Monday, December 19, 2011

In Utter Awe of Christ - November/December Newsletter

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:13-17

In Utter Awe of Christ

I (Leah) recently was watching a youtube video titled “A Social Network Christmas” (if you haven’t seen it, you really should). As I was watching it, I kept thinking, “Jesus was born in the grossest of circumstances, to a looked-down-upon couple, in a shanty town, during the time when a king wanted him dead, and the most royal treatment He got was from some wise guys who had to skip town right away – other than them, His entourage was a bunch of stinky, lowly shepherds!!” And what’s even crazier to me is how He wasn’t shock, disgusted, or disappointed about all this – He CHOSE that!!
Colossians 1 was brought up in a sermon I heard recently, and our pastor and associate pastor both brought up how just because Jesus was born physically through a human being doesn’t mean that’s when His life started. As John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
AND - since He was just as much God as He is today - means that even as a baby He still had the same power and ability to keep holding all things together. Isn’t that INCREDIBLE?! Do you think those wise men knew that? Do you think that was the first thing Mary thought as she held that little boy in her arms? As these humble shepherds gathered around to see the Messiah, do you think they realized that that little baby was holding everything together?
Jesus astounds me! As I think on His birth, I can’t help sit in utter awe of how glorious and worthy of praise He is. I pray for you and I this Christmas season that we will not miss out on what God really wants to teach us – and that we will be even more awestruck of Him than ever before!!

Holly Jolly Girl’s Retreat

With all of Malcolm and I’s running from place to place the last couple months, we haven’t been able to do much with the students. But we were to go to the final retreats of the semester.
We ladies spent a whole weekend getting into the Christmas spirit and discussing topics that all women need to talk about. Three lovely students gave talks about what God thinks about what we wear (modesty), how to honor God with our words (gossip and conflict resolution), and the truth our identity in Christ.
After each talk, we had an open discussion as a group asking questions like, “What is considered modest?” and “What can I do start resolving a conflict?” Aren’t these things we all need to learn and apply in our lives? All the girls seemed to really accept the messages, and learned a lot from the weekend.
I know the girls have been having a harder time connecting together this semester, so it was SO wonderful to see them encourage one another and bond as sisters in Christ!

Real Men Beating Real Sin

A few weeks ago I (Malcolm) got the privilege to go to another Men’s Retreat put on by Master Plan. I love these retreats because I get to see and learn from older Godly men. Each year I learn a ton and this year was no different.
The theme was beating sin, and there were some really great talks from understanding what sin was, understanding the role of the bible in beating sin, to working through our sin.
The last talk of the retreat was on having victory over sin, which was done by a student named Brandon. It was amazing to see how bold and right on the money his talk was. Even though he was young he had all the men there captivated and convinced through God’s word that they could have victory in their lives.  I was blown away because he had got the chance to talk only because one of the speakers could not make it that weekend. Brandon had two days notice to sit down and write it.  
I share this because I love how God works, how He changes, how He qualifies us to serve Him.  And when we let Him, He will blow us away with His unending love and power.

Praises and Prayers

If you haven’t heard yet, WE’RE AT 100%!! We thank God for coming through and meeting our goal, and we thank you all for your prayers and support! So we will be on campus full-time at the beginning of January when classes start up again.
-Pray for DCC: that students and staff will enjoy our time together, and that we will be ready, willing, and eager to learn and apply what God wants us to.
-Pray that the students will continue to stay strong and seek God over the Christmas break. Pray that they will come back excited to serve the campus for the Lord.
-Pray that God will prepare us for being on campus next semester, and that we will continue to work as a team.

On our Honeymoon cruise to the
The girls with their gingerbread town they made at the Girl’s Retreat

Men’s Retreat
Merry Christmas!!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This Was All HIS Fault!!

Well, if you didn't want us on campus next semester, you're gonna have to talk to God about it because...

Seriously, God has orchestrated a crazy plan for our lives! When we set down our final amount in August, I (Leah) kind of thought to myself, "Well, maybe we don't go on campus at all this year..." We needed to raise an additional $2,500 in monthly support. When I was single raising support it took about 9 months to raise $2,000, so I expected this to take just as long or longer. But God quickly showed us that HE was in control and we were not. So now we are here, about 4 months later with our funds in in time for the holidays! 

