Executive Director John DeKruyter holds an M.A. in Biblical History and Historical Geography from Jerusalem University College. John has served as the Executive Director of Alongside since January 2010. He believes Alongside to be a strategic ministry in empowering and strengthening leadership in the Kingdom of God. John considers his position at Alongside to be extremely rewarding and he enjoys seeing how God uses the Alongside staff to bring wholeness and restoration to marriages, families, and ministries. He feels honored and thrilled that he, along with his dedicated and talented staff, can offer an environment where deep change takes place.
Director of Counseling Dr. Bob Watson holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Bob is licensed as a clinical psychologist in the state of Michigan. After serving in youth and church ministry for a year in Micronesia after college, Bob believed that a career in cross-cultural missions was God’s calling for his life. But God had other plans. Over the next three decades, he worked in faith-based intensive mental health treatment, as a professor training Christian psychologists and counselors, as an organizational consultant developing leaders and teams, and working closely with indigenous churches on many short-term missions. Bob’s vocational journey prepared him for his current role at Alongside. He considers himself privileged to play a part in healing the “noble wounds” of those in ministry.
Andrew holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College Graduate School. Andrew is a limited licensed psychologist in the state of Michigan. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, his experience of vocational ministry started early, eventually leading him to pursue training at Moody Bible Institute. He and his wife spent two terms in the Middle East supporting church growth and multiplication. They first experienced Alongside as program participants following a very difficult first term. At Alongside, they found compassion, clarity, tools, and most importantly—hope. When Andrew and his family returned to the US in 2016, he was thrilled to join the Alongside staff as a counselor—offering to others the gift that had once been given to him. Andrew considers it a privilege to play a role in God’s restorative work in the lives of His servants.
Dr. Kristy Fujiura holds a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology. Kristy is licensed as a psychologist in the state of Michigan. She believes that God created humans as relational beings whose need for God and each other is often highlighted during times of suffering. She considers it a wonderful privilege to journey with fellow followers of God during their times of suffering and to witness God’s work toward healing through relationships. Kristy grew up as a third culture kid in a Christian ministry family. She has had a passion for and desire to serve those in Christian ministry since she was a teenager. Alongside blends together perfectly her passion for serving those in Christian ministry with her other skills and interests in psychology, counseling, and teaching.
Carol holds an M.A. in Christian Counseling and an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Carol is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor in North Carolina and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Michigan and Mississippi. After nearly 25 years in ministry, she began to realize that she and her family were not the only people suffering in ministry and missions. Carol soon realized that she could offer the same hope and healing to others that she had received. Her education included intensive training as a chaplain as well as a counselor for inpatient psychiatric settings. Carol and her family have served in overseas placements, multiple domestic ministry roles, and she is a former Clinical Member Care Director. Carol grew up in Michigan and has been deeply influenced by God’s beautiful outdoors as well as her first career as a musician and music educator. Carol and her family are grateful to return to Michigan after years of “wandering” for her to serve at Alongside in the work God is doing to profoundly refresh, renew, and restore His servants.
Amy holds an M.A. in Counseling and is certified in Trauma Therapy. Amy is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Michigan. She chose Alongside as her vocational home because she has a passion for men and women in ministry. After 25 years of service and leadership in an international nonprofit ministry, Amy found herself in a season of burnout and interpersonal conflict. She came to Alongside as a participant at what she considers to be her lowest point in ministry. When she arrived, she was in need of a safe place, acceptance, and care. Amy was later invited to join the Alongside staff as a counselor. After the first month of leading groups and caring for missionaries, she realized that nothing she had suffered would be wasted. Amy loves working at Alongside because she believes the Lord uses it to heal and restore participants.
Curt holds an M.A. in Christian Counseling from Colorado Christian University. Curt is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Michigan. He chose Alongside as his vocational home because he has a heart of compassion for missionaries and pastors and an understanding of the stress and tension they live under daily. Curt has extensive experience working with and counseling Christian leaders, missionaries, and pastors in a variety of contexts over the past 25 years. Curt first came to Alongside as a participant during a difficult and painful season of his life; He found the program to be very beneficial to his recovery. He believes that he has seen God use his own journey to bring understanding and compassion to people who are struggling. Curt loves working at Alongside because he has seen people arrive broken, without much hope or direction, and leave with a renewed hope and a passion for ministry.
Rick Smith holds both an M.A in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University and an MDiv from Trinity International University. Rick is licensed as an LLPC in the state of Michigan and serves on staff at Alongside as a Professional Counselor. Rick started his professional career working in the Chicagoland area as a mechanical engineer. He then transitioned into ministry working as a Campus Pastor with a large non-denominational church in the suburbs of Chicago. While working as a Pastor, Rick was invited on a “once in a lifetime” trip to Kenya to help some church members open a home for orphaned children and develop a sponsorship program. This opportunity led Rick to move with his wife and family to Kenya where they served for almost 11 years with an organization to holistically develop orphaned children. During this time in Kenya, Rick was faced with numerous challenges living cross culturally and found no one who was trained to help. This situation led Rick to pursue his Master’s in Counseling because he wanted to be professionally trained to help support and encourage ministry minded people. He is incredibly grateful to work at Alongside and utilize his life experiences to join others who are navigating the difficult terrain of working in ministry.
