Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!! What a wonderful time to spend with my family before leaving again. As I am writing this, my whole family is asleep. If you see the time of this post... yes, it is only 5am. I am wide awake. I was working on a special Christmas gift for my parents in the middle of the night, and am now wide awake. But, that's ok. I love being with my family this Christmas.

I attended Christmas Eve services at church with my parents, sister, and her boyfriend. I love seeing them all in church. I pray that they will have the desire to continue going to church on a regular basis- not just Christmas and Easter. I ask that you also will pray with me for my family- that they will come back to God and experience a true relationship with him.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, filled with joy and happiness, surrounded by loved ones, and in celebration of the birth of a baby born over 2000 years ago.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Getting Ready

Christmas is coming. Just a few short days away. I have been preparing for Christmas for the past few weeks. I am excited about Christmas this year. Last year, I was not home for Christmas; I was in Venezuela. While I loved experiencing a Venezuelan Christmas, I was really really homesick. I spent several hours of Christmas Day on the phone with my family, attempting to share Christmas with them even though I was 3000 miles away. What a blessing God has given me to allow me to spend Christmas with my family this year.

I am also preparing for the next big adventure that God has given me. I leave in just 2 weeks. It is so close away, and yet, it still feels so far. I think it will "sink in" more once Christmas is over, that I will be gone soon. There is so much to do over the next 2 weeks. It will pass so quickly. Before I know it, I will be heading to the Caribbean and jumping into the work that God has already prepared for me!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here we go again...

Over the past 10 months, I have been patiently waiting for God to guide me on my next path. When I heard about Doulos Discovery School, I began praying and asking God if this was where He wanted me to go. He confirmed it to me in May, and I began the road of support raising and preparing to go serve Him in the Dominican Republic.

It has been a long, hard journey. Support raising has not been easy. I began to wonder about God's plan for me and if I really was on the right journey. I continued to pray and seek His Guidance, but things became more and more difficult. Trials and tribulations have come with increasing intensity over the past several months, not just for me, but for my family as well- culminating in the last couple of weeks. Several times, I asked God if He really wanted me to go or if He rather I stayed here, serving Him in my own home and church. While I wasn't always sure what He wanted me to do, I trusted Him to guide me and trusted that He would show me and give me direction on where He wanted me to be. And He did!

This week, I was finally given approval to proceed. Today, I purchased my flight tickets. I will be leaving on January 5- traveling to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. I am excited to finally be able to go serve Him in the DR.

I ask that you please continue to keep me in your prayers as I prepare to leave. Pray that God will continue to guide me as I work with the other missionaries and teachers of Doulos, working with the children of Jarabacoa, and reaching the people with the truth of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving with my family

Happy Thanksgiving.

Last year, I was away for Thanksgiving- spending it with my very good friends in Venezuela. This year, I am back with my family. It has been an enjoyable day of sharing with my family, talking, reminiscing about old times, eating great food, and having a good time.

It has been hard waiting for the time when God will be sending me to the DR, but in the meantime, it is good to be with my family and be able to spend these precious holidays with them.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I know, I know. It's been a long time since I have been on my blog. I am sorry. I have not been motivated to write and have not really had anything to write about. I admit, I have been a bit discouraged. However, I am trying to get over that.

Last weekend, I visited a church in Bucyrus, Ohio- a 2 hour drive away. I "accidentally" found this church's website when I was looking for something else. I became intrigued when I saw that this church (in Ohio) has a hispanic ministry.

Both the English and Spanish services were very good. The Spanish service lasted 3.5 hours and was quite charismatic. Everything in Spanish was translated into English, which made it difficult to understand at times because of 2 languages happening at the same time.

After the service, I spoke with the pastor, who was thrilled to find out that I (1) speak Spanish and (2) am a missionary in Latin America. He gave me his email address and wants to keep in touch with me. Perhaps God is providing a divine connection with this church.

Anyway, I am just trying to trust Him with everything. I know there is a reason He has delayed me in going to the DR. I just have to trust in Him and His perfect timing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The book of Job

Tonight I was reading from the book of Job. In the life of Job, there was a Spiritual battle that took place in Heaven. Satan was actually given permission to strike everything in the life of Job and to strike him physically, but he was not allowed to kill him. Satan believed that Job had been faithful to God all his life because of his good life and that once everything was taken away- his family, his wealth, and his health- that he would then curse God. Job, however, did the opposite. He humbled himself before God.

As I was reading, I noticed that Job was hard pressed. He was depressed. He tired of the troubles he was facing. He asked God several times to take his life and let him die. He wished he had never been born. He asked God why all the problems were happening to him. However, in all of that, he never cursed God; he never blamed God for the problems he was having. He blamed himself and his sin. His advisors could not understand why he would continue to lift up God in the midst of his sorrows, but he was still able to respond, “I know that my redeemer lives”.

Another point that I noticed in Job was how the prayers and speeches of Job point directly to Jesus. Job asked questions about life and death and if people will rise from the dead. He also prayed for and wished for someone to intercede between him and God. These prayers and questions were answered in Jesus. Jesus died for our sins and was then raised from the dead. He is now in Heaven as our intercessor between us and the Father God.

I would not have wanted to live during the time of Job. He had many questions and many uncertainties and had no way to answer them. I am thankful that I have God’s Word to turn to for answers to my questions and comfort for my sorrows. I am thankful that I live in the time where I can turn to Jesus and trust Him for my Salvaltion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A regular part of any missionary's life...

