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March/April

Spring is finally here in Amsterdam!!

Greetings from a land that is blooming and blossoming into Spring.

In this prayer letter you'll find an update about developments in securing legal documentation for remaining in the Netherlands to serve God; a reflection from our Easter service; some home group news; and stories of recent Baptisms.
Phew. it's been a busy time!!!
On May 9th, I'll be flying to the U.S. for my first Furlough experience, which will include support raising, strategic planning for GCM's Women's Wilderness Leadership Training program and reconnecting with family and friends. Needless to say, I'm very excited to cross paths with as many people as possible while on American soil.


In the past two months I've experienced several "Firsts":

1. the attempted theft of my bike (first that I know of, anyway) - I went down to the bike rack on a Saturday late morning to find my bike lock missing, and yet my bike was still there (no small miracle). Upon further investigation I found the lock scattered in 5 pieces nearby, so apparently the robber was scared away before being able to complete the job. The angels were definitely watching out for my mode of transportation and me.

2. I had my first appointment (after 13 months of being "in process") with a governmental office to sign papers for the next phase of securing a residence permit. My prayer is that before I leave on furlough I'll be able to receive the actual residence permit card.

3. I received a work visa which is good until 2009 - so if it is God's plan for me to remain in the Netherlands, I can do so legally for up to 3 more years.


Good Friday and Easter

ImageIn this photo (left to right), I am with Naomi and Patricia (the 3 single female missionaries with GCM currently in Amsterdam) in the Zolder's orange room at the end of an amazing Easter Sunday.

The entire Easter weekend was dedicated to remembering what Jesus did for us when He willingly went to the cross to pay for our sins. And then celebrating His resurrection and the new life we have in Christ!

If you'd like to have a closer look at the events that took place, please visit our church's website. In addition, you can click on the links below for a reflection of this special season from my colleague, Jenni Lafferty:

Good Friday's service
Easter Sunday


Home Group Road Trip

A few weeks ago my home group traveled in 2 cars about 3 hours away to spend the day in a beautiful city, known as "Venice of the North" -- Brugge, Belgium. Getting away and hanging out together in a new city was a terrific way to deepen our friendships.

We walked the city, rode through the canals on a boat tour, enjoyed hot chocolate in a "Choco Bar", met up with the easter "bunny" and window shopped - lots of chocolate and lace (what Belgium is known for)!!

 

Image Here's my home group enjoying a refreshment break during our "Brugge" day, from left to right: Jen (my roommate and only other American in our group), Christel, Nathalie, Mariska, Jurren, Gerard, Robert and Renske. I am taking the photo and Jens, Solomon, Lisanne and Suzanne were unable to join us.


I've posted all the photos from our road trip on the Internet, so if your want to see more of this beautiful Western European city go to: shutterfly.com

There are a lot of photos on the slide show, but the format is such that you should be able to skim and click on the ones that look interesting to you! (some of the buildings are from the 1600's.. crazy!)


Outward steps of faith through Baptism

Over the past 6 weeks 4 people have been baptized, including 3 young Dutch and an Irishman. Maria, Marc, Jelte and William. Earlier this week I spoke with one of the young men telling him how touched I was by witnessing his father's prayer and clear excitement which he displayed during his son's baptism. Come to find out this young man's step of faith provided an opportunity for he and his dad to positively connect even though family dysfunction and emotional relational pain have plagued him most of his life. Please pray for reconciliation and restoration in their relationship as well as continued growth in the young man's walk of faith.

Image In early March, Maria waded into the icy waters of a huge lake in the Amsterdamse Bos along with Eric (one of our Pastors) and Vera (another friend from the church), to be baptized in public declaration of her decision to follow Jesus. She became a Christian near the end of the Alpha Course she attended with her home group late in the fall. Maria's baptism seemed to be a culmination of many things that had been developing in her spiritual life.


Feeling that her baptism was a step of obedience in following Christ, she didn't want to wait until warmer weather to proclaim her new life in Christ for all to hear. She actually made a choice to celebrate her baptism outdoors at the freezing cold Nieuwe Meer instead of at the heated rehabilitation center where only ten people would have been able to witness the public pronouncement of her faith. As one who was able to witness Maria's baptism, my heart was moved by the number of her co-workers, friends and family (many of which are not yet Christians) who came to support her on that special day.

Please pray for Maria, Marc, Jelte and William and their continued protection, influence, and development as followers of Christ. We are so encouraged and excited for what God is doing in their lives.

Your prayer support and financial support allows me to be here, involved in full-time ministry, available to interact with so many young people seeking God. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,


Linda