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March/April Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

In this update I’ll be combining the two themes of “celebrations” and “steadiness in the storms”. Actually, this seems to give an accurate perspective of life in the gospel. In Jesus’ life and ministry I’m reminded of both toil and celebration; storms and calm; sickness and healing; weariness and rest. We serve a God who understands our daily grind and offers compassion and grace.

Amsterdam50’s 10th Birthday Celebration

March 21st, 2003 a young group of church planters, along with a mission team from Florida and some Dutch friends celebrated the church’s first official public gathering. Ten years later, on March 24th, we were joined by a mission team from Kent, Ohio to celebrate Amsterdam50s Birthday!

We had a fun day of reminiscing which involved a story-telling / prayer walk led by our previous Pastor Eric Asp revisiting significant sites from the history of the church. After the walk we had our worship gathering followed by a dinner and Birthday cake, as well as an open mic time of sharing stories about how this ministry has touched our lives. The Lord has remained steadfast in the midst of many storms this church encountered over the past decade. All praises to Him!

Knowing our background, a friend recently shared that etched into Amsterdam50’s history is the truth that we are here in Amsterdam because of Jesus! It is only through our trust in Him, not because of a person, a ministry center, being a church, etc. -- Amen!

Top row (from left): in front of our first ministry center on the Leidsekade; by the Jordan Shelter, a ministry we co-labor with in Amsterdam and where many of the mission teams have stayed; Bottom row (from left): open mic time after the service & Arienne’s homemade, creative and yummy cake.

Great Commission Europe Annual Missionary Retreat

The first week in April, my 4 colleagues from Amsterdam and I joined about 30 other missionaries in the Halkidiki region of Greece for a week of rest and renewal. Several days we caught a glimpse of Mt. Olympus from across the Aegean Sea – magnificent!

Each year I look forward to the sweet fellowship, times of prayer, meaningful and rich ministry conversations and overall peace of taking 5 or 6 days to step away from ministry in Amsterdam to reflect on the Lord and what He is doing to build His church in Europe.

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” - Paul, Silas and Timothy’s words to the church of the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 NIV

We took a day trip to biblically historic Thessaloniki, where we walked through streets where Paul may have journeyed as he met with the church there. In addition, we received a special blessing through Pastor Young, who came from the US to share with us from 1 Samuel 30.

We were reminded of the choice to either get better or get bitter when difficulties arise or situations seem overwhelming.

I want to respond well and in the Spirit, like David who “found strength in the LORD his God.” - 1 Samuel 30:6b NIV

25th Anniversary of the Corrie ten Boom House Museum

On April 15th I will be joining the guide group from the Ten Boom House for a city tour through Haarlem, retracing important steps of the Ten Boom family, and in celebration of the museum’s 25 years where there have been more than 350,000 guests visiting from around the world. In 2012 there were a record 20,000 visitors and so far in 2013 we’re enjoying a new record pace of numbers of guests.

The stories that are shared during each hour long tour result in people’s hearts being touched by God’s truths. The guests see the hiding place and hear about the history of the family Ten Boom and about the love of God through forgiveness and His love for the Jewish people.

On the 15th of April we are also remembering Corrie ten Boom who died on that day 30 years ago at the age of 91. She died on her Birthday, which according to Jewish tradition only “very blessed” people are allowed the special privilege of dying on their birthday! Corrie was Dutch, but she and her family lived out their faith by loving mankind in a God-honoring manner while risking their lives for the Jewish people during WWII. Corrie survived realizing her life was a gift from God. She traveled the world sharing what she and her sister, Betsie, had learned in Ravensbruck: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.”

Health and Healing

I celebrate the health of my cat Akela. Throughout his nearly 6 years of life he had 4 very sick years fighting against two auto immune diseases.

The current dosage of medicine has given him a steady and strong 13+ months of health stability resulting in no signs of the disease. He has been so sweet and recently began allowing me to comb him. He also loves playing and chasing with his brother. My heart is filled with thanksgiving for his health and your prayers over the years!

My friend, Michelle Beckman, whom you prayed for 2 years ago, needs our prayers again. After about 18 months of remission, the colon cancer has metastasized to the right lung. In March she began a new round of chemotherapy, which often leaves her nauseous and weary. She longs to be close to Jesus and for His light to shine through her at every turn.

Prayer Requests

  • For the next 10 years of Amsterdam50’s ministry – for lives to be transformed through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and in being obedient to the Bible. And that God would glorify Himself through our lives as we make disciples here in Amsterdam.
  • That Akela will remain healthy and live a vibrant life!
  • For Michelle’s healing and for God to provide comfort and hope throughout her chemo treatments; for supernatural strength, joy, peace, rest, and perspective in the midst of this battle.
  • For peace and preparation for the message I’ll be teaching on April 21st at Amsterdam50 on being Imitators of God from Ephesians 5:1-20
  • For wisdom in the selection of Amsterdam50’s new Servant Leadership Council.

Thank you for your prayers! I am blessed to be united with you for the gospel and in the building of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

All for His glory!