Saying goodbye.

It's hard saying goodbye. The people who you work with, live with, fellowship with, worship with- they become like your second family. You don't want to have to say goodbye- but it is part of being a missionary. It seems like you are always saying goodbye.

Well, this trip to Venezuela was a short one- only 3 1/2 weeks. But, I am still very close with the people here. After being away for 6 months, it did not take me long to get back into the flow of life in Maracaibo and feel like I was living here again- only I didn't have my apartment anymore. I felt more like I belong here than as if I were a tourist or a short-term missionary. This is home- at least one of my homes- and the people here are family- as least part of my family. I love being in Maracaibo and I am sad to leave.

As I am writing this (I should be in bed as I have to wake up in 2 hours to go to the airport for my flight), I am spending time with Guita. She will once again have to remain in Venezuela.

So, with tears in my eyes, I say goodbye. However, I can trade in these tears of sorrow for tears of joy. Why? Because I know that God is good. He works out all things for His glory. He wants to wipe away every tear. One day, I will be reunited again with my Venezuelan family- if not in Maracaibo, then in Heaven. I can also rejoice that I will be yet another step closer to my upcoming ministry in the DR. So, although tonight has tears, joy will soon be coming!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Free Day!!

The Mission trip free day. This is a day- usually close to the end of a mission trip- that is free from mission trip duties. We do not usually have to work on this day; it is a day to enjoy ourselves and experience the local wonders of this great place we have been serving in all week.

Normally on the Venezuelan mission trips, our free day includes a trip to downtown Maracaibo, where the team has an opportunity to do some sightseeing in the older part of town and shopping at the Indian market. However, this year we had 3 kids on the team. I didn't think that they would like going to see old Catholic churches and wait around while the adults went shopping. So, before the trip started, Arturo (my co-coordinator) and I had been talking about the free day activities. I asked him to try to plan something different that the kids on the team would like. We did not discuss it too much more as he kept me in the dark (for the most part) about the plans he was developing for this special day for the mission team.
I did get a little information before the free day about the plans and was able to put 2 and 2 together to figure out what was happening for this special day. It was indeed a mission trip free day to remember- 2 actually.

The team actually went on a little trip. We boarded a private bus at 3:30am on Saturday morning and traveled for 7 hours before arriving at our posada in the town of Tucacas. Tucacas is the port city where you can take a boat to the islands of the Venezuelan keys.

When the bus arrived in Tucacas, the roads leading to our posada were too narrow for the bus to maneuver. So, we had to walk about 5 blocks. Not a problem as everyone was excited. We quickly put our belongings in our rooms and stepped through the back door of the posada which lead directly to the boats waiting to take us to the island. A 15 minute boat ride later, we arrived at our paradise destination.

We spend the next 6 hours on the island- playing in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea or walking along the sandy shores. My back pain had even eased up a bit in the water, allowing me to enjoy my time there. Until....

A few of us decided to take a walk to the other side of the island. About 5 minutes into the walk, my back muscles spasmed stronger than I have felt in a very long time. I was literally paralyzed. I could not continue. I sent the rest of the group on ahead while I went back. That 5 minute walk there took about 25 minutes to walk back. I literally could not move. This was the strongest pain I had felt in a very long time.

Fortunately, we only had about an hour or so left on the island. The difficult task, however, still remained, as I had to board the boat and return back to the posada. Once back at the posada, the pain increased. I actually got to a point where I could not sit up from a laying-down position. I literally could not move. I was in pain all night and by morning, needed the assistance of the wall to get up and to walk. I felt like I was 90 years old.

We packed up everything that next morning and headed back to the bus. Remember, the bus is 5 blocks away. I believe it took me about 30 agonizing minutes to walk those 5 blocks. Sitting in the bus for the next 7 hours was also not an easy task.

By the time we arrived back in Maracaibo, the pain medication had kicked in just enough to allow me to walk semi-upright and without extreme pain. We got back home and I wanted to just rest. However, we had to get ready for the closing of the VBS. While I was in a lot of pain still, I enjoyed the closing service and goodbye dinner that followed.

My back continued to hurt for the whole week, although not nearly intense as it did on the island. However, even in the midst of the pain that I was feeling, I really enjoyed the trip to the keys, and for 2 main reasons:

  1. I love the beach, especially the Caribbean Sea. It has always been my ideal vacation destination- my paradise.

  2. I didn't have to do any of the planning or leading of the trip.

Arturo had told me that he was taking control of everything for the trip- that I didn't have to worry about anything because he wanted me to enjoy the trip too. And he did- he took care of everything. I didn't have to do a single bit of planning, leading, not even a head count. I was just able to enjoy. That was probably the best gift anyone could have given me. Thank you Arturo!

So, despite the pain, the trip to the Venezuelan Keys was a wonderful trip. It was my 3rd time out there, and if given the opportunity, I would return again.

Disclaimer: This is not a normal mission trip free day. Please do not think that this takes place on all mission trips. It does not. Please do not be jealous either. :-P

Saturday, August 15, 2009

El Expreso Bumerán- VBS 2009- part 3

Day 5- Friday

The last day of VBS looked different than any other VBS I've ever seen. Today we took the kids on an all-day "field trip" to the granja (a part outside of the city). The children arrived to the church by 7am and got together with their small groups. We then got everyone onto the buses and headed out to the granja. We arrived there by about 9:15am. All the children received breakfast and then we started with our VBS day, as scheduled- but behind schedule (as expected).

