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June

Greetings from Amsterdam…

I am encouraged to be writing to you although I must say it seems as if every time I attempt to do so something comes up to thwart my plans. The enemy certainly doesn’t want any “good news” reported. For instance, yesterday I had a bike accident (a small truck pulled into my path) which has resulted in a very sore left hand, arm and shoulder, which makes typing and sitting at my computer not so comfortable. I do apologize for my lack in communication during the first half of this year. So much has been happening that it really is difficult to keep up with it all and then knowing what to include in a ministry update becomes a challenge.

However, I hope as you read this update you’ll share in my excitement about what God has been doing lately. At our home group leaders meeting this month it was super encouraging to hear one of the Dutch male leaders, Gerard, share about his home group recently multiplying after having completed a 12 week Alpha Course within their home group. Back in the spring of 2006 Gerard was one of several who left my home group to help start the first ever Dutch speaking home group within our church. That home group officially began in Aug-Sept 2006 and now less than 2 years later they are multiplying!! So now within Zolder50 there are 3 Dutch-led, Dutch speaking home groups along with 5 English/Dutch speaking home groups – Praise God for this growth!

Here’s a monthly recap of some of the exciting things the Lord has done so far in 2008:

January

We began the New Year with 60 from Zolder50 attending the Awaken Conference in Hohegrete, Germany. This was the second time in three years that the 11 Great Commission Europe churches gathered for a regional conference. The theme was “waking up” in the Story of God, to the God of the Story, and to War.

It was thrilling to be with 250 people from 6 different languages and cultures, praising God together and opening our hearts to be awakened in Him for this generation.

With our focus of home groups (beginning in Nov. 07) being more “on mission”, several from my home group took a Sunday afternoon to serve a Refugee woman and her son by laying an insulation layer throughout their home under the laminate. She was required to have this done due to a complaint from her neighbor below, so it was a blessing to be able to help her in this practical way.

Later in January, 16 of our home group leaders attended a retreat in a beautiful wooded area near central Holland. I along with Arienne, a young Dutch woman, was asked to lead the group through one of the EMI (Equipping Ministries International) seminars called “Finding your Gift Path”. This was the first of six EMI seminars that were offered through Zolder50 this spring.

I thoroughly enjoyed co-teaching this seminar and believe God left a strong impact by enabling the home group leaders to know how to function more in their “gifting”. Michaël shared this meaningful insight from the seminar: “I discovered a constant 'theme' in how I respond to situations and people which revealed a ministry 'passion'.”

February

Zolder50 offered our first “relationship series” EMI course – “Listening for Heaven’s Sake”, which was a huge success in helping people to learn the skills of listening well, through warmth, empathy and respect. I was unable to participate in this seminar but was able to serve the 35 people involved by co-arranging lunch for them during the all day portion of the seminar.

I spent 5 days in America for a short vacation, seeing my parents and then traveling to Chicago for a long weekend with my sister’s, sister-in-law and oldest niece. We had a blast!!! I was very thankful for this opportunity to connect with them in a special, memorable way.

March

Zolder50 celebrated its 5 year Anniversary here in Amsterdam. We had a fun weekend rekindling the special friendships that have been formed over the years. Even a handful of folks were able to travel back to join us for this celebration. That was super fun!!!!

It was also encouraging for the newer people involved with our ministry to hear stories from those who ventured by faith 5 and 6 years ago across the Atlantic to help start the church. And, for those who were a part of that initial church plant to hear how their faith and effort to move to Amsterdam has reaped eternal rewards and given many young Dutch and Europeans a place to worship God and continue the multiplication process of Jesus’ love.

Some close friends and missionary friends, the Dubois family, moved away this month as they felt called to transition their lives to Sheffield, England and The Crowded House ministry where they will continue to be a part of the Great Commission. I was blessed to be able to spend a Saturday with Diane, her 3 children and a German friend of ours at a beautiful castle here in Holland. It was my first real castle experience and a very special memory to have with these dear friends!

Please pray for the Dubois family as they embark on their new adventure!

Also in March, those of us who are employed through Great Commission Ministries and ministering here in Europe traveled to Bled, Slovenia for a week long retreat.

Being in this type of location FILLS my soul... it is so beautiful!!! While gazing at the Alps I was constantly reminded of the nearness of God and His great plan and purpose for my life.

April

I participated as a facilitator for the “Renewing the Mind” seminar. I was personally very encouraged to learn more about how to create new belief systems to replace distorted views that have developed during my life since “renewed” thinking is defined in this course as “thinking accurately and appropriately about ourselves and the world around us.” The goal in Renewing the Mind is to cooperate with God’s Holy Spirit in the process of remodeling our hearts.

The most exciting part of the seminar for me was seeing how the two people in my group, Sokol (Albanian) and Paul (Chinese), grabbed a hold of the skills. After praying over one another for God to initiate the changes they both left after the two-day seminar ready to take positive steps in their lives. A few weeks later as I was talking with Paul, he jubilantly expressed the victory he had experienced over the area he addressed in his life during the seminar. Praise the Lord for being at work in our community in so many different ways!!!

Along with co-leaders Patricia and Sunita, we hosted a High Tea for our Daughters of the King women’s ministry. This particular Saturday midday was a beautiful time of peace, quietness, tranquility and gentle ministering to one another while partaking in tremendous food and tea. Prior to that day, we leaders had a special time of praying for each woman and then preparing a decorative scripture card especially for her, which she opened at the tea.

I rode around the flower fields in western Holland one morning with Patricia-such a great cultural experience!

Even in my neighborhood the tulips were popping up!!

May

Many from Zolder50 participated in the 2nd annual Serve the City project here in Amsterdam. You can read more about this event at www.servethecity.nl. The project I had signed up for was to serve a family in a nearby neighborhood, but due to an illness of one of their children we had to postpone that project.

However, my team joined another project that was serving a free barbecue and bike repair for an International student community in the city. I was absolutely in my element as I spent the entire afternoon (nearly 5 hours) repairing bicycles. It was so great to have every tool you could possibly need at your disposal, along with all the necessary parts if something needed replacing. What a great way to serve people and show God’s kindness. Most were blown away that we were giving them something of such value for free which provided them with their day in and day out mode of transportation.

I served as facilitator once again for the “Speaking the Truth in Love” seminar, based on Ephesians 4:15-16, that was offered this month. One of the 4 people in my group, Sasha (Belarusian), was able to take the skills he learned in this course and absolutely have a mind-boggling conversation with his boss over his job and the false expectations that were given to him in partnering with this company and acquiring legal status here in Holland. Sasha was beaming a few weeks ago when he told me about the confrontational conversation! With the relational skills Sasha has acquired through the different seminars he was able to communicate well and establish a deeper working relationship with his boss. God has answered prayers again!

This month (June) we’ve had 2 more EMI seminars and some very fun community outings with quite the soccer hype concerning the European Championship. Too bad Holland lost in the quarter final match.

Thank you for your blessings of love, prayer and financial support.

Serving Him with you,
Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org