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February

News from Amsterdam

The first Friday in February I was sitting in a friend's living room in the "neighborhood" - Old West community just across the canal from where I live. The first Friday of every month I meet there with other Christians, who live in the area and are from a variety of churches. 30 minutes into our time, I was struck with the realization that on that particular evening God brought together 7 people from 6 corners of the world with our hearts united in prayer for God's Kingdom to grow here in Amsterdam. Really amazing!!!!

• We could all use your prayer: Noona (a guest visiting from Russia/Siberia), Nada (Lebananese/Australian), Frank and Ineke (from the Netherlands), Tasha (Ghanian/British), Joshua (Singapore) and of course me, Linda from the United States of America.


And what about Zolder50?

At Zolder50 we are taking 20 weeks and going through the Book of Mark. This is the first time we have done anything like this, and people love it! As a church we are seeking to learn more fully what it means to be a follower of Jesus, so we can accurately represent him in our world. In addition, all our home groups are studying and discussing the Book of Mark during the week.

We are using this series as a church-wide initiative to learn about what it means to be followers/disciples of Jesus. Many young people in Amsterdam respect Jesus as a "great teacher" yet know very little about his life and teachings. We are viewing this series as an opportunity for people to invite their friends to hear about the life and teachings of Jesus.

• Please pray that God would continue to use the Book of Mark to challenge and grow our community.


Church Growth

In February 2005 we multiplied Sunday worship gatherings (having one gathering at 4:00 in the afternoon and another gathering at 7:30 in the evening), and now one year later already both gatherings are packed full. Our weekly large-group gatherings now include a total involvement of as many as 200 people. Currently there are around 70 involved in home groups.

• Please pray that God would continue to provide a loving community for people in Zolder50 and in our home groups.

It's so encouraging to see God moving. More than just being excited about the bigger crowds and positive statistics, we're thrilled to see genuine life transformation. Many have come to faith in Christ. Men and women are experiencing healing and growth in the areas of deepest hurt and dysfunction. Plus, more and more Europeans are taking responsibility for serving and leadership within Zolder50. Our desire has always been for God to continually multiply believers, home groups (5-15 people), and neighborhood churches (50-150 people) throughout Amsterdam, relying largely (if not eventually entirely) on Dutch leadership. And by God's grace, it's already happening!


Recovery Ministry

Things here have been intense lately and yet God is continually moving and opening hearts to Himself. The first 2 Sundays this month we had guest speakers join us -- an ex-drug addict/alcoholic then an ex-prostitute/drug addict shared their stories of recovery and healing through Jesus Christ. To hear small conversations afterwards where young men and women felt the freedom to openly talk about addictions - pornography, violence, religiosity, sex, nicotine, etc. - was really amazing!

In followup to the ex-drug addict's talk we offered a seminar for anyone who wanted to learn more about recovery from addictions. Over 60 people showed up on a Saturday morning with an interest in pursuing healing, recovery, "Twelve Step" programs, or other ways to fight addiction and allow God to get to the root of the hurts and pain of the past.

In addition, we will be hosting another seminar at Zolder50, March 2-4, 2006. The seminar is called Ancient Paths and is done by a ministry called Family Foundations International (www.familyfi.org). A number of people from Zolder50 have already personally attended this seminar and would call the experience life changing. Below is a detailed description from their website about what this is all about.

"The Ancient Paths Seminar is a balanced ministry of Biblical teaching followed by Spirit-led praying in small groups; based upon Jeremiah 6:16.

The teaching is on video by founder Craig Hill. It gives solid principles and moving examples that open the heart up for ministry to receive healing from a cursed identity. The intent of the teaching is not just for information, but to expose hidden areas of woundedness that have occurred in the family of origin or through other significant relationships. Developing relational communication skills is the opening topic. The dynamics of how addictive patterns are formed when the soul is out of peace is covered next. Then, Saturday is a journey through critical times of life when God intends to bless a person; such as birth, puberty, marriage, old age.

When a teaching session ends, participants go to their assigned group for prayer, led by trained facilitators. The purpose of the group is not discussion, counseling, or exhorting, but for asking the Holy Spirit to show participants where our soul is wounded, to expose any lies of the enemy, and to ask the Lord to speak the truth that He wants us to hear in our hearts. Participants may pour out emotional pain to God that has been bottled up for years. But no one in the group is forced to open up in prayer. Those who do not respond outwardly, often receive healing as they identify with those that do.

The end result of this ministry is that people are healed and released to be spouses, parents, and friends who bless one another more and curse each other less".

Discussions on addictions, oppression, hopelessness, spiritual darkness and strongholds are continuing to occur in our community of Zolder 50. It's thrilling to see God bring these areas into the "light" and to know people are pursuing healing, however, it's also very heavy in different ways. I've been excited and really "up" at times, but also really challenged in my Spirit... due to the battle. Jesus didn't come for the healthy, but the sick. (Mark 2:17) At our Soul Gathering (3rd Friday of every month), a young woman from Denmark shared about her 2 year recovery (12 step program) process over obsessive/compulsive behavior, eating disorders and other addictions. We praise God for the victory and healing she is experiencing!!

• Please pray for our church as we take steps to help the addicted and those who have been wounded.


Personal Life

Not long ago I received a note from a ministry partner who thanked me for "being in the trenches!" The comment was simple and yet it meant a lot! Ever since being here in Amsterdam I have felt on the front lines in battle in a way I've never experienced before. With our recent focus in recovery ministry, every time I talk with someone about finding freedom from bondage I know the enemy isn't happy and the battle ensues. There have been times recently where my walk with God has seemed "dry", like I'm in the desert. It's been difficult to seek the Lord in the quietness of my heart and to be open to receive.

• Please pray that I can be still before the Lord and hear from Him.

Thank you everyone for your commitment to the work God is doing in Amsterdam. It is a joy knowing so many people pray for this church and believe in the work of God's ever expanding Kingdom.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,


Linda


"Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

I desire to LOVE boldly, GIVE boldly, LIVE boldly, and APPROACH GOD boldly as a child of the King!