Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How to help the children of refugees?

As we are having breakfast with our group of international students, a student from India put some red hot pepper paste on his bread, while another foreign student picks up a bowl with chocolate sprinkles: “What is this? Can you really put chocolate on your bread in the morning?” When we confirm this, a broad smile appears on her face: “Wow, this is heaven!” But one of the girls from Asia is a little less excited: “What, bread again? No noodles for breakfast?” Lucky for her, we have rice on the menu for lunch that day…

The first Children at Risk school in Holland started in January. The goal is to teach our students the Biblical foundation for reaching out to children at risk, basic principles and a lot of practical advice on how to start and maintain a ministry for vulnerable children. During a period of three months they get a wide variety of information related to this.

Kids’ clubs for refugee children

We have a wonderful group of international staff and students, who all have a special calling to reach out to children in need. The emphasis of this specific school is on refugee children. The classes our students receive during the week are put into practice on the weekends when they help in kids’ clubs for children from refugee families.

It is encouraging to see that in many places around the country of Holland, volunteers from churches have started support groups and programs to help refugee families and their children.

Leading a program for children until eleven o´clock at night
Another practical application of the lecture happened when the students were invited to help with a weekend conference for Arab Christians. The conference leaders had fled many years ago to Holland, and now they help other Arab Christian refugees, strengthening them in their faith and encouraging them to put their hope and trust in the Lord Jesus. All the kids in the children’s program came from an Arab background, and although they spoke Dutch very well and had lived in Holland for a number of years, there were some obvious cultural differences. Like going on very late with the program, until eleven o’clock at night! Of course this was no problem for the children, haha, but for the children’s workers?!? Well, they had to adapt a little ☺

To the monastery

In February we went for a week with the whole school, students and staff, to a European conference about refugees. It was held in a monastery in the south of Holland and brought together a big group of people from 60 different churches and organizations that work directly with refugees all over Europe. We heard a lot of impressive stories and had the privilege of hearing firsthand the stories of some of the refugees themselves. It was a very special week where we learned a lot.


We are so proud of our staff and students, how they have adapted and are working hard! We´re about halfway through the lecture phase, and it is going really well. The first book report, newsletter and test are already done. And very soon the first three months will have passed and the practical outreach will be in front of us. The plan is that a team of staff and students will go to some locations in the Middle East to help refugee children and their families in the refugee camps.

Refugees in different countries

Some of the countries around the world that have recently been overwhelmed with huge numbers of refugees are Bangladesh, Uganda, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. For example, Lebanon is a country of about 6 million people, but more than 1 million of those are refugees. That means that one in every six people in that country is a refugee. If you would have the same proportions in Holland, that would mean there would be 3 million refugees, but in reality, Holland has only 250,000 refugees.

Turkey is the country in the Middle East that has received the largest number of refugees. Official figures state 3.7 million. Roughly half the refugees are children. Most of these children have to deal with severe trauma from the past, and are now growing up in families that have to deal with losses and challenges of coping and providing on a daily basis.

Our team will go to reach out to these children and families in as many ways as possible, including dealing with trauma. We expect that this will be a great blessing and help for many children and families.

We are planning to join the team for the last month of their time in the Middle East, and will report more on this in our next letter.

Back in Heidebeek after 38 years

It is really nice for us to be back at the YWAM base of Heidebeek in Holland. This is where we did our Discipleship Training School (DTS) 38 years ago. At that time we had no idea how long we would be in YWAM. Our original plan was to stay just one year in this mission movement and then go back to our jobs as teacher and nurse. Yes, it all went a little differently! We are so thankful to the Lord for the privilege of participating in so many ministries with children at risk in Brazil and around the world.

Teaching in Australia

And how privileged we still are to be able to make new plans with Him, giving classes and schools, equipping students and staff. In April Johan is scheduled to go for two weeks to Perth, Australia, where a Children at Risk school has been running for many years with a focus on the children of Asia, in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Since we were able to give a school and seminars last year on that side of the globe, the children there have been very much on our hearts!

Enjoying winter

All the before-mentioned countries tend to have hot climates. So we are enjoying the cold weather here in Holland this winter--especially Johan, whose favorite sport is ice skating! He enjoys skating at the longest artificial skating rink (3 km long) in the world, which is actually very close to our little cabin where we are staying.

