More than 10 years ago God laid on our hearts how hungry people were to learn to “live” the simple truths of God. Through object lessons taught out of an old treasure chest children and adults alike began to smile and realize that they were treasures to God. It also became very apparent that there were many people who knew the Lord but were living a very limited, sometimes frustrating life. They weren’t sure how or where God wanted to use them. Some didn’t believe that God could use them beyond their own family. They definitely did not know that they were God’s treasures. Many churches we visited had great hearts with passion to advance the kingdom for Christ but were tired and felt limited physically. A lack of defined purpose, people, money, or even just the “know how” to get from “point A to point B” left them discouraged.We believe too many times in our lives as Christians we somehow believe in God’s resurrection power to save our souls from hell, but miss the extravagance of God’s love, power and creativity right here in our everyday lives on earth. Ephesians 3:19-21 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory….”
You have seen what I did to the Egyptians,
and how I bore you on Eagle’s wings and brought
you to myself. Now therefore, if you indeed obey
My voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a
special treasure to me above all people; for all the
earth is mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of
priests and a holy nation
With that realization we continued to tell simple truths of God out of our treasure chest where-ever God opened the door. However several years ago God dramatically got a hold of our family. Almost overnight nearly every aspect of our lives changed and we had a choice to make. We could depend on God through the Body of Christ to help us or try to go it alone. Though very humbling, we have experienced the body of Christ caring for us. Different people filled different needs. As a result our lives are richer and now it’s our turn to share. We’ve found there is an army of God’s people ready to advance His Kingdom but for many there is no vision or mechanism to use their abilities. Scripture says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish….” We have a vision. Our vision is to help individuals, churches and para-church ministries realize and receive the fact that as children of God, they are His treasures. When this happens God is truly glorified and men are drawn to Him. On June 6, 2008, through much prayer and support, Treasure Chest Ministries was birthed, giving us the opportunity to begin assembling those Godly Treasures.
Mark and Jody Stevenson
Mark and Jody have been married for over 30 years growing through the joys and challenges of life on this earth. Right from the beginning their love of God drew them to service in their church. Mark has served as choir member, worship leader, administrative and children’s pastor, and elder in more than one church in his life time. Jody has served as Sunday school teacher, director of children’s ministry, women’s ministry leader, choir and worship team member as well as lead minister in a gift-based volunteer program. Together, they co-directed the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference for 5 years. Their greatest joy here on earth is the two children the Lord gave them. Their joy continues to grow. Daughter Amber lost her first husband to cancer in 2007. In July of 2009 she was married again to Ryan DeYoung. In July of this year they welcomed their first grandbaby, Aviana DeYoung to their family. Their son, Seth broadens their world by sharing life with them in the Des Moines Area. He provides his expertise for this ministry through designing and hosting this web site.
Mark has been called “a man after God’s own heart”. After nearly 15 years of very “successful” motel management and leadership in the lodging industry he became restless. His years of tangible achievements and respect from peers was not quieting the tug on his heart. With great anticipation of what the Lord could do he accepted the call to join in ministry with a Bible Camp in Okoboji, Iowa. That decision energized Mark’s love of the Lord enabling him to share the gifts God has given him.
Starting in management of the camp led him into other ministry areas. It was there Mark confirmed his passion to worship and lead others in worship. While he primarily uses music as his tool, he also teaches from the Word of God through object lessons and sharing his life story. But it was after 10 years of full-time service to the Lord that Mark’s real break through occurred. Shortly after his son-in-law was diagnosed with incurable cancer Mark’s overly busy schedule culminated in a complete “shut down”. Forced to be quiet, Mark heard the Lord again. This time it was not to “get busy in ministry” but to be God’s friend. Through that quiet time he realized he had been avoiding many hurts and poor choices from his past by keeping so busy with good things there was no time to dig deep.
Now more than 5 years later, with those hurts and poor choices dealt with Mark has accepted the call to return to ministry. This time Mark is listening to God’s prompting. He is using his gift of worship and encouragement to lead others to freedom to be the people God created them to be and to think outside the box of conventional ministry.
