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Member Spotlight: Cassie Conley

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Working in ministry, or any non-profit setting, is not for the faint of heart. And when you combine the two, oh boy! It’s so rewarding but takes many hands. I’ve been working in Christian radio for the last three and a half years planning events, running social media, and co-hosting an afternoon show. It’s a fast-paced environment where I’m thankful to use my passions and skills for the Kingdom. Growing up in the world of social media has been a blessing in my career path. When I learned that I could use these passions to help expand a ministry that has grown so dear to me, it was a very easy decision! I’m excited to play a small part in helping the social world learn about YADA.

It wasn’t until I met Cindy, almost three years ago, that I first discovered YADA. I was intrigued because of the way Cindy lived her life and I knew she had something that my heart needed. She talked about Jesus like He was someone she’s had coffee with everyday for the last 40 years. I had never experienced Him like that but I wanted to in the most desperate way. Five years ago, I wrote these words on the first page of my brand new journal: “My only desire in life is to walk in accordance with Christ…to embrace a life of freedom that He has set apart for me. I can do this because I am His. I am chosen.” That became my mission statement as I began to journey through one of the darkest seasons in my life. It sounded great at the time but, realistically, I had no idea how to walk in accordance with Christ or embrace a life of freedom. I’ve been in my own Yada group for over a year now and I’ve been blown away by the way Jesus has spoken to me. In this past year, I’ve laughed with Jesus and cried with Jesus all in the pages of my journal. I’ve seen what YADA has done in my own life and I’ll do whatever I can to help others who need to hear from God too.


Cassie loves spending time with her adorable niece, Evie.

Cassie has recently joined us as an amazing volunteer helping with our social media marketing plan!

Seek Wisdom for Renewed Hope

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Seek Wisdom for Renewed Hope

by Christine Davis, YadaFactor Coach

Wisdom.  Is it the same as being smart? The Bible has a lot to say about wisdom, and I believe God’s wisdom is an amazing source of hope for Christians. 

In First Kings, Solomon succeeded his father David as King of Israel. He was a very young man, and he lacked the life experience he knew he needed.  Near the beginning of his rule, God appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon asked for God to give him a “discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”  God agreed to give him “a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never be anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”  Moreover, God gave Solomon what he did not ask for, including wealth and honor, because He was pleased with the request.  Under Solomon’s rule, the great temple was built, and he ruled wisely and justly. 

In the book of Daniel, some of the smartest, strongest, and handsomest young men of Israel were taken captive into Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  They were given the finest training and education Babylon had to offer, in hopes of their serving Babylon well.  Four of these men, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, accepted everything the king offered to them, except for eating the king’s rich food.  I believe their decision to eat only vegetables and water was wisdom from God, a daily reminder that their true citizenship was not in Babylon but in Israel, worshiping the one true God.  When their faith was put to the test, these men refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar or his false gods.  Again, God granted them wisdom.  As a result, God spared them from death in a fiery furnace and from the mouths of lions.  

The book of Proverbs consists of writings by Solomon containing bits of knowledge and wisdom across a wide variety of topics, but most frequently about man’s relationship with God and with his fellow man. Over and over again, the book urges the reader to get knowledge and to desire “her” above all else.   People from far and wide flocked to King Solomon to ask him questions about all kinds of topics, and the book was preserved as scripture by the Jewish people because they recognized the value of the wisdom it contained. 

At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, he promised us “another Comforter” who would be with us always – The Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul prays that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” This indwelling Holy Spirit, which we receive at the moment of our conversion, gives us indwelling wisdom.  Here are my favorite verses in the whole Bible, James 1:5-8:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double minded and unstable in all they do.

This passage is a clear promise that God will give us wisdom if we ask for it, provided we receive it in faith, believing and not doubting wisdom has been given.  Using the Yada practice of reordering vertically, we bring our concern to God. We pray for wisdom and listen fiercely as we read scripture. We read, journal, and pray, wrestling truth fully, until we “know that we know” God’s wisdom has been given. Then, we act in faith, obedient to God’s revealed wisdom and not doubting it.

The hope and freedom this practice creates is truly miraculous.  Should we buy that house? Marry that man? Go back to school? Accept that responsibility?  God is ready and willing to give us an answer.  I have to wonder why we all don’t have more peace, and I would have to guess that it’s because we do indeed doubt when he reveals His wisdom. For me, the best solution is to allow enough time to listen.  More Yada! 

Why do you suppose only a few received wisdom in the past, and now all believers are given access to God’s wisdom? Could it be God’s wisdom provides the hope to which we need to hold fast, both now and in the days and years ahead? These are troubled times.  There are going to be hard choices to be made.  I am grateful that I don’t have to rely on my own wisdom as I face a very uncertain world.  God’s wisdom is a priceless treasure.  She is worth more than gold or silver.  Let us seek her, Yada sisters and brothers, hoping and trusting in the wisdom found in our precious Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Coaches Spotlight: Kimberly McLain

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What drew you to YadaFactor? 

I began doing Yada in 2013 when I was attending the University of Florida. A friend of mine asked me to join her in what I thought was just another bible study. Little did I know, I was in for something so much deeper. I began to connect with God in a whole new way; a more personal way. I have been practicing Yada with the same friend ever since. We’ve been able to encourage one another and point each other back to God through college, dating, marriage, moving, and more that is yet to come. Yada has taught me to focus on my pen and paper, setting all the distractions aside, and literally take my thoughts captive on a page. I am able to process frustrations, joys, sorrows, celebrations with God and bring him into my life completely. YadaFactor has changed my life. I truly don’t know where I would be without this practice.

 

What do you like about coaching?

I love sharing Yada with other people. It has completely changed my life and I’ve watched it change the lives of people I share it with. Coaching gives me a chance to see first-hand how God speaks to people. How often do we get to witness this so personally in the lives of others? I’m not an expert in all things Yada by any means and I struggle with fear of inadequacy as a coach, but I continue to say “yes” because when I witness someone hearing from God, I am filled with so much hope and joy.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I love to read books, mainly thrillers, but I throw a few rom-coms in there to lighten it up sometimes. I also spend a lot of time with family either traveling or playing games (Yahtzee, Phase 10, and Rummikub are my game recommendations). My husband and I recently moved from Nevada back to Florida to be with family and we are soaking up the time we have with those we love.

What one word would you use to describe Yada?

Brave – You have to be brave to do this practice. God knows our hearts already, but in Yada, we have to face some hard truths in our lives and admit them, to ourselves and to our Yada partners. It takes bravery to be honest and truthful, not avoiding the fears and insecurities. God is incredibly kind and loving, so when we are brave and open up to Him, He shows us just how much He loves us, even in our humanity.

Is there something special you’d like to share with other coaches in the YF community?

Thank you for being brave.

 

Immerse

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The Bible is essential for God’s people to grow and mature to do the work Jesus commissioned. Yet, many believers have no idea where to start or how to stay consistent and effectively engage with the Bible. Scripture engagement is learning the life-giving benefits of intentionally “immersing” ourselves in the Bible to experience God’s presence and truths flowing through us to a broken world.

Our culture seems to be spiraling out of control as biblical values are diminishing. We believe there are important correlations here that can no longer be ignored. God has propelled the ministry of YadaFactor for such a time as this!

YadaFactor provides the guidance needed for real life change around biblical practices. Our discipleship model puts each student at the feet of the Father, learning not just how to read the Bible, but how to immerse themselves in Christ, while growing in deep relationship to know God and hear His voice.

By God’s grace, and your generosity, YadaFactor is impacting hundreds of lives across the nation and globe.

CLICK HERE TO READ A LETTER FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WITH AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY!

 

Listening to His Voice of Love

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“I love you, Pegi.”

These were the first words I distinctly heard God say to me. I was in the middle of cleaning dishes and wiping up breakfast spills as I prepared to take my boys to school, then hand in my letter of resignation at work. His voice caught me completely off guard, interrupting the mental rehearsal of the conversation I would soon be having with my boss. Surprised by the peace I felt, I paused my busy activity to listen…closer. “You’re going to write a book. Name it: Revelations of a Housewife. I winced in bemused disbelief. Seriously? Yeah, me, a dyslexic housewife, write a book? I knew I was hearing the One I’d been praying to, only now He was speaking directly and specifically to me while proposing the impossible.

I remember this experience as if it were yesterday, but it actually happened 25 years ago. I’m still listening to His voice of love, but the writing He inspired has lain dormant for many years. Family priorities, YadaFactor ministry, life events, and other excuses have crowded it out. But there’s also something deeper and more daunting that discourages and derails me. Writing words for others is risky. You can’t take them back. Busyness and writer’s block guard against criticism, failure, and vulnerability. Yet the loving call of God remains.

