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October

Hello everyone!

I’m happy to report that my transition back to Holland after being in the US for 3 months has gone mostly smooth, except for a week of pretty extreme jet lag. It’s been wonderful reconnecting with folks here and getting back into the swing of ministry in Amsterdam, including being reintroduced into Dutch classes this week.

I returned to a growing church, with another new home group starting this month and an especially high degree of interest being currently generated by a new teaching series on Biblical Manhood, Womanhood, and Sexuality.

While in America I missed the beginning of the series on ‘Biblical Manhood’, but even in home group this week some of the principles from those messages were being talked about. Currently we’re hearing about ‘Biblical Womanhood’ and later in November the series will turn to ‘The Value of Singleness’ and then ‘Homosexuality’. The series will finish in December and January with ‘Dating as a Christian’ and ‘Marriage and Family’.

This series is extremely important for Zolder50. Why? First, we are a young church; we have a lot of singles, young married couples, and young families. A series like this helps lay a Biblical foundation for what our relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ, as husbands and wives, and as fathers and mothers should be. Second, we recognize we live in a period of history where people have lost the sense of what it means to be created in God's image. This series is going to look at God's unique purpose and design in our identity as men and women.

Please join with us in prayer for this series. We believe God wants to use it to lay a solid foundation in our lives.

While I was on furlough I received a phone call from one of our pastors, Todd Watkins. In addition to us catching up on the latest support raising and ministry news he informed me that he and his wife, Lindy, made a decision to move their family of 4 back to America by next summer. Here are Todd's own words, followed by an additional thought and a prayer request:

…After a long process of listening to God, seeking counsel, and searching our hearts, (Lindy and I) have decided to move back to the States in the summer of 2009.  Without going into all the details, it has become clear that the best way for me to care for my family is for us to move back.  This is primarily due to the phase of life we are in (with young children – Amelie 4, Gabrian 2.5) as well as certain challenges we’ve experienced in living cross-culturally.

This has been a very hard decision to make; as parents, church leaders, and missionaries, our hearts have been torn in different directions.  There is a part of us that would like to stay in Amsterdam.  We love the church and there are still so many people to reach for Christ!  At the same time, we know our first priority is for our family.  In making the decision to care for and provide a better place for our family, both Lindy and I have a strong peace that our decision is the right one.  Because of this, we believe God is going to bless the decision, both for us and for Zolder50.

As for Zolder50’s future… we have a council of leaders (the Servant Leadership Council) who are talking through how to best replace my role.  Yes, our departure will have an impact on the church, but we also know this church is God’s… he is the head of the church, not any one man.  We (my co-pastor Eric and I) are trusting that God will raise up the needed teachers and pastors to replace my role. 

As for our family’s future… we feel a bit like Abraham and Sarah, we know God is leading us to another land, but not exactly sure where… We are trusting God will lead the way…  We ask that you would please join with us in prayer for God’s provision for Zolder50 and his direction for our family…

In Christ’s love, Todd and Lindy

I am, of course, deeply saddened to think about saying good-bye these friends and partners in ministry. However, I’m both grateful to have been able to serve with them here in Amsterdam and I’m confident and optimistic for the future God has for them and Zolder50. Our church has been through so many “crises” in its short history—losing other leaders, being forced to move from facility to facility, squeaking through some precarious financial circumstances—but God has provided for us each time, and this time it seems that we’re better situated than ever to deal with this upcoming loss.


The Watkins Family Portrait- Spring ‘07

If you would, please pray with us for an effective leadership transition, throughout the coming six months.  Please pray for God’s blessing on the Watkins family as they depart, but also for Eric Asp, the other Pastor, and for other leaders in Zolder50, who we trust God will use to keep guiding the church from this point forward.


                   Amelie and Gabrian                                                          Todd preaching
                – two very sweet kids!

Thanks for your partnership in everything.  I’ll be in touch…

Serving a Mighty God with you,
Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org