We want to take a moment and thank ALL of YOU for your part in God's plan!! We thank and praise God for all of you who financially contribute, who met with us to hear about our ministry, and who prayed for us. We honestly couldn't be more grateful for every single one of you!!!

So, what's next in the Hillewaert agenda? Well, we definitely have a lot of fun and exciting things in store for us!

First, we are heading out early Saturday, December 10th, to go on our Honeymoon cruise!! We have had this planned before we were married, and every day that the temperature gets a bit cooler we have kept in mind our fun and WARM adventure that awaits us. We would appreciate prayers for safe travels and a time to recoup from this past month of traveling for MPD.

After that, we chill a bit in Durango, and then, head up to see family for Christmas. THEN we get to go to DCC again this year! DCC (which stands for Denver Christmas Conference) is put on by Cru (formally known as Campus Crusade for Christ), and it's a 5 day conference where students from all over our region come together. It's an excellent time for the students to grow more in their walks with God, and grow closer with the other students from our campus and the other campuses as well. Pray for us and the students as we prepare to go, and that the overall conference will be a great time of growth and a great time of fellowship for all who attend - and pray for anyone wh might get to hear the Gospel for the first time while we're there as well!!

Once again, we are truly thankful and humbled by all of you!! Let us know who we can be praying specifically for you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

With MUCH Thanksgiving

Hello to Team Awesome from the Hillewaerts in Durango, CO!!!

We write you to tell you our very exciting news concerning our support raising. Thanks to God bringing an amazing team of people to partner with us financially and through prayer, we are at 99% of our goal!!! We only have $42 a month left of our $4,000 budget - Seriously, PRAISE GOD WITH US!!!!

We wanted to take a couple minutes to let you know of God is doing, and to also ask you to pray the last bit our funds will come together before next semester so we can go on campus right at the beginning. We are excited to be going into a new chapter of ministry. God has taught both of us a TON during our time of MPD, but we are also itching to get on campus to do what we have been telling people we're going to do the last few months!

We are also attending the Men's and Women's retreats this weekend, and ask for you to pray for everyone going. At the women's retreat, we're going to be talking about honoring God with their bodies, with their mouths, and also dealing with competition with others/insecurities. All these topics are so needed amongst the girls, and we ask you to pray that the girls who come will learn what God wants them to learn, and also that they will connect together as women to encourage one another. The men includes not only our students, but men from all over the area. The whole retreat is on beating temptation and sin - which is also very needed amongst our men! (Click here to learn more about Men's retreats)

Also another small thing that we would like some prayer for. We are flying out of Denver on December 10th to go on our Honeymoon cruise!! We are super excited to go, have a nice vacation and break from support raising. But we are cutting it a little close with getting into Jacksonville to board... so could you pray that our flights will go smoothly and run on time, and to make sure we actually get on the boat? Thanks!

Seriously, we thank God SO MUCH for all of you!! We couldn't ask for better people behind us and encouraging us in our lives, marriage, and ministry!! And please let us know how we can be praying for YOU as well. =)

With Much Thankfulness,

Malcolm and Leah Hillewaert

Here are pictures from our Thanksgiving this year:

 For you bakers out there, I started a baking blog so I could still share recipes I found!

Monday, November 14, 2011

October/November Newsletter

“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:31-34
Homemade Cupcakes for Malcolm's 24th Birthday!!

