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..."

Caffeinated Reflections in Amsterdam

The past few days have been quite busy scouting apartments, meeting people, and preparing for our move here to Amsterdam. With a slow morning on my hands, I make my way on foot to one of my favorite places in Downtown Amsterdam – Cafe Debalie. They serve one of my favorite lunches here: an open faced sandwich with generous portions of Old Amsterdam cheese on some delicious brown bread. My hopeless addiction to oude kaas (old Dutch cheese) satisfied, and some fresh caffeine in my system, I take in my surroundings. This cafe is a gathering point for local artists, writers, and film makers to collaborate, gain perspective from each other, or to simply enjoy some good food and atmosphere. I hear discussions about independent film, music, local galleries, recent inspirations, or just the determined clicking of laptop keyboards. Thank God for Dutch cheese and free wifi!

As I take pause to be present and enjoy this place, I am reminded of one of the reasons why I love artists and the arts. Artists are missional people by nature. Good art is functional. That is to say, it has a mission – it is an expression of perspective, belief, and an invitation to participate in the inspiration of the artist. Most artists I know are not threatened by or defensive toward difference. Often the arts celebrate the truth of love, beauty, or suffering, and seek to present them in ways and mediums that invite us to participate with the artist in their encounter with that particular truth. Missional and participatory by nature – I love it!

I have found some great prospective apartments and neighborhoods to live in here – now all we need is for our visa to be granted quickly, and to gather the $$ needed for the move. Small details in context of the providence that continues to lead us to this city. I look forward to making our home among the people of Amsterdam, and participating with our neighbors in ways that practically and meaningfully add value to our community, and see and celebrate together the transforming truth of the love that God has for us all.

MI2010 Rocked!

Today was amazing! This was the culmination of two very intense months of planning and excecution (thank you Pasadena Foursquare Church for all of the amazing volunteers and for hosting this event). Since November, 2009 we have been working with Pastor El Clark (our District Missions Representative) to plan a gathering for Foursquare Churches in our district to connect personally with each other about our local and global mission together. The tag line for our gathering was “This Time It’s Personal” – meaning that local and global missions is a personal and relational endeavor for the church. Sarah and I, along with missionaries from Central Asia, were able to personally connect with churches from our district to share about our mission and opportunities for churches to partner with us on the field. We also enjoyed some fantastic workshops by pastors El Clark (Developing a Missions Commitee), Brita Pinkston (Developing Effective Teams Locally & Globally), and Ralph Torres (Being a Missional Church). Pastor David Pinkston (my brother-in-law) was also there with his worship band “The Remnant” to lead us in beautiful times of worship together, glorifying God, and lifting up His Name in the nations.

I enjoyed connecting with the wonderful brothers and sisters who were there today. We are looking forward with a sense of optimism and momentum as we are seeking to unite as a district of Foursquare Churches for the cause of the local and global mission of Christ. In the current time of financial challenge, I believe that the heaviest lifting can be done by many small acts of kindness.

You can see the website for this event here: www.pasadena4square.org/mi2010/

This site is just the beginning, and we want to see it grow as a resource for unifying churches to connect personally with the local and global mission, as well as collaborating as a district to resource missionaries on the field.

Thank you to all who were there, and a special greeting to those of you who I was able to meet personally today!

Kids update…

Just a quick note to say that I have added a bunch more photos of Ida, Max and Alexia from Christmas until now. You can find them in the Photo Gallery section of the blog. Enjoy!

A Year of Faithfulness…

The first decade of the new millennium has already come to a close. The year “2010″ always invoked images of science fiction becoming reality for me growing up, and while we do not yet have a Mars colony, extraterrestrial contact, or giant robots (much to my disappointment), this year is definitely marks a lot to look back on and celebrate.

Alexia Grace Hartel:
It is very recent news (just a few posts ago), but the birth of our third child was definitely the greatest highlight of this year. She is a beautiful little baby girl, and has recently begun smiling – a lot. That means that we are smiling a lot too!

Youth Camps and New Friends:
This year, God has opened so many wonderful relational doors for us. One of the aspects that marks our calling in life is working with youth. This Spring I received three different invitations to speak at youth camps in Spain, Russia, and the Netherlands. Each of these invitations were unsolicited and came purely from relationship – they also gave way to new friendships with some really wonderful people across Europe. What a gift it has been to make friendship with and serve some truly amazing young people and leaders!