Recently, I stepped down as Director of Training at YadaFactor ministry to manage the changes and logistics of moving three times since COVID began in 2020. Somehow, between downsizing a lifetime of family memories, boxing up our belongings and building a new home, I made my way back to a writing routine three days a week. During it all, there’s been one constant: Intimacy with God when reading His Word, journaling, and sharing with my two sisters, Debbie and Cindy. Loving God first and loving my sisters as I love myself has provided a steady foundation and reminder that no matter how I’m feeling or failing, serving or flailing, I can stand.

Most recently, I’ve been reading through the Book of 1 Chronicles about David’s life. Being with David daily, I’ve plodded along through lots of lists of names, tribes, wars, job descriptions, and preparation for building the Temple. But when I arrived at chapter 17, God showed me something worth all the trudging. This is when David hears the full revelation of God’s plan for his life, spoken through Nathan for the first time.

The Holy Spirit jumped within me, prodding me to stand at spiritual attention as if to say, “Did you get that Pegi? Did you? I gave you the revelation of my plan for your life and asked you to write it so that you may inspire others, just like I did with David.”

Our testimony is powerful! In fact, the loud voice speaking to John in Revelation 12:11 says, “They (believers) overcame him (Satan, the accuser) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…” Debbie, Cindy and I have witnessed the power to overcome in each other’s lives for the past 18 years. This is why we’re so passionate about helping others experience this gift of Yada intimacy that God gave us!

 

Pegi with her husband Joel.

Because the Living God has radically transformed her life, Pegi desires to see other women’s lives changed and she is committed to giving them tools to do it. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and has been passionate about sharing YadaFactor with others for 18 years. As part of a mission’s team, Pegi traveled to India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, where she taught YadaFactor and trained leaders. Pegi and her husband Joel have been married for 40 years and have two grown sons, a daughter preparing for college, and two grandchildren. They enjoy family time, travel, kayak adventures, beach walks and nature watching from their home on the Banana River. Pegi’s 15 years of experience as an Al-Anon member has greatly influenced the forming of YadaFactor and her years of listening to God and journaling in Yada have equipped her to persevere in her call to write stories of hope for others.

Coach Spotlight: John Ristuccia

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YadaFactor coaches are volunteers who make this ministry possible!

This month we are spotlighting John Ristuccia.

 

What drew you to YadaFactor?

I have always been active in my local church, but after I retired I began to pray that God would show me additional ways in which I could serve him. My wife, Beverly, had been active in Yada for many years, and I saw the impact that it was having on her life. I was also aware that the husband of one of the founders of Yada had been doing Yada with a pastor in India. So when he asked if I was interested in taking a Yada course, which eventually led to my becoming a coach, I felt that this was an answer to prayer.

What do you like about coaching?

Unlike Bible studies that I’ve led in the past, Yada provides an opportunity for men to really bond, to get to the heart of issues that they are dealing with as they grow closer to the Lord and become more acquainted with His voice through Scripture.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I take pleasure in spending time with my ten grandchildren, with the hope of having an impact on their lives, especially with respect to their Christian growth. I also enjoy doing odd jobs around the house in my spare time.

What one word would you use to describe Yada?

Focusing (on God)

Is there something special you’d like to share with other coaches in the YF community or those considering becoming a coach?

I believe, given our culture and the state of affairs in our country and throughout the world, that God has called us as coaches to engage people in a deep commitment to Yada, and a deeper relationship with Him. As coaches we are privileged to serve the Lord by being a part of this ministry for such a time as this.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

It’s extremely rewarding to be a part of Yada and to see men growing into a deeper relationship with God through it. It’s my heart’s desire to see this ministry expand and grow to reach more men.

 

Team Member Spotlight: Christine Brevik

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Hello! My name is Christine Brevik and I am currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer for YadaFactor. The story of how I got here is a tremendous story of God’s grace and persistence!

You see, God has been chasing me to slow down and shift my focus to ALL things in Him. My faith is important, I am active in my church, I am connected to an awesome small group, and I spend time in the word and my journal. I also had a successful career while attempting to create harmony in my life, but the cost was high! I just kept going and going and going (insert Energizer Bunny here… but not the cute, pink bunny, but the tired and barely moving bunny).

That is when it all came to a crashing halt. I was diagnosed with Covid in April 2020 and began a very difficult journey of healing and recovery where I found the simple act of breathing to be overwhelming and exhausting. I was scared – for myself and my family. I cried out to God, every-single-day!!!

