“Why Amsterdam?” is probably the most often asked question we get about why we are targeting that community for a mission trip. The assumption behind that question is that there are other places that need to hear about God’s love more than Holland. The question and the assumption are understandable. Going to places like Brazil, or Africa, or third world environments are the default locations for mission trips that target poor and needy communities with a lot of physical needs (ie, clean water, jobs, poverty, disease, etc.). So why Amsterdam? It is true that Holland has a history rich with Christian tradition. It’s famous for stories like Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom. But the reality is that whatever Christian history there was in Holland in times past, it seems to be truly history. Holland appears to be a “post-Christian” country. Faith is not dead in Holland, but having been on one previous trip to Holland, there is obviously a great need to reintroduce the good news about God’s love displayed through Christ.
Many churches in Holland are more known tourists stops than places of worship. Numerous conversations with locals in Holland revealed the void in the hearts of people where God use to reign. I remember one conversation with a tour guide in a church I visited who was distraught over the fact that his son and grandchildren no longer had a connection with church or any desire to pass faith on to the next generations. He desperately wanted to see his family reconnected with God, but felt hopeless.
As I walked the streets of Amsterdam, I saw children running around – well clothed, well fed, taken care of. Their physical needs were provided for. But the thought went through my head, “Who is going to tell them that there is a God who made and loves them so much?” For all intensive purposes, the answer is “no one.”
Amsterdam was once a country vibrant in faith. Today, unfortunately, faith has taken the backseat to immorality and freedoms while God fades from view.
Why Amsterdam? Because God still loves every person in Amsterdam and desperately wants them to know His grace and forgiveness.