Heidi Koppen

In Ireland

Browsing Category:

Ministry Update

Blessed by the youngest E-Team Yet

Last month Kevin and Katy Woytowich, with their kids Olivai and Charlie, brought an all teenage team from Canada to focus on children clubs in Kilkenny, Waterford and Dublin. They asked if I would join in with some help leading and driving. It was neat to see everyone using their gifts and willing to try new things when we put on club after club. I’m praising God for these great servants and the future that God has for them.

Please pray for kids who came to our clubs for the first time and that each church can ether start up new or keep up with existing kids clubs.

Kevin and Katie

 

the team in action – teaching a verse

 

Puppet show!

 

Just a bit of rain – won’t stop the clubs!

 

Music ministry at churches and even street work

 

one of the games at last day carnival club

 

some of the views the team will be missing

 

New Opportunities

Though most of my focus here is in Shankill and working alongside Shankill Bible Church with the Youth Group we’ve started and the Moms and Tots group – I’ve been networking and discovering new areas to serve and connect with. Two weeks ago I was able to have three brand new experiences that I have to say seemed pretty intimidating.

First was a three day preachers conference that my elder Len convinced me to sing up for. This conference ended up being over one hundred men of ministry (and 4 women) coming together to hone their preaching skills and collectively learn from one another’s critiques. How intimidating for me to be there with all of these male pastors and ministers! It’s very well organized, each attendee is assigned a passage and put into small group work shops who meet a few times for several hours to work through and then preach through the passages. Each has a seven minute slot to preach their passage and then hear feedback. We were all challenged and built up.  The main sessions were also impactful with great speaking and a unique experience of hearing a room filled with men of God singing together. It was so encouraging to be there and see all of these men humbly coming together from across Ireland. I was very blessed to be able to be part of this and am excited to follow up with new connections.

Second is that I was able to finally connect with DCM’s Light House homeless ministry. Dublin Christian Mission is based in Dublin City Center and has been flourishing these past few years with Joe Murphy (American missionary through CMML) and his leadership. Light House has a type of soup kitchen that I was able to come and help out for one whole day. I’ve never actually done anything like it before so I was pretty nervous coming in. It was such a great experience. I was impressed that it was so dignified and the focus wasn’t only on providing for people in need, but building relationships with them. It was a really nice atmosphere and I was able to take a break from serving food to sit down and eat with some guests. I had some great conversation and was even forced to play a song on a guitar someone had with them. I found serving here is something I definitely want to do as often as I am able.

 

Third was that a friend who works with Scripture Union needed help with an in-house retreat for at all boys Catholic secondary school (high school). It was an all day event with games, messages, reflection time and small groups. Eric asked me a couple of days before if I would be willing to help and if I would have a message I could share. It was actually pretty intimidating being the only girl on the team of four with a big group of high school boys and knowing how to speak to them. They were one of the most high energy groups of teens I’ve ever worked with. It turned out to be a great day, we just went with it and used their energy for more competition and fun. It left us quite exhausted but there was some great questions and thoughts brought up in the last hour that just proved that it was impactful and totally worth it.

I’ll be helping Eric and his teams once or twice a month with these school retreats. Though the boys were great, I am looking forward to going to an all girls school this coming week and seeing the change in dynamic. (Sorry I didn’t get any pics so there’s the sight \/ )

Square peg that could

As adults we’ve been around ourselves enough that we can get a pretty good grasp of how we’re designed and what we’re well suited for as well as what we’re not. One thing I felt I have concluded about myself is that I love children but running ministry for them is not my thing. I’ve had many attempts before and I’m all thumbs. For some reason, I can totally role with the punches in many settings with teenage and college age ministry. In fact, investing in and challenging people of those ages is the joy of my life. Children on the other hand, totally intimidating. I panic that they’re someone else’s little child, they want to dive in your arms for hugs but child protection says don’t touch them, and I have no idea how deep spiritually they can actually go.

These past two months have been quite interesting. Guess what God has been having me heavily involved with – children ministry! It’s been summer projects, CEF clubs, and holiday bible club’s in three different cities. Can you believe it? It’s been amazing, but so different than what I would have thought I’d be doing here. I think God might be stretching me with this very valuable and important ministry that I have always overlooked and maybe even avoided.

