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Daina & Lance Kraai

2004 - Daina missions trip with team from USA; 2007-2010 - volunteer; 2007-2010- Lance Volunteer & Regent Intern

October 20, 2021

'Witnessing' to people could simply mean loving them - love your neighbor as yourself.

Meeting Joyce, Dawn, Ficus, Britton and some of the other staff at Jacob's Well back in 2004 was a huge turning point in my spiritual life. I was just out of high school and on a mission trip to Jacob's Well from Rockford, IL with a year-long discipleship program that I was participating in. Looking back, I have no idea how or why the program was connected to Jacob's Well, but I'm so grateful. God knew exactly what I needed that year and where I needed to be. Joyce was the first person who ever taught me that 'witnessing' to people could simply mean loving them - love your neighbor as yourself. At the time, this was both shocking and completely freeing. I was one of those eager Christian kids who wanted to make sure I was doing everything right, but never felt like I could measure up - especially when it came to sharing the Gospel, shy as I was. But I realized that I could love, and as that opened up for me, I began to experience the immeasurable love of God, that week. As I sat under Joyce's teaching and watched the staff interact with neighbors, something broke down in me, and I knew I had found my place in this world. I can't even put to words the freedom I experienced in this shift in theology. Many times, I think we don't realize how much our theology can keep us bound up, but it really does influence every part of our life. I came home from that trip knowing that something had shifted in me, and God began a real work of healing in me.

I felt such a connection to JW and little did I know that God would again use that place to bring me back again to more of God's story for my life. I ended up going to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI where I met my husband, Lance Kraai. He started seminary at Calvin while he waited for me to graduate and then wanted to find a new school. He asked me what I thought about moving to Vancouver, BC and I laughed and told him I already had some connections there! We went out to visit during Spring Break so Lance could visit Regent College, and low and behold, there happened to be a Jacobs Well workshop the same weekend we were out. I watched as Lance sat under the same teaching and experienced much of what I had 3 years prior. These connections felt like a move of the Spirit, and the following year, after graduating and getting married we moved out to BC (2007-2010) where Lance started at Regent and we both volunteered in some way at Jacob's Well. Lance got quite involved with the garden with Tom Weust and Dave Auperlee. Lance now runs an urban farm in Grand Rapids that employs high school youth, and the Auperlees live about 30 min away! We also regularly make it down to visit the Wuests’ whose lifestyle has made a big impact on how we live.

While in BC, because of our JW connections, we ended up joining Joyce and Dawn's church, Strathcona Vineyard. It was just what we needed- small, inviting, hospitable to all, prophetic to injustices, and a place to practice and use our gifts. There are so many similar overlapping people and values to JW, and we learned so much from this community. Our entire time in Vancouver watching these various communities, all connected to JW, live out their Christian faith had such an impact on us, that when we moved back to Michigan, we bought a house in a neighborhood just a block from our church to really invest ourselves here in this place. I am the Children's Ministry Coordinator at our church and Lance continues to run the urban farm at New City Neighbors and is currently renovating their new farm and office space. There is not a single day in our lives that we are not thinking or living out the values of faith and theology that were really birthed in us through the space at Jacob's Well, and we are so grateful for that, as well as for the relationships that continue to thrive from that place!

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