Students Speak Thanksgiving

Students Speak Thanksgiving! 


Thankful for “mommy, me, and daddy”

IMG_3225Evan 10, Dannan 7, and Kellen 4 with their thankful lists!

thanksAmelia (our friend Diane from Australia’s daughter!) is thankful for everything in the whole wide world!

Bella likes her new wheelsAndrew and Barbara Budek-Schmeisser provide sanctuary for rescued dogs. “One of these is Bella, whom we found drowning in a ditch, her back broken. Now she has a safe place, lots of pals, and a wheelchair. I’m sure she’s thankful, but I am perhaps more thankful for her, because she came and showed life and spirit at a time when my heart was heavy, and my hope dimming. For her – and for all the others – we are truly thankful.”


A great list from M- age 5!

IMG_20131124_172259Another great list from E- age 7.  M and E’s  Mom is a kindred spirit in teaching families to serve!

Thanks so much for these special reminders of what is important! What are you thankful for?

seeking thanksgiving

PicMonkey Collage

About Proximity is seeking thanksgiving for the week of Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for so much, even the tough stuff. One of my favorite thanksgivings is young people. I love their honesty and their trusting faith in God and each other.

These were last year’s submissions:

Students Speak Thanksgiving- here, here, here, and here.


My heart was encouraged by the kids that contributed last year. I would love to fill up the week of thanksgiving with even more this time! How can you contribute?

  • Take a photograph of your kids holding up a sign of what they are thankful for! {I love their honesty my kids said super heros and stuffed animals.}
  • Send the photograph as an attachment to 
  • Include their names, ages and what they are thankful for. I will just use first names for privacy.

Questions? Just drop me note!





Students Speak Thanksgiving

Summer, Age 6, thankful for her family.
Paisley, Age 4, thankful for her family and gold stars.
Jack, age 3,  thankful for his big tractor.
Daniel, age 4, thankful for his friend Josiah
Noah, age 2 1/2 thankful for his family, his Mom and Dad
Alex, Age 8, thankful for video games
Riley, Age 4, thankful for Mom
Vismitha, Age 8, thankful for friends.
Vismai, Age 10, thankful for shelter.

ACTS, a Family

A Guest Post By: Jamie Van Heest 

What is ACTS?:

The mission of ACTS is to Embrace, Equip, and Empower the youth of Holland. We are striving to show them God’s love so that they may know love, how to accept love, and how to be love in return.

The kids chose to call our group ACTS during a season when we were reading through the book of Acts.  As we learned about new believers and the early church, the kids felt a deep connection to these people and this kind of community. We learned about Christians coming together to share all they had, living together, praying together, and breaking bread together. It was then that our kids realized that they are the Body of Christ and that we are His church wherever we go.

I remember that day so vividly; I was blown away by their faith and spiritual maturity. We had been meeting in a coffee shop downtown because we had no real home, and that day we had gathered a group of over 20 kids as we walked.  I’d never met half of them before, and as we stood in line buying some drinks I heard one new friend ask one of my kids who I was. Marc replied so eagerly and quickly, with such assurance, “She is Jaime!” When the response was just a confused look Marc continued, “God sent her to us! We are like a family.”

ARTS, COMMUNITY, TEACHING, and SERVING are the pillars of who we are as ACTS. The kids have been encouraged and equipped from the start to share their ideas and to be the leaders and the doers of this group. One of the first things we did together was art. Twice a week kids could stop in, eat a meal and create some art. It was not a class, but an opportunity to be creative, to get messy, and to talk to people, and ultimately to find one’s unique voice and the courage to share our stories.

I asked Lorena, one of our girls, what was important to share with people about what we do.  With no hesitation she said, “We do homework, and a whole bunch of fun stuff together. We do art, and eat, and learn to grill outside. We go to the beach and we clean up the beach too! We help volunteer and we work in Lefty’s garden. We always do stuff together as a family and we are always there for each other.”

ACTS is a family. We are living in community with one another, when life is fun and especially when it gets tough. Loving people where they are fosters relationships, trust, and friends challenging each other to do and be more. And when we have people, our own people, and we create a safe time and space together what can be dreamed, created, learned and shared is limitless.  This is ACTS.  And I’m pretty sure this is what Jesus meant for the church to look like.

The ACTS Facebook Page 

The ACTS Blog

My name is Jaime VanHeest and I am the Executive Director of ACTS, a ministry reaching at-risk youth in Holland, MI. God called this ministry into being over the past five years as a group of young people joined together to create a community where they could all feel safe, respected, challenged, empowered and most importantly loved by one another and by trusted adults. It is my great honor to facilitate this ministry and to work with incredible young people who help us discern daily God’s call and direction for this HIS ministry in and through their lives.