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May/June Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

Paul said:

6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.
 
- 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (NLT)

There are two “seed planting” ministries I’ll be sharing about in this update, Serve the City and the Corrie ten Boom House.

The annual big edition of Serve the City is upon us! I continue to serve on the Core Team and in a few days we’ll be underway with 300 volunteers, 44 projects over 4 days spreading smiles, joy, and a helping hand to many throughout the city. Since its beginning in the spring of 2007, Serve the City has made a big impact in Amsterdam. Over the past 6 years, including this 10th edition, there have been 2990 volunteers serving in 449 projects.

Ascension Day, May 17th this year, is a National Holiday in the Netherlands. On this day the long weekend of Serve the City begins.

Many enjoy having the day off of school or work, but really don’t know what they’re celebrating. The Dutch take their Christian holidays seriously in that many use the time for family vacations and traveling. According to Expat Guide Holland, seven of the official 9 National Holidays are “Christian” in nature, including: First and Second Easter (Sunday and Monday), Ascension Day, First and Second Pentecost (Sunday and Monday), First and Second Christmas (25th and 26th).

Celebrating the day that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection typically is not talked about much in everyday conversation. And, yet, our hope through Serve the City is that by expressing God’s heart of kindness and love as well as helping the poor and needy we would have seed “planting” or “watering” opportunities for those we come in contact with –some random strangers on the street and others with whom we may occasionally interact with through volunteer work.

I’m excited about assisting with a “beauty day” project for Isolated Women. Here’s a snapshot of what this project entails:

The non-profit organization ABC connects isolated vulnerable women from different cultural background with Dutch language coaches to help them become more independent. It is really special for the women to go to the center and meet other women. That’s why we have invited them together with their coaches and will spoil them by giving them facials, painting their nails and putting on make-up. Some of the women can’t leave their children alone so we want to give them a moment for themselves by also taking care of the children – we will make a play corner and have activities for their enjoyment.
 
Do you have a heart for vulnerable women and do you want to let them feel welcome in the Netherlands, then this is your project. When signing up, please let us know if you prefer to work with the women or with their children.
 
IMPORTANT: ONLY FEMALE VOLUNTEERS!

Please pray for the following:

  1. For God to shine His love brightly during the Ascension Day edition and that people throughout Amsterdam will receive a message of their deep value in God’s eyes.
  2. That each volunteer enjoys their experience of giving their time for someone else and that a desire is sparked to continue serving in this way on a regular basis.
  3. For clear skies over Amsterdam all 4 days. Our hope is to finish each day with a free meal for all the volunteers in the local city park.

Another “Seed-Planting” Ministry Update

Since late January I have been preparing to become an English tour guide at the Corrie ten Boom Museum better known as “the Hiding Place”, situated in Haarlem, Holland, a 15 minute train ride west of Amsterdam.

In February and March I read more of her books and observed and followed other guides to learn more of Corrie’s stories. In my teen years, after becoming a Christian, Corrie was influential in my life through her book, Clippings from My Notebook, even before I knew of the amazing history of Corrie and her family.

The Ten Boom family lived as Christians by God’s grace and in obedience to God. They were loving to all people, including showing loyalty and love to Jewish people. As visitors tour their typical Dutch home, which was built in the 1400’s and has been refurbished to appear as it did in the 1940’s, they hear inspiring stories of God’s forgiveness, love and how “there is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still”.

There are visitors from all over the world, occasionally from 5 or 6 different countries at one time, who arrive at the family entrance to take a tour. They can see the actual “hiding place,” which is a small area behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom. This is where Jews and resistant workers were safely hidden from the Nazis during World War II.

Since April I’ve been giving my own tours, volunteering twice a month.

Here are a few of the responses people wrote down in our guestbook on my first day:

“You bring God’s blessings in your presentation, Linda; a beautiful reminder of Corrie. Thank you.”
– J. & T. LeGro, Alfred, NY


“A wonderful experience and an impressive, touching and powerful story! Thank you so much!”
– Z. Mangi, China

The experience I’ve had so far has been very fulfilling. What a joy to speak the truth of God’s Word to a captive audience all day long through the life and testimony of Corrie ten Boom and her love for Jesus. They hear about God’s love, forgiveness, provision, direction and His heart for Jerusalem and the Jewish people. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the website: www.corrietenboom.com/

Please pray for the following:

  1. For seeds of God’s love and forgiveness to penetrate each person’s heart who comes through the museum.
  2. For the Holy Spirit to guide me with each tour in being sensitive to what people need to hear from Corrie’s story for impacting their life. May God cause the growth!!
  3. My next day to give tours is Wednesday, May 30th. At this time I know of 2 reserved tours that day which involves 42 students.
  4. A final prayer request is for my upcoming trip to America in mid-June. It’s been 2 years since I’ve seen my family. Please pray for special connections and sweet memory making times as I spend a few weeks enjoying my nephew’s high school graduation, then a week with all of my siblings and their families, followed by a week with my parents on a trip back east with relatives in New York and New Jersey for a family reunion.

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