We discovered that the music for the VBS would not play properly on the system we had. We could only get the music or the lyrics- not both. While we had the music for the song "El Expreso Bumerán" playing, and our sound guy trying to figure out how to get the lyrics to play too, we all of a sudden had lyrics. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that it wasnt the lyrics on the CD, but the kids who were singing along to the song!!!

Throughout the day, the kids still had their classes- Bible Stories, Discussion, Evangelism, Missions, Visual Arts, and Bible Verse time, but they also had times of recreation, ate lunch and snacks, and they also went swimming. I will admit that I was hesistant about the swimming part. I did not want to see anything happen to any kid while swimming at VBS. However, we did have 2 lifeguards on the scene, as well as many adults keeping an eye out on the kids in the pool.

The children really enjoyed their time in the granja, and didn't seem too disappointed that we had to return to the church about an hour early due to the storm that sprung up in the afternoon heat.

Saturday was our missionary free day. We will discuss that day on another post. However, Sunday night was the closing of the VBS. We had about a third to a half of the kids return that night and bring their parents with them. The church was full, with the exception of a few seats remaining in the balcony. The children performed their dances that they worked on during the week in Visual Arts class, the children's choir performed some of the songs of the week, and the children each received their certificate of participation in the VBS. It was a wonderfully close to an awesome VBS- one the kids will not soon forget!

Inflatable fun!

Recreation games

Lunch time

Time to cool off in the pool- shallow end only for the smaller kids!

A very quiet bus ride back to the church after a long day at the granja.

VBS closing performances

Friday, August 14, 2009

The secret is out

After having a 24 hour flu, I am feeling better today. Enough so to spend the afternoon with my friend Emiro- a friend whom I have known for about 3 or 4 years, ever since he was my translator on my mission trips with GMF. After being here for 3 weeks, we were finally able to find time in our schedules to hang out. I also had the opportunity to meet his sisters and his adorable little puppy.

Emiro was telling me that his puppy's name is Kyra. She is only 2 months old. She likes to chew but that is because she is just a puppy still. She is very cute.... well, that is not exactly correct.

I believe the conversation went something like this....

Emiro- Yea, she is only 2 months old. Her name is Kyra. She is really my sister's dog, but she is sorta my dog too.
Jyll- Uh, Emiro, you do know this dog is not a girl, right?
Emiro- What?
Jyll- Uh, yea, this is a boy dog.
Emiro- Are you sure? How do you know?
Jyll- Trust me, this is a boy dog.
Emiro- Oh my goodness!!! Are you serious?? Oh my!!

This was then followed by about an hour of laughter as we broke the news to his 2 sisters. I then found out about the little pink hearts with the puppy's name on it that they purchased and the little purple collar. They then were like, "So, now what do we call her- uh, him?"

It was a very amusing time of letting the secret out of the bag- the girl dog is actually a boy dog- and nobody in the family knew. Poor puppy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

El Expreso Bumerán- VBS 2009- part 2

Tuesday, day 2 of our VBS week, turned out to be much smoother than day 1. People understood what they were doing. We started fairly close to on-time. The rotations went well. The groups knew what to expect. I even got to sit down and eat lunch that day (didn't happen on day 1!!) While there were a few issues that still needed to be sorted out, all in all it worked out well. However, the big test would come on day 3.

Wednesday, day 3 of the VBS week- the missionaries had a team meeting in the morning and a lunch away from the church to follow. This means that the missionaries (me included) would not be there for the start of the VBS. The VBS workers were on their own. Those in charge knew that I would not be there, but that they could call me if they had any problems. I had trained and prepared another person to be the MC of the worship rally time and from what I heard, she did a great job! I was pleasantly surprised to get no phone calls as the start time for the VBS approached. When we arrived to the church at 2:30pm, everything was running smoothly. The kids were in their classes, the rotations were going well, and nobody was running around frantically. Overall, Filadelfia Church and the VBS workers did an outstanding job at their first test of VBS on their own. Congrats!!!
When Thursday came along, everyone was singing VBS songs all day long- they were stuck in everyone's head (actually, I think this started on Monday, but now people knew the words as well). Something else that came about on Thursday was the start of major back pain for me- the kind that keeps you from doing the motions to the Bumerang Express music and would keep you sidelined except for the fact that the kids expect to see you up front and visable. So, back pain and all, I was still there, cheering on the kids to follow Jesus, worship Him, confess Him, and serve Him and that there is no need to worry because in the end, it all comes back to Jesus!

Kangaroos praying together (12- 13 yrs old)

Worship rally song

Bible stories told in dramatic ways

Worship rally skits

What can I say... they love me!!

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

El Expreso Bumerán- VBS 2009

Wow! What a week! How do I sum up a week of Vacation Bible school in 1 post?? Let me give you a general summary and then include some pictures....

The week before the VBS, I arrived in Venezuela to finish plans with the Vzlan team. I met with each area- missions, evangelism, snacks, recreation, drama, small group leaders, musicians, planning, administration, etc- about 12 meetings in all. Thats a lot of meetings in 1 week! But it was well worth it when I saw how much work and preparation the Vzlan team was putting in to making the first VBS a success.

