Saturday, August 26, 2006

Raven: Amsterdam 2006

(Above) Amsterdam is obviously a very beautiful city; rich with classical European architecture and stunning views, but there is a very obvious spiritual oppression upon this City. Many of the local believers that work in various Christian ministries such as: The Shelter Christian Hostel (where we are staying) and the "Cleft" ministry to the homeless and the community expressed such deep gratitude for the team coming in and bringing with it a "Fire!" We took out one young man with us the past couple of evenings to a bridge in the Red Light district with crosses. He was so hyped! by the whole experience and said, "This is what it is all about!" He is from Holland.
(Above) One of the many canals that run throughout the City of Amsterdam, providing both flood support and a means of transportation. These streets are lined with sex shops (pornographic films, etc), brothels, and coffee shops (that don't sell coffee---but various forms of marijuana). These places exist much like a Denny's restaurant or a BlockBuster Video Store would in suburban America. They are literally EVERYWHERE you look in this section of the city. While this is certainly a disturbing and disgusting condition--it does provide us a ripe fishing ground for the ministry of Jesus!
(Above) This is one of the many "coffee shops" where people flock to in order to get "stoned out of their minds." We have met many "Americans" who have said they moved to Amsterdam because smoking pot was legal. Many of them are just mentally "burned out" after having succomb to the seduction of this tool of satan. We have been offering them the REAL HIGH and have had many opportunites to preach and pray for them as well.
(Above) Just a typical street. You will have a sex shop, then a bakery, a restaurant, three windows with prostitutes behind them, then a souvenier shop...etc. Having lived and ministered in New Orleans for several years, makes me wonder how long it will be before places such as Bourbon Street--take it even further because they stand unchecked and unchallenged by the Body of Christ.
(Report from Friday Night) Last night was just an amazing time! I was going to try to include some pictures that I had taken but a pickpocket stole my camera. (I have since had to go a back up route!) While it was not a good thing to have my $300 camera stolen, I sure would have loved to have shared with you the 25o pictures that I had taken (many of them the dozens that we have ministered to and led to Jesus). Perhaps the thief will see the images and get convicted and get saved--$300 would be a small investment for a soul! (I already had a person walk up to me and hand me $100 and say, "That is to help replace the camera the devil stole!)
We took our place on the bridge spanning the canal that runs the length of one of the main thoroughfars in the Red Light District. This location is surrounded by brothels, marijuana cafe's, night clubs, and a drug dealer every 20 yards! We set up our cross and immediately started drawing them in! You cannot image the impact that a cross standing in this place has--fortunately this place has not grown so oblivious to the image of the cross. In America every thug has a 14ct Cross-"Bling" draped around his neck and the cross has been reduced to fashion pieces, tatoos, and earings---but not here! It is still the SPECTICLE that it was 2,000 years ago when Jesus hung and died upon the one atop Mt. Calvary!
From about 8:00 PM to the time we departed at 1:30 Am it was "Non-Stop Holy Spirit". The Atmosphere is so different because many have never heard the true Gospel and the people who have the most to say about Jesus are the Muslims (who call him Asa and show more respect for Him and His name than most American Christians!)
Stephen - is a man that came to the Lord following a heavy drug problem. He has been living on the streets, but has had relatively no fellowship and no close relationships since coming to Jesus. He joined us on the bridge and we began to talk. I just began nto "disciple" him and speak the Word of God to him. He spoke of spending his life in Amsterdam and the struggles that he has had in the enviroment--but his determination to never go back to that life! I shared with him about the Holy Spirit and how that he came to empower the believer for service and for worship. I asked him if he would like to recieve the Holy Spirit and he said that he did. We prayed right there in the middle of some of the most wicked things you could imagine--but BOOM he got HIT by the power of God! We are meeting today for a late lunch to talk some more and to try and get him connected to some people here locally. Pray for him!
Ron - is a middle aged man who has battled sever depression. His countenance was so down as he talked with one of the team. We had previously met him earlier in the week when we helped feed the homeless and needy at a local outreach center called "The Cleft" and he was very downcast then as well. I began to share with him concerning the Joy of the Lord being our strength and that "in His presence is fulness of joy." I told him that happiness is temporal and circumstranial, but that joy was eternal and supernatural. He allowed to pray for him and BOOM he got HIT and you could slap the grin off of his face! The peace and the presence of God was so strong that Sharon (the team member standing there with me) got hit as well!
Razi - was a 22 year old Muslim whose parents were born in Pakistan, but he was born and raised in the UK. He shared with me about losing his mom to kidney disease when he was 15 years old and how hard it has been to cope with that loss. He said that "He was a Muslim, but had really grown away from it all and was searching." I had the chance to spend a good deal of time revealing to him the REAL Jesus (not the mere mortal of Islam) and you couold just see his openess to the Word. He asked for my card so that we could correspond. He told me, "I don't nned any of these things (the sex, drugs, etc) and I just want to go home because I feel so out of place)
Patrick was a thirty something year old man that John and I were able to minister to! He looked over as we stood there with the cross and called him over by saying, "Hey! Do you need some prayer?" He hesitated but slowly walked over. When asked him name he said, "Patrick" to which John replied, that's cool, like St. Patrick who was responsible for taking the Gospel message to Ireland. This "Patrick" immediatey grabbed the marijuana cigarette from his maout hand through it on the ground saying, "I am DONE with this stuff!" Come to find out, he was a backslidden and struggling Christian who had been involved in the ministry! He said that he was ruching through trying to catch a bus--but just had to stop. As I prayed for him the fire of God fell and he began to pray in tongues!
The whole night was just incredible as we had drug addicts empty their pockets and toss their drugs in the canal. I had a dru dealer whom I have ran into 5 times! this week came over to me and hug my neck! We have prayed and witnessed to members of the local mafia. In short--we have seen Jesus do EXACTLY what He said He would do if we simply obeyed His word to GO and preach the Gospel---and that is save and transform lives!
We'll be back at it today and tonight and covet your prayers for us as well as our families back home.
Pastor Troy

1 comment:

UGO4GOD said...

AMSTERDAM 2007! Rudy and Lori say AMEN! And Rudy just accrued 1 more week vacation per year!!! HMMM!!!