Of course we had lots of fun with our children and grandchildren during the Christmas break. Celebrating Christmas, 5 birthdays (!), New Year’s Eve, throwing snowballs, building an igloo, going ice skating, going to a Christmas concert, to a playground, to a dolphin show and to church together. Our family even played a game of wheelchair basketball! We were challenged by Davi and his team, and we all had to use wheelchairs. It was not a very big surprise when Davi’s team won!

Our daughter Michele, our son-in-law Romeu and their two children returned to Brazil last week after a wonderful time of furlough, which we enjoyed just as much as they did, after not having seen them for a whole year. And now we look forward to visiting Johanneke and Jonathan and their 3 daughters after they move to England. And of course we enjoy the extra time we can have with Pieter and Melissa and their children, as well as Dilma and Davi, before we hope to travel back to Brazil again in September.

Thanks to all

We would like to thank all of you who help us and pray for us. We are aware that all of you have your ups and downs, small and big problems, but through it all, you have been faithful to God and have continued to be a support to us as well. Thank you so much! This week I received a very special poetic translation of Zephaniah 3:17 which I would like to share with you!

"The eternal God, the God who is three in one; He who abides in the center of your being, is a powerful and courageous warrior. He has come to set you free, keep you safe and give you victory.

We cheer for Him. He glows with extraordinary pleasure and enjoys your presence. He has engraved a place in himself for you, where He relaxes in love and tenderness for you.

He cannot contain Himself when He thinks about you and with the greatest joy He dances around as He waits for you… He has placed you above all other creatures and creations onto the highest level in His priorities. In fact He shouts and sings in triumph, with pleasure proclaiming the ecstasy in His heart in a song of pure joy!

All because of you”

May this God, who loves each of us so much, bless you richly!

With lots of love,

Johan and Jeannette

Prayer points 
  • Pray for the students, that they will continue to learn a lot during the school, and will obey God´s will for their lives. 
  • Pray for the staff and students during their outreach in the Middle East. 
  • Pray that many families will be touched by the love of God. 
  • Give thanks for our family and friends, and the way we were able to enjoy each other’s company. 
  • Give thanks for the first half of the school that went really well. 
  • Pray for Johan’s trip to Australia in April, where he will teach in a Children at Risk School. 
  • Give thanks for our health.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The greatest gift, the greatest joy!

We, Johan and Jeannette Lukasse,
wish you a meaningful Christmas and a blessed New Year!

God with us! The greatest gift, the greatest joy!

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

"I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

During this time of 

being together

with family and friends,

With six of our eight grandchildren.

we also want to 

remember and pray for 

all refugees worldwide.

For them there was no place in the inn, and later they had to flee to Egypt...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

We are grandparents with a Mission

Last week I turned 60! And now?

“Are you guys planning to retire?” is a question people ask us regularly.

No, not really. Certainly not in the sense of stopping with our work. We are very thankful that we can continue what we are doing. For weeks and sometimes months, we train groups of young people, journeying together, living and learning how to follow Jesus in a more meaningful way, discovering together how to share His love with children and families that live in challenging situations. We really enjoy being able to do this in different countries: in Brazil, in some Asian countries and soon here in Holland, through the Children at Risk School that we will be leading in January 2018 at the YWAM base in Holland.


But, of course, we are getting older. “Which organization do you work for?” asked one of the ladies in the sports group where I am participating.

“With YWAM -- Youth With A Mission!”

She gave me a puzzled look. Well, yes, my hair is getting grey, there are wrinkles in my face, I use a brace on my foot to keep it straight—we are not so youthful anymore… 37 years ago when we started this adventure with YWAM, we were both very young. But now? Maybe we could change the name to G-G-W-M: “Grandfathers and Grandmothers With a Mission” 😊

Loren and Darlene Cunningham, the founders of YWAM. Loren is 82 and is still traveling
to minister in many countries every year

Change in rhythm

Some things change a little bit as you grow older. When our kids were still small, we thought it normal to work 6 days a week and stay very busy pioneering a growing ministry, while caring for our big, expanding family. Looking back, we sometimes wonder how we did all those things… Yes, our rhythm has changed a bit, and we do need a little more time for things we used to do in the blink of an eye!

A wonderful children program in one of the slums in the Philippines, just on some mats on the grass.  

LORD what can we do?

But even if we are on a slower track, the Lord has been faithful and still wants to use us, lead us and guide us. Instead of long-term, 10-year plans, we now look only one or two years ahead, always with the thought in the back of our minds: “depending on how our health will be.” But really, things have not changed too much--we still keep searching for the will of God, asking Him, “Lord, what is it that we may do next?”

