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Missionary work in our hostels

Imagine talking to a non-believer about your faith in a complete relaxed, respectful and natural way in a setting that feels like home to you. No feelings of being pushed, no sales talk, no rejection, no awkward feeling. Just mutual interest, listening and being available. Sounds good right? Well, it is exactly what we are striving for in our two Christian hostels in Amsterdam. We are a Christian organization, focused on sharing God’s love with travelers from all over the world. The goal of our Christian missionary work? To share God's love with the 40.000 guests that stay in our hostels every year.

Missionary work opportunities among backpackers

Since 1971, our hostels have been a safe retreat to many backpackers traveling through Amsterdam. Through hospitality, we want to reach out to travelers and share God’s love. Why to travelers? Because travelers (mostly backpackers) are often not only on a physical journey. They are also on a spiritual journey. So they are open to interact with people of different cultures, backgrounds and interests. This brings opportunities to think about and discuss beliefs and the purpose of living with them. A perfect group of people to share your faith with!

Christian hospitality

The foundation of our Christian missionary work is hospitality. Christian hospitality is different than pampering our guests. Hospitality is found in the heart of the God we believe in. Together with our volunteers, we create an atmosphere of love and acceptance in the hostels. In the meantime we pray to God that he will open up a space for us to share the love of Jesus Christ. As a result of practical service, given with kindness and joy, meaningful connections with our guests come up naturally. We serve all of our guests with love, praying that God will work in their lives. Excellent customer service is what we aim for.

Missionary work abroad: a home away from home experience

Our goal is that every guest who stays at the shelter receives a “home away from home” experience. We do this simply because we find hospitality important - it is the core business of a hostel. But it also goes much deeper. We strongly believe if guests feel that they are deeply welcome, that the Shelter can be a place where they come home to God. The Shelter Hostel’s desire is to be an oasis of rest, in an often overwhelming city. In everything we do, we hope these values stand out: sincere, warm-hearted, respectful, thought-provoking, and considerate. We are open and eager to hear the true depth of a guest’s heart. This can lead to conversations about the things that really matter in life.

international missionary work conversations

Missionary work opportunities: conversations with guests

In the international missionary work that we do, we see that relationships with guests are very important. If they get a warm welcome at the reception, they will be more open to join activities. Or if they have nice talks with volunteers, they will share what is on their hearts. Therefore we spend time conversing with guests about regular things. It can be anything: traveling, Amsterdam, work or studies, backgrounds etc. We believe that as followers of Jesus we have much to offer. At the same time we have much to learn and receive. Guests are often open to exchange ideas, to philosophize about God, Jesus and the Bible. But we are very aware that they don’t like to be pushed or preached at. We want guests to experience the Shelter as a safe place to talk about spiritual matters. And it is our deepest desire that they find God, the ultimate shelter for life.

Christian missionary work: our evangelism activities

Besides personal conversations, we share the gospel also through activities like:

  • Bible Meditation - one volunteer reads prayerfully a Bible passage with the attendees. After some time of silence, there is room to share thoughts.
  • Hostel Night - Free dinner for all the guests: fun conversations and sharing testimonies
  • Film Discussion - Watching a movie together and discussing the main themes of it afterwards
  • City Walk - We take our guests on a tour and share our enthusiasm about the city and its Christian roots
  • Open Mic Night - All guests are encouraged to join and contribute a song, skit, dance, poem or whatever they like - a great mix of Christian and Non-Christian creativity!
  • Other outreaches - There are many other opportunities to be creative, engage guests, and share Christ in our ministry!

How guests perceive our activities

"One day, before arriving, one female guest was afraid that our hostel might have a “pushy” Christian environment. But then she joined our Open-Mic Night. She told one of the volunteers that she was impressed by the atmosphere. And then she opened up about her thoughts on Heaven and Hell. The staff members asked: "Where do you think you will go and why?" She didn’t know but promised to think about it. Together with her friends the next day, she joined the city walk. They have continued to spend more time with our staff. It’s great to have guests participating in our community!"

Missionary work abroad: evangelism among travelers

Our missionary work focuses on two main groups:

  1. Evangelism among the guests in our hostels
  2. Missionary work to cleaners

Christian missionary work among guests

The purpose of our missionary work is to share Christ and His love with the guests who stay at our hostel. We have guests from all different kinds of backgrounds and beliefs. And we believe God brings them to the hostel for a purpose. Some guests are very active in their spiritual journey and join our hostel activities where we openly share Christ. Others are more passive.

Missionary work opportunities among non-Christian volunteers

Another important ministry group are the non-Christians volunteers in our cleaning team. Travelers can volunteer as a cleaner in the hostels for 14 – 28 days, in exchange for free room and board. The cleaning volunteers start every day with a daily Bible Devotion, led by one of our volunteers. In this devotion we share in a relaxed way about Jesus and what it means to follow Him. Throughout the years, we have seen that the cleaning ministry has a great impact on people’s lives. A lot of cleaners have accepted Christ as Lord of their life. For example Catia, whose life was completely turned upside down by Jesus. Or Gabriel, who came to Amsterdam as a traveler and who now dedicates his life to share the gospel with other travelers.

Interested in doing missionary work abroad?

Since 1971, our hostels have been a safe retreat to many backpackers traveling through Amsterdam. With our Christian missionary work, we strive to be a light for Christ to the 40.000 guests who stay in our two Christian hostels in Amsterdam every year. Would you like to become part of a missionary team overseas? Apply here today!

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