Sinterklaas arriving in Amsterdam with Zwarte Piets
(Wondering why I'm being so presumptuous as to publish my own emails/phone calls? Read this.)
To: My prayer list in the US
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002
Dear Friends and Family,
Hello from Amsterdam! I'm very sorry for my tardy letter; I've been letting time get away from me! All is well in the Netherlands - it is a beautiful 53 degrees and today is the day Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam. He arrives in Amsterdam on this day every year and leaves gifts in children's shoes every night for the next week. It's fun to be here during Christmas time with all the festivities and lights!
The Amsterdam team is getting bigger all the time with new arrivals from the States. I lose count, but I think there are almost 30 of us here now. Several team members, including Diane, Ned, Shaun and Ryan, are looking for employment. Please pray that they would be able to quickly find jobs and be able to secure work permits! Our music minister and his family, the Smiths, recently arrived and it has been great to have them here and to have someone to lead our worship times.
Many of the team members have also been rapidly advancing in Dutch (myself not included!). Daryl, Ned and Stephanie are becoming so fluent, it gives hope to the rest of us! Many team members take weekly language courses. Each of us have realized how important it is to be able to speak Dutch in integrating into Dutch culture. Please pray that the team would continue to advance in Dutch!
Besides the American team members who have arrived, we have been encouraged with the number of Dutch who have been interested in joining the team. There are at least seven Dutch who are a part of the team and many more considering joining. With the thirty of us Americans, it's still rather unbalanced! We're going to have another party like we had before on November 29th to tell Dutch people who are interested more about the project and help them to get to know us better. Please pray that God would bring Dutch people who are interested to the party.
Much of the team's time right now is spent renovating our building, de Krakeling. We have work days every Saturday and there's a lot to do - painting, cleaning, putting down floors, installing kitchens, etc. It's a good time of team bonding. We've been meeting every Sunday night for dinner. We usually eat, have a time of worship, pray and discuss or Steve will share a message with us. Right now, we're in the process of brainstorming ideas for the church, what we want it to look like, how we think it can be effective, etc. Please pray that God's Spirit would be our guide in all of the decisions we make.
a party with our Dutch neighbors
My roommates and I have been very blessed to make friends with the household across the street. Eight students live in the apartment across the street and we have gotten to know six of them. They have been very hospitable in inviting us to do things with them. They recently invited us over to have a meal of traditional Dutch pancakes. In return, we had them over for traditional American pancakes last week. It has been very fun getting to know them as they are all great girls. Praise God for blessing us with great Dutch friends and pray that our friendships can continue!
I have been busy with schoolwork - I knew I should have read more during the summer! It's crazy to think I'll be done with classes in less than a month. I'll be keeping busy reading yet more books and writing research papers. I am coming home for Christmas on the 13th of December and staying until January 2nd. I am very excited! Once again, thank you for all your love, prayers and support!
all my love,