I know my story is not all that unique with so many that have suffered so much from this evil and devastating disease. I pray with you all as we try to recover from all the personal ways this has impacted our lives.

What I want to share is how this period of my life has created a space of rest, reflection, and redirection. I have had a deep relationship with God for so long, but honestly, I let Him shift from my focus of being in the center of EVERYTHING… not just church, bible study and service projects – but really EVERYTHING! So, for me, my personal journey involved quitting my job (yes, that was really scary) and focusing on my healing – both with my health and my soul!

This is where God really showed up (again) and launched me on a journey that continues to bless me every day! I enrolled in Palm Beach Atlantic University where God orchestrated the next steps of this amazing journey and brought Debbie and I together. She introduced YadaFactor to me and I immediately went home to sign up for the next class. To say this was life changing is an understatement. Through Yada I have been able to dig deeper in the Bible and develop a much stronger relationship with God! My triad has become my lifeline through sharing and we are in awe of how God is present and working all the time.

This week my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. The journey to blend our beautiful family has been full of so many wonderful blessings. But the reality is this journey has also been messy at times, but God is so faithful and always shows up! As we prepare to celebrate with some well needed rest this week it is also a time to reflect on how much we have grown as a couple, as parents, and in our walk with God. Yada has allowed me the process to be reminded of this journey and God’s faithfulness.

Yada has been so transformational in my life, and it is an honor and privilege to be a part of the leadership team that is working faithfully to grow the YadaFactor ministry according to God’s plan.  For those of you that have experienced the transformation of Yada I would love to hear your testimony. For those that are still considering our YadaFactor Experience course please know we are here to answer any of your questions.

Christine is married to Lonnie, and they have a beautifully blended family of 7 children ranging in age from 15 to 33 and 4 grandchildren, ages 3 to 8. Family time is precious to Christine and always an adventure!

You can reach Christine at christine@yadafactor.com.

Coach Spotlight: Christine Davis

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YadaFactor coaches are volunteers who make this ministry possible! This month we are spotlighting Christine Davis. Fun fact about Christine…she’s very artistic and paints watercolor (photo below of a recent painting).

 

What drew you to YadaFactor?

I’d been searching for ways to better hear the voice of God. Eight years ago, when my friend Beverly told me about YadaFactor, I decided to give it a try.

What do you like about coaching?

I love witnessing the joy women experience when they know God is speaking to them personally. At times I see their lives opening up like a rosebud becoming a fully bloomed rose.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My husband Bob and I thoroughly enjoy quality time with our 6 grandchildren, who range from ages 8 to 17. They come and spend weekends or even weeks at a time with us, and we take them individually on special vacations. I like to ride my bike, swim, take walks, and spend time in the woods. I dabble with watercolor painting, which is a great way for me to focus on the beauty of God’s creation. I enjoy cooking, shopping, and going out to eat.

What one word would you use to describe Yada?

Powerful

Is there something special you’d like to share with other coaches in the YF community or those considering becoming a coach?

Being a YadaFactor coach is a privilege. Sometimes it isn’t easy carve out the time to do it, but it’s so important. When I think of how much I’ve been blessed on my personal YADA journey, how could I not share it with others? Plus, coaching seems like the perfect ministry for me, as I’m getting older and have less energy for more physically active pursuits. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of the YadaFactor community.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m a snowbird, spending half the year in the hills of western Massachusetts and the other half on a canal in Cape Coral, Florida. My husband and I have informally adopted a Guatemalan couple who are full time missionaries to the poorest of the poor Mayan people in their country. You can follow them on Facebook at DLopez Emmá DLópez and see how they are the hands and feet of Christ in Guatemala.

I’ll take Rest over Anxiety Please!

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This month, YadaFactor is focused on living out the word rest in a world that seems to be spinning off its axis. According to recent studies, 2 in 5 adults (42%) report symptoms of anxiety, which is the opposite of rest!

As a counselor and co-founder of YadaFactor, I see anxiety daily in the call God has given me. With Covid currently increasing, natural disasters, and distressing world events, all that is happening can keep us wondering where God is. If God offers peace or rest, how can we find it in these circumstances? Thankfully, YadaFactor offers a way!

Philippians 4:5-7 says,

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving make your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Let’s spend a moment together using the Yada model through this passage as we journal! Grab your pen and coffee and take a moment with me as we go through these verses.

