Chaplaincy Ministry

Chaplaincy Ministry

Healing, Faith, and Service

My name is Heidi Woldhuis, and I am called to chaplaincy ministry. As a student of the Christian Leaders Institute, being credentialed on my chaplaincy ministry journey with the Christian Leaders Alliance is a blessing. I have a story to share—a story of healing, faith, and service.

My Story

I grew up in the small town of Hudsonville, Michigan, as the oldest of four children in an ultra-conservative family. Our lives revolved around a strict, legalistic church, and I attended the denominational school. However, my journey took an unexpected turn, leading me through dark valleys before finding the light of hope.

At a young age, I experienced something no child should ever endure. In sixth grade, my teacher sexually molested me, leaving deep emotional scars. This traumatic event took a toll on my mental health, triggering depression, an eating disorder, and thoughts of ending my life. I felt lost and broken as if the world was closing in on me.

A Dark Time

Seeking stability and a fresh start, I married at 19, hoping for a loving and supportive relationship. Unfortunately, my husband turned out to be violent, subjecting me to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I endured unbearable pain and knew I had to escape this toxic situation. Filing for divorce was a difficult decision, but it was a step towards reclaiming my life.

However, seeking freedom came at a significant cost. The church community I had turned to for guidance and solace excommunicated and shunned me when they learned of my divorce. To my disbelief, I also lost both sides of my family, as they disowned me. Suddenly, I found myself homeless, scared, and utterly alone. It was a dark and desolate time.

God Stepped In

In my despair, I clung to my faith in God, believing He had a plan for my life. Even though I no longer trusted any Christians, my trust in God remained unshaken. During this trying period, God intervened in the most unexpected way—He brought my future husband into my life. His love and kindness began to mend the shattered pieces of my heart, and he encouraged me to give church another chance.

Reluctantly, I agreed to accompany him to church, uncertain of what I would find. Little did I know that this decision would be the turning point in my life. Within the walls of that church, I encountered Jesus in a way I had never experienced before. His love embraced me, bringing healing and restoration to my wounded soul. And so, on Easter Sunday in 2022, I took a step of faith and was baptized, sealing my commitment to follow Him.

A Deeper Understanding and a Calling

Embracing my newfound faith, I hungered for a deeper understanding of God’s calling on my life. That’s when I discovered the Christian Leaders Institute (CLI), a beacon of hope. CLI allowed me to pursue my passion for ministry without the burden of tuition fees. It was a true gift from God, as my financial circumstances made traditional college unattainable.

Immersing myself in CLI’s classes, I embarked on a journey of spiritual growth and learning. As I delved deeper, I felt a stirring in my soul—a calling to reach out to others who had experienced abuse and trauma, including spiritual abuse. In response, I founded It is a support group that provides a safe haven for individuals seeking healing from their pasts. It has become a place of strength, support, and restoration.

But my calling didn’t end there. I felt a burden for women behind bars, yearning to bring hope to their lives. I longed to minister to them, to show them God’s love and forgiveness. The path was difficult, but I trusted God would open doors for me. I prayed for the opportunity to enter prisons and provide comfort and inspiration to these hurting souls.

In addition to my ministry endeavors, I became involved in Central Bible Ministries, a new church plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Serving on its board, I am privileged to work alongside returning citizens who found God while incarcerated. It’s an incredible blessing to witness transformed lives and be part of a community embodying Jesus’ teachings.

Chaplaincy Ministry Journey

Through CLI, I am pursuing ordination into chaplaincy ministry, a calling that will open doors I never imagined. My heart desires to see existing churches in my area embrace Jesus’ commandment to love and serve all people selflessly. By returning to the core teachings of Christ, we can create a world filled with love and compassion.

As I look ahead, I covet your prayers for God’s blessing and protection as I venture into prisons to minister to the hurting women behind bars. I pray that continues to grow and bless countless individuals who have experienced abuse and trauma. May my mission to encourage existing churches to embody Christ’s teachings be successful, leading them to become beacons of love and compassion in our communities.

CLI has been an incredible blessing, and I am forever grateful to everyone who made my education possible. This institution has given me the knowledge and tools to pursue my calling. I am excited about the future, knowing that God’s hand is guiding me every step of the way. With His grace, I will continue to serve Him faithfully, spreading love and hope to those who need it most.

Register a Study Account

Register for a free study account, automatically enrolling you in the Getting Started Class at the Christian Leaders Learning Platform. The Getting Started class will take you less than an hour to complete.

When you log in to the Learning Platform, you will notice that the Getting Started Class automatically appears on your dashboard.    

The Getting Started Class will orientate you to the Christian Leaders Learning Platform and the Programs offered, including:

  1. Ministry Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas with the Christian Leaders Institute.
  2. College Degrees with the Christian Leaders College.
  3. Minister Credentialling (Ordination) with the Christian Leaders Alliance, including local Soul Center registration possibilities. 

Note: You can enroll in tuition-free courses or mini-courses immediately without finishing the getting started class.  

Find out more about women in ministry here.

Henry Reyenga
Author: Henry Reyenga

Henry Reyenga is president of Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance.