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November - December

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” - Luke 2:14

A special holiday greeting to you all!!

The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year. There is a special joy in my heart as I celebrate Jesus and all that means for my life and all of mankind. I love listening to Christmas music, which traditionally starts being played in my home on Thanksgiving Day.

Here’s a recap of what has been happening here in Amsterdam recently.


Legal Documents:

I began the process of initiating the reapplication process for my work visa and resident permit, which expire in late March 2009. In the experiences I’ve had over the past 5 years here in Holland any process associated with obtaining government documents, etc. has been anything but smooth or easy, therefore I would appreciate your prayers in this area.

Church Planting Movement:

Zolder50 hosted a 3 and 1/2 day seminar attended by 38 people, who represented 12 different Nationalities. Twenty-two of the participants were from Zolder50 and 12 came from other countries for the seminar. One of the things I’ve loved about the ministry of Great Commission Ministries is the diversity of people groups. Knowing that God desires to reach all nations, tribes and tongues, it is beautiful to witness God opening our eyes to see how the Bible encourages us to make disciples and start churches regardless of what part of the world we live in, what language we speak, or how long we’ve had a personal relationship with God.

One of the guest speakers was an Indian Pastor who the Lord has used over the past 12 years to see millions of people come to know Jesus Christ and be baptized, resulting in thousands of churches being started. The focus of the ministry has been on multiplication through always looking for opportunities to share real life situations in relationships, offering prayer, addressing the problems and then transition by introducing that person to others.

Here are a few points that opened my eyes and stirred my heart during the seminar:

  • Empowering new believers right away should be part of the culture of the movement
  • There may need to be a process of “unlearning” things which have been unproductive in sharing the gospel
  • People need redemption – when they see and understand this, it will lead to salvation
  • Look at a new Believer as an entry point into a new community, people group, family etc. rather than focusing on inviting them directly into our “group” or church right away.

Please pray that God will increase our effectiveness in discipleship, leadership and planting churches. And, please pray for direction and inspiration as our home groups and congregations continue to dialog on the ideas and principles shared through this seminar and how to implement them.

Daughters of the King:

We hosted our 2nd Annual Sinterklaasavond had 20 participants, including several guests of women in our church. A Brazilian woman whom I met through my Dutch class joined me for the festive evening. We all enjoyed a special dinner and then participated in a gift exchange of sorts through playing trivia games, group games, and answering current event questions in order to obtain gifts. Everyone had a great time of fun, fellowship and deepening of friendships. Please pray for Danusa, my Brazilian friend, that God would bless her life, open her heart fully for His grace and truth as well as protect her baby (she has a medium-high risk pregnancy and is currently 6 months along) and bless her marriage.


Outreach/ Ministry:

In the past two months I’ve had numerous opportunities to connect with women who I’ve met through my language classes as well as in my neighborhood. Even though we’re in numerous stages of life and from completely different backgrounds we all have things in common: the need for friendships, the desire to enjoy life with others and that we’re all created by the same God who, I believe, didn’t allow our paths to cross by accident. Please pray for these women, that God continues to provide me opportunities to share His love, grace and hope with them as well as to be a friend and meet needs in their lives: Jenny (Dutch), my neighbors: Dorin and Deirdre (both Dutch), Danusa (Brazil) and her husband Han (Dutch), Nathalie (French), Maricela (Colombia) and Janja (Serbia). And, a special prayer request for Janja and her husband, Jan (Dutch), who is dying of cancer. Please pray for Janja’s strength in taking care of him and for his understanding of God’s love.

A recent lunch gathering at Nathalie’s: (l to r) Me, Janja, Maricela and Nathalie

Home Group:

For the past 7 weeks, my home group (made up of 7 men and 7 women from 5 different countries) has been focused on deepening our relationships with one another by learning the relational skill of becoming better listeners. Gradually over a number of months there was an escalation in people not feeling heard and understood, as well as a general lack of being others focused and coming to home group with the mindset of giving, instead of only receiving or accomplishing personal agendas. Philippians 2:1-4 was the main section of scripture used to help us get back on track.

Needless to say, the healing process from being “broken” isn’t always easy, but is it ever necessary! And, what a blessing it has been to see obedience from the Word of God lead to positive changes in our community through more healthy communication with one another. We’ve been incorporating the simple skills implemented through our training with Equipping Ministries International and taught through seminars within our church which basically has the “listener” using a tentative reflection of the “feeling” that was shared about a particular thought or situation, without giving advice or trying to “fix” the person who is sharing.

God has been gracious in allowing our home group to once again be a safe place for sharing our lives with one another and for people truly feeling understood and properly heard by others. We still have work to do in order to become more skilled in our communication with one another, but it’s been a good journey these past few months. Please pray for the people in my home group: Renske, Jurren, Nathalie, Steven, Martijn, Mike, Chenther, Tanya, Eric, Marci, Jen, Melissa, Moses, and me.

Christmas in Amsterdam:

I’ll be spending Christmas Day in Holland with two different families from the Zolder50 community. Also, one of the highlights this month is attending a city-wide Christmas service with a Dutch friend at one of the old churches in Amsterdam (http://www.noorderkerk.org) as well as our own Zolder50 Christmas Eve service and the Hope of Christmas worship gathering that we will host on Dec. 28th. May the joy of Jesus fill your lives during this season and always!

God bless you,