Janelle Dienner’s Reflection

I was thinking back to my experience and how much your story has impacted both the church family as well as myself. I still remember in high school hearing you (Mark) share in class about Victoria and the struggle your whole family was going through with it all. You were honest and I thank you for that sharing in this moment with me as a student. I remember taking the field [during the playoffs with the soccer team] with purple tape wrapped around our shin guards in order to honor the memory of Victoria Grace. As I began to get to know your family alongside the Zion Church family, Victoria’s story became more real to me. Somewhere along the way I stopped seeing it as a moment in time but rather an unfolding story, and one that was continuing to unfold before my eyes. I saw it take a whole new shape during the trip to Peru this summer. Hearing the testimony of Samuel and his family and then being able to walk through the village of Victoria Gracia was a moment that I was truly honored to be a part of. Now your family is taking a new and, I’m sure, scary step in moving to Peru.
 From what I’ve observed however, Victoria’s life has the incredible ability to unlock vision in anyone who allows it to. It has for me. Your family has showed me what can happen if you allow God to take several defining life experiences and turn them into a dream and a passion. I was exposed to some pretty raw injustice through my school at YWAM and it led me to want to take action, but I had no idea what I could do or offer in that realm. I still don’t, but through what you are doing and what you have shared with Zion, I know that I just need to be willing to do something and God will handle the rest. So thank you for all the sermons, teachings, and insightful golden nuggets that you have poured into my life up to this point. I’m sure there will be more to come and I’m very excited to see where God takes you as your family continues to walk out in faith. I also look forward to seeing where Victoria’s story will take you as God continues to write that out. In the famous words of Smitty “friends are friends forever” so I look forward to staying connected with you guys as you head south.