Jody is a woman who met Christ at the young age of 6 and has never looked back. Having been taught the Word of God her entire life Jody was blessed with believing it’s words were true for life. It was in Junior High that she realized that her life would include public ministry. Having no idea what that might look like she just continued to immerse herself in surroundings where she could learn and share the Word of God. She was privileged to spend a year at Northwestern College in Roseville, Minnesota. It was during that year that it became real to her that not everyone believed God’s Word literally the way she did. Whether through opportunities presented when working as a nurse, a wife and mom, or in direct ministry Jody looks for every opportunity the Lord has gives her to exhort and challenge others that God is far beyond our imagination. In fact, He’s downright extravagant. Speaking to women’s groups and team teaching with her husband Mark regarding marriage or worship, event planning, as well as the day to day operations of Treasure Chest Ministries are Jody’s areas of ministry.
Director of Organization Management
Shari Hudson, is an Organization Consultant and works with people in non-profit organizations, ministries and businesses through one-on-one consultations with individual staff members or through group corporate training. Each client’s needs are assessed in order to help them meet their own specific organizing goals. Shari has worked with numerous entities including Iowa Volunteer Services for Methodist/Lutheran Hospitals, Child Serve, Valley E-Free Church, American Red Cross, American Equity Life Insurance, Kingsway Christian College, Pioneer Hi-Bred, University of Iowa, Iowa State University Foundation, Seabury and Smith, Principal Financial, as well as many others. She also works with people in their homes to help them get and stay organized.
Shari has owned Organized by Design for twelve years and received her Masters of Arts Degree in Organizational Management. She is a contributing author in the book “Rekindling the Human Spirit”. In addition, Shari was a regular monthly guest on the KCCI Saturday Early Morning program, she has appeared in “Kitchen Design” magazine, appeared on a PBS series entitled “Simplify Your Life”, and is featured in “Clutter Cutters: Store It With Style” by Meredith Publishing. This book appears in Home Depot locations across the nation.
Shari’s family includes her husband, Roger, two children, three step-children, and six step-grandchildren. In 2001 both Shari and Roger accepted Christ on their first day at Valley Evangelical Free Church. They are both involved in choir and have held numerous leadership and teaching roles.
God’s call on his life did not take David Graanstra to “the ends of the earth” as he had imagined, but instead God called him to stay right where he was born, in northwest Iowa. Raised in a Christian home, Dave can testify to God’s faithfulness through the generations. He attended church with his parents and grandparents and made a personal commitment to serve God when he was 17.
Music has always been an important part of his life. Taking guitar lessons in junior high led into starting a praise band in high school. That band was used in many youth gatherings and churches. Dave immediately realized God’s call on his life to use his music for Him. He has answered that call by using his guitar to lead worship for local Christian ministries, conferences, and churches. Dave also teaches guitar lessons passing his gift on to the next generation. He currently plays acoustic guitar as a member of the worship team at Good News Community Church in Okoboji, Iowa.
He and his wife, Judy, have four daughters who are now all married. They, too, all share the love of music and are involved in music ministry in their own churches.
Dave has been in production agriculture his entire life, raising corn, soybeans, and beef cattle. He has served using his gifts of quiet wisdom and leadership as elder and deacon in his church, as well as on local school, agriculture and now Treasure Chest Ministries board of directors. His life long dedication to serving Christ in his own home territory makes him a perfect fit for Treasure Chest Ministries whose starting area of focus is Iowa and its surrounding states.
Steve’s life changed as a high school student, from a rebellious teenager to a redeemed child of God, eager to live beyond mediocrity. After graduating with a BA in English from the University of Iowa,heI declared his life for Christ and Christian ministry. That pivotal decision led to a career in international and cross-cultural missions in Liberia, West Africa, then to Chihuahua, Mexico and presently Des Moines, Iowa.
In training also to be a missionary, Steve met his Canadian wife, Kathy. They married in 1981 in Nova Scotia, and partnered together as God’s ambassadors wherever they lived. Steve and Kathy raised three children as “third culture kids” in two different continents. Tim and Starla are adults with their own careers, and Joel is their home-educated teenager.
Steve currently serves in lay-leadership at First Federated Church in Des Moines, Steve and Kathy help serve as Marriage Mentors. Steves involvement with Treasure Chest Ministries fits with past ministry endeavors, he enjoys networking—especially for the Kingdom. Steve has seen the joy of others as they connect with opportunities to utilize their gifts and skills.
In 2010, Steve launched Beyond Spell Check, an editing and indexing business.
Bio coming soon.