Sunday, 19 April 2009

Catching my Breath...

Hej Kompisar!

This means “Hello Friends” in Swedish. Yes, through a move of God I find myself back in Göteborg, Sweden for just over a week now!

·Getting Here·

Some of you will know how it was seeming that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the process, but with much prayer, and much work, and many phone calls, and anxious days waiting on mail, the Lord seemed to release me all of a sudden and I returned just in time for Easter weekend. My lovely sister-in-law-to-be (Caleb’s fiancé Danie) who is studying the semester in the UK had booked tickets to spend Easter break with me months before, never knowing how many road-bumps I would hit on the way to being back and that it would actually look up-in-the-air until only a few days before!

Check out the Photo Gallery of Danie & my Easter Weekend Adventures and more at:


Nor could I have known how truly difficult the adjustment would be this time. Maybe it’s the enormity of it all— going out now no longer as “student” but as “missionary”. Maybe it’s the huge spiritual warfare element. But whatever it is, my soul has been so very torn—happy to be back in Europe where pieces of my heart seem to literally come alive as if they’ve been entranced in a deep sleep, happy to be back with the people of my lovely Rescue Mission Church, happy to be back to the day-to-day purposefulness of ministry; but struggling to leave behind relationships in the states and pick up relationships here, desperately missing my family after being back in their lives for such a long period of time as 5 months was, constantly fighting so many fears about my inadequacy for this, which is such a monstrous waste of energy better spent pouring myself out for Him!!

It's so hard and yet so easy, so painful and yet so joyful, so too much and so not enough. I don't understand. I don't know if I ever will. And I struggle. But I laugh more than I cry. And I love it more than I dread it. I feel a bit lost right now, but that's what adjusting is. I musn't think that just because I've been here before, I've got it all figured out. Not even by half! I feel more insecure this time than ever before... but He knows and He has reasons & plans & purposes I cannot see... I only must see Him, and the rest, well, it’s in His hands.

·Living Arrangements·

Some of you will know of the little dilemma I met when I first arrived to find that the friends I intended to rent a room from had in fact FILLED their ad for the room and didn’t tell me for fear I wouldn’t come! I panicked a bit at first but they laid my fears to rest and explained what they’d planned—which involved shuffling a few rooms around and means that I am making my home in a house of a family of four, plus another boarder (a kind Bulgarian man), and in a room bordered with Winnie-the-Pooh characters! But by the provision of God, I can afford the rent and so far groceries and transport and such on top of that.

This family is very special. Teri-Anne (Singaporean) and Anders (Swedish) have been dear friends from the first

time I met them last year in our little Rescue Mission Church. Teri-Anne reminds me of my sister in a lot of ways and we are as at ease with one another as if we were sisters. I see God’s hand in bringing me here to this

family for such a time as this.

The house where I’m living is in a nice neighbourhood on a large, mountainous

hill only about 15 minutes outside of the city centre of Göteborg, and I am slowly managing to make my room a homey sanctuary, and find my way around this beautiful area (The house and area can be seen in the Photo Gallery link given above as well!)…

Please email me or facebook me for my new address and mobile number! I would LOVE to be in touch... or to have visitors!

·Rescue Mission Ministries·

The Rescue Mission Secondhand Shop is humming with as much energy as ever. It takes so many hands to run and I am constantly amazed at the team God draws together simply for the day-to-day functioning. I’m fascinated by His sovereign leading—and many of them working with us right now don’t even realize that it’s a loving Abba who has drawn them there! Leif is a lovely old Swedish Atheist who has been faithfully serving with Rescue Mission for years now, though he avoids our bible study and church like the plague, and sits quietly and respectfully while we pray before meals. This week his granddaughter who is just about my age has started working at the shop. He asked us to take her in because she’s been struggling a great deal with Depression. Isn’t it interesting how he knows where to go?? Kim is very sweet and I’m excited to get to know her better over the coming weeks. Brōna has released me to take her under my wing : )

Another interesting individual drawn to Rescue mission these days is a Swedish transvestite called Gabriella who sometimes forgets to use his high-pitched voice and then sounds every bit a man! He likes to discuss clothes, shoes, and CHURCH with me and very sweetly greets me hello every time he sees me in whatever section of the store, even if it was only 15 seconds from the last time I saw him. I’m intrigued and pleased that he feels at home with us at Rescue Mission. People leading such lifestyles are not always so welcome in a church setting and I think often make themselves scarce because of it. As Christians, we can sometimes see the lifestyle before we see the person. I’m so thankful Christ sees the person first… Or else where would any of us be?

Praise Points:

  • God smoothed the way for me to get back to ministry in Europe!!! I booked roundtrip tickets that place me back in the states for the weddings this summer about a week and a half past the 3 months I’m allowed to be in Sweden without a visa. I should be visiting the UK for a week or so and so figured it should be okay, but didn’t know for sure! So… I placed it in His hands and prayed for no more complications. When I arrived at the airport in Sweden, it was the strangest thing. I just missed border control all together. Suddenly I had fetched my luggage and was walking out to the car with Mike and Danie and realized I’d never gone through border control. Those of you who travel know that generally, it’s unavoidable because they structure the airport so that there’s no way around it… I am still amazed and confused at how He handled that one!

  • The work He is doing through Rescue Mission, and all the hands He’s using to do it…

  • The beautiful gathering of people from all over the world who make up our little Rescue Mission Church

  • His provision!!! I’ve have a place to live where they’ve given me a reduced rate on rent until I get enough support to pay in full! Which means I am able to afford some groceries and not be so very hard-pressed on everything else like I might have had to be. I’ve been able to get a pay-as-you-go Swedish mobile, which is very helpful for a girl living on her own, and a tram card so I can get around. I am so thankful for all of this because coming over I knew money was not going to be plentiful and it was in His hands to sort out!

Prayer Points:

  • Discernment about how best to reach out, both to the people involved in Rescue Mission right now, and to those who aren’t involved yet! God is not haphazard in the particular team of people working at the shop right now in this season. I would ask for deepening relationship, that I would be equipped to explain His heart well when opportunities arise, and as is a theme in my life, to “know nothing but love.”

o I especially think of Kim and Gabriella. Pray for open hearts!

  • Unity in the church & ministry here. May the greatest passion and so the purpose of our lives in this little gathering here be the same—to know Him and make Him known.

  • Boldness & confidence in Him. That I will fight the good fight of faith against these feelings of inadequacy and insecurity

  • Settling-in. That I will feel as if my mind, heart, and body are all in the same place again, not torn across the world, and that I will confront life gracefully in the meantime.

·Hej då · (“goodbye” in Swedish)

I pray you’ll know and remember with me that the Lord our God who is mighty to save is living among us. May you live out your faith fearlessly in this truth…

Love, Leah

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