We hope this makes it even clearer that since 2013, our newsletters are our personal letters, and different from the YWAM Belo Horizonte newsletters.
We pioneered and led the YWAM base in Belo Horizonte from 1986-2013. That gave us a lot of experience in working with Children at Risk. In 2013 we handed over leadership of the base to very capable Brazilian leaders.
Since then, God has led us to devote all our time to training workers for ministries with Children at Risk, through schools and seminars in Brazil and worldwide, using all our experience, and passing it on to the next generations. In our teachings, we answer questions like: “How do you work with Children at Risk? How do you start an effective ministry? What are some of the pitfalls to avoid? What does the word of God teach about vulnerable children?”
To avoid confusion between the YWAM Belo Horizonte base newsletter and our personal newsletter, we have decided to use a new layout. And through this personal newsletter, we´ll keep you updated on news from our personal lives and our family, as well as our work worldwide in training people for ministry among Children at Risk. Our blog now has the same new look! http://jlukasse-english.blogspot.nl/
“Where do you live now?” is a question we often hear. One of our grandsons is convinced that we live in an airplane J. Not totally correct, but you get the logic behind it. Officially we still live in Belo Horizonte--that is where our house is--but we are not home all that often because of our frequent travels. But what actually defines being “home?” Johan often says: “Home is where we are together!” That may sound a bit cliché, but it is actually the most correct answer, and as such, we are “home” most of the time.
Our Fourth Journey to Iraq
Right now we are enjoying a furlough in Holland. We originally planned to be here from the beginning of December, but in the fall of 2016, we were asked to visit Iraq again in December, to give another seminar about how to help refugee children with trauma. This would be our fourth trip to Iraq in two years. After three eventful trips into that country, we had believed it would not be necessary to go again, and honestly, we felt relieved.
|Our students listen with attention to the stories of
The idea of going again was a bit of an adjustment. When we prayed about it, I felt God speaking to me from Romans 15:1-4 from the Message:
Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us.
Well, that made it very clear! How often am I trying to make it easier for myself by ignoring the problems of the other? But here it says that Jesus did exactly the opposite. He went towards the hurting people, sought out the problems and went to help.
With that understanding, we did go to the north of Iraq again last December, this time to give classes to 22 Christian school teachers, all refugees or IDP´s themselves, and eager to help the refugee children. It ended up being a wonderful trip and a seminar with an amazing group of ladies! Although the weather was very cold--I slept with extra sweaters and even with gloves onJ-- the atmosphere among the teachers was very warm. We were able to encourage them in various ways, and of course were able to give them the special program on how to help children deal with their trauma and loss.
We have the booklets we use for this training in a PDF file, so if you are interested in using this material, please send us a request. We´ll be happy to send it to you free of charge!
Refugees in the Snow in Serbia
This month, during a conference in Budapest, Hungary, we were able to give a short seminar about the use of the trauma booklet for children and refugees. It was a conference where 150 people, representing many Christian organizations that help refugees in Europe, had come together for prayer, planning and strategizing.
|Refugees in the snow|
During that week, we had an opportunity to cross the border into Serbia and visit some refugees. Our church in Holland had collected over 100 pounds of warm clothing and some mobile phones to distribute. We had some heavy suitcases! Unbelievably, in Serbia there are at least 5,000 refugees who have no access to official help or to refugee camps. Some of them stay in old cold abandoned buildings with no water or electricity, while some live outdoors in the forest. They all want to continue their trip into Western Europe, but Hungary has closed its borders and only lets 10 people through each day. Some have been stuck in Serbia for more than 6 months.
We visited an improvised camp where Christians daily bring food and warm clothing for about 200 refugees from 14 to 25 years old.
The refugees were very grateful for all the help they got. But surprisingly they asked for something else: “We are thankful for what you came to do and give us, but can you pray for us that a miracle will happen so we will be able to travel, and can you also pray for protection?” As far as we know, all of them were Muslims, but they wanted us Christians to pray for them!
During the conference in Budapest we heard many stories from all over Europe about hundreds of Muslims coming to Christ. They are so open right now! Please pray for the refugees and for the people helping them. You can ask God how you can help, too!
Please Help Us Spread the Word
Would you like to be trained to work with refugee children? Or do you know someone who is looking for training? We plan to offer a Children at Risk School in January 2018 in Holland with a special focus on working with refugee children. For further information, please write us: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to help us cover the extra costs we are incurring with our travels to help refugee children and organizing Children at Risk Schools, there are different ways to donate. Please have a look at this page of our blog.
|Grandpa Johan reading to his youngest granddaughter|
- Thank the Lord for the various Children at Risk Schools in Brazil and around the world.
- Pray that many young people will be trained to obey God and offer their lives to work with needy children.
- Pray for the refugees and internally displaced in Northern Iraq--300,000 Christians and 2 million Muslims.
- Give thanks for the different churches and organizations that help them in word and deed.
- Pray for the 65 million refugees worldwide, and for the 34,000 new refugees who flee from their homes each day.
- Pray that churches and organizations will show Christian hospitality as encouraged in the Bible. The Greek word for this is philoxenia: to treat the stranger, sojourner or alien as a friend. (The opposite would be xenophobia: fear of strangers.)