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August - September

Hello all,

It is now autumn in Amsterdam after a marvelous summer time – the best I’ve experienced in 5 years!!! But now the leaves are turning, the evenings are a lot cooler, and the aroma in the air is distinct – summer is over, a new season is here.

Thank you for your prayers over the past 2 months. Here is what has been going on:

August

My home group and our church set aside time (since most Amsterdammers vacation during this month) for a focused “Being Neighborly” approach to the month. I had some great interactions with neighbors and women from my old Dutch class and also enjoyed hosting numerous people for lunches, dinners, and a movie night.

At the end of the month, we had our semi-annual home group leaders retreat in a small coastal village north of Amsterdam about an hour by public transportation. The beginning of our retreat began with a bit of excitement as 25 of us from Zolder50 were beginning to travel. We received a text message from our Pastor, Eric, who was planning to arrive early to set things up. He encouraged everyone to stop wherever they were and wait for further instructions.

Strangely enough, here in the damp, wet land of the Netherlands, a wild fire began blazing in the very area of Groet we were headed. It has been a very dry summer (for Holland standards) and thus the dunes and nearby forest were quite dry. Plus there were extremely strong winds that day which caused lots of trouble for the firefighters. Sad to say, come to find out, it is believed the wild fires were started by arson.

The buses had to drop people 4-6 kilometers from our destination which meant we had to walk along bicycle paths that wove through the countryside to get to our rented house because all the roadways were closed. I began my travels that day at 3 in the afternoon and arrived at the rented house after 9 at night… needless to say, we were all very tired.

The photo above shows part of our walking adventure, as well as the beautiful nature in our surroundings.

I hiked up into the dunes on late Saturday afternoon (when only "hot spots" remained in the forest) and witnessed the helicopter dropping water in one area. If you’re interested in seeing photos of the fire damage or other photos from the weekend, please click here to go to my shutterfly album.

Click “view album” once or twice and then “view slideshow” – you don’t have to have an account or set one up. Enjoy!

We had a great weekend of relationship building, enjoying nature, recreation, leadership cohesiveness and great fellowship as we talked about the upcoming Zolder50 transition this fall. We were also very thankful that rain came on Friday afternoon and night and that the winds shifted when they did so that we didn't have to evacuate. Needless to say, it was an adventure and there are stories to tell!


Photo: The amazing “sand mountain” – provided a great view of Groet and was a lot of fun to play on.

In addition to those of us who were already in Groet for the 2 ½ day retreat, another 25 people joined us on Sunday afternoon for a time of fellowship and a barbeque – our very first Beachhouse50 or Groet50 and a great way to end the summer.

September – the beginning of new seasons

Church Community - We’ve seen some nice developments thus far while still in the beginning stages of our transition period as we consider what steps need to be taken in order to be more effective here in Amsterdam with being “on mission”.

As I mentioned in the June-July ministry update, our hope and prayer is that we can better equip each individual to be an obedience-based disciple of Jesus Christ. This has been something that God has been opening my eyes to over the past 9 months. Therefore, I asked if I could share with the church what the Lord has been teaching me. So, at our monthly “Soul Gathering” recently I shared some of what has been on my heart. Here is a snippet of some bits and pieces from the talk:

“I trust during this time, God will stir our hearts through His Holy Spirit to understand more deeply how to live out ‘obedience-based discipleship’ (reading/studying the Bible, having a vibrant prayer life, living out the Great Commission, making disciples, being taught by the bible/holy spirit and living in community).

When I was 16 years old, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see my sinful nature and need for repentance. This happened one evening when about 200 high school girls were gathered at a retreat center in the middle of the woods in western Indiana. God clearly spoke to me and I understood for the first time that I was a sinner in need of Christ’s forgiveness. As my life was being transformed from the old nature to the new creation, we were singing a song called ‘Seek ye First’, based on Matthew 6:33. This verse has been a life verse for over 30 years: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ASB)

What is Jesus telling us? That we have to TAKE ACTION – seek, pursue, have our eyes focused on the right things! And, what sort of priority or urgency should this action have in our life? FIRST

What is it that we should be seeking and how? His kingdom and His righteousness – Be busy with God’s business and His purpose, while displaying His character, living as a reflection of Him.

Why is Jesus telling us these things? The next verse, 34, and the end of this section says that “…each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus is setting the stage for how life works. This verse about seeking Him is smack dab in the middle of one of his teachings about not worrying – he is telling us not to worry about our food and clothing. God is so much bigger than our daily needs and our life circumstances, and yet He is acknowledging that he knows we need them. As we focus on the Lord, devote our lives to Him, He will provide, He will fill us, He will be glorified through our lives.

Oswald Chambers says, “The lasting value of our public service for God is measured by the depth of the intimacy of our private times of fellowship and oneness with Him.” Also, “The desire that comes into a disciple is not one of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him.”

Jesus said, “He who believes in Me…. Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 – I have to ask myself what is flowing out of my heart? What is flowing out of our lives here at Zolder50? How am I pouring my life out for him? How is that happening within our church? If I am pouring out my life for Christ, if we are, then hundreds of others will be continually refreshed by the living water that is flowing from our hearts.

Paul tells the followers of Jesus in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:17) that as he prays for the church there “asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better”. We need wisdom and revelation in order to know Him better – through His Spirit this will happen, not through our human effort or intelligence, but it does mean we need to be near to the Father, reading His Word, connecting with Him through the Holy Spirit. Seeking Him!

“Seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul”. - Deuteronomy 4:29

Thank you for continuing to pray for me, this ministry, our church and the work God is doing in Amsterdam. Your support and prayers are greatly appreciated.

Serving Him with you,

Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org