It’s hard to say goodbye.

8 May

I am writing to you in a half empty house. I was stunned as my voice echoed off the walls when I walked through the door at 9:30 this evening and noticed half our stuff is missing. Don’t worry – we didn’t get robbed. This was very much intentional to put all our furniture, home decor, and appliances up on the Internet for sale, but still a reality check to come through the door and see it all gone. Not just the items, but what they represented – our life here in Australia, our first year of marriage, our memories in this home. Not to mention the hours and effort I spent in making our first home together feel cozy and well decorated, now being sold off to different buyers across the Gold Coast. It’s a “bittersweet” moment really. I am sad that this chapter of my life in Australia is coming to an end, but full of hope of what’s to come.

It’s hard to mentally prepare for the closing of a chapter. You have the “plan” in your brain months in advance, yet when the time comes, there is always a sadness as you say goodbye. YWAM Gold Coast has become a part of me. They are my family. I’ve spent years interceeding for this city and pouring into the community here. I will miss every single person from Coffee Van and Set Free Care, every child from the schools we teach at, and of course, every beloved staff member that I’ve worked so closely next to over the past 3 years. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. It’s funny to think that I had no idea what I was getting myself into 3 years ago when I came to do my DTS here – little did I know my whole life would change!! I love how life with Jesus is so exciting and such an adventure.

I have cherished every memory in this place and am so thankful to God for everything He has blessed us with. I also know that when we open our hands and surrender what we have (which was never “ours” in the first place), God has an amazing way of putting things back into our hands that were better than before. So I look forward to how He’s going to bless us in Germany!! :)

So in 2 weeks from now we leave for the Australian Outback, in an aboriginal community called Brewarrina. We will stay there for 7 days, then leave the following day for India on the 31st of May. We spend 7 weeks in India, returning to Australia on the 18th of July. We spend 10 days back on the Gold Coast, then leave for Munich, Germany to begin a new chapter of life.

We are beyond excited for outreach in the Outback and India, sharing the Gospel and ministering to people’s needs. I know it will be a life changing trip. I don’t think you can go to a place like India, see the poverty and suffering that millions of people experience daily, and come back unchanged. I know my heart will break for so many people. But we serve an awesome, powerful God that is bigger than poverty, bigger than disease, bigger than anything in this world. I am expecting to see God heal the sick and move in miraculous power. It will be amazing to be a part of His will in India!

This week in the DTS lectures, the topic is Biblical Worldview. Something the speaker (a brilliant man, Pastor Neville) has been laboring on is the sanctity of life. Christianity is the only religion that believes that mankind is created in the image of God, thereby believing in the sanctity of life. Every other religion/belief system will therefore have a different worldview on human life and see a completely different perspective. Hinduism, for example, believes in Karma and reincarnation. So to see a crippled beggar on the street, in their worldview, they believe that person deserves the life they have because in a “past life” they had wrong desires and choices which produced bad karma. Therefore, to help that person would be adding to the “bad karma” so Hindus will have absolutely no moral conviction of seeing a dying person on the street, even a small child. It’s amazing how worldview changes everything. To reach people without a Biblical worldview, we must take time to understand their worldview (how they think and see the world) in order to bring truth into their lives. Something to think about.

In other news, Marty has officially finished college!!! He took his last final on Monday. His graduation, however, is not until the end of July, as the University graduates their students collectively. We went out to dinner last night to celebrate all his hard work and dedication. I am very proud of him!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Suenkel update. When life changes, there is peace for those who stand upon the Rock – Jesus Christ, who never changes and is always consistent. I love that about Him.

Lots of love,

Stephanie

Needs Update: India

7 Mar

It’s hard to believe, but we are only 10 weeks away from embarking on our mission trip! After traveling for one week to the Australian Outback to minister to Aborginal communities, we will then fly out to India for 6 weeks to preach the gospel and love on the people of India.

ImageDid you know??

  • India has over 1.2 billion people, the 2nd most populated nation in the world!
  • 87% of India is unreached, meaning have never heard the gospel. 40% of the entire world’s unreached people groups live in India.
  • 360 million live under the poverty line. 40% of the entire world’s poor live in India.
  • 80.5% practice Hinduism, 13.4% Islam, 2.3% Christianity, 1.9% Sikhism, and 0.8% Buddhism.
  • Hindus worship over 330 million gods.

