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December

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

When Jesus was born, the shepherds out in a field nearby observed a great company of the heavenly host join the angel and proclaim this praise to God. Over the past few weeks I have found myself meditating on this amazing time of year … Celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Even though I haven’t witnessed the heavenly host rejoicing and shouting praise in my midst, I sense deep in my Spirit the incredible blessing and gift of what we’ve been given through Jesus.

God, our Father. God, the giver of all good things. God, the Provider. God, the giver of new life. God, the redeemer. God, the healer. God, the wonderful counselor. God, the Prince of Peace.

I praise the Lord Jesus for His goodness and His amazing grace and love.

Personally:

I’m so thankful to be in America over the Christmas holiday with my family. God has touched my heart in special ways through this beautiful experience. A time I will always cherish, especially being with my nieces and nephew.

Additionally, I’m so blessed to be the care-giver of 2 sweet kittens, Rama and Akela, who are now almost 6 months old. In early September I brought them home. It has been a true joy to have pets again! I’ve sensed God’s love through them and all the laughter and smiles they’ve brought into my home has been such a blessing. These two brothers love to run, chase, wrestle and play… it’s fun!!!

A year ago I moved into my new apartment in Amsterdam. What a great provision by the Lord!!! My home has been such a blessing this past year to me. In addition, it’s been an answer to prayer to see how God has allowed this space to be used for ministry as a warm, cozy place for others to feel comforted. I enjoy opening my home and inviting people to lunches, dinners, tea, etc.

Outreach:

You may recall from my October Ministry Update (**via email) that our church, Zolder50, was preparing for a huge transition in November of multiplying into 2 different neighborhood communities.

Through much prayer and direction from the Lord, we were led to step out in faith as a ministry and church in the heart of Amsterdam to begin “doing” church a bit differently. Our hope (and what we felt God was encouraging us to do) was that by meeting together as a larger community (worship gathering) only every other week on Sundays that people would have more opportunities in the busyness of their lives to be “on mission” themselves and take the love of Jesus to their neighborhoods, workplaces, relationships outside the church, etc. So, in a sense rather than expectingpeople to come to the church, we’re going to the people.

It has been so encouraging to hear stories during our weekly Home Group (small group) times of the opportunities the Lord has provided for us to be available and the interact with, serve, love and give to others outside the church. Our heart is to be Jesus’ light to those around us and bring His love to many different sub-cultures and neighborhoods in Amsterdam, not just where our ministry center happens to be located. Already we’ve seen some very cool things happening. Praise the Lord!

For me, I’ve taken advantage of some extra time to build into the lives of some of the women in my Dutch class. To think of the impact of reaching the world with the love of Jesus through the people I meet in my class is so exciting. For instance, those I’ve built the deepest friendships with so far are from Colombia, France, Brazil, and the former Yugoslavia (Sarajevo). In early November I was able to have 3 women over for lunch after class one day. It was so nice to have conversation outside of the classroom setting and get to know each other even better.

Several of these women will be coming to my Birthday party at the end of the month.

Photo: from l to r, Nathalie (French), Maricela (Colombian), and Janja (Serbian).

Here is a summary from one of our Pastors, Eric, on the impact during the first few weeks of the changes with Zolder50’s focus:

“In a way, all of this offers a beautiful reflection of the incarnation. That’s what we’ve been calling it, actually: “incarnational ministry.” Even outside of the Christmas season, “incarnational ministry” is this kind of buzz-word that could be used to describe Zolder50’s strategic decision to shift the focus from bringing people from the city into our weekly worship gatherings to putting more emphasis on our life groups and home groups going out on mission, taking Christ into our various spheres of influence throughout the city: the writers from our church reaching out to the greater writers’ community of Amsterdam… the graffiti artists of our church reaching out to the society of graffiti artists in Amsterdam… and so on. As we bring the peace and love of God’s Kingdom to share with our fellow human beings—not just communicating with words, but embodying the gospel—we’re doing exactly what God does for us in Jesus Christ! God had plenty of reason to distance himself from us (being contaminated with sin and all), but he chose not to remain distant; rather, he came to us in the person of Jesus and made peace with us. And now, we have a unique opportunity to pass this blessing along to others. We’ve been amazed to watch God work through these initial weeks of prayer and “incarnational ministry.”

    

3-Story Evangelism Seminar

In November and early December we hosted a three part evangelism seminar. The training helped people learn to share the story God has woven into their life, helped us listen to other's stories, and lastly it helped people learn how to share God's story of salvation. Approximately 40 people went through the seminars!

  • Please pray that God would use what we learned to equip the church and to see his Word spread through Amsterdam!

Bollywood50: Serve India

In mid-November Zolder50 helped organize a fundraising event for a Mobile Health Clinic in the slums of Dehli, India. I am a part of an organization here in Amsterdam (Stichting Solis Nederland) which collaborated with Zolder50 to host this event (Bollywood50) to help meet the financial needs of the Christian ministry, ‘Serve India’, for their mobile health clinic. We raised over 2,000 Euros from the event!

Mailing/Emailing Ministry Updates

**On the front page of this Update, I mentioned that I sent my October Update via e-mail. On a regular basis I also send Great Commission Europe news through an e-mail attachment. If you have only been receiving correspondence from me (through the help of a friend in Orlando) through the US postal service, but you have access to e-mail, please let me know and I’ll be sure to add you to my e-mail group list. This would help me save on mailing expenses, plus you’ll receive updates more often. Thank you!!


Have a very Merry Christmas, celebrating Jesus!!!
Thank you for your prayers and personal/financial support this year!!!
God bless you in 2008,

Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org