The mission team arrived on Friday, July 31. On Saturday morning, we had our VBS training with the Vzlan team and the missionaries. We sang all the songs (with motions), went over the rotation schedule, what would occur in each class, the entire program, and then had each area leader explain in some details what lessons the kids would be learning in their particular class (7 classes- Bible Stories, Discussion, Evangelism, Missions, Visual Arts, Crafts, and Recreation- which only occurred on the last day of VBS). The training went well. Everyone was pumped and ready for VBS.

By this time, we had about 250 kids signed up for the VBS. When Sunday rolled around and the missionaries were introduced as being here to help with the VBS and more info about the VBS was presented, many more kids signed up. We ended up with about 320 kids on the roster.

Monday morning proved hectic as people, wanting to make sure they understood what was going on, turned to me with a zillion questions- all asking at the same time!!! However, everything became clear as the starting time for the VBS came.

Start time was 1:30pm (with kids arriving between 1:00pm and 1:30pm). Some kids arrived at 11:30am. Yikes! too early! Most arrived by 1:30, with the exception of the bus full of kids arriving from the Casa Escuelas. The Casa Escuelas are house churches designed for children. I am sure I've talked about them before. Most of these kids have never been in a church before. This is a wonderful outreach to these children. They arrived in buses- all 150 of them- between 1:45- 2:15pm. We got started on day 1 at 2:30pm- 1 hour late.

At first the children seemed hesitant. They didn't know what to make of this gringa standing on the stage, talking with a funny accent, and introducing them to strange words, like "No Worries!" and the names of their groups- Koalas, Lorikeets, Wombats, and Kangaroos (Yes, in English). They didn't know what to make of the songs with the motions. However, they quickly warmed to the idea and really started to love them.

The rotations and the schedule had to be adjusted because of our tardiness. Some groups finished all of their classes early. Some accidentally missed a class. I think one class went to snack time twice. However, things got worked out and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves and learning that no matter what happens in life, it all comes back to Jesus- so... No Worries!
Ok, since this post is already a bit long, I will just include some pictures for you and continue tomorrow.

VBS training- adults learning the songs and motions

The kids on the first day... a little hesitant

Someone who never anticipated being the MC of the VBS!

The kids at the end of Day 1

To be continued....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A few photos....

Hit Piña!!!! One for now, one for later!

Mamones... yummm

My host siblings- Samira, Diana, and Alberto

Guita- enjoying Nana's Italian cookies. Thanks Nana!

Sign-ups for the first VBS in Filadelfia Church

Out to lunch after church

Singing Gaita music after church

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot, hot, and more hot

Today, a few of us went downtown to the heart of the Maracucho marketplace, where small stands are selling fruits, vegetables, clothing, CDs (pirated, of course), trinkets, gadgets, and anything you can possibly imagine under the sun. It's hot... very hot. I believe it is at least 10 - 15 degrees hotter in the downtown market than it is anywhere else in this hot city, which would make it at least 110ºF (probably more) in the market, with a heat index higher yet, I'm sure.

Temperatures extremely high. Thousands of people all crowding together in the tight alleyways of the market. Loud noise- people talking, people yelling their "advertisements" of what they are selling, music playing, babies crying, my friend Samuel making wierd noises everywhere we went.

While it was a crazy time- attempting to find the things we needed to purchase for the VBS, it was also a lot of fun. I didn't even mind getting a little sunburnt. I am enjoying being back in my second home town.

Reunited, and it feels so good!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs

Today, I had the blessing of returning to Filadelfia Church- my home church in Venezuela. I believe I also had the blessing of receiving more hugs today than I have in the past 6 months in Ohio.

It was so nice to see everyone again. I loved worshiping with them, listening to the message from Pr. Raúl, talking with my friends whom I have only been able to talk to online, and even went out afterwards for lunch and hanging out, singing Gaita music. If you recall from previous blog entries, Gaita music is the typical music of Maracaibo.

So, a beautiful, extremely hot (as usual here in Maracaibo), wonderful Sunday praising God and spending time with my Venezuelan family in Christ. :-)

A fresh change of clothing

Praise God! The suitcases arrived today. My friends took me to the airport tonight to see if my luggage was arriving on this flight. We had to wait until everyone else got their luggage before I was allowed past security to the baggage claim area. Sure enough, both suitcases arrived!

I finally can have a fresh set of clothing to wear. I really was not looking forward to wearing that same blue t-shirt and jeans to church tomorrow. Now, I don't have to!! Thank you God!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

God uses fuel

Well, I have arrived back in Maracaibo. I was never happier to see the familiar Maracaibo airport terminal than I was last night. Allow me to explain how God used fuel to His glory and allowed me to get to Venezuela.

My flight itinerary yesterday took me from Cleveland to Chicago to Miami to Maracaibo. This is a very typical itinerary as there are no direct flights from Cleveland to Miami and only flights to Maracaibo from Miami. My flight from Cleveland to Chicago was without incident and even landed a little early in Chicago. I then had about 30 minutes or so before boarding for my next flight.

We boarded the plane and then sat there for a while. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the captain announced that we had a slight maintenance issue and were waiting for maintenance to come check it out.

After another 30 minutes or so, the captain announced that the problem was with the fuel pump- it was not pumping fuel properly- and was going to need to be fixed. If it couldn't be fixed, he was looking for another plane for us. We would be delayed at least another 45 minutes, so if anyone had any connecting flights, they were free to deplane and talk with a ticket agent. I decided to get off and find out what is going to happen with my flight. While doing this, I realized that I might not make my flight to Maracaibo. I was praying that God would somehow allow me to arrive in Miami in time or delay the flight leaving Miami- but not my will but His Will be done.