IMG_8139imageimage

I’m so thankful for what I’ve learned from watching such gifted people at work this summer. For most of the clubs I’ve simply been an added helper as I’ve come alongside the experts, but this last weekend I was actually organizing and leading a children’s ministry for a conference in Waterford. I had the chance to try the new teaching method I learned with Simply the Story. Though I was a bit nervous it went really well. I had help from Holly, a new friend from Kilkenny (Ruth), and two 15 year old girls (Ruby and Anna) who I work with in Gorey. God really lead it and it was really neat.

image

My heart will probably always be with teens and college age ministry but I want to be willing to bring a word from God’s scripture to anyone. I’m thankful that His ministry doesn’t rely on my gifting or even my ultimate vision. Sometimes He will put a square peg in a round hole just to give you so new perspective and to show off some of His baffling power and purposes.

Gorey Teen Week

Please Pray!!

There is an amazing group of teens in Gorey (some are in the picture above), who have hearts for growing in their faith and sharing it with others. I have been sooooo blessed to know these crazy cats and help with their monthly bible study all school year. Now a couple of 17 year old guys and I are organizing and leading a week of discipleship equipment and outreach. The mornings are going to be a study and going over a series called ‘life on mission’. We will have lunch together and then they’re inviting friends in the afternoons to some fun activities (like ultimate frisbee, or beach or BBQ). We will have a ‘halftime break’ in the activity when a couple of teens have the opportunity to share with the whole group, their story of encountering God and receiving salvation. (Aren’t they amazing!)

As you can imagine, we need loads of prayer! Please share with anyone who would pray with us. We start tomorrow with going over basics of the gospel and how to go about sharing your story. I am so excited and I can tell that God has lead this. It’s going to be so fun and crazy and deep and Lord willing, life changing. I’m praying all of us are amazed by His power.

 

When fear and inadequacies fade in faith

This last night I was studying 1 Timothy 1 with my good friend Danielle. Paul is entrusting Timothy with a huge responsibility to stay and charge the teachers and leaders in Ephesus not to swerve from the true doctrine of the gospel. They’re getting into endless studying of genealogies and speculations and misusing the law rather than being good stewards. Some have made shipwreck of their faith. Paul encourages Timothy with his own testimony of being such a sinner who God demonstrates perfect patients to and urges Timothy to stay. It sounded like Tim was about ready to move on to greener pastures but somehow is brave enough to accept this responsibility and take this charge to those teachers.

Wow, what a task for this young guy! As Danielle and I were digging into each part of this chapter we just thought, “I’m so thankful I’m not Timothy! Or Paul!”  But, then we realized that this life is full of facing difficult tasks that we don’t feel at all adequate for! In fact, I have it all too fresh in my mind how I felt about leading the team this last month. Having never been the local missionary and the official team leader at the same time, I felt fearful, unprepared and inadequate for this role. Funny thing is that that’s how most everyone on the team felt as we came together.

13254769_1698728850347804_4263245925717978892_o

It makes me think of how terrified I was about driving! The girls were shaking in their boots thinking of going door to door, leading kids clubs and doing street evangelism. While I don’t have quite as much fear about those things, I was so so SO nervous about driving a large 7 passenger manual drive vehicle on these crazy, winding, hilly, narrow, Irish roads. But, I went for it and had two sessions of learning and practice before picking up the team and the car. It wasn’t totally smooth but I was able to get the hang of the gears. Those first days I had to unclench my knuckles from the steering wheel but by the end I was driving in the Dingle Peninsula on cliff edge roads like these!! \/

image

Here’s the other side of the same spot.

image

And on mountain passes (yes.. this is a two way road..)

image

If you had known the struggle I had with hill starts in the little driveway at Glen Maris… Ron had me try it at least 20 times saying that I had to do it three times without stalling before we could be done.. On these passes and driving with the team the Lord protected me so graciously! I still can hardly believe that I drove on those roads!! I want to keep these pictures as proof that there’s less to get worked up about than I think.

