HERE I AM
I have now been in Amsterdam for about 2 weeks and already a lot has happened. I have gotten lost in the city about 1,346 times, met a lot of great people, misplaced my passport, and have interacted with many people on the streets of Amsterdam. There has been a lot of good and bad to this trip already and I am learning through it all.
The thing that has taken me by surprise this trip is the fear I never knew I had. I’ve been to a few different places over the years and have always adjusted relatively well, but for whatever reason this time my body wanted to put itself in a state of paralysis. I was in a new land and didn’t know the city or the people so I began to become overwhelmed. For the first couple of days it was really tough to even leave my room. It took every last ounce of energy in me to move past the fear of the unknown and get outside in order to engage the city on my own. Thankfully, after wrestling past this feeling a few times I have now learned the lay of the land and have met lots of great people.
The people who work at the Cleft.
This is what is directly behind the Cleft building.
This initial experience also repeated itself once I began my work with the Cleft, a ministry that works with people on the streets of the Red Light District. There are a number of times a week where we go onto the streets to talk to people about life and God. On my first trip out onto the streets I immediately felt that crippling fear again. There were loads of questions that came flying to the forefront of my mind.
“What if people question me and I don’t have an answer?”
“What if the person is hostile towards me?”
“How would I recover if I had an unbelievably frustrating time?”
I was encountering fear again. Fear of the unknown; fear of not being liked or appreciated; fear of being rejected. Thankfully, God brought some verses to mind that helped me to snap out of the funk I was in: I Peter 3:13-17 & I John 4:18. I really love these verses because they release me. I forget on many occasions that since I now believe in Jesus I am working to help bring God’s Kingdom to earth. That should change my mindset. Instead of working hard to maintain a comfortable life now, I need to devote my time to the things Jesus is about. This will surely bring about hardship in the present but is also the most beautiful and freeing way to live. To be devoted to others, to weep with those who weep, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to speak life into others and help point them towards the life-giving Jesus, these are the things that make life beautiful and worthwhile. Remembering these things help to cast out that fear I so often feel when it comes to being open and vulnerable about sharing my life and faith with people.
Over the next month I will continue to engage in ministry with the Cleft as well as with a local church in town called Zolder. Please be in prayer that the fear I have felt this trip will be non-existent in the coming weeks as I know it will not always be easy to work on the streets of Amsterdam. There will be many conversations I will have with people that don’t have a good resolution. There will even be people who flat out don’t want to have anything to do with me. This month will have some frustrating times as well as some really sweet times. Pray that through all of it I continue to remember the unending love God has for me and for all of his children. Pray also for the people I have met already. Kenneth, Eddie, Yanni, and Urich are broken people who are searching for something more. Pray that they will come to know and love Jesus. I love that we already know that God wins out in the end, so may that give us hope as we go about our days.