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July 2005 Prayer Letter

Ministry News from Linda

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1:2

Personal News

For 12 weeks throughout the spring and into early summer I joined with 6 other women in a study called “Making Peace with Your Past”. We dove into our pasts seeking to find how we may have been “wounded” or hurt emotionally, trusting that God would then reveal connections to the current issues in our lives based on our discoveries.

This was my first attempt at taking a deep look at the effects of the past on my current belief system. It was so helpful to explore whether my thoughts and behavior are based on truth (God’s promises) or lies from the enemy. As a follow up to our study, a few weekends ago the 7 of us traveled by train, bus and foot with packs on our backs to a campground along the North Sea.

The purpose of the time was to reconnect with one another and to have a time of solitude for reflection and to hear from the Lord… allowing His truth to be whispered into our souls. Of course, I love the outdoors, so 2 1/2 days of camping was right up my alley and it was so refreshing to be in the quietness of gorgeous woods, amazing dunes and along the beauty of a beach.

Except for the facilitator of the group, none of us had ever explored some of the areas that the study revealed. Everyone in the group has a passion to reach out to women in our church and community, therefore receiving training and understanding in this area is really key to overcoming emotional and spiritual barriers and to better understand the heavy loads some people are carrying because of their pasts.

Please pray that we will continue to grow in this area in order to walk in freedom and be more equipped to minister to the women here in Amsterdam. Pray for Arienne, Diane, Eva, Heidi, Linda (me), Marie Christine, and Patricia.

Zolder 50 News

We think of the Trinity as “3 in 1”. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven he said, … “therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19 There are 3 guys in our community who are known as “Zolder 50’s 3 in 1”. Their relationship is considered a most unlikely connection. Only a few years ago, they would have been described as an Albanian who hated Christians, a Dutch man who was part of the Neo-Nazi skinheads filled with prejudice, and an American who was a druggie and had never been “churched”. Now, however, they are “brothers in Christ”! God’s ability to unite hearts and souls here on this earth is amazing!

God is busy transforming lives… it’s so neat to see! Please pray for Sokel, Alex and Todd for growth in their personal walks with the Lord, as well as deepening their relationships with one another.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…“ Philippians 1:3-5

On a final note, I wrote an article for the June issue of Beauty For Ashes (Great Commission Ministries Women’s Ministry newsletter), so I’ve included the text from that article below this letter for you.

Thank you for your prayers,
Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org
 
 

Abandoned

By Linda Kitchen, Amsterdam, Netherlands - June 2005

The abandonment I've experienced since moving overseas is not something where my support or help has been withdrawn, but rather something much more powerful and positive. The Lord has been reminding me that I need to abandon myself more to Him. He has spoken to me through His Word, the Holy Spirit, sisters in Christ, and study materials. The topic of abandonment has continued to surface over the past 18 months. I believe this theme has a presence in my life for a reason - God is gently drawing me to Himself through the realization of my frailty and that I am nothing without Him. Simply put, my Lord and Savior has been asking me to yield myself completely to Him.

What does it mean to be abandoned? A great example is found in the life of Much-Afraid from Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds Feet on High Places. Much-Afraid has to put complete trust in her companions Sorrow and Suffering in order to make it through the trials she faces as she presses on toward the High Places. Eventually, Much-Afraid chooses to give up her right to control her own destiny. Once her heart is softened and she is completely abandoned, the Chief Shepherd steps into view and is permitted to meet her every need. Of course, prior to that time, He had been observing her and was never far away from her.

When I'm climbing toward the mountain top, am I willing to let the Lord lead me into the desert? Do I trust Him for the dry, desolate, wilderness times as well as the fruitful, joy-filled, inspiring times? Am I willing to follow His path regardless where it takes me? Psalm 138:8 says that “the Lord will work out his path (or his purpose) for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.”

I have felt very alone at times in my life, but in my desert experiences I've realized that the Lord is with me... He has not left me. One of the most difficult challenges has been loneliness, which at times is coupled with sadness in my singleness. With Jesus as my Lord I know I’m never alone, but the longing to share life with someone here on this earth is a very real feeling. I’ve had the desire for marriage for 18 years and yet remain single. Also, there are some times when, just like Much-Afraid, I think that God is "allowing me to follow a certain path too long and that He is forgetting His promise." But, I know that the Lord asks that I wait patiently. As a Father, He wants to give me my heart’s desire if it is best for my life. Growing in faith and trust has been a large part of my focus in walking with Him. In the meantime, while waiting for that day when I’ll meet that special companion, I feel that I’ve been given many, many years of opportunities to affect the lives of young women. For that I’m very thankful!

In her book, Hannah Hurnard says, “Every acceptance of His will becomes an altar of sacrifice and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to His will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places to which He desires to bring every child of His while they are still living on earth.”

On numerous occasions since landing on Dutch soil, God has filled my heart and soul with an offering of the sacrifice of joy and shouts of praise for the Lord (Psalm 27:6). Even in difficult times of experiencing culture shock, not understanding the language, and fearing the insecurity of my future, the presence of the Spirit has provided a shelter of peace... "He has covered me with His feathers and under His wings I do trust." (Psalm 91:4) Most everything involving living in the Dutch culture is new, so unfamiliarity has become my friend. Sometimes I long for what used to be familiar and yet the Lord has given me perfect peace in this adjustment. I know He will step me through each phase a little at a time. And, only He truly knows what lies ahead - work visa and resident permit applications accepted or denied, how long I’ll actually live in Holland, what my roles and ministry will look like in this community, if I’ll ever acquire a second fluent language (I hope so!), and so on.

Through calling upon the Lord's presence I've found new strength and courage for each day. He is taking me along life's path where I am stretched and challenged to develop in my interpersonal relationships, become more transparent and open, grow in trust, and allow the Lord to transform me in whatever ways He sees fit. I yield myself to Him. There is an extremely refreshing peace that sweeps over me when I abandon my life to God.

I thank the Lord that He is my strength, and that... ”He will make my feet like hind's feet and he will make me to walk upon mine High Places... "(Habakkuk 3:19)

God has placed me in Amsterdam. May this "High Place" be a place where I can bring Him glory and impact the Kingdom of God as I develop hind's feet.