Whenever we need to explain to people where we live we often refer to the blue neon letters on the top of our building. They read ‘Jesus Loves You – God roept U.’ The words in Dutch mean ‘God is calling you.’
This sign was first put on the building when this building was used as the headquarters for the Salvation Army and even William Booth had stayed here at some point during those years. Later in the 80’s when YWAM pioneered in the city and got this building they added the words ‘Jesus Loves You.’ It is always an easy landmark for people to navigate to. For the teams that we host in our building, for the speakers that pass through, the parents from school, the backpacker that wants to stay overnight to see what YWAM Amsterdam is like. It pretty much always seems to work.
But of course the main idea of these words never were to be an indicator for direction, a landmark or a signpost. At least not just for physical direction. They are put there as a continuous statement of truth over the city and its people.
The ‘Kalverstraat,’ Amsterdam’s main shopping street, has about 100,000 visitors every day. A good chunk of those people come from Amsterdam Central (Train) Station passing by our building on their way to the 700 meter long shopping street. Some of those people miss the words, others see it but maybe ignore it because it makes them feel uncomfortable, others mock at it but every now and then those words are the words that open someone’s heart for truth and it brings a change in their journey. We believe those stories happen more often than we tend to hear about them, but sometimes we do hear the stories as well.
Not too long ago I read one of those stories from a dear friend and faithful coworker of ours here in YWAM Amsterdam, Carolyn Ros. I asked her if I could share this with you as a testimony of how God works and to lay down the challenge to continue to pray for this city and it’s people.
These were her words:
“...We live in a city where many prodigal sons and daughters come on their journey to the ‘far country’. Each day, our prayer has been, Lord, lead us to those who are so in need of Your embrace, Your grace, Your forgiveness and Your hope.
This afternoon, we had our weekly prayer time in the YWAM prayer room called the Tabernacle, we were praying very specifically for those who needed an encounter with the Father. We were asking Him to bring them so that we would recognise whose heart was ‘open’ to the Father.
As I was praying with someone else, a man entered from the streets. As he made his way into the room, I started praying for him and had a sense that the Lord wanted us to pray with him personally.
Together with my prayer partner, we went up to him and asked if we could pray for him. He said yes. As I prayed I had tears running down my cheeks as I sensed God’s Father heart calling him back to himself.
I shared my impressions with him and he concurred that that was exactly what was needed in his life. By this time I was overwhelmed by how God had orchestrated this ‘divine encounter’.
This man had a 4 hour lay-over on his way to Asia and had come into the city to look around. He felt compelled to come in to the prayer room as he had seen the Jesus Loves You sign on one of the other YWAM buildings and had received directions to the prayer room…”
How convenient the blue neon letters may come in at times to have people directed to our building, in the end these are the stories that testify that they really are put there to be a signpost to put people into the right direction spiritually!