A different kind of summer

With my mother’s trip canceled and teams unable to join us, God has opened up news way to use our time these coming weeks. With the launch of summer this weekend, most schedules follow a different rhythm which has offered new bridges and opportunities.

The immediate building complex I live in is made up of about 130 condos payed out in two story buildings. My courtyard connects 16 of these homes representing at least 8 different countries. I believe God is helping me cultivate His presence here. Please join me in praying for favor and deepening of relationships.

My upstairs neighbors, Linus (Swedish) and Helen (Scottish) will marry next month in a very simple service at the state house. They come weekly to our conversation group on Monday nights and we often hang out at random moments through the month. This past Friday, we were invited to celebrate Midsummer with them and Linus’ family. Linus suffers from migraines and other hurdles he has yet to share the details.

A Pakistan couple in their 80s lives next to them. Mohammad and Anis moves here in the 70s for work. Anis came very close to death this past February, but has regained strength and taking it day by day. One of their sons, who recently separated from his wife, has moved home to live. Mohammad gets out almost daily with his walker to fetch groceries and is always ready for a chat.

A couple from Thessaloniki, Greece moved here 30 years ago to raise their family. Children and grandchildren live close while they care for their father who is suffering from Alzheimers. The wife is learning new things this summer such as grilling for the family on weekends.

The orthodox Syrian neighbor across from will every now and then stand in the court years and call my name until I answer. She is very persistent. This passed week, her need was to request I tutor her nephew who needs to strengthen his English this summer.

My other Syrian neighbor, Nellie, just had her fourth child…a baby girl. Nellie has a dream to move her family to California as it seems like everything would be better if they were there.

Please join me in praying that I would present to my neighbors these weeks. That rather than I just be known as the person who is always having people over, that I would also be known as someone who cares for them. Pray that I would notice and be proactive to care. Pray that I would bold in conversation and not feel insecure about my Swedish. Pray that God would lead me to a family of peace that is already desiring to know who God is. Everyone here has brokenness in their lives and a need for hope.

Grilling out in the park with friends.
A walk to the park between lunch and fika celebrating Midsummer with my Linus’ family.
My campsite for a three day silent retreat with Jesus when school ended.
Getting to celebrate Johanna from senior high school. The Hultmar family has been part of my life since the beginning of the Sweden partnership. It was 2008 when Richard Hultmar and my pastor in the states decided we could work together. Richard and Therese have been incredible support to me since my first trip to Luleå in 2009, and now we work together still in Stockholm. Johanna meet regularly to talk about the Bible and life. Excited to see her next chapter at the university in Uppsala.

Daily life

Thank you so much for praying with me this past month. Many of you also sent me some names so that I could join you in praying in how God could use us to bless those around us! Feel free to send any updates or more requests! Here are some updates from this side!

Monday nights are used for language practice, homework help, computer training and simply community building. Sajid and a couple of his friends recently taught us how to play cricket! Please pray for Sajid as he looks for a place to live so that his wife and daughter can move here from Pakistan.
Marziyeh, Aziyeh and Roqiyeh are three Afghani sisters that have become dear friends. They recently made this dessert with the Swedish word for friendship for us! Thankful for them! Please pray for their needs to be met, both the physical such as jobs and studies to go well, but also spiritual.
Feras, Yasamin and three children were over recently for a cook out. We are getting to spend time with them two to three times a month. Feras has expressed interest in learning what the Bible has to say. Please pray that we would get to start this month! Side note, Feras is a trainer for kickboxing and Yasamin is a black belt in Taekwondo…so we may also get some personal training in this summer!
I am super sad that our training with the Italien team has come to an end. It has been a great gift to meet with them biweekly these months and see them grow in confidence and competence in discipleship. They have started their own training locally giving away what they got! There have been 4 new groups that have started and a handful of people that have decided to follow Jesus. Super blessed to have gotten to know them and will look forward to a visit when we are allowed to travel!
Tuesday nights is ladies night! Specifically designed to be a safe community for women of all backgrounds to come and encounter Jesus so that we can grow as his daughters. It is a blessing to fellowship with these ladies from the neighborhood. Please pray that our other friends would have curious hearts to come and fellowship with us!
This year I have decided to learn about dough and bake bread almost weekly now. It ends up being a great gift to neighbors and makes home smell welcoming. I am also reminded that it only takes a little yeast to effect a whole batch. May the small steps we take today impact our entire neighborhoods for Jesus’s glory!
This ministry is only made possible because of your generosity! With the increase in the work, I am looking to decrease the teaching job to 50% this August. It would mean an additional $300 a month to make sure all the bills are paid. Would you pray for God to raise up monthly supporters?
Thank you!!!

A tool for prayer

Attached is a prayer calendar for the month of May. Each day I have written a name of a friend who is far from God. That you would lift them up asking God to open the eyes and ears of his/her heart to see and to meet Jesus. Pray for the distorted filters to be removed and what is in the darkness would be brought to the light. Pray for strength and courage to ask the hard questions and not dismiss them in order to respect their teachers. Pray for opportunities to have deeper conversations that would allow for a healthy wrestling of the belief system.

We have entered the Ramadan season where my Muslim friends are fasting these 30 days. A great way I have learned about how to pray is through www.prayercast.com. I have signed up my email so every day, I get a 3 to 4 minute video sharing a different aspect of the Muslim world and ways to pray.

Would you make a commitment this next month to add a few minutes to your prayer time, maybe even with your family, to cry out for these people? That would be believe that we would see a breakthrough in every life!

Who is in your area of influence that you are encouraging spiritually to grow into maturity of the faith? I would love to pray for them and you taking steps to encourage them this next month intentionally.

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