I first want to focus that God is in control as the verse begins: “The Lord is at hand.” There are times I feel the world is out of control and I need to be reminded God is not! He IS at hand. Looking up “at hand” in my concordance I find it means to squeeze or throttle, to be near in place and position. That says a lot to me as God is always ready to act and He is near! It’s like He is saying “Let’s go!”

The verse also is telling me to not be anxious about anything, but to give what I am anxious about in prayer and supplication. Supplication means to beg; sweat it out. That visual reminds me of the moment in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was sweating blood, pleading with God to take the cup away that he was about to endure for our sake. Jesus was anxious but was doing what these verses are asking us to do. He stayed there until he could say, “Thy will be done.”

It has taken me a lot of years to get honest with God through begging, pleading, and petitioning in earnest. Currently, I am doing this for my daughter who is struggling, and it is hard to watch someone you love hurting. I have prayed for years for family members and often must wait for God to reveal his plan for them. But I have learned to write promises I get even before they are fulfilled, and love to wait in trust for when I will put the date of the answer.

Ending with thanksgiving also has proven so effective to let the peace of God rest on me and calm my anxiety. I do see Him at work in my life and there is so much to be grateful for. I love nature and get to enjoy it so much each day. I live in Virginia and love to hike, see waterfalls, and ride motorcycles with my husband. We love our adventures to see ALL God has created. I often am amazed at how creative the God of the Universe is. I love to thank Him for allowing me to experience how much He has given us to enjoy.

By the time I write all this, I begin to feel the peace of God, which surpasses my limited understanding of any situation! He alone can guard my mind and heart when the anxiety of each day wants to come back in. I am to follow this model each morning as counseling others needs to come from overflow of the time I spend with God. I have my own anxieties each day and need to come to Jesus to find rest for my soul as that is what I want to offer others. How much can overflow from your cup of rest and time with the Lord today?

God offers us all rest over anxiety, which will you chose today?

Cindy

Cindy Chamberland, a YadaFactor Co-Founder, is our resident thinker and a forever student of God’s word. Cindy has a doctorate in clinical counseling and a private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Lynchburg, Virginia. She has a passion to connect with people and help them find hope and healing. On the weekends Cindy loves to ride motorcycles with her husband of 35 years to see the incredible beauty in God’s natural world. She also enjoys running and hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. She has two grown children and six grandchildren.

A Leaky Boat

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Have you had a restful summer? 

I have, but only because a friend told me that she pictured me in a leaky boat, my body in contortions, using all my fingers and toes to plug the holes.  Can you relate?  That distressing image spurred me to ask for help, to pause, and to rest.

Then, while journaling, I saw how Jesus was in the boat with me, patiently waiting for me to rest in His presence.  What a gift!

A friend introduced me to YadaFactor four years ago.  Frankly, I was dubious about the premise that God would speak to me in such a personal, obvious way.  I was a committed Christian who loved God, but now I see that I was more focused on having the Bible inform me than transform me.  When my Bible study ended, I cautiously decided to give YadaFactor a try…one of the best decisions of my life!

In fact, I love YadaFactor so much that I now work in the office as an administrative assistant.  I want to do everything I can to make The YadaFactor Experience an excellent course to help others hear God for themselves, to have this deep intimacy with Him that is so powerfully transforming.

Early this summer I was drawn to Psalm 27.  On top of life’s usual challenges, my Mom had just passed away and family relationships were strained to the breaking point.  But verse 4 reminded me that God is the One thing I need.  Knowing Him (Ya-dah) is the only true rest for my soul.  Everything else faded away.  It has become my summer psalm.

 

One thing I ask from the Lord,

    this only do I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

    and to seek him in his temple.

 

Another Yada friend told me she has been beholding the Lord in her quiet time, just being still, enjoying His presence.  I resolved to do the same – less talking, more gazing – and now I know an even deeper level of resting in Him.

Just this past weekend my husband and I found a lovely home for sale up north near family.  After praying and crunching numbers, we submitted an offer.  While waiting for a response, I realized that I was OK with whatever the answer would be, resting in His plan, experiencing His peace.  Again, what a gift – maybe even bigger than the house!

Summer is almost over, and I’ve learned a lot, but I must confess that my boat is still leaking a little.  Life can be hard!  But now I’m quick to remember that Jesus is in the boat with me.  Gazing at His beautiful face and resting in His truth is making all the difference.  YadaFactor has helped me not only to hear Him, but even to see Him, and to rest in Him.

I’m so grateful.

Ann

Ann Hollensen is one of our amazing volunteers! She works behind the scenes providing administrative support.