So we believe that in early 2018, we are to lead the Children at Risk School here in Holland that will focus on developing ministries among children of refugees and their families.

Then in September 2018 we hope to return to Brazil for a year, where our focus will be helping and strengthening existing ministries and schools for Children at Risk. After that? We are not sure yet--maybe work with a stronger focus in Asia, the Middle East, India or Africa? There are children in need everywhere, as well as many YWAM bases that would welcome us to run a Children at Risk School, training their staff to reach out to more children and families in need. Our work continues to be challenging and exciting; we want to give our lives again and again to God for Him to use us.

Lonely feelings

We enjoy the time we get to spend in so many different places—seeing new things, learning new cultures, meeting new people. But sometimes we can feel lonely, as we never really “belong.” We stay somewhere for a few weeks, a few months, sometimes a year, but then we move on. Even now, as we are in our cabin in the small city of Ermelo, Holland, where we have family and friends, we know that it is only for a short season. Soon we will have to say goodbye again. But in all these moves, there is great comfort in knowing that wherever we go, God is with us, our heavenly Father, who knows us better than anyone.

Feelings of insecurity
Sometimes this also gives us feelings of insecurity: “Will the people who support us in prayer and finances continue to do so? Do we communicate clearly and enough about what we do, how the Lord leads us, and what we believe? About how children are helped and supported through the young people we train?”

Things were a lot clearer and easier to understand when we were still leading the base in Brazil where many kids were being helped and supported in the different homes. Now, we are primarily using the experience and knowledge we accumulated so we can train others. We know this is the right next step for us, but is this clear for all of you who have been following and supporting us over the years?

If you have any advice for us, we would love to hear from you!

In all those questions, however, we know that the Lord continues to take care of us. He knows our needs--He is faithful and good and continues to surprise us.

More than 30 million children had to flee
And so we continue. We are now busy with preparations for the Children at Risk School that we will lead from January to March next year, here in Holland. It will be followed by a practical outreach period, probably in refugee camps in southern Europe, the Middle East or even Uganda where more than a million refugees from South Sudan live, or in Bangladesh where suddenly almost a million Rohingyas from Myanmar are staying in extremely poor conditions.

There are more than 65 million refugees worldwide, and about half of those are children. These children have suffered big traumas and have great needs, yet they are all loved by our Lord Jesus. Will you pray for this school? That the right students will apply, and that by the end of the school they will have a clear understanding where the Lord wants them to serve and show His love to the children?

For more information about this school, please follow the link: http://ywamheidebeek.org/nl/car/

The Children at Risk School is registered at the University of the Nations

Busy bees

In the meantime, we are trying to build a website to serve all the Children at Risk Schools worldwide. This is quite a challenge! We just had an international meeting with others who lead Children at Risk Schools in South Africa, Brazil and India.

We also had the opportunity to teach about international development in a leading college here in Holland--we loved it!

Quality time with family

But, of course, we also try to set some time apart for our children and grandchildren who live in Holland. We had our grandchildren, Pieter and Melissa’s kids, stay for a couple of days during their autumn break, and Davi and Dilma will come and stay over the Christmas holidays. Michele and Romeu and their kids are coming for a three-month furlough from Brazil to Holland. We are really looking forward to that, as we haven’t seen them for a whole year. Just Johanneke and Jonathan won’t be here this Christmas, but we hope to see them next year when they move from Brazil to England. We know how blessed we are to have such a family, and we pray regularly for those who are alone, hurting and suffering.

Prayer points
  • Thank God with us for our health
  • Pray for the Children at Risk School at the YWAM Heidebeek base January-March 2018. 
  • Thank the Lord for all the YWAM bases around the world, and pray for the start and growth of ministries to Children at Risk.
  • Please pray for the refugees worldwide, especially the children. 
  • Give thanks for family, friends, and all who support us faithfully.
  • Thanks be to God who has promised never to leave us and to always care for us.
Christmas wish
We wish you all a wonderful Christmas, with the Lord Jesus at the center, celebrating his love for all--especially the least, the last and the lost.

We wish you all God’s richest blessings!

Much love,

Johan and Jeannette

Monday, August 7, 2017

Six months on the road in Asia, and counting!

