Free Ministry Education at CLI

My name is Heather Boonstra, and I am excited about the free ministry education at CLI. I am a single mother from Ontario, Canada. Growing up in a Christian home with two saved parents and one younger sister, most people would say that my life was relatively normal.

Every Sunday, my parents would take us to church. As we got older, we participated in the Jr. High and Youth programs that our local church offered. So there, we grew in our knowledge of Jesus, and the classic Bible stories that most kids learn.

When I was around 13 years old, I received baptism. That’s when my story began. The Christian life was beautiful to me. At a young age, I sought to be a godly person and do unto others as I would have them do to me. I stuck up for the “nerds” in school and befriended everyone. I even had the opportunity to lead a few people to Jesus in high school!

Growth in the Lord

The summer after graduation, I went to Lakeshore Pentecostal Camp, where I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues. It was quite as the disciples felt in Acts. I wanted more of God. I cried out for Him to use me and take me where He alone could. This event is when I grew in my relationship with God. I was different, and I craved more and more of Him.

In 2006, I took a year of college. During that year, I met a friend who took me to a wonderful church in Pickering, Ontario, called Church Without Limits (CWL). There I grew in passion for the Lord. My spirit stirred for the incredible things that God could do in my life and those around me. God used this time to speak to me and help me grow even more rooted in wisdom.

Challenges

In 2006, I also met my son’s father, and after six months of dating, we got pregnant. In 2007, I got married for the first time, followed by the birth of our son in 2008. After almost seven years, my husband and I separated and divorced in 2013.

Following the divorce, I lived what I would call a “lukewarm” faith life. I went to church periodically and prayed when I needed God’s help. I had no idea how I could come back to God after going through something so sinful and shameful.

After a few years, I decided to go back to church. Life without God was futile and stagnant. Once you get a taste of life with God, you can’t live without Him.

Back to God

Thanks to God that he never gave up pursuing me and inviting me into His grace. I worked through guilt and shame in these years. I struggled in my heart but finally gave up the fight. The Holy Spirit took control, healing, and changing me from the inside out. During this time, I attended church faithfully and spent more and more time with Jesus. I met up with mentors and dug deep into God. I learned so much about grace, forgiveness, and the power of God. Finally, I fell in love with Him all over again.

Youth Ministry

In 2018, I felt a stirring in my heart for worship and the youth. I began to desire to see people in love with Jesus and an active relationship with Him. Dreaming of people praising God, I saw myself playing keyboard and singing. It wasn’t too long after that that the worship leader from my church asked if I wanted to sing in the band on Sunday mornings. I was very insecure and unsure of myself and the calling on my life. However, I dove in anyway. I figured that if God was calling me, His will was all that mattered. To this day, I enjoy participating in worship leadership most Sunday mornings at my church.

Later that year, I was hanging out with God in the youth room of my church. I sat down, feeling an overwhelming sense of urgency to influence the youth. There was an excitement stirring in my spirit to connect and mentor the youth. So right then and there, I expressed my desire to be in that room with them on youth nights. I asked God to give me access to them if it was His will.

I remember looking around the room with tears in my eyes, barely getting “I want to be here, God” through my lips. Then, a wave of joy poured over me as if God said, “I hear you.” He was waiting for me to ask because the next day, I received a call from the Youth Pastor, asking me if I wanted to get involved with the youth as a volunteer. I am still blown away by the way God has worked in my life. He shows no favorites! I love His grace and how He takes the least likely of people and uses them.

Called to the Ministry

Without the Lord’s hand on my life, I would not be where I am or who I am. I am so thankful that He sees me so much better than I see myself. He takes us as we are – baggage and all – heals us, and catapults us into a crazy wild ride. Thank you, Lord!

In the past year or so, I the Lord’s been leading in my life to be in ministry. I pondered other options for career paths, but the ministry was always a passion of mine. It’s the most obvious choice for me and those around me. When I used to pray about my future, it was a question mark. With my son living with me and working to sustain my rent, etc., I didn’t know how I could move forward on the path God was leading to follow.

Free Ministry Education at CLI

Through the Christian Leaders Institute, I hope to become more equipped to teach and answer the hard questions that my son, the youth, and others in my life ask. To grow in my walk with God through these courses so I can influence those around me is my desire.

Therefore, being enrolled in the free ministry education at CLI is a testimony of my “yes” to God’s calling on my life. I can’t wait to see what He does with it!

Please pray that God’s will and plan for my life will be the desire of my heart, as I seek Him first!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

Learn more about ordination at the Christian Leaders Alliance. Interested in a low-cost degree? Check out the Christian Leaders College.