Who are you?
My name is Marisa (Peine) Baker. I just got married to Ben in January so I’m still getting used to my new last name! I am 25 years old and currently live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I work at a healthcare benefits brokerage and am in graduate school to be a Physician’s Assistant.
My husband, Ben, and I are involved in the Young Married Couples program through the Community of Christ the Redeemer in Minnesota. In addition, I serve with the university outreach and Ben volunteers with the community youth group.
Short word on your time in Belgium?
I did my GAP year in Belgium from 2011 to 2012. I served with Clare Darnell, Kate Stevenson, Javier Sastre, and Daniel Kallassi. Sam Geleyn was our Gap Director and Paul Jordan oversaw our work. Clare, Kate, and I lived on Bierbeekstraat in Leuven in a women’s household. Towards the end of the year, Aline Tavernier moved in with us and we loved having a Belgian in the house!
For our Gap service, we planned and hosted Pharos nights, did a weekly coffee stall on the University campus, regularly met with and discipled students from KU Leuven, served in the Jerusalem community, and built lifelong relationships.
What is the best memory of your time in Belgium?
Though I learned much and grew even more during my Gap year, I think the thing that I will always treasure most is the relationships that I built and the opportunities I had to live life with individuals during my Gap year. Though I grew up in a community and had shared life with others in the context of my family, it was extraordinary to be an individual young person and to be welcomed so graciously into the lives of those in the Jerusalem Community. As a testament to these relationships, even now, 8 years later, I was blessed to have Tiffany and Frederik travel across the ocean to celebrate my wedding and share life with us.
Do you have a message for the people of Jerusalem?
More than anything, I want to thank you for your generosity and hospitality. I know how much of an inconvenience or challenge it can be to invite a young person who comes from a different culture and only speaks English into your life, yet your courage and openness to me markedly changed the course of my life. Thank you for responding to the Lord’s call so bravely and investing in me, despite the shortness of my time in Belgium.
What can we pray for?
Please pray for Ben and I as we begin our marriage and continue to discern where the Lord is calling us. Please also pray for the Community in Minnesota that we would answer the Lord’s call with courage and zeal. Lastly, please pray for young people today who have to fight through the clouding messages from our world to even recognize the voice of the Lord.