As a reminder, Marty and I are leading a team of 4 girls, ages 19-22, from England, USA, Norway, and Canada. They are on fire for God and getting prepared to minister hope to this nation that desperately needs Jesus.

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Martin and I are in the beginning phases of planning this outreach. We are making plans to visit orphanages, villages, slums, and hospitals to preach the gospel, pray for for the sick, and minister to the poor. We expect to see miracles, healings, and salvations. We can hardly wait to minister the love and power of Jesus to the people of India!india5

Here’s where we need your help.

First off, we need lots of prayer as we plan this outreach. That God would lead us to the right places, people, and organizations to do ministry with. I don’t want to just arbitrarily choose places and contacts to do ministry, I want to be led by the Spirit of God. To go where He wants us to go and to safe places. Please join in covering our team in prayer as we plan and prepare for this mission trip.

Second, Martin and I are in need financially to make this trip possible. We need money to buy our flights to India, as well as to buy our flights back to Germany after the outreach (we are moving to Germany within a week after returning from India). The total need is around $4,000.00.

If you are able to give financially (any amount helps!), please follow the instructions below:

USA : Please make a check out to Orlando Community Church and on the “memo” line, write “Stephanie and Martin”. You can send the check via mail to: Orlando Community Church, 1067 Rainer Dr., Suite 1003, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714.

Germany and Australia: Please contact Martin for our account details: info@martinsuenkel.com.

THANK YOU for your prayers and generosity. It might seem like you are doing something small, but you are actually sowing into something so much greater in the Kingdom of God!

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more questions regarding our trip.

Blessings,

Stephanie

One year ago today…

23 Feb

Martin and I celebrated our one-year anniversary yesterday. Technically, it’s our official one-year in the US today with the time difference! Hard to believe we have now celebrated the first of many years to come – I’m sure at this point, the years just fly by! A good reminder to enjoy every single moment, as it all flies by much too quickly.

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Us at our anniversary dinner at Vapiano’s – DELISH! Thank you to my family for blessing us with finance to celebrate our anniversary!!

I came home to a few surprises… red and white lilies from Martin and a bouquet of bright yellow daisies from Anne and Kyle Santo! So incredibly thoughtful!! We love you, Anne and Kyle!

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I am so thankful to God for bringing Martin into my life. Marriage is a wonderful thing God created to show us the kind of intimacy God desires with every human being. It is simply a tangible analogy of the New Covenant – a marriage covenant with God through Jesus Christ. If you are saved, yet have never experienced intimacy with God, this is something available to you every day! Press into God through worship, the Word, prayer, thankfulness… things that connect your heart to Him. He is waiting for you to open your heart so He can lavish His love on you!

 

 

 

When I run, I feel His pleasure

20 Feb Chariots of Fire

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” — Chariots of Fire

Okay, so I may not be fast, but Chariots of Fire totally inspired Marty and I last week! It was our first time actually watching the movie, but of course we are familiar with the famous soundtrack. The next day, we went for an 8 mile run (our farthest distance so far) and I had the Chariots of Fire song ringing in my head as my tired legs finished the route. We came home and I made us some delicious smoothies – the perfect post-run breakfast!

This week has been amazing, to say the least. It’s been wonderful to get to know the students and bond with them. Their first week of lectures has been “Hearing God’s Voice” where they are realizing that God speaks to us everyday, it’s whether or not we are listening! Once our eyes and ears are open to what God is saying to us, it becomes incredibly exciting to recognize His voice. For example, through nature, the Word, an impression/feeling, art, dance, etc. etc.!

The DTS schedule is very much “full-on”. Most days I am at the base with the students from 8:45am-9:00pm. Marty is equally busy with a part-time job, an internship, and school, and we are finding it difficult to spend time together! We have allocated a “date night” each week to ensure we get quality time together. We know it is a temporary 3-month season where our schedules will be a bit chaotic. God will carry us through!

Speaking of quality time together, Marty and I are very excited about our one-year anniversary this Friday, the 22nd! We plan to go out to dinner to celebrate. Can’t believe how fast the time has gone!!

