September Ministry Update 2011

Greetings from Amsterdam,

All is going well here - a busy fall season as usual. I'm specifically excited about some new opportunities I've had to reach out to some women here in the city (Polish gal - Daria and Dutch woman - Sarah) as well as the deepening of relationships with neighbor, Dorin, and friend from my Dutch class, Janja. Please pray for God’s love to open their hearts to His truth.

I've begun meeting again on a regular basis with the Serve the City core team to begin planning for our fall and winter projects. Through these events there is such a beautiful opportunity for people to practically serve others and show random acts of kindness- basically to live out our faith through love for a stranger or someone in need. Please pray that our planning and preparation will result in many people’s lives being touched by God’s love, which will open the door for the gospel.

One of the people who have joined our core team this year is a young Chinese woman, who is studying here in Amsterdam. This verse spoke truth into her heart recently...

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16

Betty participated in the June edition of Serve the City as a volunteer. She indicated on her evaluation form that she had an interest in getting more involved, behind the scenes. So we invited her to an “interest meeting” for the Core Team in early July.

I hosted a lunch at my home for the interested group, many of whom were coming directly from attending different church services in the city. Some of the initial conversation around the table focused on the earlier worship and messages people experienced. Then out of the blue, Betty asked, “What is church?”

Immediately, my heart grew in excitement for what I knew to be an open door for spiritual truth. I sensed heads turning and eyes looking toward me. Joyfully I began sharing with Betty that people meet together to join their hearts with Gods through celebrating what He is doing in their lives and to grow in their relationship with Him. Church = God’s people. She shared that she’d never read the Bible nor had ever been to a church. We talked a bit about the Bible, she seemed very engaged and her interest seemed peaked to the idea of Christianity.

After the meeting I asked her if she'd like to read about the life of Jesus, the foundation of the Christian faith, from one of the books in the Bible. She was very interested so I gave her the Book of John. Her face lit up while enthusiastically accepting the book which she planned to take with her as she left for China the next day for two months of summer vacation.

I was in contact again with Betty recently asking if she’s had a chance to read any from the book of John and if she had any questions. She came over after class a few days ago (September 28) and we dove in to addressing her questions — about the Bible as a whole, the differences between religions and about specific verses in the first 3 chapters of John, which was as far as she had read so far.

It was quite evident that the Holy Spirit was working in Betty’s heart. She was so surprised at the truth that God would send His Son to the earth for all people, including HER! She was so touched by Jesus’ willingness to pay the penalty for her sins. It was beautiful to witness. Another surprise for her was the thought that belief alone could allow her to know God personally through Jesus — not because of anything she has to do. “What does it mean to ‘believe’?” Great question! We talked at length about trust and faith. It was an amazing conversation and God was moving in her heart.

When she seemed to grasp all these aspects of truth, including her separation from God because of her sin, I asked if she would like to receive God’s forgiveness and she said, “Yes”. She had never prayed before, so I offered for her to simply follow the prayer in the gospel tract. It was a beautiful moment and joy to witness the transformation of life. After she prayed she had a radiant smile on her face. I asked how she was feeling. She wasn’t able to put words to what was happening inside of her, but described her experience as something very warm and that she sensed things in her mind were changing. Then she said, "I think my life will be forever changed from this point on."

***Please pray for Betty’s new life in Christ — for protection, guidance and continued understanding of God’s plan for her life.

In Christ Alone,