Friday, October 27, 2006

Discgolf and time together

This weekend the boys are off to Fall Camp and for the first time in a long time I am not responsible for anything during this weekend. That means that Shirley and I can spend some good time together, alone. We are looking forward to it.

In the meantime, check out this video I put together on the discgolfing we are trying to get started here in Maastricht. We hope to be able to use this also to meet people and connect them. The text is in Dutch (I will be using it for a newspaper article as well) but I think you can get the gist of things :-)

Time to go be alone together now.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

BBQ fun

Familie BBQ

This past week we had a great get together with the church at Shadira's house. Shadira is a single mother trying to make it in a difficult situation. Most of her family lives more than 2 hours away and are not christians. It would be easy to come with excuses to stay away from activities with the church. She doesn't have a car, and if she wants to come on the scooter, she has to leave one of her girls at home alone - or have them go alone on the bus. But she has made a grand effort recently because she said she knows how important it is for her real life and for her girls.

To make sure that she is able to take part in the Bible study at least once a month, we hold the study out at her house. This past week we held a bbq along with a time of prayer. It was not only great fun, it was a great family time. The young people came out to the barbecue and jumped pogo stick or just sat and talked. The adults sat inside and shared time together. At the end of the evening we sat together and talked about our burdens and our blessings (thanks Luk and Holly!). We are so glad to be part of this family and to see how God is using family to strengthen his children.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A unique opportunity

I mentioned recently in our newsletter that our colleagues, Ruud and Karla, were presented with a unique opportunity. Karla had been painting their garage doors and receiving all sorts of commentary from passersby (they live along a busy road), when a man from her village approached her with a question. He was a member of a committee in the local Catholic church that organizes the activites and teaching for the cnofirmation service of the young people in the village and wondered if Karla would be willing to give some Bible lessons to the young people.

(Confirmation is when a young person – typically 12 years old – accepts as their own the faith their parents have chosen for them when they were babies. This ceremony is a confirmation of their baptism as babies. At least, that is the theory for spiritual Catholics. As most people are simply traditional Catholics, this ceremony, along with first Communion at age 6, are stepping stones in life and an opportunity to have a party.)

It was obvious that the members of the village knew who Ruud and Karla were and their desire to know and live what they find in the Bible. When Karla mentioned that she of course could not do anything that would not be biblical, the man had no problem. He himself did not even believe in God. The other members on the committee (two women) did, but had very little Bible knowledge. They were more than willing to let Karla teach the young people about what the Bible is.

So Karla will be presented with the opportunity to really let these young people see what God’s word is. In addition, the members of the committee want to visit the congregation where Ruud and Karla attend – to see what kind of people these are who are simply Christians.

God can be so amazing!

Friday, October 06, 2006

September Newsletter

LIGHT in the Lowlands
Reaching out to the people of Belgium and the Netherlands
September 2006

Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another withut grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to sevre others. 1 Peter 4:7-10

Dear brothers and sisters, family and friends,
God continues to amaze us with how He does things, things we would never expect. This month has given us plenty of surprises and blessings.
Since school starts up again in September and since it has usually been at least two months since the young people have gotten together at summer camp, we usually plan a youth weekend in September. We call it a Kickstart because we want to get things going again. This year we decided to organize one in Maastricht again. It has been about four years since we last organized a weekend here.
You have to understand that, although we have a room we meet in on Sundays, it is not suitable for hosting a group of young people all weekend long. But we figured that we could spread out the kids between our house and the Kok family (just down the street from us). We had specifically chosen this month because the weather is still good and if we needed to we could do things outside. Besides, we figured, most of the time there aren’t more than 20 kids. The Friday the weekend was to start I was still getting calls of young people who were planning on coming. We ended up with 31 - a real surprise and blessing!
We were able to take care of the numbers (the Kok’s attic was one big mattress for the girls, the boys stayed at our house and the older girls over at the Verheijen’s) and it was just great to see how happy everyone was to see one another again. We spent a day in an open air museum called Bokrijk where we took the kids back in time about 100 years. Our theme this weekend was: “Jesus - now?! “ We wanted to look at how Jesus is still just as current today as 2000 years ago, if we stick to Jesus and not what has been made of him.
It was a fantastic weekend. The Sunday morning was as full as we have ever had it and the meal afterwards was great because all of the members were more than willing to help. It was great to see how everyone worked together, just like we had experienced at the end of the summer with the Family Day at camp.
On a separate note, the catholic church in Karla Verheijen’s village knew of Ruud and Karla’s knowledge of the Bible and desire to tell others and approached them to help teach the catechism. This is a unique opportunity. Karla explained that she could not teach anything that was not from the Bible an that there were probably major differences between what she believed and the catholic church. This means that she will be able to present a lesson on what the Bible is to the young people of this village, but also that she has piqued the interest of the people on this committee as to what the Bible is! Keep this in your prayers!
September also brought the international students back to the university and the weekly Bible studies have begun. The first evening I met “LJ” from China who was very interested in Christianity, simply to know what it is. We made an appointment and meet now regularly to read the gospel of John and talk about who God is, who Jesus is and what this means for LJ. It has been exciting to share the beauty of God and see the same excitement in LJ. What a wonderful God we have!
Planning ahead
We hope to start a new course in the neighborhood about “Getting to know the Bible”. Most people here have never really read the Bible. Pray for these efforts. We look forward to what our awesome God is going to do.