God has been showing me so much these past few months. He has been speaking to me about my identity in Christ, going so much deeper with me than ever before. The fact that I am His daughter. That He is well pleased with me not because of my performance, but simply because I belong to Him. And that He has empowered me to love people like Jesus loved people and to do the works that He did – healing the sick, having profound compassion, radically loving people. I have been so encouraged lately; I can’t get enough of this kind of teaching! I have been incredibly challenged to actually believe what the Word says about me and every believer – it should be just normal Christian living!

My hope and prayer for this season is to see these students get radically touched by Jesus and to step out in boldness in what He is asking them to do. Along the way, I desire as well to get deeper revelations on who I am in God and to live a life of love as Jesus did on this earth. I am sure as I give out to these students each day, that God will do mighty things in me as well!

New year, new adventures!

6 Feb Oh, the places we'll go!

2013, what do you have in store for us? Martin and I are expecting 2013 to be an exciting year – one filled with many changes, challenges, plenty of traveling, and good times!

Let me fill you in on what’s happening in the life of the Suenkels. Martin has been (very) busy with university, an internship, part-time at YWAM, and a pizza delivery job on the weekend (is that all??). He only has three months left of school and he graduates! I am a very proud wife. Me, I am full-time at YWAM Gold Coast, preparing to start staffing the February Discipleship Training School (DTS). For the past four weeks, I have been involved in “DTS staff training”, a course that trains the DTS staff, assigns jobs to get the school ready, while getting together to pray for the students we will closely mentor for 6 months. The DTS starts in 4 days!! I can hardly wait to meet all the students :)

Speaking of the students, we have 9 coming to join us from all over the world: Norway, Finland, Canada, USA, England, and Australia. 7 girls and 2 boys, all coming to grow closer to God and be trained in evangelism and missions. What an amazing privilege to be a part of their journey in God!

I have also been asked to speak on the topic “Evangelism” for 3 days on the school. I am pumped to share my heart and new revelations God has given me on sharing the love of Jesus to the world. Please pray with me that the students will have open hearts to become passionate about sharing their faith through this teaching. I know I need to rely fully on the Holy Spirit to do his work!

Martin and I will be leading a 2-month outreach together in May-July, leading 4-5 students. We have recently found out our outreach location (I can hardly wait to share it with you all!) but I should probably wait until the students get here before I go posting it on the Internet :) We are excited to be on the mission field again!

Here is a short ministry update:

Coffee Van continues to be a powerful ministry to the community. Here’s a story from Coffee Van: I have been regularly chatting with a man named Peter. He’s a sweet guy, but unfortunately heavily involved in a sort of New Age cult. We have all just befriended this guy and have shown him the love of God through friendship and acceptance. I have had several talks with him about truth over the past couple months, and we have both passionately shared our beliefs with one another. I have also had the opportunity to pray for him, which really touched him. Please pray with me for Peter, that the truth would be revealed to him. That his eyes would be open to see that Jesus is the way to the Father and salvation. That he would know who he is in God. I have all the hope in the world that God is on the move in his heart!

Evangelism: I have had some amazing times in evangelism this week. From forming an ongoing friendship with a lady in a shopping center, to praying for a guy for healing in a shop in Surfer’s, to ministering through prayer and love to a mentally-ill man in Southport… the Holy Spirit has been leading and guiding me to reflect Jesus to people in need. I am so incredibly thankful that God would use my life to glorify Him. It’s my deepest prayer that my life would glorify Jesus, and when I see that happen in everyday life, I rejoice! Thank you God!

A Bible

A scripture that popped out to me this past week is Ephesians 5:1-2, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved childrenand live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” It about knocked my socks off! You know those scriptures that you’ve read a hundred times, and then one day, POW!, you get huge revelation?? This scripture defines evangelism to me. Evangelism is being imitators of Jesus Christ, from a place of knowing our identity as dearly loved children, and living a life of love to the World, not a “worldly” love, but the love shown on the cross by Jesus. Amazing verse to live your life by, isn’t it? I am greatly encouraged.

DSC_0139On the Road…

In other news, Martin and I have been running faithfully 3 days a week for a good while now. We’ve signed up for a half marathon at the end of April (here in the Gold Coast) and a full marathon at the end of September (in Berlin, Germany)! We are (only) at 10k’s so far and are hoping we can train properly with being so busy, not to mention 2 months in a developing nation! It is good fun though, and we enjoy our time in the early mornings together.

Will post again once the DTS starts to let you all know how we’re doing! Thanks for reading!

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