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Impact India 360
Meet the Kensington-Communitas-Prescott 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 Jesus’ Kingdom 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:

Ben Olsen – This will be my second mission trip but first one to Christ’s Evangelical Mission. My uncle Dr. Sal Aragona asked me if I would be interested in going this year. I have a heart for the nations, enjoying working with children and share the Good News. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and working together to share the love of Christ.

Adriel Ewert – I love Jesus and am excited to have the opportunity to work with his beautiful children through this trip. I have always wanted to go to India since I heard about Mother Teresa’s ministry there when I was in elementary school. I am in my 3rd year as an elementary school social worker in the Wayne-Westland Community School District. I live with my older brother in Dearborn and enjoy having friends over and exercising at a nearby fitness center after work. I am also regularly involved with serving food at My Brother’s Keeper in Detroit. It is truly in giving that we receive and I need to constantly be reminded to not grow weary in doing good and that it’s through God’s strength I am able.

Hollie Barodte – I was raised by my wonderful parents, Mary and Rod, with my 3 siblings on 10 acres in Shelby Twp, MI, on what I like to consider our small version of a farm. My mom is a Pre School teacher at St Peter Lutheran School and Church and has been a huge inspiration to me in my love of working with children. This will be my frist time to India or on a mission trip in general. God has truely blessed my life in huge ways and has lead me and comforted me through some tough personal struggles. I feel very fortunate that He has led me to this trip to reach out to His people in India, and pray that I may be a blessing and that the Holy Spirit will work through me.

Teresa Pizzimenti – This will be my first trip to India. I have always had a heart for children and within the past few years, God has specifically put India on my heart. I am astounded at the way He has opened these doors for me to be able to go! I am very eager to love on all the children at Grace Children’s home, grow closer as a team and grow closer to Christ through this trip. I am excited to fulfill this calling from God and see where it leads!

Gina Petherick – This will be my third 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. I am looking forward to our time at CEM and can’t wait to see all that God has in store for our journey. It gives me such joy to go and build relationships with the kids and staff at CEM and the kids we sponsor through No Child.org. I also enjoy the time I get with Jaya’s family. They are gracious hosts. I would ask for prayer however because this trip is challenging both physically and emotionally.

Kristie McCormick – I am excited to go on my first overseas mission trip. I am a busy mom with two boys (in high school and in middle school) and a little 4-year-old daughter. I am excited to bring an open heart on my journey to India.

Natalie Forte – I am a mother of three great kids: Hannah (18), Nick (17) and Olivia (12) and married to an awesome husband, Christopher. I attend Kensington Community Church and am currently Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills. I am going to CEM in India because I wants to serve God’s children and share His love.

Jeff Petherick – I made my first trip to India in February of 2003. I was captured by the children but convicted by Jaya. I had never met a man so personally dedicated to the betterment of others like Jaya. His unwavering faith in Jesus and his tireless work in his community told me everything I needed to know. I could invest my life into CEM, Jaya and his family and I would reap blessings beyond my imagination. On my trip the following year, I told Jaya I felt God ask me to dedicate my life to his ministry for as long as he has me on this great earth. Since then, I consider Jaya to be my true brother, not only in Christ, but in family. His family is mine, and I love them all deeply. I am excited to return this year for another reality check and a reminder there is nothing in my life worth complaining about.

Lisa Rocquemore-Ariza – I’m from the Detroit area except for going to Evanston, IL for undergrad. My parents had my brother and I late in life and we have a very close relationship. He is married and is father to my two amazing newphews Landon – 8 years old and Braylon – 6 years old. My parents are both still alive and while my mother has Dementia she is 82 years young and lives with me. Having grown up in the church my journey involved my pulling away from God throughout the years until about 7 or 8 years ago when I realized God wanted a relationship with me; not just an obligatory prayer here and there when life was tough and going to church to worship with others then returning to my regular life. God lead me to Kensington and in listening to His call He lead me to two great small groups, to become a Stephen Minister and a member of the Prayer team and a volunteer with the Kensington Kids. He also lead me to serve on a Mission trip to Belo Horizonte Brazil and La Carpio Costa Rica. During the week I work as a Business Analyst as well as own a Nanny agency. Now I am excited about how God will call me to serve my fellow team members and the people of India.

