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January Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

This year’s first ministry update will focus on Amsterdam50s accomplishments in 2012. We praise God for the blessings and areas of growth as well as the challenges and ups and downs of ministry.

2012 was a difficult year of transition for Amsterdam50 (A50). We have become a smaller band of warriors, and at the same time, God has brought some wonderful new people to be a part of our team.

Our former pastor, Eric Asp, and his family moved back home to Ohio to continue in ministry with GCM at Kent State University. The two young men who were training to become pastors decided this was not their time to take on this level of responsibility, which was a difficult turn of events. However, we had already been in the process of seeking, finding and welcoming in a new ministry mentor – experienced pastor, John Shepard, and his wife Trudy. In the midst of our transition, John was asked to pastor our church while continuing in his original role of developing and supporting new leaders. Thankfully, he gave us a full-hearted yes! Though it is not the first time and we’re sure it won’t be the last, we stand in amazement at God’s miraculous provision for us in the perfect timing of John and Trudy’s arrival – reminding us once again that this is His church. While very young at heart, John and Trudy are well-worn warriors of the faith who bring much wisdom, grace, and stability to our church as we press forward in our mission to know Jesus, to become like Jesus, and make Jesus known in the city of Amsterdam.

As an international church in the heart of a transient city, we often have people become a part of our fellowship for a few glorious months (or years) and then move on. Guess you could say we’ve gotten good at goodbyes. We have learned to embrace and lean into this reality. Our heart is not to build up a large, unchanging church, but rather to remain a fluid network with our focus on impacting people’s lives by loving and equipping them during their time with us and then sending them out with our blessing and prayers to the work God is calling them each to do in His larger kingdom.

Among those we have sent out is an entrepreneurial artist named Avantia who returned to her native Curaçao and is seeking the Lord about starting a church community there. Another sent one is Michel, a passionate young Dutch man, who is helping lead a Christian community in Virginia.

Also during 2012 …

We celebrated the baptisms of Franzi, Colby, and Elliot.

We rejoiced in God establishing three new holy marriages between Eva and Theo, Mirjam and Arjen, and Michel and Kim; as well as two engagements to be married between Naomi and Christian, and Anthony and Suzy.

It was also a significant year of transition for the A50 communities – our smaller fellowship groups that meet weekly to grow in love and service to the Lord together. A few of the communities discontinued meeting, which gave space for new communities to crop up with fresh vision and leadership. Currently we have two communities focused on studying and living out God’s word in the area of Social Justice, one Art Community, one community so new that it doesn’t have a name yet, and two communities focused on studying the Bible together while reaching out and welcoming new people.

A50 continues to enjoy providing a “church home” to both staff and visitors of two Christian hostels known as, Shelter City and Shelter Jordan, as well as many other old and new friends – providing fellowship, the teaching of God’s Word, prayer ministry, and the opportunity to worship God together to all who join us during our Sunday gatherings.

We were blessed to receive a short-term mission team from Kent, Ohio, who served their hearts out sharing the Gospel in the city and helping at a critical point with two moves and one wedding.

Members of A50 continue to help lead and serve many local initiatives. This includes Serve the City, which is a movement of volunteers building relationships and sharing God’s love by serving the city in practical ways. They completed more than 100 service projects in 2012.

Two A50 members helped launch Not For Sale, a project to help rebuild the future of women trafficked to The Netherlands or trapped in prostitution without options in Amsterdam’s red-light district. They have established a soup business selling nourishing meals to hundreds of women working in prostitution and have empowered 16 survivors of human trafficking this year by offering skills training and professional internships.

We continue to expand our life coaching team. An additional member graduated from the CORE Coaching Skills program with Creative Results Management.

A50 has also been blessed to continue our partnership with Kenya Matters. In addition to providing strategic financial support, there have been two mission trips to Kenya this past year. Our missionaries have been able to empower the 32 orphans of the safe-house that we help support by teaching English, helping set-up a computer lab and teaching computer skills, leading Bible studies, directing the kids in a beautiful Christmas play, and even being able to play a pivotal role in addressing the need for healing from abuse and trauma that the children have suffered – affirming the immeasurable value of each child.

In my next ministry update I will share more about my time in Kenya during the last two weeks of December. It was a wonderfully powerful experience – praise God! Thank you for your prayers.

During the last week of January Amsterdam50 is experiencing a Prayer and Fasting week. Each individual has determined what sort of “fast” makes sense for them to set aside additional time for focusing on and seeking God. In addition, every evening we are meeting for a few hours to build community and pray together. There have been 37 different people involved between the first 2 evenings. We’ve had encouraging times worshiping the Lord through prayer and singing as well as being instructed from the Word of God.

Please pray for Amsterdam50:

  • that we establish a unifying spirit and vision for building God’s Kingdom
  • that we all understand our calling and how to use our gifts to glorify God and build up the church
  • that we grow to be fully devoted followers of Jesus!

May God bless you abundantly in 2013.
Thanks for your prayers!

United with you for His glory,