If there has been one thing that we all have to do, it is to trust God. We’re not called to do what feels right, or called to do a whole lot of things to put us right with God, or anything else. We are suppose to put our faith in God, which is trusting Him from the get go of our relationship with Him.
Then what is our deal then? I (Leah) don’t know about you, but God has been constantly showing me how little I trust Him. With all the traveling, calling, meeting with people, the partnering with people, and the lack of partnering with others, and overall wearing down of my defenses – I admit, I’m really seeing how God is showing me my weak areas of trust in Him. It’s easy to trust when He plops everything in your lap in or before your time frame. But where the rubber really hits the road is when thing you have to chose to trust Him with HIS timing.
The verse that keeps coming to my mind is Psalm 103:14, which says, “…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” God knows our beginnings. He knows our naturalness to do our own thing, go against His will, and do what we do best – sin.
In my quiet times, I’ve been looking up “mercy” in the Bible, which is the best reminder for me. He is extremely merciful – which I very much need!! God, thank you so much for your mercy! And thank you for pushing my limits… even if I may not enjoy it I’m glad for showing me my weaknesses. Because in my weakness YOU are stronger!!
Students playing Football in the snow at the retreat

On November 4th- 6th we got to go to the second retreat of the year, which was a spectacular time to get away and interact with the students. I (Malcolm) love retreats because God is always doing cool things in people’s lives, including my own. At this same retreat 4 years ago, God turned my small world upside down with His love, grace and forgiveness.  That retreat will forever remind me of how great God really is.
  This last retreat God showed up in big ways! Three students gave talks about growing, intimacy, and talking to God. Each talk challenged students and staff alike. I walked away from the retreat knowing God is amazingly big. It was good to be flipped upside down again just like the retreat all those years ago. I can't thank and praise him enough for changing me all those years ago, and still changing me today.
That being said that was just what God is doing in my life, let alone the 40 or so other people that were there interacting with the God of the universe!
Jacob (student at FLC) climbing at Golf Wall

Love and Encouragement

Before we left for Paonia again, Connect started up Angels and Mortals again, which is known for being a fun and encouraging week for students and staff! We didn’t get to be a part of it this time around since we were leaving, but we got to see and hear some fun stories of the students blessing each other. Here is one story from a student:
“I had a kind of crummy afternoon, and was feeling super down after coming home from the store. I then walked into my room and found it completely decorated head to toe with pink streamers. I then looked at my desk and found it decorated as well with crazy straws and colorful puff. It completely changed my day around and made me thank God for my angel and blessing me when he knew I needed it. It made me smile from the inside out, and the glory goes back to him.”
Last of the fall colors in Durango

Prayer Requests

-       We are currently at 88.3% of our goal!! God is definitely showing up and coming through for our need – thank you for your prayers! We’re hoping to be on campus by the beginning of next semester, which is looking possible. So keep praying!!
-       Pray for the students to finish out the school year strong, and also that they will have good times at home over the holidays.  Sometimes students struggle going home because they aren’t in good fellowship and can easily be sucked into their old ways, but God is bigger than their circumstances!
-       Pray for the Denver Christmas Conference which is December 28th- January 2nd. The last couple years we’ve seen a TON of fruit from the students who attend, and we’re excited for another fun and challenging time!!
-       Pray for our marriage as we continue to learn to work as a team and follow God together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Bad Apple Spoils the Barrel

Malcolm and I came to Paonia towards the beginning of the month and helped my dad pick the apples from his tree in the backyard. Since then, I feel like I either cook, bake, can, eat or at least talk about apples once day - no joke! And since apples seem to be such a theme in my life currently, I have been trying to think of a biblical principle to incorporate with all these apples. This morning, as I was about to do some random post to share my recipes I've used recently, God hit me in-between the eyes with the truth of apples and my spiritual life.

Have you heard the phrase, "One bad apple spoils the barrel"? Honestly, I didn't think it was fully true. But I decided to do some research to find out if it was true (I tried to use all my bad apples right away so they wouldn't go to waste, so I didn't find this out in real life)Apparently, apples release something to make ripening happen, and if you have one is over ripe it can make all the other apples surrounding it start to break down. And if one is moldy, those mold spores can easily transfer to other apples surrounding it, especially if the other apples have cuts, bruises or holes (I typed in the phrase "one apple spoils the barrel" into Goggle to find my answers from multiple sites). 

Most people use this phrase to speak of people in our lives that can "poison" us and make us rotten. I'm not defecting this truth, since the Bible backs this point up (check out 1 Corinthians 15:33). But this is what hit me this morning as I was reflecting - I can corrupt all the other good things that God blesses me with in my life. One bad attitude, one "little" sin, one act of selfishness and permeate into all the other areas of life.