Dr. Dan Jenaras – I am a father of three. Lydia, 26, lives and works in Chicago. Alex, 22, lives in Boston, taking a year off from U of M and involved in a start-up called Fetchnotes. And Celia, 20, is a sophomore at Hope College. I graduated from U of M ant then U of D Dental School and have enjoyed providing General Dentistry to my patients for nearly 40 years.I am married to a beautiful woman, Nicolette, who I love sharing live with.I have an active full time dental practice in Waterford, MI. At one time, I thought monetary wealth should be my number one goal. Live life and learn that wealth can be measured in many ways, the most valuable is the love you give and receive. I have no regrets!

Nicolette Jenaras – People say I am always smiling…well there may be a little truth to that, but I do have my not so smiley times too. I do love people, being active, helping out, hosting parties, just being around and entertaining others, pretty much. I am a teacher by trade but have not been in the classroom for a while. My family is the coolest, starting with my wonderful husband Dan, awesome Greek guy, he’s on the trip too, then there is Gabor, my 90 year old Dad living with us. Lydia is the oldest of our 3 Children, she lives in Chicago, super cool and fun 26 year old who works at Monster. Alex is next, 22, deferred from UM to work on a start up in Boston, Awesome, smart, techie who wants to make a change. Celia, our 20 year old student at Hope in Holland, Beautiful young woman who loves Jesus and wants to serve by teaching Math, of all subjects…they are all so smart and beautiful!! Cant believe that I get to go to India with not only my best friend, Dan, but with some other amazing people who will grow and learn and lean on Jesus in a big way! Thanks God…You continue to amaze and bless me in so many ways!!! Yours, Praying to be useful…

Chris Gortat – Being called for a 5th trip to India is quite an honor. I am so excited to be co-leading this trip with my brother, Greg! This adventure to India has given us the opportunity to grow closer with one another through prayer and preparation. We have a wonderful team! Please pray that He is the true leader so that the Team (which includes you) and the Indian people grow closer to one another through You. I am a pharmacist by trade yet will not be directly used in this capacity during our time in India. Please pray that I am used in whatever capacity needed to glorify Him!

Greg Gortat – In 2007 I took my first trip to CEM. The people there stole my heart and God connected with me in a special way. I’ve been back nearly every year since. This year it is my honor to co-lead the trip with my brother Chris. We have been blessed with what appears to be an awesome team! I look forward to serving with them in Dowlaiswaram, India and to seeing to how our Savior uses and grows us.

Dr. Sal Aragona – My first short term mission trip to India in 2003 was a defining moment in my life when God broke my heart for the poor in India. It had begun a journey for me to love a people half way around the world that I didn’t know in a way I thought not possible. I poured a significant amount of my time and energy into a work that is transforming the lives thousands of precious people in unimaginable ways. In spite of this, what God is transforming even more incredibly is me. My experiences in India have wrecked my life in a deeply profound manner. My heart of stone is, piece by piece, being replaced by a heart of flesh that pounds for the poorest people that matter deeply to God. I am looking forward to my continued heart surgery!

Allie – I believe firmly in two things: 1) you should give more to the universe than you take and 2) life should be magical. Mind-blowing magic. And those little nuggets took me a long time to wrap my mind around. I spent the early part of my twenties trying to live optimally, feel connected and crack the healthy living riddle. And although I was shiny and smiley on the outside, my inside was in chaos. All I knew was that I was a pretty great person and a lot of the food, people and situations in my life were dimming my spark. So I cleaned house. And out went the garbage in my world — including excuses. I dove headfirst into the wellness waters, coming up for air once I realized that authentic and holistic living holds the blueprint for bliss and giving love, time and energy paves a life path. That led me to my first service trip to eSikhawini, South Africa, where I found the inner glow and magic I was searching for. As a Holistic Nutrition Practitioner and Certified Yoga Teacher, I believe that a nutrient-dense diet rules, exercise is imperative, having fun must be taken VERY seriously, and that love and travel are good for the soul. I received degrees in Psychology and Communications from the University of Michigan and attended The Institute for Integrative Nutrition of Columbia University, NY.

