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July Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

I’m excited to share a story and example of how the Lord is working in powerful ways through our ministry to the refugees. Thank you for your prayers and being engaged in the battle for life change and God’s Kingdom growth.

Ahmad’s story (name changed for protection)

Thank you for praying for God to work through the short-term mission (STM) team from Muncie, Indiana that joined us for 8 days in March. One way God answered…

Day 1: After the STM arrived we cycled to a courtyard behind the refugee center/camp where a coffee place (Refugee Company) recently opened to allow the public a place to interact with refugees. We prayed together for divine appointments and for the Lord to move powerfully through our interactions that week.

Day 3: We gathered at the Refugee Company to connect with refugees and see whom God would lead us to. One of the persons we met that day was Ahmad (Photo to right: he is sitting in front of the colorful painting). PRAYERS ANSWERED, and the story was only beginning! During this conversation, Ahmad professed a faith in Jesus Christ and shared about his past persecution in Iran as a result of his Christian faith, which was the reason he fled to Europe.

Day 5: Ahmad met the STM in Haarlem

(where he was living at the time) for a bible study and to join them for the tour I was giving for the STM at the Corrie ten Boom house. Afterwards, I took the guys out for lunch and a tour of the St. Bavo church. During our walking tour more stories flowed and friendship continued to grow. In addition, the gospel was clearly presented and Ahmad was processing his own beliefs in comparison with what we were sharing from the Bible. He was attending church in Haarlem and had even helped lead an underground house church in Iran, but still it seemed something was not fully clicking in Ahmad’s spiritual journey.

Day 7: We hosted a gathering at the STM’s apartment in order for our Amsterdam team to be introduced to all the refugees the STM met while on outreach and to continue building friendships.

Ahmad came and the Lord provided an even deeper connection, where truth was taking hold. [Photo right: the STM guys plus Ahmad & me, center]

Needless to say, God was answering prayers all that week and laying a foundation for life change and eternal celebration. Over the next several months, prayers continued. I met up with Ahmad through planned meetings and also a number of times when the Lord graciously crossed our paths at the perfect time for a word of encouragement / prayer.

While waiting on Dutch Immigration to decide his case, Ahmad was suffering from deep stress, depression and intense fears regarding his asylum situation. In June, he received a negative response for status that left him desperate and in a mental, emotional and spiritual downward spiral; extremely fearful and questioning what’s next.

God works in mysterious and supernatural ways… In early July I was scheduled to meet with Ahmad but the night before he had had a bad toothache, resulting in an extraction. We met 2 days later and he revealed what the Lord had done, which was a powerful breakthrough bringing Ahmad to a place of humility and brokenness. He surrendered his own effort and through a revelation of a dream from 18 months ago and (no kidding) the tooth extraction he sensed this "release" of everything that was burdening him and then the power of God, through the message of the cross of Christ, entered his heart. He realized for the first time what Jesus had done for him, taking his sin on the cross and offering the gift of grace and everlasting life in return.

He has been SET FREE from his bondage of fear and the tremendous battle of thoughts in his head. Ahmad has put his hope in Jesus alone and not in "science and knowledge", as he put it. In the past he would only believe "10 pages" of the Bible and now he wants to absorb it all!!

Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:31-32 ESV

Ahmad is on a new path, as a new creation in Jesus Christ. There is a clear light in his eyes and it seems as if heavy weights have been lifted off his shoulders. He is standing in truth and with hope in the Lord and not his own wisdom or strength.

He said that before he was “doing Christian things, but now he has Jesus living inside of him”.

He even said something like, "I feel new". Please pray for Ahmad, that the Lord protect this "new babe" in Christ.

It’s so encouraging to receive his text messages, expressing joy, hope and revelation, such as:

  • It's like someone in my ear talks to me. Now I understand the meaning of many things better. Now I understand the meaning of freedom.
  • I received this gift from Jesus Christ. I am glad he chose me, too. And firmly and powerfully I say that Jesus is alive. He is with me all the time.
  • When I asked him with complete confidence, my eyes were washed. Now I can see you, my Jesus.

  • Ahmad and Neil (STM)
    From now on, I want to live in freedom and peace. And as far as I can, I bless the living God with all that I can. I am proud of myself that Jesus lives in me and I am in him.
  • I am really enjoying this freedom. I can understand more in the Bible.
  • I am experiencing Jesus everywhere.
  • By words I cannot describe the absolute peace.
  • No one can touch me. I am not afraid anymore. Fear is finished.
  • I feel the Kingdom of God is very close. Anyone who does not wake up will not be saved by grace and will die in a dream.
  • I pray for all eyes in the world to see what I am seeing. The world needs trust and truth
    • Pray that Ahmad would continue to not be afraid, and continue to put his full trust and hope in Jesus.

      “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” - 1 John 4:18 ESV

      Finally, please pray that through Ahmad’s appeal with the Immigration department, God will make clear his next steps. Ahmad knows that if he is deported back to Iran his life will be in danger. But, he is trusting in Jesus!

      All praises to our Lord Jesus for being a transforming, loving God. Thank you for your prayers. God is answering!

      United with you,