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Furlough Reflection

Greetings from Amsterdam,

You may recall from my last update in mid-July that I had just arrived in America and was looking extremely forward to seeing my family and spending time ALL together for the first time since 2010. Our week together in North Carolina was fantastic!! A LOT took place over the 3 months I was on furlough in America and the bulk of this update will fill you in.

Beautiful fall colors near my sister’s home in Northern Indiana.

I’ve been back in the Netherlands now for 3 weeks and it’s been good to be settled back in and involved in multiple aspects of ministry. Amsterdam50 continues to focus on what it means to "Equip - Bless - Send" in this transient society of young people. Our hope is that our weekly vibrant worship, prayer and practical teaching forms us into the image of Jesus Christ in order to be sent out to reflect His love with others.

Praises and Answers to Prayer!

New lease on ministry space:
As of November 1st Amsterdam50 has a new lease, resulting in a one afternoon per week rental (Sundays) for the next two years. This is a huge answer to prayer, as the old contract was not financially sustainable. Therefore, the last week of October we found ourselves busily transitioning our belongings out of the ministry space to allow for the owner of the building to expand his restaurant business into that area.

Photo (left): part of the team who organized everything for a big sale.

Traveling mercies while on furlough:
God was gracious and kept me safe during the 3 months as I covered a lot of territory in 14 different states; with a total of 9 flights and numerous hours driving, including a 21 hour/1200 mile road trip from Florida to Indiana in a moving truck. Each month there was an average of 8 different places where I slept (thanks again to all who provided me a place to lay my head).

Ik ben geslaagd! (“I am successful!”; I passed my Dutch exams):
What a joy and relief to hear the positive results that I’ve met the language and cultural knowledge requirements here in the Netherlands! I picked up my citizenship diploma (Inburgeringsdiploma, photo right) last week making it official.

Another celebration: November 4th, 2014 … 11 years ago on this day I stepped foot in the Netherlands for the first time; the day I moved here. Wow, God had a plan in mind that I never expected. He is good and faithful!

Family time...

What a fantastic and huge blessing to be together! Here’s a few photo collages of some of what we did on vacation… from hiking in the Asheville mountains, to a corn hole tournament (my sister Lisa and I came in second place ☺), zip lining, white water rafting, lots of fun with my 2 year old great nephew and a special celebration of my Dad’s 80th surprise Birthday (we gave him an 8 decade photo book and letter book). Our week went by too fast, that’s for sure.

At left, top right: corn hole competition, sister vs. mom

Above from left: hiking, nephew and great nephew, my five
nieces & dad on cabin deck

Below top left: Dad looking at his Birthday photo book – special celebration of his life!

In late August I also enjoyed a week with my parents in northern Arizona where we spent some time cutting wood in the forest (photo above left) and I also enjoyed time with my sister and nieces in Phoenix (above right). So fun!

Connections and support raising while on furlough

Over a period of 9 weeks I met with dozens and dozens of individuals, some I hadn’t seen in many years! In addition, I shared at 9 large church gatherings/services throughout the country sharing personal and ministry updates. Meeting with all of you was truly a spiritual encouragement and abundant blessing! We are united for a beautiful cause of growing God’s Kingdom together.

My prayers were also answered that the Lord would allow me to cross paths with people with whom I could encourage or share about God’s love through the gospel. Two examples: I was able to share at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes high school huddle meeting in Findlay, OH and God allowed my path to cross an old Croatian man, whom I’ll call Joe. We met in a McDonald’s and struck up a conversation that lasted an hour over lunch. He had studied in the Netherlands (therefore we spoke Dutch with one another at the counter, which was a surprise to him). Please pray that the high school students would take their faith walk seriously and not shrink back with living out their pursuit of Jesus. And, pray for Joe that our conversation about the Lord would draw him nearer to an understanding of God’s love for him.

Finances: Raised 53% of the special needs [$3400 still needed] and raised 57% of monthly support [still have $325/mo to raise]. I would be very grateful if you are in a position to consider increasing your regular giving or to give a special year end gift. Thanks!

Mailing address/Giving to Great Commission Ministries

If you give financially to GCM please be sure you are using the newest address. If you give annually, you may have missed the transition. Most of the checks still mis-addressed are arriving from bank bill pay, where a donor has logged on to their own bank and set up an automatic payment there. Please check the address used and make the necessary changes.

GCM’s New Address:
11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32832-7106

Old Addresses:
PO Box 7101, Winter Park, FL 32793
4037 Metric Dr, Winter Park, FL 32792

So grateful to be united with you!