Nebraska rippled some Bangladeshi courage (#jtreat)

I was adopted for a reason. Of this I am sure. I was more than poverty, an orphanage, or third world country in political upheaval and identity defining. Bangladesh birthed me but did not get to hold me. Someday I may get to hold her hand and love her poor up close. Someday I may get to champion her vibrant heritage, spiritual offerings, and her rise to be a people of beauty. But for now, the States are my home.


Michigan has my decades. 3 of them. A family within a dedicated community to principles and faith. A brother with dirty blonde hair, biological to the parents I have. A brother with midnight black hair from South Korea, two years my elder. A father with a work ethic unmatched by most everyone I meet; hammer, nails, and a propensity to details and solid construction. A mother, who had a strong desire for a girl and, who like me, was raised by someone other than her biological mom. Odd details that don’t tell the story, but begin to paint the outline of the depths I may reveal someday. That family, in that community, those were good people working tirelessly to make life work out well while trusting something larger than themselves. This is the grounding I have. Family and then friends who shared experiences with me in my growing up and beginning of my career. Friends who surrounded my husband and I with fun times and memories to be cherished. But even Michigan couldn’t be called home forever. The tribe of little boys, the love of my life, and I wandered to Minnesota just a year ago.

Am I created for Minnesota? After this really long winter, I humorously cringe to imagine such an awful joke. But this is where I am now. With a heart full of very meaningful friendships, career experiences, and memories from Michigan, Minnesota gives me space to explore. The path and life in my hometown had amazingness and I grow homesick from time to time. But I also feel quite alive here. Minneapolis sets my spirit aflight.

So how did I end up in Nebraska? Why would I journey from the Twin Cities, through Iowa in pelting rain, to spend 4 days with people I knew so little about. How did it ripple courage? These two letters might shed some light. The post is long but the message needed, so I write on.


Dear Holley,

I tried to write this letter in a card and mail it to that lovely Arkansas home of yours. But the ink dried too quickly and the words seemed off. I dared, for a moment, to wait until we talked on the phone to describe the extent of my appreciation, but immediacy won the day. You are a dreamer of dreamers. Do you get that? Do you see your ripple effect in that crazy team you host on Facebook and your friends around the country? Do you notice it when your books sell and your message is sought after? Did you hear it in the voices of women who sang that Nebraskan Friday night in April? Do you feel it when your heart reads the comments posted to your blog or your cards get bought yet again from the store? Please tell me you sense it when the days and deadlines press you and you wonder if you should enlarge your territory to meet the call on your soul! You are a dreamer of dreamers. You awaken, you encourage, you cheer, you believe. You are not duplicated in anyone I know or have read. You are not a platform, you are a person. You are a person with a ridiculous amount of insight and hope.

Thank you for being that.
Thank you for being that for me.
For Deidra.
For the GSDTers on your team.
For the college students in Michigan.
For those reading abroad and those reflecting in the late hours of the night.
For yourself.
For Him.

I had an experience of a lifetime producing Jumping Tandem: The Retreat in Nebraska. These are not sugar coated words or random sunshine to meet a cloudy day. You gifted me a referral and support that allowed me to show a room full of hopefuls that I was adopted for a reason. I can own who I am and who I am designed to be. A six month internship with you, your mentorship, and your friendship weave around, lacing up some loose ends and helping me define my ambitions. Life-coaching is part of your career but it is clearly part of your gifting. Thank you for being a dreamer of dreamers and not standing still until it was a fearless thing to pursue. In the words oft repeated in these corners (Thanks JH) you felt the fear and you did it anyways. You named it and owned it. You modeled it; and you love; I am forever blessed.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Your ripple effect and friend,


Holley Gerth, who I am linking up with today at is a part of why my GPS had to get programmed for Ashland, Nebraska a few weeks ago. I was originally going as an attendee until enlisted to help Holley with something, which transitioned into a desire to serve the retreat host, Deidra Riggs. Deidra Riggs,, planned and hosted a fabulous retreat, which you can learn about here: Some how, my random offers to help landed me a production gig of a three day event in the heart of the midwest. Thankfully, I have been trained by and interned with Jim Henderson Presents, a team of two incredible gentlemen and so I managed to show up, sort of rock it, and return home with only blessings, not wear & tear. Deidra is a dreamer, a ripple of Holley, a reflection of Him. We run with lanterns together…


Dear Deidra,

My words splatter across the screen. The delete button is pushed. Part of me wants to write about mozzarella stuffed chicken my household ate tonight and ask about the salmon and veggies you had.

But here it is. If ever there was a time, to say thank you and encourage a fellow dreamer, it’s now. This is the exact topic Holley asked our team to write about today. Here goes the chicken-free, super long text, try not to Skype me about it tomorrow…

Vision. You had it. People. They enlisted to help. Participants. They signed up. You were set. The food was prepared. The table ready. Your Midwest event of writers, bloggers, artists, and entrepreneurs was happening. Then this wandering soul took a risk and decided to come on board with your mission simply because Holley did. I was following her current, willing to be in the motto of — live once, no regrets. I was eager to do what I could to move dreamers forward, because I am a hope chaser. Dreamers, by nature, are some of the most hopeful people I have met.

