Being available is a gift!

Teams. Hosting teams is a big piece of this ministry. It has been great having open borders again for teams to come and invest in the work while also having the opportunity to be further equipped in their own lives. Teams come with three objectives: 1. Engage in the local work as there are many activities and opportunities where more labourers are needed to make things happen, 2. Grow in confidence and competence with who God has created you to be. We get to design specific opportunities so that each person can engage their gift-mix and be further trained. 3. Cross-cultural opportunity provides an opening to develop different perspective, respect and appreciation for others, as well as the opportunity for God to challenge others to go for the sake of the gospel.

This week I was able to receive the report that a young man, we are calling Matt, who met people from a recent team that engaged him with questions about life and faith. From there, Matt accepted an invitation to Late Night Coffee where he was able to sit with a fellow Swedish guy, Peter, and share more about life. A couple of weeks later, Matt and Peter met to talk more. Matt was very appreciative to have people enter his life and listen to him. He was thankful that people seemed to genuinely care for him. Now Matt has started more conversations about who is the Jesus and why do people follow Him. Back in the states, the team members were impacted by how God used a variety of activities to live out their faith in a way that helped them love and serve the neighbourhood. Some of started prayer walks in their neighborhood and others are thinking more creatively how to intentionally engage people on their local university campus.

Remember Barbara? The young woman we are calling Barbara is still interested in Jesus. It has been a gift to get to talk to her in between her work schedule and discuss more why Jesus came and the differences between how different cultures express and practice Christianity. She is a firecracker and I am excited for the chance to see how God is at work in her life. Please continue to pray for her to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. She will spend the next two months in Syria visiting family. I am hoping we find ways to stay connected.

New church start-up. Getting to work with Timothy and Lydia (not their real names), continues to be a gift. There are certainly different challenges for people coming form other lands to integrate well in a new country. Then to encounter Jesus and change religions opens up another level of challenges for them. Getting to study the bible with someone who was once a slave in north west Africa who now follows Jesus is amazing. Having the opportunity to encourage these brothers and sisters and see healthy community form for them is a great gift to be part of.

Another praise report is that my research proposal was accepted by CIU (Columbia International University) and I will begin this project of investigating how migrants have integrated into christian community in Sweden. The research will be mostly based in interviews. I will get to meet and engage many who have moved here over the past ten years and learn from their experiences. The hope is that what we learn could help shape discipleship training, leadership development and how we even think of missions today. Please continue to pray for this process and how God can use it to help us with this work.

Being available is a gift that I do not take lightly. Thank you for continuing to support me in staying on the field full-time so that I can be about His business. Although the generosity of one-time gifts these past few years has kept the account I am responsible in good standing, there is the need for regular-committed giving for the long term work. In order for me to live without roommates (so that I can continue to host teams and others with short-term need) and stay in the work full-time, I will need to raise $2000 in monthly giving. So many of you are already extremely generous in how you support me and I am extremely grateful. But now I ask will you to pray for this need to be met. And if you are discipling someone who needs a missionary to support, will you put us in touch? Or if I can attend a home group or share with your church, just say the word and I can video in!

Celebrate that seeds are being planted. Other seeds are growing. And still other seeds are waiting for their season. But we press on knowing that we do not labor in vain!

Spring is coming…I hope

April in Sweden is very unpredictable. It started with lots of sunshine and reaching about 50 degrees each day (10 degrees C). But for the past week it has been back to the 30s and snowing…every day! Spring where are you??? Come quickly!

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”   John 16:33 
  
Words from a Ukrainian church leader: 
“We pray and believe that God is fighting for our country, it is He who gives special strength to our military to restrain the onslaught of the enemy who is more numerous than us, stronger and has more weapons, but we are defending our land. The truth is with us! God be with us! We need your prayers, your words of support, your financial support to serve even more of those on the brink of life and death.” 

Please pray for the following requests: 
-Continue to pray for peace talks to bear genuine fruit and for a ceasefire. 
-Pray for wisdom, strength, and protection for those continually going into dangerous areas to rescue people. 
-Pray for Christians to be overcomers of their circumstances in Christ. 
-Pray for the right kind of humanitarian help to arrive at the right time to the right places. 
-Pray for revival within Ukraine and through Ukrainians across the countries where they have been scattered. 

