Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's been far too long since the last blog I posted which had anything to do with the main reason I came here. In case you don't know, as I sometimes question it myself...I came here to get involved with outreach/ministry to prostituted women in Amsterdam's Red Light District. Most who read this are very aware of my hopes in this area, and have probably been wondering what's going on.

Let me tell you... it feels like nothing is going on, not happening, at all. I've sought opportunities with several organizations, but am not getting responses at this point. The support letters I wrote have resulted in very little money as well, which has been quite surprising to me. I am wondering if these two facts should be pointing me to accept that God did not bring me here to do ministry/missions as I thought. I've been waiting to write, hoping I'd be able to write of involvement of some kind. I now realize that's silly, and I need to share with you exactly where I'm at.

I have been stuck in idle mode since I arrived in August - at least in the ministry/outreach part of my life. I'd been in contact with two ministry outreach organizations before I came, hoping to get involved. After my arrival, one of them would not give me the time of day. I eventually showed up at their doorstep, hoping to get in and make face-to-face contact. They let me in, gave me a quick tour, answered a few questions, and told me to email the director of street outreach. The woman I spoke with didn't seem too interested in me or any possible involvement, saying that since I'm a foreigner and don't speak Dutch it's not likely they can use me. I explained our at Scarlet Cord in Portland to them, and said I'd simply like to learn from them, since they do what we are hoping to eventually do (which I'd also explained in previous letters/emails). That was 8 weeks ago. I have sent several follow-up emails, receiving NO response.

I got an interview with the other organization, which went really well. The woman who interviewed me seemed interested and saw potential for my involvement. Strange thing though, she has not responded to any emails since that day either.

When I visited here in March, I met a woman (I'll refer to her as E) who had prostituted on the streets of Amsterdam for 25 years. E was clean and sober, free of prostitution for the past 2 years...full of life, hope, and renewal. We had some incredibly precious time together walking the streets of the Red Light District and talking about the hopelessness the women face every day, and the hope Jesus Christ's redeeming love is to all who find it. She is a light in that place now, and I was so thankful to meet her.

Since my return, E and I were blessed to find each other again and exchange numbers. I saw her once and have yet to see her again. We talk occasionally on the phone, but never seem to be able to make plans that actually happen. Tonight, however, we have plans. In just one hour I will meet up with her, and no cancellations are to be spoken of this time. Presently , E is my ONLY "in" with the world of prostitution here. I want so badly to be involved with the ladies, but I don't want to be out there alone. It's just not safe. Please pray for this and other possible connections.

I am missing my work in Portland with Scarlet Cord so much! I am co-founder of this non-profit that is soaring and very much in need of help in these early stages of development. Yet here I sit, idle and unable to do what my heart so longs to do. I have been having some major wrestling matches in my head about my choice to come to Holland, my motivations, and the decisions I need to be considering and making about my time here and what's to come in the future. At times I have doubted myself and allowed the enemy to speak lies to me, putting me in a downward spiral where I lose perspective of God's truth...and that truth is that I AM HIS BELOVED.

Considering the little response from the ministries here as well as the support letters I sent to friends and family back home, I have to ask myself the question, "Do I pursue the dream I believe the Lord has given me to be involved here, or do I listen to the facts of my present circumstances and adjust/change plans?"

My first 2 months here have not at all been what I expected my time here to be like, but I can't thank the Lord enough for the beautiful blessings he is giving me each and every day. There are some big and very obvious ways He is working on my heart. Besides, since when did MY expectations even come close to the beautiful experiences and lessons the Lord has planned?

There is something powerful to be found in this idleness that has so frustrated me. My life in Portland was terribly busy. More often than not I was stressed, over-worked, over-committed, overwhelmed, always on the go, and neglecting some very important people, including myself. I've been forced to slow down. I've been given time to examine my life and question what's really important to me, my motives, hopes and dreams. For this reason, I am thankful for this idle time.

I trust Him, for He is good.

In the words of Psalm 19,
He is reviving my soul, making me wise, giving joy to my hears and light to my eyes.

More to come soon about my life here, including work, travels, friendship and more! Keep the prayers coming, as you feel led. Thank you so much for your support!

Monday, October 27, 2008

their new birthday

Sunday I witnessed the baptism of two very special people; my boyfriend Ghaith (name meaning the beginning of the rain) and his friend Azad (name meaning freedom). Both are from Iraq, both refugees, both former Muslims, and both wonderfully in love with Jesus and the freedom He gives. It was evident on each of their faces how much that day meant. They called it their new birthday. I was both humbled and inspired to witness such a glorious day in God's kingdom!