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June Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes - Romans 1:16

Earlier this month my community group wrapped up a 6 week study on the gospel, focusing on chapters 5 & 8 in Romans. In addition, we used Milton Vincent’s, A Gospel Primer for Christians, which helped us understand the gospel more profoundly. Powerful and life changing!

Over the summer I’m leading two groups: Falling in Love with Jesus (by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli) and a study from Francine Rivers, A Lineage of Grace, on the life of Tamar, a woman of hope.

Please pray for the following women’s lives, as well as my own, that we will grow and change through these studies: Jasmine, Nancy, Nathalie, Renske and Stefanie

Kenya

Recently, I wrote a piece for Great Commission Ministries/Reliant Collegiate Church Network women’s ministry newsletter, Beauty for Ashes, sharing the impact God has had in my life through the kids in Kenya. Enjoy reading the attached/enclosed story of the history and inspiration behind my involvement.

I would appreciate your ongoing prayers for the development of the team who will join me in December 2015 to minister to the orphans in Karai, Kenya, that the Lord brings clarity for who will be a part and provide a unifying spirit.

Shelter Ministry

The last Sunday this month Amsterdam50 will be joining the Christian Youth hostel, the Shelter City, for an evening outreach. Staff and guests from the Shelter regularly join our worship gatherings on Sundays and our church also partners with them in a variety of ways. Recently Birane and Sarah (from the Shelter) were baptized. Praise God!

Heather, a young lady from Canada, was involved with our church while on Shelter staff and in March 2014 was instrumental in launching the International Backpacker Ministry Conference in Amsterdam where theRIVER ministry was born. Please pray for Heather and theRiver’s impact for God’s Kingdom.

In Heather’s blog (http://a-beacon-of-light.blogspot.in) she provides inspirational stories about dozens whom are involved in 28 communities on multiple continents connected as theRIVER where travelers are welcomed into a Christ-centered community, can feel at home, and can encounter God’s love.

Cultural Connection

How to announce high school graduation:
 
Having just returned from the celebration of two nieces graduating from HS in Indiana, where they had announced their completion with an announcement/invitation to graduation, it was interesting to see a display (photo right) across the street from my apartment. The significance of the backpack hanging from the Dutch flag pole (rain or shine), a common practice around the second week of June, indicates the student who lives there passed their high school exams.

(keep reading below for a special feature)

United with you for God’s work globally,
Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org
 

for reliant women...beauty for ashes-june 2015, volume 14, issue 3

introducing...

Linda is a great example of a woman who fears the Lord and is yielding to the Holy Spirit even if it takes her out of her comfort zone. Similarly, as you sense God’s voice, may you respond to his call. - For His Glory, Wendy & Kathy

life impact from kids in kenya

God had a plan to impact my life in ways I would have never dreamed, reminding me of what Paul spoke about in Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

First of all, in 2003 when GCM asked if I’d be willing to move to Amsterdam for a minimum of 12 months, I really thought I’d be here for 1 year. 11 ½ years later it’s quite something to look back and realize many different ways the Lord has chosen to impact my life. Here’s one example...

In September 2006, one of our pastors at Amsterdam50, had just returned from northern Kenya where he connected with a group of people that we could help through micro-financing projects. In addition to helping families dig out of poverty through fund provisions for small business start ups, I also heard about a church that was focused on assisting orphan children. The Lord began to stir in my heart a desire to be involved in some way that wasn’t very clear quite yet, but certainly I knew it would involve more than simply sending money.

Four years later a colleague joined a friend of hers on a trip to Karai, Kenya, where they worked with a group of 32 orphans. Upon returning, they provided our Amsterdam50 church with a presentation that touched my soul. I got a sense that the Lord had a plan for my life and ministry with this particular group of kids.

I began spearheading the development of a mission trip from Amsterdam50 and in the spring of 2011 a team of five traveled to the Rift Valley in Kenya. My life was deeply impacted through developing a friendship and kindred spirit with Elijah and Dorcas Wachira. This Kenyan Christian couple began the safe house to take in orphan kids from the surrounding area in order to provide sound nutrition, education, and spiritual development with the goal for the kids to grow in their faith and become a contributor to society while not living impoverished.

kids in kenya

So far, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of being in Karai with these precious kids four times over the past four years. It’s been a joy to witness them growing into young men and women. Now about 75% of them are teenagers! Each trip has offered some unique opportunities for the kids’ development. Some examples are...

Painting a mural on the 355 foot safe house outer wall [see image in the banner of the letter]; teaching them the game of Ultimate Frisbee; using a world map to educate them about geography/ history; singing scripture songs; developing the Nativity Play which they perform each Christmas for their local church and at the guardian party; increasing their confidence in the English language (side note: English is their third language, but it’s the country’s academic language, therefore, in order to succeed in school they are educated and must learn in a foreign tongue); and leading the teenage girls through a book study to teach that God “gift wrapped” them and has a beautiful plan for their lives while remaining pure for their husband.

In addition to all the fun and developmental activities, one of my main goals in relationship with these kids is that they would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior in a life-giving, deeper way. This occurs through evening devotions, conversations, prayer times and shining the light of Christ into their lives with every opportunity, even when it means bringing attention to sin nature and challenging a change of heart in repentance.

With each trip thus far, the Lord has provided amazing ideas to accomplish His purposes. An example from my latest experience (December 2014) is that I felt called to give them the Chronicles of Narnia. Together we had story time (developing their English skills) each day to read through the first two books. One evening after we watched the Narnia film, Edwin shared with me that he never truly understood what Jesus did for him on the cross until he saw Aslan willingly die in Edmond’s place. Edwin’s soul was deeply touched as he understood the power of forgiveness through Christ’s death and resurrection in a new way. Thank you, C.S. Lewis, for being used by God through your creative writing.

Staying in touch with the staff and the kids throughout the year by letter writing is a wonderful way for us to remain connected while at the same time prayerfully anticipating the development of the next mission trip. Speaking of which, by God’s grace I’m currently working with a team of people planning a trip this coming December. And, our church here in Amsterdam is regularly connected through times of prayer and providing fundraisers for the kids’ educational needs.

These orphan kids are beautifully created by God and very special to my heart. My life has been forever impacted through the Lord crossing our paths here on earth.

Honestly, I am unsure of what my future holds or where the Lord will steer each of these special kids in Kenya. But, I do know Who holds our future and that our loving heavenly Father has a plan for us all, ultimately desiring to impact our lives with His gospel so that we live out its truths to build His Kingdom here on earth, regardless of the continent where we live.

NOTE: If you have an interest in hearing more about the Kids in Kenya or the ministry in Amsterdam, check out www.lindakitchen.org

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory. - Isaiah 61:3 NLT