A little side info for you- There is only 1 flight per day from Miami to Maracaibo- leaving each day at 4:55pm. If you miss that flight, you have to wait 24 hours for the next one.

While standing in a line 100 people thick to find out about my flight, they finally announced that the plane was ok and that we would be reboarding- hoping to leave by 12:30pm and arriving at 4:30pm in Miami. My flight to Maracaibo was boarding at 3:55pm and leaving at 4:55pm. If the gate is close, I might have a chance. However, we did not leave by 12:30, but at 12:50. At this point, I was now praying that God would provide to delay the other flight.

We landed in Miami at 4:45pm. Of course, my gate was no where close to where we arrived- other side of the airport to be exact. I was not sure what time they would be closing the gate or if I even had a chance to make it to the plane, but I decided to give it everything I had and trust that if God wanted me on the plane, it would still be there and if it was not there, then I trust God to take care of me for the 24 hours that I would have to wait until the next plane.

As soon as I got off the plane, I started running. This is not an easy task in an airport- pulling a carry on bag on wheels and carrying a heavy laptop around your neck. Winded. Shin-splints killing. I kept going. Every hall I turned down- hoping to find the gate- but it was not there. Further. Further I kept running. Up the escalator? Why did I have to go up? The plane is not upstairs! Up the escalator to the train to take you to the terminal that is not connected to the airport. Wait for the train (and catch my breath). Get off the train and run again- down one hallway, then another, then another. Finally I can see the gate- and there is nobody there but one man sitting in a chair off to the side. I ran to the gate and practically collapsed as I asked the man if the flight had left. He asked me my name- if it was Schenault. I said yes. He said come. The flight had not yet left.

Praise God!

I got on the plane, sweating, winded, exhausted, but on. Of course everyone was looking at me- wondering if I was the reason they hadn't left yet.

We sat for a few minutes before the captain announced his appologies for the delay. They were holding the plane for one more passanger (Me!) and that they were also waiting to refuel. Apparently the first tank of fuel they had put in the plane had gotten water in it when it rained earlier that day and they had to drain that out and refuel- which was causing us a bit of a delay.

God used fuel to delay me in Chicago and to delay the flight in Miami. He used fuel to teach me that He really does have everything under control and that all I need to do is trust Him.

So, here I am, in Maracaibo. The suitcases decided to spend an extra day in Miami, but that's ok. I am here, ready to be used by God in whatever way He desires.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

All packed and ready to go

I leave for Venezuela tomorrow. I am all packed and ready to go. It is exciting to be able to go back home, see my Venezuelan family, and prepare for Filadelfia's first Vacation Bible School.

I will try to post pictures during my time there. Please be praying for me and the team who will be on the front lines of battle- fighting the forces of evil so that the name of Jesus will be exalted and glorified! To God be the Glory!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So much time and so little to do!

Strike that, reverse it!

To borrow the quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the only way to describe what is going on right now. 2 days. Just 2 little days until I travel to Venezuela for the mission trip. I have so much to do and really no time to do it. I really need another couple of weeks to finish everything I need to do before going. However I just have 2 days.

Don't get me wrong- I am excited to be going to Venezuela. However, I haven't allowed my mind to sink in and dwell on that just yet. I know that when I do, I will really not get anything done. Even now, I should be working on my to-do list. However, I need to keep you updated on what is going on. Either that or I am procrastinating. Anyway, here I am. Preparing to go. Preparing to serve. Preparing to be used in anyway that God desires to use me while I am in Venezuela or wherever I am!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Praise Report for the mission team...

Today, our final 3 team members received their passports. We now have passports for everyone on the Venezuela team! Praise God! The passports were not supposed to come in til next Friday at the earliest- which was just a week before the scheduled departure to Venezuela. By God's grace they arrived EARLY!! We are now all set to go and looking forward to what God is going to do in Venezuela.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Slow work week

This week has been a slow week at work. Because of this, I have not worked very many hours. Since I have had some extra time off this week, I have been able to work more on preparing for the Vacation Bible School in Venezuela and work on my support raising for the Dominican Republic.

I leave in 1 week for Maracaibo. I will arrive a week before the missions team to help with the final preparations for the VBS. I will have about 11 meetings in this one week- meeting with the people working in each area of the VBS.

While it will be a stressful week, I am looking forward to going "home" for a little while, spending time with the people who were my family for a year, and getting to see my little Guita again. :-)

I have also been working on raising support in order to go to the Dominican Republic. At this point, I have about 25 % of my monthly support raised, but have received about 90% of my initial moving costs- which is great. While I know God's timing is perfect, it is hard to know that I will not be going to the DR for the start of the school year- I must wait until my support comes in. However, I trust that God will provide for all my needs, according to His riches.

I ask for your prayers for the VBS and for my ministry in the DR. Also, if you feel God may be leading you to financially support me, please contact me at my email address. Thank you so much.

Friday, July 10, 2009

He is...

He is the First and Last, The Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all! He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times. He always was, He always is, and He always will be ...unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!

He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him, The armies can't defeat Him, The schools can't explain Him, and The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him, The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him, and The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him, The New Age can't replace Him, and "Oprah" can't explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord. He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God. He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.

His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me. He is my Savior, He is my guide, and He is my peace! He is my Joy, He is my comfort, He is my Lord, and He rules my life!

I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and is to come. And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size...

