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July Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

This city is proud to be home to many cultures and nationalities. In 2017, Amsterdam had 167 different nationalities, which represents 86% of the 195 countries in the world. A main reason why in 2002 a Reliant Mission church plant took place here was for the opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission by reaching people from all over the world in this one place.

Morocco (9,751) and Turkey (9,464) are the best-represented countries in Amsterdam. Brunei, Djibouti and Liechtenstein are three of the countries that only had one citizen living in Amsterdam in 2017. In Zuidoost (southeast part of the city), 63.4 percent of residents come from a non-Western background, and the figure for Nieuw-West is also high, at 52 percent. (Information found in local Amsterdam news through Expatica)

Refugee impact

For the past 3+ years the influx of middle-easterners and northern Africans due to the refugee crisis has been evident. In the diagram below, you’ll see up until August 2017 the number of refugees who have sought asylum in the Netherlands from the top 5 represented countries.

Our ministry team has been seeking persons and households of peace in the refugee communities and we’re using Oikos mapping, a prayer tool, for those in our spheres of influence who need to hear the good news about Jesus.

Oikos means “household” in Greek and is used to identify our relational network. In the diagram at the right, for our Four Field Ministry purposes we identified the refugees whom we’re currently praying for and reaching out to with the gospel. As God’s work in progress, circles are regularly being added as we meet new people in our Oikos.

When someone makes a decision to repent of their wrong doings and invite Jesus to be their Lord, a cross symbol is placed next to their name. We also then help the new disciple how to identify their relational networks for the multiplication to continue. We’ve also identified those (with a green circle) who seem to be more open to hearing about Jesus. Please pray for all these precious names! (below)

Mission Team

From August 7-17th we’ll have a team of 8 people from Fort Collins, Colorado joining the refugee outreach effort here in Amsterdam.

At the refugee camp we’ll be uniting with others for a BBQ evening (August 9th), summer party -focusing on the 150 kids (August 11th) and a soccer (voetball) tournament (August 14th). Through these different events we hope to meet new refugee friends, deepen the relationships we already have and for opportunities to share the love of Jesus through word and deed.

Please pray:

  • Team unity and safety while navigating the city on bikes
  • More partnerships with others serving the refugees, as well as a strong team formation to organize and lead out the activities.
  • God’s guidance and provision for all our plans
  • Lots of fun and great connections with refugees during the BBQ, Summer Party and Soccer Tournament.
  • For refugees to hear the powerful message of the gospel and make decisions to follow Jesus
  • Discovery Bible Studies starting as follow up to connections made during this time

20 year Reflection ~ July 2011

For 8 years (2007-2015) I volunteered with Serve the City, participating, coordinating & leading projects to serve those in need in Amsterdam.

  • Over the years there were two women, in particular, who lived alone and needed assistance with their homes, including big painting projects. The Lord allowed Jenny and Janja to receive this service and acts of kindness numerous times from me and my teams, which often led to spiritual conversations and messages of hope in Christ being shared.
  • I met Janja in 2008 through Dutch classes. After her husband passed away she wanted a fresh clean smell and feel to her living/dining room. My team and I completed the long Serve the City project in one day. It was so worth the effort when at the end Janja expressed her deepest gratitude by saying, “you’ve put wind back in my wings.”

    Over the years, Janja and I regularly met together and by God’s grace while in hospice care prior to her death in November 2015 she put her belief in Jesus Christ.

Photo above left: 2007 with Jenny at the festival ending the first ever Serve the City weekend;
Photo above right: 2010 Winter Edition with Janja

  • I also served on the Core Team of Serve the City for a number of years. Sunday, July 3, 2011 I hosted a lunch for our team to coordinate the next event and invite those interested in being involved. Betty, studying abroad from China, joined us that day. Some of the initial conversation around the table focused on earlier worship and messages people experienced. Then out of the blue, Betty asked, “What is church?”

    Immediately, I sensed heads turning and eyes looking toward me. Joyfully, I began sharing with Betty that people meet together to join their hearts with Gods through celebrating what He is doing in their lives and to grow in their relationship with Him. Church = God’s people. She shared that she’d never read the Bible nor had ever been to a church.

    After the meeting I asked her if she'd like to read about the life of Jesus, the foundation of the Christian faith, from one of the books in the Bible. She was very interested so I gave her the Book of John. Her face lit up while enthusiastically accepting the book, which she planned to take with her as she left for China the next day for two months of summer vacation.

    In early September 2011 Betty and I met to discuss any questions she had from the book of John. She had read the first 3 chapters by that time and it was evident the Holy Spirit was working in Betty’s heart through the truth of His Word. In addition, she was so touched by Jesus’ willingness to pay the penalty for her sins on the cross. Another surprise for her was the thought that belief alone could allow her to know God personally through Jesus – not because of anything she has to do.

    When she seemed to grasp all these aspects of truth, including her separation from God because of her sin, I asked if she would like to receive God’s forgiveness and she said, “Yes”. She had never prayed before, so I offered for her to simply follow the prayer in the gospel tract. It was a beautiful moment and joy to witness the transformation of life. After she prayed she had a radiant smile on her face. She wasn’t able to put words to what was happening inside of her, but described her experience as something very warm. Then she said, "I think my life will be forever changed from this point on."

Through your involvement over the years lives have been eternally changed,