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October

Seasons of Life

In late August while peering out of my apartment overlooking the canal, my eyes were drawn to leaves that were beginning to turn a golden yellow color. Sadness overcame me as I realized Fall was approaching, especially since it seemed as if we only had about 3 weeks of summer weather. That tree’s transformation is significant to me because the day of my arrival in Amsterdam over 11 months ago I witnessed that same tree in full golden array, which means a lot of time has passed since last November 4th, 2003.

I’m embarrassed by my lack of communication through the avenue of a prayer letter over the past year. I most certainly need your prayers and believe in God uniting our hearts through prayer, and I truly do want to communicate all that God is doing in my life here in the Netherlands.

Here’s a brief recap:

Late last Fall

I began serving the Dunn family full time working with Peggy to teach their 5 children and assist in whatever ways possible in order for Joe, the Lead Pastor, to have his family here while directing Great Commission Ministries Europe and assisting in the development of young leaders in Amsterdam.

Home Group

I attend this weekly time with my roommates and about 15 others. This always provides a multicultural experience. There’s been a mixture of Albanian, American, Bulgarian, Dutch, Irish, Yugoslavian and others. During my very first home group experience we split into 2 different language groups to discuss a chapter in Romans. Wow, at that time, it was so different for me to hear another language spoken consistently throughout the evening.

GCM Euro Staff Retreat

I traveled with other Amsterdam staff to Lake Balaton, Hungary, in April. This was one of my first opportunities to bond with some of the staff here and rub shoulders with other GCM European Missionaries! God blessed the time immensely and since then I’ve been hearing His sweet whisper and continue to be led forward by Him.

Relationships

God has opened doors for me to develop relationships with young Christian women as well as a young lady beginning her search for truth and God’s “realness”. Please pray that Suzy would find God. Building into the lives of women here in Amsterdam has been encouraging and I trust the Lord is using my influence positively. I’m part of the core leading a women’s ministry called “Daughters of the King”, where relationships are deepening, women are being encouraged in their faith and the Lord is drawing us closer to Himself… it’s been exciting to serve each other through foot washing/foot massage, friendship discussion and even a practical cooking night (converting everything to metric has been fun)!

Zolder 50

This is the name of our church in Amsterdam… we meet in the attic of our building, which is “zolder” in Dutch. Here the Word is being poured out into our lives, and we are praying for 100,000 people to get saved in Amsterdam. Some from within our church work with the homeless, others reach out to prostitutes, many meet people locally in parks, cafes, at work, etc. and God continues to attract young internationals, who wouldn’t normally be caught with a foot in church, to our Sunday night service where the gospel goes out powerfully. (Go to www.amsterdam50.nl for more information)


Me with some friends from church celebrating Queens Day on April 30th

Living in a new culture, adjusting to a new city and country where a different language is spoken and also going through culture shock have all played major roles in my ability to communicate with you. Please bear with me as I attempt to share some things that have been on my heart.

As an international missionary, my life has been filled with many challenges. One of the big things that has caused frustration might seem trivial, but it is a combination of how long things take here; such as trying to take care of business overseas, raising support from overseas, buying groceries where what you can carry home on your back or in your hands is all that you can buy (needless to say this means a lot more trips to the store than I was used to) or finding the specialty store that carries what I'm looking for (since department stores like Walmart or Target don’t exist here) and having to walk, bike, tram or train in order to get things done.

Finally, a great pressure on my heart has been the financial situation I’ve run into…things are expensive (19% sales tax), my support has been down over the past several months and the exchange rate has been horrible resulting in a loss of $3,300 so far during my time in Europe. Please pray about how you might be able to help in this area.

Thank you for your prayers and support… because of this, I’m able to serve God by serving His church and reaching out to young Europeans. Witnessing first hand God touching and changing lives of young people in Amsterdam has truly been a reward. In addition, I am learning to be ok living in uncertainty of what the future holds. Speaking of the future, last summer (’03) GCM asked me to consider moving to the Netherlands for a minimum of one year. I’m not sure what God’s plans are for my longevity here. I would appreciate your prayers for the Lord to reveal His plan to me. At this point, what I do know is that I’ll at least be here until next summer.

Be blessed in an abundance of His grace and peace (2 Peter 1:2).

Linda
linda.kitchen@gcmweb.org