Missioneering Amsterdam
www.missioneering.net (.eu) www.hartel.com
IJlife Village 2014
Lent & Easter, 2014
Rafael Live Worship Recording
Blue House Jazz
Serving Sindi, Estonia
Serving the Banne
Canal Houses Downtown Amsterdam
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On Location: IJburg
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On Location: Blijburg Beach Cafe
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"I look upon all the world as my parish..."

Photo Workshop & Expo on IJburg

“IJburg in Beweging” (Iburg in Movement) was our first photography workshop & exposition on IJburg.  In the planning stage, we realized that there was a larger Photo/Film festival on IJburg during the same weekend as our workshop.  Adam went in search of the planners of this event, and serendipitously found one of the main guys behind the festival while he was expecting another appointment.  Our desire was not to hold a similar event at the same time, competitively, but to see if there were a way that we could work together.  Those in charge of the festival were in the final stages of “crowd sourcing” the activities for their events, and the Saturday we wanted to hold our workshop happened to be free.  The result was an invitation to hold our workshop at their larger festival venue on IJburg.  The IJburg Foto + Film Festival (www.ijfff.nl) even created added PR for us through our event!

On June 2nd we held a workshop at the festival with over 20 participants!  We had the pleasure of two additional professional photographers as instructors.  The participants and the festival really enjoyed the workshop.  We connected with more photo enthusiasts than we had anticipated, and were able to add value to the larger event we were a part of.

On June 30th, we held an exposition in the “Blue House” on IJburg, showing the best photo from each of our workshop participants.  It was a wonderful evening of enjoying each other’s photos, listening to each other’s inspiration, and getting to know one another better.  Because we had so many photos to show, we managed to use more than one floor in the Blue House to show off the photos.  This was a great opportunity to add value to a larger IJburg community initiative, connect with other creatives on IJburg, and add to the beauty of our neighborhood!

We are IJburgers Now!

For many of you who follow us on FaceBook, you already know that at the beginning of the Summer, Sarah and I relocated our family to IJburg.  The island IJburg was a huge inspiration and confirmation for us to move to Amsterdam in 2010, our hearts really connected with this community, and we saw ourselves not just “working” there, but living our lives there.  For two years, we lived in Amsterdam North (another wonderful community that was difficult to leave), and it was exactly where we knew we were being placed to begin life in Amsterdam.  This was confirmed by the many wonderful relationships and helping hands we received from neighbors in the area, and friends from our church there.  Our original plan was to live there for a couple of years, and then relocate to IJburg as our engagement with the community there gained momentum.  In March, it became very clear to us that it was time to take that step, and we began looking for apartments on IJburg with enough rooms at a price we could afford (not an easy task in Amsterdam).  We found a flat online that had been marked down that very day, and responded to the add.  Providentially, we were moved to the front of the waiting list for an apointment, and were given the first choice to rent it.  Upon deciding that we wanted it, we hit some difficulties with the rental organization which had to do with our finances.  Housing in Amsterdam is heavily regulated, and a monthly income at least 4 times the rental price is required to qualify.  They said that our income was too low, and that there was no way to get a contract.  I persisted, and they decided to take one more look at our situation, but said that we would probably not get the flat.  Our application went in a “bin” over the weekend.  The case worker who found it after the weekend happened to be a friend of Piet Brinksma (National Leader for Foursquare Holland).  He recognized Piet’s name (as our employer for our work visa) on the form, and snatched it up.  He had a personal interest in our case and pushed it forward for approval, where it would have otherwise been denied.  Because of this, we were approved for the flat!  The approval came with a stipulation that we pay 6 months rent as a deposit (about 6,000 euro!).  Those finances were also provided for miraculously, all in enough time to sign the contract for the flat on June 1st (almost exactly 2 years to the date from when we moved to Amsterdam)!  We have been blessed with a wonderful place for our family to live, in a community that we love and are inspired by!

Creative Workshops for Kids!

In February, Sarah and Ruth Boertjens led a Creative Workshop for kids event out of the Blue House on IJburg! Ruth was invited to come in as a guest teacher and gave the kids a free workshop in Song and Hiphop Dance. At the end of the workshops the kids gave a performance for their parents and there was time for some snacks and to get to know the parents and the kids who came. It was a great trial run to see if people were interested and both Sarah and Ruth felt that this would be a very positive and good thing to do again! The next one is scheduled for April!