January Haulenbeek holds an M.A. in Social Work from Western Michigan University and is certified in Equine Assisted Therapy and Trauma Informed Treatment for children and adolescents. January is licensed as a clinical social worker in the state of Michigan and serves on staff at Alongside as a child, adolescent, and family counselor. Shortly after graduating from Hope College and getting married she began her professional career working with children in Reynosa, Mexico teaching English in a Christian school. She and her husband moved back to Michigan for the birth of their first child. The following two decades were spent raising a family, serving in ministry in various capacities, and following a professional path of working with children, adolescents and families in diverse settings. January believes that there is nothing closer to the heart of God than children and takes great joy in encouraging the parents He has entrusted them to. Through her own relational and vocational journey of joy and heartache January has learned that God can and does use everything and that nothing is beyond His redemptive grasp. She is grateful to be at Alongside where her personal passion for serving children and families intersects daily with God’s restorative plan for His people.
Dr. Jeanne Jensma holds an M.R.E. in Missions from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (Cornerstone University) and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology (Biola University). Jeanne is a licensed psychologist in the state of Michigan. After spending 15 years on the mission field and pursuing graduate training in psychology, Jeanne joined the staff of Tuscarora Resource Center, a counseling ministry to Christian leaders. Soon thereafter the founder of Tuscarora Resource Center passed away, the ministry was dissolved by the Board of Directors, and Jeanne reincorporated the ministry as ALONGSIDE. Jeanne served as the Executive Director for the first decade and the Director of Counseling for the first 18 years before retiring in 2018. Jeanne now serves as an associate counselor, joining the ALONGSIDE team when additional counselors are needed. Over the years Jeanne has seen God bring great restoration to thousands of deeply wounded servants of God.
Dr. Frauke Schaefer grew up in Germany, where she trained in family medicine prior to serving at Green Pastures Hospital in Nepal. After several years in Nepal, she had realized the stressors in cross-cultural environments and their effects on workers and so she decided to return to Germany and receive training in psychotherapy. She later moved to North Carolina and married Dr. Charlie Schaefer, an American Christian psychologist. Once she was in the states, she completed her residency in psychiatry at Duke University and is a board-certified psychiatrist. While at Duke, she enjoyed researching trauma and resilience in missionaries and learning how the spiritual dimension affects the outcomes of traumatic experiences. Since 2006, she has worked in private practice and she is engaged in supporting global workers and their organizations. In 2015, she joined the Barnanas International staff. Now, she provides telemedicine services to Alongside guests and she is passionate about contributing to the health and wellness of global workers. Dr. Frauke Schaefer is also part of the Alongside MedTeam, which developed MedRetreat. Having been a global healthcare provider herself, she is passionate about coming alongside them in their strengths and challenges.
Dr. Charlie Schaefer has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is a licensed psychologist in North Carolina and staff with the Christian mission Barnabas International, which exists to encourage and strengthen those in cross-cultural Christian service and their families. He serves as part of the Alongside MedTeam, which cares for the needs of global healthcare providers, and he provides counseling and teaching during the Alongside MedRetreats. Charlie has lived in West Africa and served Christian workers there in addition to Europe, Central Asia, East Asia and the Middle East. His special interests include transitions in life and ministry, relationships, marital and family health, trauma and resilience, burnout, men’s issues, and talking about God’s work in our lives. Charlie and his wife, Dr. Frauke Schaefer, co-edited Trauma and Resilience: Effectively Supporting Those Who Serve God. In addition to his ministry with Barnabas International, Charlie has a private practice where he primarily works with people in Christian service. Charlie loves to go for a run and is always open to a cup of hot chocolate! Even if you don’t have a serious counseling concern, Charlie would love to just talk about your experiences in global Christian service.
Dr. Jessica Pavlick has a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University. She is a licensed psychologist in D.C. and Virginia. She is a volunteer psychological consultant to the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). Prior to graduate school, Jessica worked in consulting on various projects related to improving the effectiveness of individuals and teams in the workplace. She serves as part of the Alongside MedTeam, which cares for the needs of global healthcare providers, and she provides counseling and teaching during the Alongside MedRetreat. Jessica has served on multiple short-term medical mission trips in Eburru, Kenya to support David’s Hope ministry. While on these trips, Jessica desired to use her counseling skills in a more direct way, which led her to caring for missionary health through Alongside. She continues to learn how to integrate Christian faith and psychology to better serve God’s people. Jessica has a private practice where she works with high-functioning adults struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma and adjustment concerns. Jessica loves learning about the connection between our hearts, minds, and bodies and how a deeper knowing brings us into closer connection with our Creator.