His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me, never overlook me and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!

When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!

He is everything for everybody everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!

My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world. So, if you're wondering why I feel so secure, understand this...

He said it and that settles it. God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul.

Everyday is a blessing for GOD Is!

I love the Lord and thank Him for all that He has done in my life.
(This was sent to me in an email. It was too good not to post.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An evening together

Tonight, I spent an evening with my family. It started out with Collin, my nephew, asking me if I wanted to play cornhole with him. My entire family got into the action and we ended up playing probably close to 10 games- turning it into a competition of teams. After our competition, we all went out for ice cream.
Being a missionary, I am often away from my family. I do not get much time to spend with them. So, when evenings like this come along, I treasure them. What a blessing it is to be able to spend time with those who love you the most.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Birthday surprise

It's not my birthday. My birthday was last month. I did not do anything for my birthday. I do not like birthdays and really don't want to be reminded that I am getting older each June 3. But it's not June 3, its July 2. It's not my birthday.

I didn't think anything about it tonight when my friends wanted to go out to eat... didn't think anything about it when my friend, Tony said he left his wallet in the car tonight at the Mexican restaurant and had to go get it. Remember, it's not my birthday. However, my friends decided to surpirse me (or embarrass me) at the restaurant by telling them it was my birthday. When Tony left to "get his wallet", he was actually talking to our server and told him that because I was out of town last month, they did not get to celebrate my birthday and wanted to do it tonight.

During dinner, the server snuck up behind me and stuck a big Mexican sombrero on my head while many other servers started singing. I was shocked... very shocked.

It's nice knowing that my friends care about me, even if it is just to embarrass me in a restaurant when it's not my birthday.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Death with a purpose

Tonight, I attended the calling hours of my uncle Eddie. He passed away last Thursday and is currently talking with my other uncle and my gramma in Heaven.

Funerals are a time for families to get reacquainted. My extended family is horrible about keeping up-to-date, often seeing each other only at funerals. Such is the case with me and my cousins. I saw cousins tonight that I haven't seen since my Gramma's funeral a year and a half ago. I spent most of the night talking with my cousin Shelly.

Shelly told me about what has been going on in her life. About her family. About her work. And about her church. Yes, her church. Shelly accepted Christ as her Savior about a year and a half ago, and she told me about it tonight.

It all started on December 15, 2007. The day my Gramma died. She said when Gramma died, she started thinking about how Gramma was now in Heaven. She didn't understand that and she needed to know more about it. She started seeking and not too long later, she found Jesus.

She found Jesus because of the death of our Gramma. Gramma's death had a purpose. God's timing was perfect and allowed her (Gramma) to continue to impact people, even after her death.

Death is always hard, but knowing that God has purpose for death makes it a little easier. I love that my Gramma helped bring my cousin to Christ and that I will someday be in Heaven with both of them.

Rest in peace Uncle Eddie- and may your death have purpose in the Kingdom of God!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Road Trip

Recently, I took a road trip, driving for 15 hours. I left Ohio and drove southwest... through Indiana, through Illinois, down to Saint Louis, across Missouri, and into Oklahoma, not too far from Tulsa. Why would I drive 15 hours, one-way, to go to Oklahoma?? Well, for one thing, one of my best friends lives there and it was a great chance to visit with her (for the little time I got to spend with her), but besides that, the trip had a few main purposes.
A huge cross on the side of the highway in Illinois.

The Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri.

A large Indian statue just off the highway in Oklahoma.

The main purpose of the trip was to do support raising. I actually was able to speak in 3 different churches, as well as with some other individual people and a women's small group. I was able to tell them all about the wonderful opportunity that God is giving me to serve Him in the Dominican Republic. I was able to make new relationships with people and had a wonderful time making new friends and developing my prayer and financial support teams.

Another purpose for going was that my friend's church, Friendly Foyil Baptist Church, was having their Vacation Bible School. The VBS they were doing is Lifeway's Boomerang Express. This is the same VBS that the mission team going to Venezuela in a month is also doing. I went there to get ideas for the planning and preparation for the mission trip. Since I was a visiting missionary, I was one of the focused missionaries of the week, speaking with the children during their missions class. During the week, the children were bringing in their loose change as their offerings for missions. The church decided to give that money to me to support me in my ministry. :-) After the VBS was over, the church donated many of their decorations, teacher guides, and craft items to our mission team to use in Venezuela. What a blessing they are!!

I was also able to observe this same VBS at another church. The people at this church were very friendly and wanted to help me out in any way they could with materials for the Venezuelan VBS. While I had to leave before the end of the week, they are seeing how they can be used by God to be a blessing for the church in Venezuela.

It is wonderful to see the family of God come together to help each other out when they are in need. Absolutely wonderful.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Yes, I am alive! Although I have been very deliquent on updating my blog. I appologize. There are many things that have been happening. I have been keeping busy with many things. I hope to start updating you on what has been going on.

For now, I continue with the work I have been doing. Support raising, VBS planning, working. Today I took a bit of a rest (although I still worked on some things for the VBS). I am going to try to keep my blog more up-to-date. Drop me a message or two and let me know what has been going on with you out there (as I don't get to see many people very much anymore).

Ok, more updates to come....

Monday, May 4, 2009


Tonight I finished a 16 week course offered at my church called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement ( This course is designed to give students a different perspective on World Missions and the nature of God. It also gets the students thinking of how God has called them into a part of His ultimate plan in the World.

