blessing to our team. I hope to be working in the dental unit of the hospital for the first time. I will have open arms that are available to be used as the Lord desires to serve Him with the team for the expansion of God’s kingdom in India. To God we give all the glory!!!

Kira Petherick – This will be my second time going to India. I am truly blessed to be going back for a second time. When I first went to India I was 13 years old. Now that I am 20, I am excited to experience India as an adult. I am even more excited this time because my whole family is going. Going to India had a huge impact on me as a 13 year old. I can only imagine what it will do for me as a 20 year old. I am looking forward to reconnecting with the people of CEM and the kids.