image

I was so worried about driving and leading the team and that these girls would implode before the end of the trip. But, somehow this group of introverted girls came together and faced their fears in a huge way. They were willing to follow all the directions that I gave, let me push them outside their comfort zones and go connect with complete strangers to face them with the bad and good news of their sin and the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are pics of the day I was most impressed with the team- street evangelism that each was terrified to do, but when it was time, they didn’t waste a second. It was amazing to see

image  imageimage

Though I was very stretched and exhausted by the end of the three weeks, I’m so thankful for the experience of leading these amazing women and seeing the Lord work in the three cities in Ireland we visited. I’m telling you, reading Timothy last night brought up a whole slue of fears and emotions I have while facing this new life of mine here in Ireland. I want to be part of so much and am so burdened for the whole country but at the same time am so timid and fearful. I need your prayers and I’m sure I need urging and encouragement like Timothy got from Paul. But most of all, I need to get back to the basics of knowing who I’m serving. I need my motivation to be, “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” 1 Tim 1:5. To start at the foot of the cross, pure and cleansed by His redemptive power, and have simple sincere faith in the only one adequate for what lies ahead.

Pray for ‘eteam’ 2016

Hello my dear friends,
I just wanted to ask for prayer for the team of women that I’ll be leading for the next three weeks. [Sheeba, Kathryn, Tamara, Shelby and Leah] They all arrive tomorrow morning and I will drive them home in a rented 7 seater MANUAL DRIVE car!!! Please pray for all of us in the next couple of days that we would be well bonded as we will just be meeting and that we can get organized and over jet lag quickly. Pray for me that I would be able to lead them well be able to make loads decisions along the way. Pray for the people who we will be sharing the good news of Jesus Christ’s salvation with and for our hearts to be soft to His leading.

This is a beautiful land and has amazing people in it. I’m so thankful for these women who are willing to give their time and make the effort of getting outside of their comfort zone to come offer light and truth in this place. Wanting to focus on Christ’s heart of compassion for people that moved Him to action. Would you join in with us and commit to drenching the efforts in prayer? This is His work and we desperately need Him.

You can follow what we’re up to on www.facebook.com/eTeams

First Endeavor with Community Kid’s Club

I’ve been praying and waiting for God to give me direction as to what kind of ministry I can start up. This last month He kept burdening my heart for this little community of 12 apartments in a small cul de sac tucked away around the corner from me. I decided to see if they’d be okay with me putting on a three day kids club over easter break in their lawn and the response was great. Now, this was way out of my comfort zone for me to organize a kids club for little children, but I was so sure God was putting it on my heart so I just wanted to be obedient with it.

image

image

A lot of prep work went into planning crafts, stories, and activities and getting a team together. It went amazingly!! God is so incredible. We had everything outside so we needed nice weather and that’s just what we got :] The third day was supposed to be rainy and cold but God parted the clouds and it ended up being sunny and warm for our egg hunt. I almost cried because this miracle of the weather was so sweet of God to provide for these kids. The first day we had about 8 children come out, the second day we had 12-15 kids and on the third day we had 27 kids by the end! It was so exciting that they had invited some friends and relatives from other neighborhoods. Afterwords we had a nice chat and a cup of tea with some of the mums before packing up.

image

Most of the kids were really young, about 3-6 so I planned to do a craft with a bible story and we sang the same songs every day. For the first day we planted seeds with cotton balls in a clear cup and talked about the easter story of Christ dying for our sins and being buried and raising to life on the third day. Day two we talked about Noah’s ark and how God made a way to save him and we need to be saved too. We made paper boats and had face painting (It was a big hit). The third day we made sheep with cotton balls and popsicles sticks and google eyes and the story was how Jesus is the good shepherd and we are like sheep who have ‘gone astray’ and we need to come to Jesus. Then to end all the activities was the egg hunt that went amazingly well.

image

So thankful for God’s opportunity to get to know this close knit little community. So thankful that I didn’t mess everything up ;] I actually felt like this was a learning experience that God wanted to give me more confidence that with His leading and total involvement we’re more capable of starting some cool things than we know. And now I’m praying that I would know what to do next so serve this sweet community. I mentioned coming to do some activities during the summer and they said it would be great. God is good :]

Rest… a command?