Matthew 28:18-20- Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world- all the people groups in the world- and makes disciples. This is the Great Commission that Jesus gave to all Christians. We are commanded to tell others of the greatest gift ever given and of the great love that God has for us, that He gave His Son to take our place to pay the price for our sins.

The Bible even gives us a great promise...
Matthew 24:14- And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the
whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Once the Gospel has been preached in the whole world, the end will come. The Bible says that there will be people from every country, every people group, every ethnicity, every language praising Him in their own language and their own culture. How awesome that we have the privilege to be a part of this great plan for the nations.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Since returning to Ohio in February, I have been trying to get "settled" back in Ohio life and culture while trying to figure out where God wanted me to go next and when that would be. I have been praying. I have been talking with my missions pastor and mentor and others. I have been searching opportunities that God has brought my way through contacts with people and with The Finishers Project website, as well as others. I had gotten to a point where I had a good feeling about 3 different opportunities which could have taken me to about 7 different countries. This was too broad for me. So, what do you do when you feel God has put this many items before you? You take it to Him and ask Him to narrow it down to the ONE He wants. And that's what I did.

Last week, I decided to devote 2 days of prayer and fasting over this decision and asked God to give me the answer by the end of the 2 days. James 1: 5-6 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." I asked God for wisdom to know His will for my life- and I had no doubt that He was going to give it to me. I emailed as many people as I could, asking them to join me in prayer of this decision. By the end of Wednesday, I had my answer.

As hard as it is for me, I feel that, for right now, God does not want me in Venezuela full-time. He is calling me to another place. This does not mean I will never be returning. But for now, I will be going somewhere else.

Doulos Discovery School- Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Doulos is a private, Christian school in the middle of the Dominican Republic. They work to get children out of the horrible public school conditions and into a Christian education where they can be educated in the values of Christianity and go on to lead the country with Christian values and beliefs. It is a private school, so the students have to pay tuition. However, most of the students are on some form of financial aid/tuition assistance. In order to do this, all of the teachers (missionaries) raise their own funds and salaries. Here is a video so you can see a little more about the school.

The director of the school told me that they have been praying for a special education teacher and was excited when I told her I wanted to apply for the position. They have never had a special education teacher in the school and have no special education program in place. But they do have 2-3 children per grade with special needs (PreK-12). My job there would be to develop and implement a special education program based on the needs of the children while sharing with them the love of Jesus and His plan for Salvation. Of the 210 children in the school, about 200 of them are Dominican. The future leaders of the Dominican Republic will be sitting in my classroom, hearing how God loves them, and how they can share this with others around them.

I am excited to see how God is going to work through me in this opportunity He has brought my way. Provided I can get my funding by July, I will be in the DR by early August. Please pray with me for the children of Jarabacoa and the teachers at Doulos Discovery School and please pray that if it is God's will, that the finances I need will come in so I may begin this new adventure that God is calling me to.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Patience and guidance

For the past nearly 2 months, I have been trying to get re-acclimated back into life in Ohio while searching for where God will send me next. I have been praying and looking through various ministry opportunites that have come my way. Some would have me out of Ohio by this August. Others would have me in Ohio for probably at least another year or two.

I signed up on a website called Finishers. This is an organization that helps team up missionaries with mission organizations. I put my profile on there and have been having organizations contact me, telling me that they think I would work out well with a need that they have. It has been really strange having organizations contacting me. Its like having several companies call you, all inviting you to work for them.

Right now, I have many different options that I could pursue. However, the thing I am pursuing the most right now is guidance from our Lord, and patience while I wait for His perfect timing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

God is watching over me

I was on a short trip to Oklahoma during this past week to visit with a very good friend of mine, traveling back to Ohio yesterday. Flying does not make me nervous, as I have become a seasoned traveler. (If you haven’t heard about my first flight to Venezuela back in 2003, please ask. You will be amused.) When the plane is about to take off, I ALWAYS pray for God’s protection over the plane, pilots, crew, and passengers. I ask God to make sure that there is nothing wrong with the plane and that God will allow all parts of the plane to function the way they were designed to function. Yesterday, as we are on the runaway and just starting to take off, I was praying that prayer- that God will allow no problems with the plane. As I am praying this, I felt the plane accelerate for takeoff and then a few seconds later, the brakes were hit and the plane slowed down in the middle of the runway. The plane then taxied off the runway. The pilot came on and told us that as he was taking off, an engine warning light came on, causing him to abort take off. We returned to the gate and got off the plane. They then took the plane for maintenance and returned about 2 hours later, semi-confident that the plane would work.

I know that God was watching over me and had instantaneously answered my prayer. He allowed for the problem to be detected in His perfect timing.

God wants to be a part of our daily lives. We need to trust the everyday details of our life to Him, and He will take care of them in His perfect timing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blog Block

I am sorry that it has been so long since I have written. I have things to update in my blog, and have wanted to update it. However, right now, I am having blog block. I cannot think of how I want to write up the updates. Hopefully, I will have an update soon. Keep checking back. God bless you!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

15 years later

On Saturday, I went to Panera to meet up with a group of people who I met online. This group of people meet once a week with the sole purpose of practicing Spanish. A group of 10-20 people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of Spanish- from native speakers to beginners- meet every week to sit in Panera and chitchat in Spanish. It is a great time of practice for me. However this week (only my second week with this group) I didn't get much practice time.

