June - July

Greetings and Love in the name of Jesus,

Serve the City

For those who read my Spring Update, I requested prayer for an upcoming project I was to lead for Amsterdam’s Serve the City at the end of May. Thank you for your prayers!!

Photo: me painting the beautiful light yellow color over the smoke-stained walls along the ceiling trim

My team of 4 painted the living room/dining area of a recent widow friend. It was a long day and took a lot of work, but the project was completed well. And, it was so worth the effort when at the end Janja expressed her deepest gratitude for a fresh look and smell in her home and said “you’ve put wind back in my wings.”

Photo: Janja delivering drink refreshments

Two days later I helped Janja put her house back together (we hung frames, put items back in the cabinets, etc) and then together we attended the Serve the City Festival at a nearby park (photo below).

Citywide there were 450 volunteers who completed 58 service projects during the four days of Serving the City. It was a wonderful experience and people are still talking about the impact of loving people in practical ways.

Reconnection with Ultimate Frisbee

Because of a foot injury (plantar fasciitis) I’ve had for over 2 years now, I haven’t been able to actively participate in Ultimate Frisbee. However, I recently volunteered at a local tournament by assisting with supplying the breakfast buffet and throughout the day keeping track of the scores from 8 of the fields, as well as clean up afterwards. Being there allowed me a nice opportunity to work alongside and reconnect with my former teammates and others.

The Windmill Windup is the biggest club team tournament on grass in Europe. There were over 1,000 players at a sport park playing on 17 rented fields from the National Rugby Center in West Amsterdam. Check out www.windmillwindup.com if you like to see what it was all about.

Social Justice

Since early this year I have been involved with newly focused social justice effort through Zolder50. We recently spear-headed a campaign to coordinate and crystallize our goals for the church’s social justice ministry according to the following mission statement:

“As a Christian community, our aim is to increase awareness and action on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged, in order that we may be a bright light, radiating God’s love to our ‘neighbors’ through involvement in the fight against social injustice, both locally and globally.”

About a dozen people from our church community–on a muggy Amsterdam summer day–walked 2.5 kilometers (1.55 miles) from our ministry center on the Herengracht to the main park in the city’s Old South, and back… carrying buckets on our heads. In the park we retrieved water from one of the ponds and walked with up to 7-9 liters of water on our heads back to the starting point where we finished by pouring the water into the canal.

Photo: Water Walkers posing for a photo as the walk through the city began. Short messages were placed on the buckets for information.

The focus of the water walk was to raise awareness for issues of water and sanitation in the developing world. In addition, we hoped to identify with the women and children who carry the water and attempted to understand what they have to deal with on a daily basis. This effort of awareness wasn’t just for the on lookers, but for those of us who partook in the event as well. We now have a very tiny small glimpse of what it takes to collect water.

The next 2 paragraphs are from Pastor Eric Asp’s blog, where he included information from a talk given at Zolder50 a few weeks ago on behalf of Social Justice:

Water is one of the most basic needs in the world–and yet it’s one of the most unequally distributed resources in the world, as well.  As we’ve been studying this issue further, we’ve learned that the average person in the Netherlands uses 127.5 liters (33.7 gallons) of water per day (and in case you’re curious, it’s even more in the USA–about three times as much, in fact!).  But in contrast, the average person in developing countries uses just 10 liters of water per day.  Women and children have to collect all the water by hand, and the average distance a woman walks to collect water is 6 kilometers (3.72 miles)–sometimes doing this three times a day!    And the weight of water that the average woman has to carry on her head is 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

To look at the same situation from the global level, 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water.  2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation (places to properly wash hands or go to the toilet).  Unsafe water and sanitation causes 80% of all sickness and disease–causing 6000 people to die every day (90% are children under the age of 5.)   This means that unsafe water and sanitation kill more people than all other forms of violence, including war.  It’s crazy to write it out like that–but it’s true.  These statistics can be overwhelming…

Suffice to say:  water and sanitation are very significant issues in the world today!

Later in the evening after the Water Walk we held a fundraiser event in order to raise money for villagers in Uganda to drill wells for local clean, safe drinking water. We managed to raise nearly €800 for a Dutch organization called the Healthy Vine!  Please pray with us for this developing social justice ministry. In case you might like to see some more pictures from the Water Walk, you can click here.

Servant Leadership Council

For the past year I have been serving on this council within our church, along with 8 others. We’ve met monthly and sometimes more often to assist the Pastor in making decisions regarding the leadership of Zolder50 as well as church structure. Please pray for God’s wisdom, insight and direction as we face upcoming decisions for developing more leaders and for a structural transition that will begin in September.

Our ministries’ vision continues to be “To Know Jesus, To Become Like Jesus, and To Make Him Known”. Our hope and prayer is that we can better equip each individual to be an obedience-based disciple of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support of this mission in Amsterdam!

God bless you,