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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Uniting With a Cause...

I am ecstatic about this trip and everyone going along. Everything is coming along perfectly. So much planning has been put forward by Compassionate Life Foundation and New Covenant Free Methodist Church, it is hard not to get excited. Not only are specifics about the trip coming together, but the mission's team is becoming very close as well. In fact, I feel we are all becoming one big family. Each of us recognizes how vital it is to work as a team once we arrive in Swaziland. That's why we continue to meet, in order to build teamwork skills within the group. Everyone is now able to put names with faces, and we even know quite a bit about each other's personalities. Last Sunday, the mission's team met after Church. (To your left, is a picture of our meeting) We took spiritual personality profiles to better understand our own faith, as well as the faith of others around us. It was called "Uniquely You; Personalizing My Faith."
I believe that personalizing our faith is vital to spiritual growth. It involves developing relationships with others and the Church. As a Christian, I believe we posses a "God-given Personality," along with certain spiritual gifts we must act upon. The difficulty is determining which features are our strongest assets to share with the world. That was the significance of our latest meeting.
Last Sunday was a major "spiritual step" for me. I believe I have discovered my own spiritual gift's, given to me by God. Not only is it exciting, but it is also enlightening. Mainly because I feel that I have been searched in the wrong area's of my life for so long. I would like to share this personal episode of my life, with the reader's of this blog.
Upon taking the Spiritual Gifts Profile, I have found that my strongest characteristics where these; Encouraging/Exhorting, Showing Mercy, and Administration/ Ruling. Here is what I've learned. The "encourager" is compelled to give advice. (Something I have done my entire life). Often "exhorter's" are a confidant to others. They are sought as counselor's and enjoy using their communication skills to share specific insights. I agree with this diagnosis. Also, "showing mercy" has always been a big part of my life. This trip, hopefully, demonstrates my sensitivity to other people's suffering. I can't hold back any longer and let this opportunity pass me by. It is time to take action in my life. Upon serving an "Administration role", I must say, I was a bit perplexed by this one. Even though I have no intentions of ruling over a group of people, I think I feel compelled by a strong sense of duty, to take action in this world.
So there it is. I guess that's about as personal as it gets. I hope it hasn't come off as condescending or egotistical. That is not my intention. I just feel like I have found a real awakening in this life. Now it's time to move forward with it. Coming soon...another Africa Video post! Hope this finds you all well!
Derek Thomas Van Dam


  1. Hey Derek-
    Just read this and think that it's awesome. To see other like minded young professional men follow what they believe God is giving them to do is incredible. There aren't many of us out there. I believe we share the same spirit of a burning missions heart, and it is such a blessing to watch you grow in your relationship with Him. We all know His heart burns for the lost and I believe you are being faithfull to His tug on your heart. His heart yearns for the lost. I bless you in the name of Jesus as you go on this trip, as your grow closer together with those who are going with you, with your job-(by the way, Torregrossa USED to be my favorite weatherman, not anymore--and you can tell him I said that...LoL.) I just Bless you as you follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. Check out when you get a chance. I believe the Lord is giving me some very interesting ways to further His kingdom that could be very financially beneficail to you, to use for advancing His kingdom through missions. God Bless and keep up the good work. Call or write anytime. 615-1755 and or

    Tim Soler

  2. Derek,

    I think it's great that you have taken the time (and have the energy) to do this blog. It gives all of us a place to go and think about this process, especially for those of us actually going on the trip.

    I have taken the spiritual gifts inventory a few times now and the DISC survey several times over the years. While the results can vary somewhat, they will generally be consistant. However, they can also change over time and in different settings (DISC, I mean, in different settings like work vs. family setting). Doing some introspection can be very exciting, particularly in terms of the gifts God has blessed us with. I wish I had done this when I was younger (your age). It would have saved some of the hardships I have faced but God has a plan for each of us. I look forward to getting to know you better, especially since we'll be rooming together in Swaziland.

    God bless,

    Jim Klingenberg

  3. Sawubona Unjani Derek!
    I am so jealous you get to go sooner than me! We have almost the same exact giftings!
    I have not been to Swaziland yet but will soon. (I think I am taking our youth group to South Africa at the end of July).The organization I am working with has several missionaries there as well as Mozambique and they all have blogs. I love to read them so I can keep up. Email me at so we can chat about Africa! I would like to hear more about it.
    Sala Kahle!

  4. Derek,

    It is good to see that God is revealing Himself to you by showing you what your personality and giftings are. Personally, I just love learning about my personality, and have done SO many different inventories. Always remember, we are made in His image, so every part of your personality (minus the sin) is also found in Him.

    I've know for awhile that my spiritual gifts are Exhortation/Encourager, Service and Missionary. I am also an ESTJ, Green (communication style inventory), audial learner. My DISC is a combo of C and D with a little bit of S. In my opinion, the best one is called the Gallup Strengths finder. It is not a personality, it is an assessment of your strengths. I am an Acheiver, Learner, Context, Includer and Developer.

    If you want to check out any of the other inventories, I have them or know how you can get ahold of them.


  5. Mark T11:31 AM

    Hey Derek,
    Nice job buddy. Wish the world was filled with compassionate people like you. Glad you are getting this opportunity. Just like Timmy, I used to be my favorite weatherman, now it's you baby. Just don't get malaria and bring it back into the weather office.
    Mark T

  6. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Hey Guys! Thanks for all the wonderful comments! Keep reading, there will be more!


  7. Hi Derek,
    I love this blog site to hear your words of faith and keep in touch. It's pretty awesome how God has gifted us with attributes and in time shows us how to use them best for His Kingdom! Way to keep searching! Love you
    A. Debi

  8. Derek & all who read these comments,

    Someone pointed out on Sunday at church that it looked a little strange that someone named "Pam" was talking about rooming with you in Swaziland. To stop any rumors, I have updated our google account to reflect that it is Pam and JIM's account. (I didn't know it would come up that way until I submitted my comment.)

    Keep up the good work.


  9. OK, it's still not updating, but this is Jim (not Pam).

  10. Hey Derek,

    Would you mind if I posted your blog as a link on mine?


  11. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Isn't it that you're Head of Weather at ETV/ESat South Africa, makes sense of your role as the "Administrator"


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