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Summer

Linda goes furlough.

Fur.lough|ferlö
noun
Leave of absence, esp. that granted to a member of the Armed services.
A temporary release of a convict from prison.
A layoff, esp. a temporary one, from a place of employment.

verb |trans.|
Grant such a leave of absence to.

Before leaving the Netherlands in early May the most frequently asked question from my European friends was, "What is a furlough?" Over the past 10 weeks as I've been traveling in the U.S. whenever "furlough" is mentioned, typically I am asked if I'm in the military.

It's interesting that the 3 ½ months I will spend in America this summer hasn't had the clearest explanation of what I'm doing here. Therefore, my hope is to attempt to clarify and fill you in on what has been going on in my life while on furlough by looking at the highlights in each month, especially since neither definition above gives an accurate description of my time.


MAY

I arrived in the States in time to attend my oldest niece's graduation from Purdue University, as well as to see my only nephew, Paul, play in a 6th grade band concert and also play lacrosse.

Linda and Jessica after her niece’s commencement ceremonyLinda and Jessica after her niece’s commencement ceremony

I spoke at a middle school FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), which blessed my soul. In addition, I spoke in 7 elementary and middle school classrooms about living overseas and described the differences in language, food, culture and holidays, as well as the spiritual climate. The most special opportunities came when I was able to share with my two 9 year old nieces, Jennifer and Anna, in their third grade classrooms.

Support raising travels took me throughout northern and central Indiana, thoroughly enjoying reconnecting with ministry partners and sharing with potential partners the vision that I have to make a difference in the lives of young Dutch and young Europeans.

Through long distance communication my colleagues with Zolder 50 informed me that the owners of the building we've been using in Amsterdam for our church home made the final decision to have us move out this coming Fall. Needless to say upon my return there will be a lot of adjustments including needing to find a new home since my apartment has been in the same building. I will fill you in more on the situation once I return to Amsterdam.


 

JUNE

I was unable to be with them, but my Home Group in Zolder 50 took a "Spies in the Land" trip to Gronigen, Netherlands to get a pulse on the spiritual climate in that part (northeastern) of the country. After talking with people on the street it was apparent that the young people in that university town had a similar response to spiritual things as those in Amsterdam. that they know something is out there, but they are not very interested in finding out what.

My support raising travels extended to Michigan, northern Indiana, Missouri, Kansas and Florida. I've been blessed to have a special connect with different churches which have encouraged me and have offered up very special prayers on my behalf. The Body of Christ has been there for me in ways that weren't expected. All of the special gifts (financial) I needed to raise in order to cover my furlough expenses have been met!!!! Praise God and a big "Thank You" to all who have given!

I was privileged to give a devotional to a group of new missionaries who were going through staff training with Great Commission Ministries.

 


JULY

One of my hopes for being in Florida this summer was that I'd be able to see a Shuttle Launch. To my amazement and thanks to God the shuttle launched the day I finished support raising in Orlando, just before flying to Arizona.

While in Phoenix I had the blessing of seeing my youngest sister and her family (including my very sweet little nieces, Sarah and Heidi), in addition to connecting with potential ministry partners.

This month brought the culmination of many months of planning for a strategic planning trip to develop a potential ministry within GCM called Women's Wilderness Leadership Training (WWLT). I met with 3 other women to hike down into the Grand Canyon, seeking the Lord for direction and to connect with God in a special way. At the very bottom of the canyon I saw a phrase displayed on a bandana, which expressed very clearly how I felt."Rock Bottom and Loving It". I absolutely loved the physical challenge of the hike and was tremendously blessed by not experiencing pain in my left hip (a big "thanks" to those who were praying!). You'll capture a small glimpse of my experience through the photos.

Standing at Plateau Point, overlooking the Colorado RiverStanding at Plateau Point, overlooking the Colorado River


At the end of this month, I'll be spending two weeks with my family at a reunion on the east coast (NJ) and to vacation a little bit.. I'm really looking forward to some rest and relaxation.


 

AUGUST

This month will include more support raising - one weekend in New York and then back in Indiana. Also, I'm looking forward to a reunion with old friends from the GCM church in Muncie, Indiana where I was involved 7 years (1988-1995) in ministry.

Please pray that God will help me to raise the final $750 in monthly support I need in order to return to Amsterdam.

I look very forward to spending 6 days on a personal retreat in Montana, Aug. 10-16, connecting with God in His Creation.

The weekend before I return to the Netherlands I'll be speaking at another church about missions work and also will attend a Women of Faith conference with my Mom and a few old college friends and their moms, which should be an absolute blast!!

The 24th I'll be landing on Dutch soil. Please pray that God would prepare me well for reengaging with that culture, in finding housing and in reconnecting with people that He desires me to influence and involve my life with.

So there you have it.. the summer ministry update about my first ever furlough experience, which has been focused on support raising, helping to develop a new ministry for female missionaries within GCM and reconnecting with family and friends!! Thank you for your prayers and support. You bless me immensely! And, for those I was able to visit with in person, it truly was special to cross your path this summer.

Linda

ImageA bird's eye view from the South Rim of the end of the first 4.5 miles along the Bright Angel Trail... Indian Gardens Campground is the first part of the green area. Where you see the trail ending is Plateau Point.

Image(l to r) Me, Sarah (top), Christy and Andrea upon completion of hiking the Grand Canyon!! WOW

ImageMy feet in the rushing Colorado River