Victoria Viola – Never before could I imagine myself traveling to India or anywhere like it. I am a Personal Trainer in Manhattan and have lived in NY my entire life. The trials I encountered this past year have transformed my life perspective and created in me a deep need to serve. I truly feel like God has put the calling and courage in my heart for this trip. I pray that our team is a blessing to the children we meet. I am joyfully ready to be a part of the difference CEM is making.

Abigail Morris – I am both nervous and thrilled for this trip to India as I have never been outside of the U.S. before. I really look forward to being able to put the words of John 15:12 into action in a very different way from how I do here. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” I am unsure of what God has in store for us in India, but I am excited to find out!

Craig Mayes – I had the privilege of making the very first trip to be with Jaya in 2001 and subsequently to be a part of seeing this amazing work grow over the years. I am ready for another dose of beautiful smiles, joyful singing, deep friendship and much love – not to mention the warm February India sun!

Chris Mayes – India holds a very special place in my heart because of CEM. I am so excited to see everyone! I’m also very excited, as always, to see what God is going to do while we are there!

Michael VanConant – Wandenomolou! That would be hello in Telugu. This will be my 3rd trip to India. Over my time there, my eyes have been opened to many difficult realities about how most of the world really lives. At the same time my heart has been filled with joy and love for the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of meeting. I look forward to meeting the rest of the team and of course, being with my brothers and sisters at CEM. God willing, India will be a part of my life for many, many years to come.

Caleb Mayes – I’ve been building friendships with the people of CEM campus since I made my first trip at the age of ten. I can’t wait to be back with all the familiar faces and smiles of the children.

David Droste – I often wonder why God has given me such a blessing to know and work alongside of Jaya, his CEM team, and the wonderful servants from various churches around the country who love him. This is my tenth trip and I can’t wait to see the faces of the children, share life with the MTS students, and get to know members from other churches. In addition, I have the blessed privilege of traveling from Arizona with three amazing people who have been touched deeply by God to pour themselves away for His kingdom!

Josh Procknow – I live in Prescott, AZ. I’m a swimming pool contractor, an occupation I really do enjoy. I have owned my company for ten years but have been building pools for almost twenty years. I’ve been married to my wife Jamie for ten years. We have seven awesome kids. Both my wife and I love children. I went on my first international mission trip a few years ago, when I went to an orphanage in Beijing along with several others from my church. It was an incredible experience and I have wanted to continue serving the Lord in that way as often as I am called to do it. I am looking very forward to our India trip, especially after having heard from my wife and my daughter about their experiences there.

Jamie Procknow – I live in Prescott AZ. My husband and I have been married for 10 years. God has blessed our marriage in incredible ways. We have seven precious kiddos and have had the privilege of being parents to several other children through the foster care system for many years. I am a home school mom, which is both fun and extremely tough too. I rarely sit down (unless I’m on an airplane or asleep). I recently returned from an India trip and have high hopes that I will be able to return as often as possible. My life feels like a story book sometimes. I’m a very old and very young 34 year old. I’m a walking oxymoron, my family has had loss and prosperity lots of health, lots of sickness, lots of joy, lots of tough stuff, God has shown himself clearly through it all, and if you care to hear more, ask I’m an open book.

Beth Lee – I am excited to be returning to India. I have been a Christian for most of my life, and I have been blessed with a Godly Christian heritage which I desire to serve the Lord with on this trip. As a mother of 6 children ages 27-16 I have a love for children and a desire to teach them about the Lord, and use my other talents and training as He sees fit. I was very blessed during my last trip as I found that God can use even our weaknesses for His glory.