IJFactor on IJburg

In January Sarah participated in an event on the island of IJburg at Vrijburcht Theater, that was designed to bring youth together with an emphasis on the arts! It was an invitation for youth to come and perform their talent in front of an audience and jury panel with the goal of placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd place! There were two different age groupings who competed, all within the ages of 12-20. Sarah was invited to be on the jury and asked to judge on the basis of dance and the physical side of performing and also was available to coach the dancers who passed to the next round. There were a total of 3 rounds with one final night of performances where the contestants could give their best before the judges made the final decision for who would be the winners! It was an exciting event to be a part of and a good opportunity to represent IJLife and great to see all the wonderful talent on the island of IJburg!

KerstCafe 2011

Our Kerst (Christmas) Cafe in de Banne on Sunday, December 18th was a hit!  We began with a great children’s activity, led by some people in our church, where the kids made paper lanterns and then lit their lanterns together as the story of Christmas was told.  We then transitioned to a “camp fire” and hot chocolate, a soup dinner together, followed by cakes & other Christmas sweets!  People gathered in our main room to enjoy the food and a great “Christmas in de Banne” exhibit put together by local photographers from our previous photo workshop in the neighborhood.  We opened our basement “lounge” with DJ’s spinning breakbeat Christmas carols and live entertainment.  Our house band played blues songs as a “protest” against loneliness at Christmas time.  Sarah presented a dance, and we sang Christmas carols together.  One of the highlights was when two boys from the neighborhood asked if they could perform some Christmas songs on piano & guitar.

Our whole building in de Banne was packed the whole night!  We saw many new faces from the neighborhood, and received very warm thanks from people who were very happy that we were hosting the evening.  Many faithful volunteers from our church in Amsterdam North made this great night possible, and we had a wonderful time with our guests!

Nacho Dinner In the Blue House

On November 26th, we hosted a nacho dinner for some of the neighbors of the Blue House on IJburg.  Our rental agreement to use the Blue House is based upon having the personal consent of a group of home owners who live by the Blue House.  In the process of receiving a contract, we met a few times with these neighbors to share what we hope to do, and to hear their thoughts.  We allowed them to speak into the plans and the effect that they will have on the neighborhood.  Now that we have been in the Blue House for some months, and have finished furnishing, decorating, etc., we invited these home owners to see the building and enjoy a dinner together as a way of thanking them.  It was a great time of getting to know one another, and to share about why we are in the Blue House, and how we want to engage the neighborhood.  This was met with enthusiasm and interest from our guests.  One couple gave us some curtains (which are quite expensive) that we needed for the large ceiling to floor windows on the ground floor.  They also expressed interest in helping to build more furniture, and possibly help with a garden for children.  Some others expressed interest in helping with some activities for children on the block.  We could not have hoped for a better response from the neighbors, and we look forward to building more friendship with the people living around the Blue House!

KerstCafe 2011

This Sunday, December 18th, we will host our second KerstCafe (Christmas Cafe) in de Banne.  Last year was a wonderful time of people enjoying friendship, art, music, dance, and some delicious Christmas Treats.  This year we are inviting the neighborhood to celebrate with us again!  We will enjoy crafts for kids, as they make Christmas lanterns that they will parade around the block.  Plus, we will have a photo exhibit of “Christmas in de Banne” by photographers from our previous workshop and photo exhibit.  We will also feature live DJ’s spinning Juletide breakbeats, a dance presentation, and live music from our own Christmas Blues houseband (performing songs by Charles Brown, Caro Emerald, and Freddy King).

This will be a great follow up to last year’s cafe, as we invite the neighborhood to celebrate the Christmas season together!

Blue House Is On the Grid!

I am writing this post from the Blue House on IJburg, which now has internat access as of…  now!  Tonight we will be mounting a projector on the ceiling, and throughout the week will be making some necessary improvements, decorating, painting, etc.  This is in anticipation of a “Nacho Party” that we will host for some of the neighbors.  This is a small group of local home owners who were the ones to give us the approval to rent the Blue House and host activities here.  It is nice to be making this kind of progress!  Giddyup!

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