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.

G-G-W-M

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.

Classes
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.


Abortion
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?”


Teaching

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/

Home
“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.

"Home"

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.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Christmas!


We just came back from Northern Iraq where gave training to 22 teachers on how to deal with trauma in Children. It was a great time. We were impressed with the resilience in these women, and the way they look with hope to God for new strength every day.

With all these recent experiences still very alive, we got goose bumps listening to Christmas carols about peace on earth! Oh, how we yearn for peace for Mosul and Iraq, peace for Aleppo and Syria!

Although it sometimes seems so far away, if we look more closely, we can see the Kingdom of God manifest in the most unlikely places, and that He is Emanuel, God with us in the most difficult situations, to comfort, save, heal and to be Lord over all. 

 
 "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Inspiring millenials how to work with children at risk

We have thoroughly enjoyed the time we have been able to spend during this year of 2016 with a big group of young people in Rio de Janeiro—teaching them, showing them examples, giving them experiences of working with Children at Risk, and growing together in faith.


The crucial moment, of course, was at the end of the school: What will they do? Will they apply all they learned? Or was it just a lot of “good experiences” and a “great time”?

Great majority in fulltime missions

We were happy to see that the classes were not just interesting information; no, the students got more and more deeply involved with different groups of Children at Risk in Rio, like kids living in poor communities where drug trafficking has elevated crime to incredible levels, or teenagers and young people entrapped in sexual exploitation. 



By end of the school they knew God had called them to reach out to at-risk kids. Most of them joined Youth with a Mission (YWAM) or other missionary organizations. They have great plans to reach children and young people with the love of God, and I believe we will hear wonderful things from them in the future!

Millennials and YouTube

The current generation of youth are often called `Millennials´ and they can find almost all the information they need for their studies on the internet. From cooking recipes to building your own car, you always can find some do-it-yourself instructions on YouTube. You might ask why we still travel to other cities and countries to teach the Children at Risk School. Couldn´t we just put all our classes on YouTube and stay comfortably at home? Yes, I guess we could, but would that be as effective?



No, we don’t believe it would be. This new generation needs people to help them interpret the classes and information, to be an example for them, and to inspire them through our lifestyle and experiences.

What our students commented

Here are some of the things that our students wrote us:

“Your classes turned my life upside down…”

“Thank you for sharing your experiences and lessons from life, your lifestyle has inspired me…”

“I learned so much from your classes, it touched me deeply, and some deep wounds were healed….”

“Very inspiring, spiritually and practically, it will help me for the rest of my life….”


We are very grateful. Grateful to God who called us to work for the past year in Rio de Janeiro and provided all that we needed. Grateful to the staff who invested their gifts and talents to make the school a success. And also very grateful to the students who came with open hearts to learn, and put it all into practice.

Going, everywhere the Lord leads us

All this has giving us new impetus to continue. Since we handed over the leadership of the base in Belo Horizonte in 2013, we have been free to go where the Lord leads us to start new Children at Risk schools, and teach wherever needed in churches, seminars, and YWAM bases about how to work with Children at Risk.


During the final months of this year, we are doing just that: teaching in churches and Children at Risk schools in different Brazilian cities. And next year we hope to do the same in various countries in Asia, but more about that in our next newsletterJ.

Helping children in refugee camps

We’ll save details about our upcoming time in Asia for the next newsletter because, before then, we´re planning to make our fourth trip to the Middle East, to help the refugee children. Children who escape from the violence of war with their parents, or sometimes without them, are another category of Children at Risk.

This time we are planning to give a seminar to teachers in the Middle East, who work in schools with children from different refugee camps. We´ll focus on how to help children handle the traumas they’ve experienced through war.

Would you please pray for us? Such trips are challenging--physically, emotionally and financially. But we are thankful that we can help spread the love of God to these children and young people who have often passed through the most horrible situations.


Furlough in Holland

We hope to be in Holland for Christmas, so we can celebrate those days together with our ´Dutch` children and grandchildren. In January and February, we are planning to share in different churches and groups about the ministry with Children at Risk.



“Children at Risk” Seminar

From February 13-17, YWAM Heidebeek will organize a “Children at Risk” seminar with a special focus on refugee children. We will be sharing the first two days. Costs E175 - all included. For more information, please contact: jokevanheuven@gmail.com


Christmas, God with us, us together with God

“Watch for this – a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; they will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for ‘God is with us’).” Matthew 1:23 (The Message).

The Lord Jesus was born as a small baby. He came from heaven to earth to be with us, in order that whoever believes in Him will live together with God, and be saved.

“God with us!” That´s what I wish for all the kids in the refugee camps, for teenagers trapped in sexual exploitation, for families that must raise their children in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Together with God, everything changes—the burden lifts, the light shines, and everything gets renewed and touched by God´s goodness!

We wish you all God´s richest blessings!


Prayer points
  • Give thanks to the Lord for the wonderful students we were able to train in Rio de Janeiro and who are now stepping out into their missionary careers.
  • Pray that they will reach many children in need with the love of God.
  • Thank God for the opportunity to go and minister, equip and encourage teachers in refugee camps in the Middle East. 
  • Please pray for the safety of the refugees and all who are trying to help them. 
  • Give thanks for those churches that are trying with all their might to reach out to the refugees.
  • Pray for peace to come.