Narrow streets, lined with homes that each have their own Hindu temple, exquisitely decorated with dark gray masonry. Little woven baskets with portions of rice, soy sauce, flowers and incense cluttered the entrances of these temples and the corners of the streets. Yes, we could clearly see we had arrived in Bali! Over 49,000(!) Hindu temples are spread out over this island. It is a beautiful part of Indonesia, but the worship of ancestors’ spirits plays such an important role that it keeps the local people under heavy bondage.

Since the beginning of March, we have been on a long international trip through different Asian countries. For the first three months, we led a Children at Risk School, and now we are giving seminars in different countries and locations--beautiful places with delightful people and endearing children, but each with its own particular challenges.

Hinduism, fear and poverty

If someone in Bali wants to become a Christian, his or her parents, who are most likely Hindu, will react very negatively. They expect their children to continue the custom of bringing daily sacrifices to appease the spirits of the ancestors; also, when parents pass away, their children must pay for a very expensive cremation ceremony in the local Hindu temple. Most families end up in great debt because of these customs. A large portion of the population is very poor and getting poorer. It´s an almost endless spiral of poverty.

The people in Bali who have continuously offered sacrifices to their ancestors are afraid. They ask themselves, “Who will take care of my spirit after I have died?” For when the next generation becomes Christian, they will stop paying for expensive rituals and daily sacrifices.

The Hindus in Bali have lived their whole lives in fear of the spirits of ancestors and demons. They find it difficult to receive the liberating love of God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for them. It is heartbreaking to see an island that looks like paradise, but where the people are in such bondage.

YWAM in Bali
YWAM has had a beautiful base in Bali for many years, hosting a large group of international missionaries who reach out to children and families in poor communities. Roberto, our friend from Brazil, is part of this base and is trying to start a community center in a poor neighborhood to reach families with God´s transforming love and power.

There are also many Indonesian staff on this base, and some of them became our students, together with people from local churches and from other YWAM bases. One person even came all the way from Papua New Guinea! For this very diverse group, we gave a two-week seminar about how to work with Children at Risk. On the weekend, they put some of the things they had learned into practice when a group of children were invited to the base. The students had prepared an attractive children’s program and it worked wonderfully well!

“This is the first time I really enjoyed doing a children’s program--it is a pity it is already finished,” said one of them.

“This was just thrilling and fulfilling,” exclaimed another.

After two very intense weeks, we finished with a night of thanksgiving. One of the Indonesian students, who had lived on the streets as a child and teenager, gave a testimony:

“I have learned so much about working with children at risk. I will do many things differently from now on. But besides all that I learned, I also received lots of healing of some deep emotional and spiritual wounds. I am so thankful to the Lord!”

We so enjoyed our time there, but after this evening, it was time to catch the next plane to Jakarta.

Jakarta--what an enormous city!
Many people in Bali had told us how different Jakarta was from Bali, and we could already see that as we flew over the city. The capital of Bali, having no high rises, looks like an inflated village; however, Jakarta is obviously a mega city with a sea of high rises and a population of around 20 million people. Instead of the many Hindu temples, here there were lots of mosques. Walking through the city, we could see the strong Muslim influence.

In 2016 YWAM launched a small pioneer team in heart of Jakarta. They live in an old wooden house with steep stairs that dates back to the time when Jakarta was called Batavia City, built by the Dutch who had colonized Indonesia.

Our students here were the missionaries on staff, all Indonesian, one girl who works on a YWAM team in Thailand, as well as some people from local churches and organizations. They were so eager to learn more about children at risk that they had scheduled classes in the morning, afternoon and evening! Little time to catch our breath :) But we loved it! It was very meaningful (and fun!) to teach such a motivated group.

Just to give you an idea about the classes we give during such a seminar, have a look on the page "teachings" on this blog or click on this link, and you´ll find a list of teachings.

Cebu in the Philippines

Now we have arrived in the city of Cebu in the Philippines, where we will be conducting our last seminar on this extended Asia trip. This country has more in common with Brazil than any other place we have been so far. It was colonized by a Catholic country, it has problems with drugs and corruption, and there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor.

We are staying on a beautiful YWAM base which sends teams out to nine different locations, reaching children in poor neighborhoods, under bridges, and in slums, using any open area they can find.

They would like to have a complete Children at Risk school here in the Philippines to train their staff, and we are trying to see how this could quickly become a reality. We are praying that this school will then be multiplied into different locations in Asia; the need among children is immense.

And how are things in Brazil?
Recently we received some wonderful news from Brazil. The base we started in Belo Horizonte and led for 27 years (until 2013) has just celebrated its 30th anniversary! So many blessings to recount over the last 30 years. So many children and families transformed. We praise God for his faithfulness. So much to be thankful for!