Thank you for uniting with us in prayer for Ukraine.

GCE is accepting funds at https://www.gceweb.org/praygive/  
(Please note “Ukraine Crisis Fund” in the Comment section).
 One hundred percent of donations go directly to relief efforts. 
It was an incredible gift to get to host a team again. H2O Church from Kent, OH spent a week laboring in the harvest. Our time included islamic apologetics, training times, prayer walks, and engaging people.

One of the guys we met, let’s call him Matt, attending a swedish coffee night after meeting this team. He met with Peter and shared how he had met the team, heard the gospel and want to talk more. He expressed desire to be set free from all the demonic stuff he had been part of. Matt received prayer and agreed to meet Peter again for more discussion.
It was a gift getting to celebrate my neighbor’s birthday with her community. Women from Armenia and Syria gathered with song, dance and food to celebrate Nelly. I was able to connect with more ladies that live locally with the hope for further connection. Thankful to get to be invited into these women’s live at a deeper level. Please join me in praying for schedule’s to work out between jobs and children for a women’s bible to start to further fellowship and minister to these women at a spiritual level.
– Tuesday, April 12th: I will start a bible study with “Barbara”, a 20-year old muslim girl who lived most of her life in Sweden. She is very interested in Christianity and wants to learn more. – Supervision opportunities. I have the privilege of getting to be a supervisior for a few of the women on the field. Really they are incredible sisters and make sure we get consistent time to talk and share life. Pray for ways I can serve them well and encoruage them with what God is doing in and through them. – Internation Church start-up. The sunday service is in english and arabic. The core group is a mixtrue of christian arabic culture, background muslim cutlure, bulgarian, moroccan, and then there is me. Please pray for the core group to own the vision and for a few more to step up to help lead. Every other Tuesday night I lead an Old Testament Survey Study for this group on zoom. Please pray for us as we continue to know God through His word and encourage one another to live out His truths. – Finally please pray for my almost finished first draft for a phd proposal in missiology. I believe God has opened up a door for me to do research about integration for refugees into christian community for the desire to learn best practices.

Thank you for walking with me in this journey! Thank you for making this ministry possible! May we see the Lord move in us and through us wherever we are! Blessings to you and your families. Please feel free to reply with updates from your world as I keep you prayer.

Touching base

Ukraine Update. The response of support to Ukraine has been overwhelming these past two weeks. Our leadership is in constant communication with thirty to forty organizations collaborating together across the border of Ukraine. We have a small team arriving in Poland today to connect with locals to minister at two shelters receiving new busloads of women and children. Of course, we are all eager to learn more about how we can support and help in tangible ways. Please continue to pray; here is a guide to help you. A relief fund is set up so that 100% of the gifts will go towards the need. Feel free to reach out if you would like to talk, process, or learn more.

Travel is happening. Even in light of these events, we are still working locally while being open to what can shift to engage Ukrainian relief efforts. The first of five teams will arrive in Stockholm on March 26th. We will have a week of training and outreach to engage many people. Pray for opportunities. Pray for those struggling, especially in light of these global events, that we would be able to minister to people and bring encouragement and hope.

Summer Project – LINC. Two weeks ago, I was able to go to Cologne, Germany, to get to do ministry alongside the team there and make preparations for our summer project. This summer, we will host Euro-LINC (Laborers Impacting the Nations for Christ). It is open for the entire European network to encourage people in their faith and increase their confidence in living out discipleship values in a local community. We will serve alongside local churches in Berlin, Dortmund, Cologne, and Stockholm. Applications are due April 1st, so please pray for those still on the fence about diving in with us.

International Church Group. Inside this building, I have been invited to work with some friends that launched a new International Church group. The community is a group of people coming from brokenness, traffic situations, and Islamic backgrounds. We may have 6 to 15 people on a given Sunday. Please pray for us as we take steps for them to know Jesus, walk with Jesus and be a healthy church.
Thank you for partnering with me to make this ministry possible. Thank you for praying and encouraging me. Thank you for praying for the work. As spring approaches, we are looking forward with anticipation of a new season.