Coming Home

January 27, 2010

How do I start and where should I begin?  First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who has expressed their concern for us and committment to pray for us!

No doubt many of you have heard by now that Kate, Jude, baby girl and I will be leaving Holland in the next week (probably Wednesday).  If its a shock to you, perhaps it is good for you to know you are not alone in that sentiment; our church’s board informed us of our dismissal only 48 hours ago.

The short story–in a very long story of both many ups and downs, twists and turns–is that Monday evening the leadership of Cross Culture (the church we’ve been serving) has expressed their satisfaction with the job we were invited here to do.  Specifically the task we were charged with included freeing the lead pastor up and raising up a new youth pastor.

Over the course of the last fifteen months I have been able to assist the lead pastor here in handful of ways, from leading the youth and teaching on Sundays and during the week, to working with him to c0-create the current expression of our church’s mission and means for engaging that mission (displayed in the church’s mid-week meeting area).

On the other side, though we have perhaps had less time than we’d have liked to disciple the youth leader who will taking our place, we are very excited to see how the Lord will work through him.  God is just beginning to do some exciting things here in Holland (see here and here), and I hope you will join me praying for the growth and continuation of these new ways in which Christ is being named where he has not been so before!

Looking Back

Looking back this year has been as much about learning as it has been about ministering.  Personally I feel my love for and relationship with Jesus has deepened as he has lifted our eyes from the what of his church’s doing (Acts 2:42-47) to the why (Acts 1:8).  He is the God who sends, and because he has come himself, I know that he is also going before us now.

Looking Forward

So where is he going before us?  To be completely honest, I’m not sure.  Of course our primary focus right now, aside from packing, is in looking forward to the arrival of baby girl in early March.  Beyond This we’re not really sure where the Lord is leading us.  You can be sure we will keep you posted as things become clear and the Lord paves the way forward–whether that path leads us to Vancouver or beyond.

Again, a huge thank you to those who have so faithfully supported us through email, Skype or Facebook, or in prayer or finances this past year!  You have carried us many times!

As to specifics, the four of us plan on leaving Holland in seven days–just two days before Kate is no longer allowed to fly!

Lastly, for those of you who know the Youngers, keep an eye on their blog or Facebook accounts for more information on their plans to return to Vancouver. (also, a huge thank you to Nathan and Anna for taking care of things here so that Kate, Jude and I are able to return all together!)

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Mission Connexion

January 15, 2010

I know I have a lot of friends who will be serving at and impacted this year’s Mission Connexion being held at Crossroads.  To all of you I wish you a great weekend of drinking in the Lord’s heart and purposes at working his world!

I know you’re going to be hearing a lot more eloquent speakers than me this weekend, but let me add some thoughts on the weekend’s theme of “Reconciling Nations” from the nation God has drawn us to.

Nathan reminded us of our ministry of reconciliation during last Sunday’s service:

“All these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us teh ministry of reconciliation.  In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us…” II Corinthians 5:17-20a (NET Bible)

What a great charge!  What a great responsibility God in Christ has handed over to his church such a great reminder of that for which Christ has saved us!

J.R. Woodward over at Dream Awakener published this quote on reconciliation from Henri Nouwen yesterday:

“How do we work for reconciliation? First and foremost by claiming for ourselves that God through Christ has reconciled us to God. It is not enough to believe this with our heads. We have to let the truth of this reconciliation permeate every part of our beings. As long as we are not fully and thoroughly convinced that we have been reconciled with God, that we are forgiven, that we have received new hearts, new spirits, new eyes to see, and new ears to hear, we continue to create divisions among people because we expect from them a healing power they do not possess.

Only when we fully trust that we belong to God and can find in our relationship with God all that we need for our minds, hearts, and souls, can we be truly free in this world and be ministers of reconciliation. This is not easy; we readily fall back into self-doubt and self-rejection. We need to be constantly reminded through God’s Word, the sacraments, and the love of our neighbours that we are indeed reconciled.” (click here for another great quote from Nouwen on the task of reconciliation)

Finally, one more quote from Newbigin on the passing of Jesus’ mission to his followers:

“It is of the essence of the matter that Jesus was not concerned to leave as the fruit of his work a precise verbatim record of everything he said and did, but that he was concerned to create a community which would be bound to him in love and obedience, learn discipleship even in the midst of sin and error, and be his witnesses among all peoples” (Newbigin, The Open Secret 176)

Any of you who has a chance, I’d encourage you to swing by Worldventure‘s booth (our missions agency).  You’re likely to meet our friend Doug Hazen (the NW Church Connections person). Besides being a very personable guy, he has a great combination of wisdom and experience that I’m sure will keep you talking for quite a while. 🙂 Also, look for Doug in the workshops being offered throughout the weekend and tell him we say “Hi!” (Joe Murray is also someone we’ve gleaned a lot from).

Enjoy!

Povertyfighters.com

October 6, 2008

One of the friends  we met last week at Worldventure’s training in Colorado told us about a website that lets you make a difference in the fight against poverty–one click at a time!  Every day povertyfighters.com invites anyone who wants to, to go to their site where you can donate up to $.50 per day by clicking on the  “Click to Donate” button!  The money donated to povertyfighters is then used to provide “micro-loans” to people in impoverished areas.  Pretty cool, huh?

Homing

September 28, 2008

There are some things in life I just am not good at, and one of them is Homing.  Not twenty minutes in to our home for the week here in Littleton Colorado for training, and Kate says, “I think I’m going to unpack.”  While there may not be anything revolutionary or groundbreaking about this simple statement, as a guy who is about to uproot his life and move it around the world, I find this an incredible blessing.  