In other news from Brazil, the church in Rio, which last year housed our 8-month DTS/Children at Risk School, sent us some beautiful photos from the children’s program started by our students in the very poor community behind the church. It continues to grow, and whole families are being changed through the love of God.

January 2018: Children at Risk School in Holland

When we arrive in Holland this September, we will prepare for the upcoming European Children at Risk School that will have a special focus on refugee children. It will start January 10, 2018 at the YWAM Heidebeek (Holland) base. The lectures will all be given in English. After the 3-month lecture phase, the students will go on outreach, most probably to a refugee camp in southern Europe or the Middle East.

Please help us promote this school, so we will get the right students. Join us in prayer, and help us pass the information on to potential students. For further information, please go to the YWAM Heidebeek website: http://ywamheidebeek.org/nl/car/

Thanks for standing with us in this!

Prayer points:
  • Thank God for our restored health during this trip.
  • Pray for the Hindu families in Bali that live in fear and bondage. That the love they see in Christians may convince them of the hope Christ offers.
  • Thank God for the new pioneering team in Jakarta.
  • Pray for them, that God would give the right strategies to share God’s love with the people in their community and city. 
  • Pray for the children in Cebu, that they may really get to know the Lord Jesus from a very early age.
  • Thank God for all the eager students with whom we could share during this trip.
  • Pray for multiplication of Children at Risk schools in Asia.
  • Give thanks that the work in Brazil continues so well. 
  • Pray for the next Children at Risk school in Holland. 

We are so grateful to all those who have been praying for us during this trip, and for all the financial support, emails and messages we’ve received. We couldn´t do this without your partnership. We pray for God’s richest blessings on each of you.

With lots of love from Johan and Jeannette

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Teaching in Indonesia and the Philippines

We are still on our 7 months teaching trip in Asia. What a beautiful part of the world! But also what a big need among the children!

Today we started our seminar about reaching Children at Risk in Bali, Indonesia! We will be teaching from July 3-14.

 After this we hope to give the seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia from July 17 till 21.

And then another seminar in Cebu in the Philippines from august 7-16

We will be teaching about:

1. Reasons to work with children and God´s love for every child
2. How girls and women are treated in different worldviews
3. Child development and characteristics of children
4. Stimulating and developing different types of Intelligence and gifting in children
5. Nehemiah and strategies for transformation
6. How the broken wall represents the different categories of the children at risk. 
7. Justice and mercy in Urban Missions
8. Street kids, rescue and restore.
9. Transformation of a poor community
10. Combatting human trafficking
11. Abortion, children at risk in the womb
12. Adoption and foster care.
13. Leadership communication styles. Understanding your team members
14. How to prevent falling into the trap of manipulation
15. Methods for effective communication 
16. In your ministry with children: How to deal with stress and keep mentally healthy

Please pray that many young people will be called to work with Children at Risk.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Young people in the Far East reach out to children at risk

After a wonderful and busy furlough in Holland, we started our next big trip: seven months travelling in various Asian countries. We then plan to be back in Holland by the end of September to start preparing for the special Children at Risk School that we will offer in January 2018 at YWAM Heidebeek in Holland. The focus will be refugee children. 

Far East
But for now, we will spend a few months in the Far East. Children are at risk all over the world. We are happy to find there are young people here who want to help those children and are willing to learn the best ways to do it.

We are staying in a big city and are impressed with the thousands of high rises under construction. Beautifully landscaped neighborhoods are constantly being added.  Spacious 8-lane roads cross the city where cars, electric scooters, bicycles, buses and pedestrians mingle, seemingly without any problems.


Catching goldfish

In the city center is a beautiful pond which is home to thousands of goldfish.  On Sunday afternoon, we saw lots of parents and grandparents sitting around it, with their small children holding little fishing rods and buckets. They were fishing for goldfish to take home and put into their aquariums! Too cute! The people smiled and were friendly to us when we took their photos. They are so proud of their city and their country, and they want us to enjoy it too, with typical local hospitality.

Left behind
But there are also many deep needs here. Millions of children living in smaller villages are left in the care of grandparents or other family members, so the parents can get a job in a distant city, where they can earn more money. Some do this because they are extremely poor and really want to provide a better living for their family. Others do this simply because they want to have more money, better houses, nicer cars, more luxury, etc.