Divine Direction… and Providence:
At the beginning of 2009, God made it clear to us that by the end of the year we would not be carrying any of our current responsibilities in our church in Kristiansand. He would raise up volunteers and leaders to carry those responsibilities onward. Cultivating committed leaders who will take the lead role has been one of the most challenging tasks since we helped plant this church nearly 8 years ago. I knew that this meant that we needed to have new leaders volunteers by the summer in order for it to be a reality. When I questioned God about how this would be possible in just 4 months, when in previous years it had been such a challenge, His reply was simple: “It will happen this year because I said it would happen this year.” While it did not seem possible to me at the time, all I could do was to pray, and be faithful with the volunteers that we had. By the beginning of the summer, various volunteers from among the worshippers that I have been working with had stepped forward to take over the worship leading in our church. One of our youth leaders, Svein, whom we had worked with for about 2 years was led of the Lord to take over the leadership of the youth ministry, and he and his wife are doing an amazing job. There is a new courage that is rising in people in our church to step up and take responsibility and meet the challenges that come. I beleive that this will also mark a new season of fruitfulness for our church.

Quart Festival Rocked!
This year our dear friend, Febe, completely led the Quart Festival outreach in July. A team of three (Jasmine, Georgia, and Alicia) hard core workers arrived from our sending church (Pasadena Foursquare)
to assist Febe. The first thing we noticed was that these three ladies did not need us to build any bridges for them. People came out of the woodwork to meet them and invite them into their homes. This is a testament to the relationship that has been cultivated between the Pasadena Foursquare and Kristiansand Foursquare churches over the past 8 years. The outreach was totally led by local volunteers, and Sarah and I were involved on a minimal level – awesome! Febe did an outstanding job, and it was the best summer outreach we have had yet in Kristiansand. Nine pre-teens on the street decided to follow Christ. I met two musicians from Lithuania on the street who we were able to share our dinner with. Afterward they had many questions. They knew Christ, but wanted to receive the Holy Spirit. After praying with them, the three of us jammed together in the church auditorium!

The Estonia Effect:
This summer we took a team of youth from Kristiansand to join up with a team from Pasadena Foursquare and a team of youth from the Foursquare church in Parnu, Estonia to share the love of God with Estonian youth. We led a boot camp together with the leaders from the three churches to forge the Estonians, Norwegians, and Americans into one team. What a success! These guys were amazing. We were on the streets and local beach for three days, and invited the youth to an open house “party” each night. We had rockin’ live music, dramas and dances, hair and makeup styling for the ladies, and baloons for the families with kids. During the course of the week we had a lot of youth come and continue to come back each night. Ten youth gave their lives to Christ, and I hear that more youth continue to come to the youth gatherings even now as a result of this summer.

Courage is rising in the people we serve here. The local church in Kristiansand is now totally led by local volunteers and leaders, and with the beginning of this new decade this church is stepping into a new time of fruitfulness. Courage is rising in Sarah and I as well. We have come through a long season of waiting on God. In the midst of a time of shaking, God is shaking things loose, shaking things into place, and as the dust settles, a remarkable clarity and direction is emerging! But more on that to come in another post soon… :-)

A White Christmas

A very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas at home in Norway this year. The past couple of Christmases we have been in the US with family – which has been wonderful to be able to do two years in a row. This year it was very relaxing to take time together (just the five of us) here. We had the most snow at Christmas than we have seen in the past eight years here – and it is still here! We enjoyed a nice Christmas Eve dinner with a warm fire. We opened gifts together on Christmas Eve (as is the tradition in Norway), much to the kids’ satisfaction – and to ours as we got to sleep in just a little later on Christmas morning :-)

A big thank you to all who sent us gifts and cards! We were practically on a first name basis with our local post as we were there to pick up so many packages.

As this new year is beginning to unfold, may you enjoy the love and providence that God gives in every moment.

Life with 3!

AliceMax close upAlexia 1 month

Alexia is now 6 weeks old and we are enjoying our family of three kids. Completely different than with just two thats for sure! Ida and Max are doing great with their little sister, they adore her and give her all kinds of attention. She is a very peaceful baby and loves to watch them play. She has just started to smile more and interact a little more with us. We are looking forward to Christmas Eve, coming up tomorrow! The kids are asking everyday if they can open their gifts yet. We have also had alot of snow this year, much earlier than last year. So it looks like we┬┤ll have a White Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Ralph and Pam in Norway!

Dad in NorwayMom in Norway

My parents were here in Kristiansand, Norway for a three week long visit! We had a wonderful time together. They arrived 4 days after Alexia Grace was born, and got to experience the first three weeks of her life with us. We got some snow during their visit, and my mom was so excited and was out walking as often as she could! My dad played alot of guitar and read his books. In the evenings we enjoyed watching Nero Wolf and other movies together. Ida and Max enjoyed having Nana and Papa at their house in Norway. It was a really fun visit with them. Thank you Pasadena Foursquare Church for sending them to us!

Baby Alexia Grace comes home!

3 kids!Baby Alexia and Mommy came home from the hospital on Thursday! We are both doing well. She is a very healthy baby and is eating well and fitting into our family nicely! The kids love her and are very interested in how small she is and all the little faces she makes. I have put a bunch of pictures in the picture gallery section, please check them out entitled “Baby Alexia”. Her weight at birth was 8 lbs. and she was 20 inches long. We are very happy that she has come to the world and is apart of our family now!

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