Its funny how people can be paired together–whether you believe it to be that “one person God has for you” or not.  Though we never set out to match up our giftings to see where the other person is lacking, I find, time and again, that our giftings do match.  I’m not really a person who homes (taken as a verb of course), but if you given me enough time, I’ll figure out that something is missing.  

Thank God that his plans are bigger than ours and that he sees things we so often miss.  

Keep praying for us this week as God continues to prepare us for those unforeseen things that lie just over the future’s horizon.  

PS – The flight went great.  Jude slept most of the time and never really even cried!  

PPS – Kate and I are both feeling a little under the weather.  I don’t know if it is the altitude or what, but pray we’ll get over it quickly.  We’ll be updating through the week!

Financial Update

September 6, 2008

Of course a huge part of our getting to go right now is dependant on how our finances are coming together, so I thought I’d write to keep you in the loop (not to mention so that you can pray for us as well!):

Monthly Expenses:

Our monthly budget–which has just been firmed up this week–has been set at about $4200 (yeah there are still some things we are working out).  About $800 of our budget is for personal discretionary use (including things like food, diapers, personal travel, etc.)  So far we have gotten commitments from people covering some $3100 of our monthly needs.

One-time Expenses:

On top of our need for monthly support, we are also waiting on the Lord to provide almost $22,000.00 in one-time expenses (including almost $10,000 for visas, $5,800 for a car and 3,000 for airfare to Holland).  So far, the Lord has provided jst under $13,000.00 in this area.

Looking ahead to the next six weeks you can be praying with us that God would:

  • Provide the remaining $1,100 in monthly commitments
  • Provide the remaining $9,000 in one-time needs
  • Continue to provide for those families who are sacrificing to support the mission God has called us to in the Netherlands (especially as we have invited them to begin giving through Worldventure this month)

A huge thank you to all of our prayer and financial supporters out there!  It is exciting to see God providing through his molding of hearts!

We are getting close!

August Update

September 2, 2008

As I climbed under the bed yet again to fetch that life altering item known as a pacifier I couldn’t help but pause to consider the way our lives have changed in the last three weeks… While I think we had a pretty good handle on the responsibility side of the changes we would experience—the diaper changing, sleeplessness, and all that—I don’t know that a person can ever been ready for the perspective difference a child brings.  It seems like Jude has changed the way we experience just about everything!  From relating to friends and casual conversations to routine tasks like taking a shower and going to church, we’ve been relearning everything since August 11th!  God help us as the world we’ve known these past 24 years gets turned upside-down!

Jude Kiss

With our son finally in tow and out of Momma’s “tummy”, the road is now finally cleared for us to be making our last preparations for the field.  While for Kate and I this means orienting ourselves to Worldventure with training at the end of the month, continuing to set up meetings to invite people on to our team, and more practical prep for the move, the really exciting stuff has more to do with you!  Keep watching the blog for updates on where you can get involved, including prayer meeting time/location, and events like the September 19-21 garage sale our Advocates are planning.

“You want to go to the mission field right? Then why aren’t you working with Ralph?”-and the rest is history. Since that transition from middle school ministry to missions happened some two years ago, we have been working to ensnare the hearts of a generation in the overwhelming vision of God to reach out to his broken world. We have held events, spoken in front of groups, given students a global perspective and sent some 80+ students around the world bringing the Gospel of Christ to those who have not heard. This month alone will see three teams headed to Seattle, Amsterdam, Adelboden Switzerland and Millstadt Austria doing everything from caring for missionaries and feeding the homeless to proclaiming Christ in the middle of the largest gay pride event in all of Europe. It is amazing where the Lord has led these last two years! We can only imagine the good things that lie in store!

Celebrate with us! Following an hour long interview on Monday Kate and I have been officially accepted as World Venture missionaries! While our approval is a huge emotional and mental leap forward, it also clears the way for a lot of other things to move forward: establishing an official budget, hammering out the ongoing division of labor between us, World Venture and our senders, beginning to learn the World Venture infrastructure, etc. What’s more, this last step also clears the way for our financial supporters to begin sending money in to Worldventure!

If you feel called to financially partner with us, you may send checks payable to WorldVenture, writing our name and the account number on an attached note – not on the check memo line. (i.e. Wulf / #6154-883). We are enclosing a donation/commitment form and blue envelope if you would like to donate by check.

You can also give donations or commitments online (www.WorldVenture.com). For donations click on GIVE. Click on DONATE. Scroll down to our name in the missionary directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down further and follow the prompts. For commitments click on MAKE A COMMITMENT, scroll down to my name in the directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down and follow the prompts. Thank you for your support!www.WorldVenture.com). For donations click on GIVE. Click on DONATE. Scroll down to our name in the missionary directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down further and follow the prompts. For commitments click on MAKE A COMMITMENT, scroll down to my name in the directory, enter the monetary amount, and click on ADD. You would then scroll down and follow the prompts. Thank you for your support!

As we continue to transition, please join us in prayer for these requests:
JUDE: Two weeks left! Pray for patience as we wait!
FINANCES: Firming our budget up with WV, continuing to fundraise (we’re still at $3000/month committed)
SWITZERLAND/AUSTRIA MISSION: traveling mercies, energy and heart for service, funds to come in.

Thank you for your support through these years and as we continue to move forward into the good things God has ahead for us!

Joey, Kate and Jude Wulf

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