Not 2 minutes after I arrived, I had someone tap me on my shoulder. When I turned around, there were 2 women standing there that I recognized (surprisingly) immediately- 2 girls from my graduating class in high school.

I haven't seen them since high school graduation 15 years ago (boy that makes me feel old!). I sat with them and we talked about what has gone on over the past several years. While we were not close friends in high school, it was nice to talk with them and see where God has taken them over the last 15 years.

God has different plans for each of us- nobody's plan is the same. He knows where we are going and how we are going to get there. He knew 15 years ago that I would be where I am now and He knows where I will be 15 years from now. I am glad He has the plan all figured out. As I try to discern where He wants me to go, I take comfort in knowing that He already has it all worked out for me. All I have to do is trust Him that He will take me down the path that He has already planned out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back in the USA

This past Saturday, after many heartfelt goodbyes, I returned to the United States. Before leaving, many of my friends gave me a goodbye party. It was great to be able to spend time with the people who really helped me to survive and thrive in Maracaibo, and it was sad to say goodbye.

After traveling all day, I arrived in chilly Ohio. For the people in Ohio, it feels like a heat wave. For me, accustomed to the heat of Maracaibo, it feels frigid.

I spent a few days getting settled back in and seeing my family. It is strange being back in Ohio- back to the way of life I thought was "normal" for the first 30 years of my life.

What's next? Well, now I seek God's Will for my life in this next stage of life. I know He has the plan all figured out. I just have to wait until He let's me see the outline.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Goodbye Filadelfia

Goodbyes are always hard, but it is a part of a missionary's life. Today was another day of goodbyes. Today was my last day in Filadelfia Church- at least until God brings me back to Venezuela.

I attended all 4 church services today (yes, I heard the sermon 4 times- and can probably say it back to you without missing anything). At the end of each service, the pastor called me up on stage to say goodbye and pray for me. I was given flowers and a gift- a book of the history of Maracaibo with pictures! I then had many many people from the church come up to give me a hug and wish me goodbye. Most of these people I do not know (although I have seen many of them throughout my time here). They all expressed their gratitude for the time I have spent to serve God in their church and wished me a good trip and a quick return.

During the last service, the pastor had Arturo, as missions coordinator, give me a goodbye greeting. He spoke about how I have developed over this past year. When I arrived in Venezuela last year, I did not understand much of what the people were saying. The culture was completely foreign to me. The people here are more outgoing and they talk quickly and loudly. I had asked him several times if the people were fighting- but no, they were just talking. He mentioned this today, not only to mention that my spanish is better but to show that I have grown more in understanding the people and culture that God has sent me to. I will truly miss everyone here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Online Garage Sale

In the process of moving back to the United States, I realized that I would not be able to take everything in my apartment with me. As much as I would like to, my dining room table and chairs just will not fit in the suitcase. So what do you do with a bunch of household items when you are moving out of the country? You have a garage sale. However, that is easier said than done in Venezuela.

Garage sales are not really done here. Everyone kept telling me to sell the items in my house, but nobody was really telling me how to do that. Finally, one of my friends gave me a great idea- a Facebook Sale.

I opened up a group in facebook and added pictures of everything I need to sell before leaving. I then invited into the group everyone I know living in Maracaibo.

And so commences the online garage sale.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Sunday School Student?

This morning, we had a new visitor to the 4-6 year old class...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Next steps: Trusting God

As I approach my first Aniversary here in Venezuela, it is time for my church's missions committee to review the work from this year and see and plan what to do this year. My original contract was for one year, so either they need to renew it or plan something else. Last week, I spoke with my mentor from my home church in Ohio. She called me to tell me of the decision made by my church's missions committee. They have decided that I am moving back to Ohio in February, when my visa expires.

They looked over all of my reports and documents, accomplishments, goals, etc and feel that my time here was very successful and want to see me move forward in a career in Missions. But they feel I need to be in the USA to do that.

This news comes as a shock to me. I was not expecting it. There were days last week that were hard for me, spent mostly in tears. I trust God and know that if He is closing the door here, He is planning on opening up a bigger one somewhere down the road. Everything is in His control and I trust Him completely.

So, for now, I have less than 3 weeks to pack up everything I am bringing home, find homes for everything I am leaving behind -which might have to include my turtle :'-( - finish up my work, and spend as much time with all of my friends as I can before leaving, since I do not know when or if I will be returning.

Goodbyes will be difficult for me. I have made a lot of friends here and really have a family here. I have adapted to the language, culture, and way of life here in Venezuela. I do not really want to leave. However, if God does not want me here, then I do not want to be here. My blog title is "Jyll Schenault- Servant of God". If I am His servant, then He is my master, and I will do as He says. I may not understand why He wants me to do something, but I trust that He knows what He is doing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Naked in church?

Today at church, I walked into the children's ministry office and found clothes that looked like they had just had a person in them, sitting on the chair with a pair of shoes lying on the floor. They hadn't been there just minutes before and I had no idea who they belonged to. My first thought was to try to find the person who was naked in the church and find out why their clothes were in the office.

After just a few minutes, I found the owner of the clothes. The owner was actually not naked. The clothes belonged to one of the children's ministry teachers. He was doing a dramatic dance presentation for the children and had changed clothes in order to do it. It was a beautiful presentation to music portraying the crucifixion of Jesus. I wish I had had my camera to record it.


After 10 months of separation, they finally have their reunion. Hopefully they wont have to wait another 10 months to see each other again.