Kristin holds a B.A. in International Relations from Grand Valley State University, with double minors in Spanish and Business. She spent 16 years serving the local church in full-time ministry to children. Over the years, she has led many teams on short-term mission trips around the world. Kristin has also worked with local faith communities to recruit and support foster families, and she is passionate about supporting kids who have been impacted by trauma and adversity. Kristin’s years of pastoral experience have given her a clear understanding of both the joys and challenges of ministry. One of her greatest joys has always been the time spent ministering to children, celebrating the good in their lives, as well as fostering healing and spiritual growth. The first time Kristin visited the Alongside campus she felt an overwhelming sense of peace. It is her desire to welcome the children who come to Alongside and help them experience that same sense of joy, peace and healing.
Paul holds a B.A. in K-12 Special Education from Hope College and he is a Certified Teacher. He joined the Alongside staff in 2019 after 28 years of teaching in public schools and 7 years of missionary work with Youth for Christ. He is thankful to have been given gifts to teach, listen, encourage, and build relationships with teenagers. Paul loves working with teens, encouraging them to see themselves as God sees them and reminding them that they are loved by God regardless of what they do or have done. He also enjoys helping teens develop skills to be real with one another in genuine, life-giving, relational community. Paul is married to Shelley (the teen assistant) and has been blessed with 4 grown children. One of Paul’s favorite things about working at Alongside is welcoming families with teens on the first day of the program. Arrival is sometimes filled with anxiety and doubt. Paul finds so much joy in introducing himself to new participants, making them feel known, relieving tension, and creating anticipation and excitement for the growth that will take place in the teen program.
Elise holds a B.A. in Youth Ministry from Moody Bible Institute. She believes that her passions, her heart for ministry, her desire to work with children, and her personal family history of hurt in ministry all make Alongside the perfect fit for her. From the very first time that she drove on the Alongside grounds she knew that it was where she was supposed to be, and she believes Alongside is exactly where God wants her. Elise loves seeing God through the eyes of a child. The way children love God so freely reminds her why God calls us to come to Him like little children.
Kezi holds a B.A. in Human Services from The Moody Bible Institute. She has served in multiple roles in the children, teen, and adult programs at Alongside since 2015, and has worked with children and families in home settings for even longer. In her work at Alongside and experience as a pastor’s wife, Kezi continues to develop a deep desire to help vocational ministry families with the love and care that God has shown her. She is married to her wonderful husband Preston, and has a passion for engaging with children to help them understand who they are, how God has created them, and how much God loves them.
Bill is passionate about his position at Alongside. He loves creating a restful, peaceful environment for guests and assisting clients in any possible way that he can. Bill attended Alongside as a client after serving in cross-cultural missions. Bill desires to serve other Christians leaders the way he has been served and to use the gifts and abilities God has given him for Kingdom purposes. He loves the great sense of belonging that he feels as a part of the Alongside staff. Bill has seen God’s faithfulness in many ways while at Alongside, one being the way He has provided Alongside with so many volunteers. Bill loves working with both staff and volunteers who offer their time, resources, and talent to ensure clients can experience beautiful, peaceful surroundings while attending an Alongside retreat.
Amy is naturally hospitable and caring, which makes her position at Alongside a perfect fit. Amy is passionate about providing a welcoming and peaceful environment for clients. Her desire is that clients will experience tranquility and joy as a result of the beautiful atmosphere and comfortable suites. Amy attended Alongside as a client after serving in cross-cultural missions. Having previously been on the mission field, she has a heart for missionaries and pastors. She believes that working at Alongside allows her to use her God-given gifts and talents to serve clients in a variety of ways. Amy has seen God continually provide in amazing ways at Alongside.
Michelle has a heart for people and missions. With her 20 years of vocational ministerial experiences and leading short-term mission teams, this enables her to empathize with staff, ministry leaders and missionaries. Being able to work with the staff and clients, Michelle can utilize her giftings of administration to further God’s Kingdom as clients rekindle their joy, hope and their ministerial call.
Dr. Stan Haegert holds an MD from Michigan State University and an MPH in International Health from the University of Michigan. He was ordained to the ministry of the Gospel in 1990. Stan and his wife Deb served as medical missionaries in West Africa, working with the mission for the better part of two decades. His experience of burnout, recovery and return to the mission field has given Stan a strong desire to help others learn the rhythms of work and rest that Jesus so perfectly modeled.
As the Director of Alongside’s MedTeam, Stan enjoys frequent opportunities to teach about wellness to healthcare providers, missionaries, and other groups. When not hiking with Deb or singing 70’s music on his guitar, he is usually looking for a good game of chess.
Dr. Roger Boyd holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Purdue University. Roger is licensed as a clinical psychologist in the state of Michigan. Prior to Alongside, he served as the director of The Well, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He was drawn to Alongside by his passion for working with men and women who serve as missionaries, pastors, and Christian leaders. Roger enjoys being part of a team that provides quality counseling and supportive care to Christian leaders. He is moved by God’s invitation to come alongside Him in His creative work and has found again and again that God’s wisdom and ways of bringing healing are so much deeper than our own.
6701 Alongside Lane, Richland, MI 49083-0587