To be honest, this has been my major issue this past month. I let myself have the worst attitude about support raising. Instead of taking it to God humbly to let Him truly change me, I took it to Him on a surface basis and still let the real issue start to rot me. I started to believe lies that people didn't care or want to give, that I wasn't worth the time to listen to and that maybe what we're wanting to do isn't worth it, and, worst of all, that God really didn't care about we were doing to take care of our needs. This one bad attitude started infecting everything else around me. I started focusing on things that don't matter, letting every little get to me and irritate me, which put in conflict left and right.

Once I realized what was happening, I kept trying things to get me out of my situation. Nothing was really working. Then along comes Sunday morning. I was praying instead of worship God through song, asking Him, "God, what do I do? I'm so screwed up right now, and I don't know how to fix it." He hit me with this truth, "Leah, you need mercy and grace."

What? That's not what I expecting to hear! I was expecting a 12-step process to get me clean with God, not this one thing that I can't really do much with except accept it. But then I was thinking about - I've been beating myself up and letting lies sink into my being to the point where I couldn't get myself out. What I really needed was a "do over", to put this past month away and just have a new start. That's why Jesus came in the first place - to make us a new creation so we can live an abundant life in Christ.

Jesus gave us the gift we didn't deserve so we don't have to live the life we deserve to live. Without God's grace and God's mercy we're doomed! But this shouldn't be something we accepted one day just to make sure we're going to heaven, but grace and mercy is something we should cling to every day we're alive.

Romans 5:20-21 says, "The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

I don't say this to say I have an excuse to sin, because I don't. Romans 6:1-2 says, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" But what I am saying is that God is still making me into the woman He wants me to be, which means I need to die to myself and remember that it is by His grace alone I am saved, and that His mercy is new every morning - I need Him more and more every day.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


 If you need ideas of how to use up a bunch of apples, or just some good recipes to try out, I've found some yummy ones!

Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Apple Muffins - these are streusel muffins, but I made them in my cupcake maker, so I didn't do the streusel part. I also suggest baking them in the oven instead of a cupcake maker since they're so thick.
Crock Pot Applesauce - I used the recipe linked, but I also learned a recipe from my stepmom's mom which is delicious and the most beautiful applesauce I have ever seen!! Put 1/2 water in bottom of crock pot, fill with apples, pour 2 Tbps lemon juice over apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then cook on high for 3-5 hours (just depends). Not terribly sweet, and yet not incredibly tart either. Seriously, it's golden and beautiful - will bring a smile to your face!
Applesauce Bread - which I made with my homemade applesauce.
Apple Cobbler Cupcakes - I used a caramel frosting instead of the pumpkin pie, since I didn't want to make pumpkin pie. "Bomber" cupcakes - as my sister would say!
Caramel Apple Jam - it tastes like apple pie filling! SUPER good!

French Bread - Last month I had posted about making apple butter and pear jam, and I made french bread so we could enjoy these new creations with some hot bread. I didn't do a couple of the instructions, like the cutting of the bread or the water in the oven (for some reason didn't read those parts until it was too late), and it still turned out good.
Pear Cupcakes - I used the same caramel frosting as on the apple cobbler cupcakes. I did attempt the frosting the cupcake lady had made, but it was a complete failure. So I found the other one and it's super delicious.
Pumpkin Mudslide Cupcakes - I used apple juice (which I made myself with a steamer) instead of the alcohol. I also needed chocolate syrup to drizzle on top of the frosted cupcakes, which I didn't have on hand, so I made it 10 minutes before I needed to leave with them. I may never buy chocolate syrup again! So good and SO easy to make!
Stuffed French Toast - I used real eggs and real heavy cream, not the substitutes. I had ricotta cheese I needed to use up, so I made this (which is super good with apple butter on them) and  homemade chicken alfredo with angel hair pasta. Needless to say, we were very cheesy that day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September Newsletter 2011