Did I meet you? When did I start thinking I could create agendas and run meetings? How did it get decided that I would lead the charge so that you could host with grace? Where were the details and years of planning that allowed this working relationship to thrive? None of it is known to me. That is the blur. Is it for you too?

The clarity comes in this, somewhere along the line I had no choice but to be 100% behind you and for you. I grew to love you, not just work for your mission. How does that happen? Driven service, a value I hold high, sure, but how did it happen THIS time and how do I express my gratitude for letting my capabilities support you. This, I guess. With muddle words and incomplete thoughts.

Thank you for inviting me to Nebraska. Thank you for trusting me with your dream. Thank you for letting me lead your crew. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for letting me champion you in my own crazy way.

But above all that, thank you for affirming that my life, though evidenced every step of the way to be in the hand of God, from Bangladesh, to Michigan, to Minnesota, had to “stretch to breath” in Nebraska.

I now actually possess the courage my blog posts have spouted about for months. (Hope Chaser entry #1)

I have gotten in the car and chased hope.

I will not forget where I have come from or deny where I am going, you did this, You were the face of Christ to me. Thank you.

Your person for #JTREAT and friend,


40 thoughts on “Nebraska rippled some Bangladeshi courage (#jtreat)

  1. Holley,
    Thank you so much for meeting with my girls and I via Skype and allowing us to grow and experience our dreams together through this book that you’ve written. Your words are an encouragement to me and I pray God continues to use you on this journey of helping others! I am looking forward to finishing your book in the very near future!



  2. Nasreen – It all came off without a hitch from where I was sitting…even with the wandering souls looking for a commode in their room (wink, wink) You obviously have a gift for pulling it all together so others can just be grace and encouragement. And you even managed to be force and grace at the same time – amazing! So, Bangladesh, Minnesota, Michigan; sorry to steal your thunder, but Nebraska was blessed to have Nasreen for such a time as this!



    1. Kelly, thanks for taking the time to write this. It means a lot to know that the weekend provided goodness
      amidst a few hurdles. You both were gracious to us. May we all live for “such a time as this” — Thanks for your thoughtful words here and your honesty on your blog about #jtreat.


  3. So beautiful, Nasreen. Your grace, boldness and strength are a rare combination. As you so generously champion others, you are championed. I only know a little of your story, but it is beautiful! I’m so blessed to call you friend. XO


  4. Found your blog from a ‘Bangladesh’ search and then got stuck here. This is so moving, so honest, so original …and, I hope you don’t mind my saying, vaguely Bangladeshi-too. I don’t why I thought that – but the ‘obhimaan’ at the beginning. Hope to read much more.


    1. Adnan- wow, glad the post tags allowed a way for you to stumble into this post. Please stick around and be a part of the people who bring global perspective, honest, and wonder to it all. You are very generous with your words and I am moved to write about this soon! Until then, peace.


  5. It was said many times throughout the retreat…man, I need a Nasreen in MY life. Seriously girl, you did the most amazing job! I am glad that God put all the pieces together for you to partner with Deidra, and together see her dream be worked out.
    I also love how you spoke of the journey the Lord has brought you through and the ways it has shaped you and made you such a blessing 🙂 you ARE loved!


  6. What a beautiful post! How incredible to see God’s hand in all happenings of our lives! He is at the wheel…all we have to do is surrender…and let Him lead. He has wonderful things in store for all of us, and how precious that He cares enough to bring others into our lives to inspire and goad us onward. Thank you for sharing your heart. I’m so glad to have “met” you! God’s peace be with you. Love, Cheryl


  7. Holla! Nasreen . . . we haven’t even talked since all of this, and it’s amazing to sit on the sidelines and watch it all unfold the way it has! You are an incredible gift! To me and so many! Keep trusting . . . even if it feels like clinging . . . keep on holding on. Hugs!


  8. Love, love, love this Nasreen! In your words of thanks and blessings to others, I find hope and encouragement for myself and my dreams. God bless you as you continue in your hopes, dreams, and ministry.

    After FB messages leading up to #JTreat, it was so wonderful to meet you as soon as I arrived! The entire weekend was such an incredible experience!



  9. Oh girl, these are such beautiful words for some amazing women! I loved watching you bloom through this opportunity and wished desperately I could have been in Nebraska this year to cheer you on! I know for a fact that Jumping Tandem changed the lives of some very dear friends, and you, sister, were a huge part of that!


  10. Wonderful to read about your journey, and you are right. Holley is making ripples for Christ. You are too. When we dream with God he ripples right through to make beautiful circles of community and often waves that can rock! Nice to read about your story. Your fellow God-sized dreamer, Jennifer.


  11. What absolutely PERFECT words you’ve formed to thank these 2 amazing women. And you sorta rocked it? Pa-leeze tell me you KNOW you rocked it cuz you can do anything in Chirst?! YOU were the face of Jesus to us throughout the whole weekend ~ and a reflection of the God-Sized Dreamers who took your hand and pulled you on board. Bless you girl!


  12. Somewhere in all these beautiful words, spattered here and there with your incredibly beautiful face, I think I read these: “I sorta rocked it. . . ” SORTA???? Honey, you downright double-down rocked it. PHENOMENAL. Every Deidra needs a Nasreen – you were an unbeatable, indefatigable pair and I thank you.


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