This week I’ve been thinking through a novelty idea.. God commanded His people to rest. It’s part of His law to set aside a day once a week to set it apart as holy to Him. He talks about giving cattle a rest and even letting the land have it’s time of rest after seven years of farming. He was so serious about it that He warned the Israelites that if they didn’t follow instructions for the farming sabbath and year of jubilee that He would have them captured and drug off to a different land so that the land of Israel would be empty and get rest for all the years of rest that were skipped. Later on, what do we see?- the Israelites being taken into captivity for exactly the amount of time God described.

This month and a half since I got back from my trip to the states has been SO FULL! I was worried it would take me a while to get back into the swing of things. But, it’s been amazing how how many opportunities God has brought to me and how much happened in such a short amount of time. I’ve met quite a few new amazing friends my age, discovered an international outreach, joined zumba in the community, connected with college girls, started some door to door (I’m a bit rusty), visited a lady who speaks to spirits, went to a ladies conference, started the ball rolling for organizing a children’s Easter club in a close neighborhood, and some more fun stuff. So much was going on I didn’t even take time to write anything on this blog (sorry). But, I love being so busy and using up every moment of my day. Life’s but a vapor right! There comes a time, however, where you’ve gone on none-stop for too long.. Let’s just say I wasn’t being very wise about taking my Sabbath rest seriously (something I’ve always had trouble wrapping my mind around) and I got sick with a bad cold/flu that completely knocked me off my feet for over a week. I was canceling and saying no to things, can you imagine! Me saying ‘no’ so I could stay home and rest?! ‘wha’

-Sometimes God puts you on your back so you look up. Maybe I should learn to put up my feet every once in a while so I don’t have to get knocked off of them..

Visit to States – Emily’s Wedding

This end of December to the end of January I was so blessed to be able to have a visit to the states for my sister Emily’s wedding and was able to come early enough for Koppen family Christmas. Here’s a pic of my dad sharing some thoughts from the word before we opened presents (I love my family!). What a gift to be there.

image

It was so nice to be able to help Emily and Drake get ready for their wedding and spend some good time with them before the big day :] Drake is a godly man and I’m so thankful that Emily will be well taken care of. Pray for them as they wait on a job in Drake’s field to open up that will determine where they will live for the next couple of years. They both have missions experience and are open and willing to serve the Lord where ever they go.

image    Bridesmaids, Drake and Em

It was great to be with my family and to visit my church families for a visit but I felt away from Ireland too long! I kept asking God to use the time and thought He might have a few things in mind. I was very excited to meet up with Dave and Jaime Coulson who are a young family very much interested in ministry in Ireland. Dave is graduating form Emmaus Bible College this May. God’s timing is amazing that I was able to finally meet up with them as they are seeking the Lord on what their next step should be now. Please pray for them as they are at the very beginning stages of taking steps of faith to see if God might open doors for them to come to Ireland to work with young families and teenagers. Pray for them also if God’s plan is to have them wait- I definitely know that path well and the lessons/experiences that can come from it.

image

Please pray for me now as I’m thrilled to be back and ready to see what the Lord has for me! There are three or four different college age christian girls who I’ve met up with last week and am praying about getting a study group together with them so they can have some support in the college world. I’m also trying to think ahead to what kind of outreach we can get going this summer for youth in the area.

Thank you for keeping me and especially Ireland in your prayers!

Ladies Christmas Craft Night in Drum

The Lord gave me another great speaking opportunity up in the Cavan area with Drum Gospel Hall. Liza McMeekin organizes an annual ladies craft night during the Christmas season. They always have a speaker give a thought and their speaker this year their speaker wasn’t able to do it so they thought of asking me. It was so great to be able to share a thought with about 60 moms and daughters from their community. God is so good to give me opportunities to speak already!

I gave a “Christmas thought” talking about the image we get of Christ as a baby, and the image of Him on the cross -both moments of the most humble and vulnerable positions He ever was. I had us take a minute to think of the image Revelation 1 gives us of Christ in His glory, reaching out with His right hand to touch John in gentle compassion. This gives more light on the humility it took for Him to go to the positions of coming as a human and going to the cross in order to provide for us to have a restored relationship with Him.

image

image