Since only the parents move into cities without their families, this society has been able to avoid the formation of slum communities in the big cities. But this comes at a high cost to families and to family relationships; what a terrible dilemma to face!

As we have talked with these children, many have expressed the deep pain they’ve experienced—feelings of being abandoned, neglected and rejected. Often they are pushed from one family member to another, which forces them to change schools and lose their friends. They frequently don’t feel very welcomed by the families that have taken them in and may see their own parents only once a year during a very short vacation.

Many of the young people we’ve talked with have had the same experiences and can identify well with the realities these children face.

But there are also many children who don´t have an extended family and are placed into some sort of orphanage/boarding school. Of course, they are not really orphans, because their parents are alive, living far away in a big city to make money. It is even harder on these children as they grow up without any family relationships. Not only are their childhoods and teenage years more difficult, they will have many more psychological and social problems throughout the rest of their lives.

We also hear how the interruption of pregnancies through abortion is considered a most normal practice. It is also very inexpensive. It is so normal  that the first question a doctor will ask a new female patient is:

“How many abortions have you had?”

We know quite well that abortion doesn´t just kill a baby, but that the woman who has an abortion will deal with increased risk of physical and psychosomatic problems in the future.

Young people make themselves available.
It is wonderful to see that there are so many young people here who are ready to help children, teenagers and families. We have spoken to young people who have plans to start shelters for pregnant girls, and there are those who want to start organizations to promote adoption. Families are being trained about family values and child rearing, either through weekend camps or websites with good articles. There are also regular holiday camps for children, community centers with afterschool programs, and counseling clinics for treating childhood trauma in chose have been abandoned by their parents. It is wonderful to hear of all these plans and how steps are being taken towards these goals.

Eye infection
Both of us have enjoyed getting to know this beautiful region and its wonderful people. But we had not expected to also become familiar with local medical services through a hospital admission!

Johan has suffered from a rheumatic illness called Ankylosing Spondylitis since he was a teenager. One of the symptoms is nasty eye infections. Whenever we travel, we carry medicine prescribed for these infections. Usually these prednisone eyedrops work quite well, but this time his eye didn´t respond to them, and we had to rush to the hospital.

Admitted to the hospital
Close to where we are staying is a beautiful, brand new 20-story hospital, and that is where we went for help. It is always a challenge in a country where you cannot speak the local language. But we didn´t need to worry, because the doctors were so nice and did everything they could to help us.

Thankfully, with the help of many prayers from people around the world, as well as intravenous antibiotics, injections of corticosteroids around the eye and lots of eyedrops, the infection slowly began to diminish. Please thank God with us for this healing and pray for our health for the remainder of this trip.

We are so thankful for each of you, loving and faithful friends, who surround us with prayer, finances and all kinds of support. It is such a comforting feeling to know that many of you carry us in these times of change and insecurity, and pray for us, our family, and our work on behalf of children at risk. We pray that many of these children will be reached with the love of the Father. And we also pray God’s richest blessings on all of you!

Much love from

Johan en Jeannette 

Prayer points
Please pray for the “left behind” children who feel neither wanted nor loved. Pray that these families will see their children as a precious gift.

Give thanks for those young people who are preparing themselves to help children with love and counseling.

Pray for the women who have had abortions, or who are at the point of deciding to have an abortion.

Thank God for those young people who are preparing to help these women and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

Please continue to pray for our health during the rest of this trip.

Give thanks for the different Children at Risk Schools in Brazil and around the world.

Pray that many young people will be trained and prepared to obey God and offer their lives in serving children at risk.

Pray for preparations for the Children at Risk School that will be given (in English) in Holland, starting January 2018:  http://ywamheidebeek.org/car/

Monday, February 27, 2017

Wading right in and helping out...

Time for a new layout for our news, thanks to our son-in-law Jonathan!
We hope this makes it even clearer that since 2013, our newsletters are our personal letters, and different from the YWAM Belo Horizonte newsletters.

Teaching Worldwide
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?”


Of course, we had been teaching similar classes for many years to the staff in Belo Horizonte and in many other YWAM locations. But because we no longer have the heavy responsibility as base leaders, it is a lot easier for us to say yes to invitations from other YWAM bases around the world to come and teach. So we are now travelling a lot more.

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 children

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: johan@jocum.org.br

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
We would like to thank all of you who are standing with us in prayer, encouragement and financial support. May the Lord bless you richly.

Prayer Points
  • 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.)