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Romans 5:3-5 

 I really love being able to be apart of all that God is doing this year on Fort Lewis campus!  I love the fact that even though I get limited involvement God continues to push me to become the man He wants me to be!  It has really set a fire under our butt in wanting to be on campus full time.
This weekend we got the chance to go to the first retreat of the year.  It was an amazing time!  The main theme of the retreat was having an eternal mindset.  Leah, Nate and Erin all gave really good talks challenging everyone to live this life for Christ and not of the world.  This weekend was a good reminder of what we are missing by not being up on campus full time.
Being on the outside looking in to what is happening this year has been a learning experience of it’s own.  I have learned to be patient and content with what God has given me, while at the same time striving for more of Him.  He has also taught me that this truly is God’s ministry that we get to be a part of, not our ministry that God gets to show up in.  Too often I find myself telling God, “I got this”, only to realize later that I have nothing and HE is everything!  I can’t wait to be more involved with what God is doing in these student’s lives.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

What a great 1st month of ministry! With over 200 new students to follow up with, and more people being added every week – the staff are busy!! We keep being told of these amazing stories of students investigating God, being challenged in their walk, taking steps of faith… I mean, you really can’t ask for a better year than this!
Though there are many stories, this most recent one is very exciting. A girl came to our retreat this weekend as a skeptic of Christianity. A new guy in our ministry invited her as they were talking in a class, and she decided to come check out what Christianity is all about.  She was very attentive during the talks, asked good questions during discussion, and we even saw her read a bible during quiet times! She not only fully enjoyed her time this weekend – remarking on how nice everyone was – she also came to our weekly meeting!
Please pray for her!! God is definitely doing something in her life, and we’re praying that she will start a relationship with Jesus very soon!!

James 1:17-18

Though the rest of the staff are hustling and bustling in ministry, we have had very little participation. We’ve had the opportunity to join in on the retreat, girl’s/guy’s nights, and some weekly events, but, all in all, we don’t get to do much.
We wish we could tell you we’re busy in appointments to tell people about our ministry, but we haven’t had that chance either. But God has been absolutely MIND-BLOWING this past month! Though we haven’t had the opportunity to do much, God has come through HUGE by bringing in funds from seemingly nowhere! And we give Him all the praise for bringing us to  82.7% of our total goal!!
Thank you thank you thank you for ALL your prayers this past month! We know you may not be able to witness these things happening on campus or in our lives, but we definitely see the fruit of your prayers. So KEEP IT UP!!

Prayer Requests


-       Pray for all the students who are new. Pray that, if they haven’t heard the Gospel yet, that they will soon. And, if they know God, that they will keep in fellowship with God and other Christians. Pray for their overall walks with God!
-       Pray for our student leaders that they may keep their focus on God and reaching others, rather than on frivolous things that don’t matter. Pray that they will continue to step out in faith and watch God come through for them!
-       Pray for us as we get ready to leave for Paonia, CO (Leah’s hometown), very soon. Pray for our marriage and our time their, as well as the rest of the funds we need to come in so we can dive into ministry full-time!

Pictures from the Past Month

A VERY Packed House for Dinner

Having Fun at the Girl's Retreat

Fall Retreat

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


If you had to wear one, white t-shirt for your entire life – that grew with you and you couldn’t remove – could you keep it clean for your whole life? If you answered yes, I beg to differ.
I have this one white shirt, that I don’t even wear that often, that I try to keep extremely white. I spray stain remover in the armpits and every place I dribble coffee on it (because it never fails I dribble) at every cleaning. It’s becoming progressively harder to keep it clean and white.

I'm impressed with people who can keep their clothes clean for one full day! I was just looking at some wedding pictures, and how clean and white my dress looked. Now when I look at the bottom of my dress, it looks more like a gray/tan color than white. And I only wore it for one day!
This is how we are with sin. We can try (or not try) to be good people, but we naturally screw up. Just like it is impossible to keep a white shirt perfectly white for our entire lives, it is impossible to go our entire lives without sinning.
Sorry if you thought you were saved by good your deeds. Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3, and pretty much the entire bible says otherwise.
But that’s why Jesus is SO AMAZING! Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He died and gave us eternal life. He gave us a whole new white, stain resistant shirt. Knowing this, I have one question:
Are you still living to keep your shirt clean, or for the one who gave you the clean shirt so you can truly live?