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January-March Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

Top: Rony with younger boys Bottom: Rony praying with the older boys after a small group time
First, I apologize that the first quarter of 2017 is now past and you’re just now hearing from me! Over the past few months a LOT has been happening, thus my delay in getting this news to you.

I’m so thankful for your prayers while I was on the mission trip to Kenya in late December. The Lord answered in big ways, some of which I’ll highlight in this update. In addition, our refugee ministry is off to a great start in 2017, highlights below.

Kenya Mission Trip – December 14-29th, 2016

It was a blessing to be united with Rony again for the first several days of the trip. He moved from Amsterdam back to Kenya in September 2015. Please continue to pray for his provision and God’s direction for him to impact lives for Christ in Nairobi. Rony was a refugee for 8 years and the Lord led him back to his home country with a vision to impact youth. At the safe house in Karai, Rony again made a big impact in the kid’s lives. They look up to him as a big brother/mentor.

Avantia, Rony & Linda

Being united and “on mission” in Kenya with my friend Avantia was a special treat. Her vision to build a playground came to fruition and is a HUGE hit!

"Firsts" in Keyna: (on my 6th trip to Africa)

  1. I ate porcupine! The kids and dogs killed 3 porcupines, which had been ravaging their vegetable garden. Of course, this meant butchering and then roasting the meat. It tasted quite good – like roasted beef
  2. We built a huge climbing tower structure
  3. I cycled in Kenya! It was 18.5 km/11.5 miles through an animal park where we saw zebras, elands, gazelles, impalas & baboons. Very COOL!

Climbing Tower/Playground:

We set out to build an adventure climbing experience for the kids to enjoy; providing a place where they could use their energy, explore, dream, and just plain have fun! On the guardian Christmas party day we all gathered around the climbing tower for a ribbon cutting ceremony and prayer dedication (photo to left) led by the CRCA Board of Directors Chairman, Rev. Ben. Truly a very special moment!

It was so encouraging to see all 32 orphans involved in the process when peeling bark off the trees (main posts). Some even helped with the construction.

We also built an official size volleyball court, which they love!

Book of Acts devotions:

Throughout the 2 weeks much of our devotional time was learning about the “early church” in the book of Acts. Together we constructed a 1,000 piece puzzle (designed by a Dutch artist), which was divided into sections based on the stories we discussed. Each kid had an opportunity to be involved and build one of the scenes/stories. It was fun seeing it come together and learn from the bible along the way.

Please pray that the Word of God continues to grow in each orphan’s heart and that they become obedient followers of Jesus in every aspect of life.

Special study with teen girls:

Photo: (Left to Right) Joy, Esther, Rebeccah, Linda, Monica, Debby, Mercy and Lilian
I had a very special connection with a group of teen girls as we continued the Giftwrapped By God study, which was started on the last trip. I praise the Lord for their tender hearts to live according to God’s word and even share these truths with friends at school.

“It is so sweet to know that God has used you to teach us how to cope with our puberty” - Joy

Please pray for the girls to be patient until their wedding day and to stay pure, while believing in how special God made them to be!

Kenya trip slideshow

So much happened during the 2 weeks at Christmas. If you’re interested, watch below for an overview, a 9 ½ -minute YouTube slideshow, which includes a few videos (i.e. singing in Kikuyu, dancing, etc):

Pray for the Kenyan staff: strength, unity, wisdom & for the orphans: success in school, good health, devotion to God

Refugee Ministry: [sensitivity given for protecting names]

January - I served as a group guide for refugees enjoying a city day tour on National Tulip Day, which included picking tulips in Dam square, going on a walking tour and having lunch. God provided opened doors for some special connections that began that day. Photo- right: my group in front of Refugee “camp”

February - our team received training for Al Massira (“the journey”), which is a video series created in Arabic by Middle Eastern Believers to provide “an open place to walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah”.
Please pray for clarity and direction for the Al Massira course to begin.

The Lord has provided a variety of opportunities to get to know an Iraqi family at the Refugee Center. (Photo – left: celebrating Valentine’s Day with homemade cutout cookies) Please pray that their hearts will soften for the gospel.

March – We celebrated the baptism of a Palestinian man who recently put his faith in Christ. In addition, we were deeply blessed with a short-term mission (STM) team from Ball State University, which joined us for 8 days in outreach to the refugees.

Photo – right: Refugees from Syria and Iran with some of the STM.

Please pray for the Lord to continue guiding us to “persons of peace” and that those we’re meeting with will put their faith in Jesus.

Reaching out to people from the Middle East has opened my eyes to new cultural experiences. Many we’ve met are “culturally” Muslim and a few devout in their faith. For most there is a huge language barrier. Through it all God is growing my faith in understanding how I can be a part of seeing His Kingdom grow in this diaspora people group. Thanks for your prayers!!

United with you all for His glory,