Please keep the following in your prayers.
- Praise God for His blessings during the youth weekend. Keep the young people here (10 in our congregation) in your prayers that they continue to grow in faith.
- Pray for Karla and the lesson she will present as well as the discussions she has with the catechism committee. They also want to visit the congregation - what an opportunity!
- Pray for “LJ” from China who is studying the Bible and hearing the story of Jesus in its entirety for the first time. Pray for her heart and the Holy Spirit working in her.
- Pray for our outreach in October and November. We hope our neighborhood will also get to know God with a course on getting to know the Bible.

My room
Not everyone has their own room. When Stephan and Sean were younger, they shared a room. It was barely big enough to turn around in, but they only slept there. Now they each have their own room.
Stephan’s room is kind of Japanese. He has a metal high bed, some Chinese tables and a Japanese futon underneath the bed, bamboe mats and such. Sean’s room is mostly blue and white (Genk’s colors) and has wooden furniture. He has a big poster from Pirates of the Carribean and little posters from Racing Genk (prof soccer team).
What is your room like? Do you have your own room? How is it decorated? Let us know.
e-mail Stephan at:
e-mail Sean at:

September is always marked by the beginning of school. But after the first week or so of newness, most people get stuck in and get down to business. The boys are no different.
Sean was pleased to see his friends again (some of them leave for the whole summer) and has been able to adapt to the new schedule and homework this year. He gets home, goes up to his room and finshes his homework. Then he has plenty of time to play, make movies etc. He even asked if we could change his room around to make it more conducive to getting his homework done. So one Saturday we got together, shuffled bed, desk, dresser and couch around and voila - a new room. He has been very happy with it so far.
Sean has also been very pleased with his new team. As I mentioned last month, he was looking at not being able to play soccer since in Belgium they play on Sunday morning. But we found a team in Maastricht (the Netherlands) and he was immediately accepted with open arms. As a matter of fact, he has already scored several goals. The team is doing well and he is enjoying himself, so that has been great. In between school and soccer, Sean has kept plenty busy making movies (about soccer of course). If you haven’t seen them yet, go to Youtube and search “Sean Raab”. His latest crazy vid is called “Soccer Battle”.

Stephan has started the school year with typical quietness. Things just happen, as they should. “How was your day?” “Mmm,” he answers. But after a bit more questioning and listening you hear the whole day and the good and not so good. He is having a good time learning more about cooking as well as the other normal things like Dutch, French, English, Math, Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), music and PE (the best part of the Friday!). It has been great to see him doing some of the cooking at home. Scott continues to encourage him in this since he hardly ever cooks and wouldn’t know how to do much more than a good omelet.
Stephan is also still very busy with his basketball team and has already scored. Unfortunately we are not always able to be there, but we have seen one of his games already and look forward to seeing more. IN the meantime, Stephan continues with his myriad interests including guitar, bmx, Japanese (comics) and most recently, free running. You can see some of the things he has been doing on Youtube by seraching under “lovedoctersar”.

And the parents have been enjoying the amazing things their children can do! We were very pleased to have a bunch of kids in the house for the youth weekend and are looking forward to some visitors at the beginning of November. More about that in next month’s newsletter. Shirley and the ladies from the church went to Amsterdam together for a wonderful day. We don’t have any videos to show you (other than the one on the blog:, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t alive! And loving every minute of it.

- For your emails and comments on the blog. It is good to hear from you!
- For your prayers for the work here, we really need your support.
What’s coming up?
Youth activities
Family activities
Fall camp
Outreach and new course
Youth days


It is great to see how each day can be a new experience, something challenging and exciting. Enjoy each day as it comes, knowing that it’s God’s day .
Love in Him,
Scott, Shirley,
Stephan and Sean Raab

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Last year was terrible. Our walnut tree in the backyard hardly let fall a nut all Fall (sorry, couldn’t resist). Whereas other years gave us plenty of crunch underfoot whenever we walked out toward the canal, last year only presented us with rotten nuts in the pod. So I wasn’t really prepared for this year’s crop.

Yesterday I went out with a box to pick up the few nuts I figured would be under the tree. I had seen a few as I went out that way to take Snuffles for a walk. But I wasn’t prepared for what I found – nuts everywhere! Grass doesn’t really grow underneath the walnut tree, but there is plenty of moss and other ground cover. The more I looked, the more I found. Nuts hiding under every little leaf. I would clear a section, move on to the next, and when I turned around found even more in the section I just cleared. I felt like Hammy from “Over the Hedge” – “I found my nuts!”

Now we just have to make sure they get dried. We are hanging them in sacks in three different areas around the house, trying to fighure out which is the best place to dry them: in the boiler room, in my office (which always has the window open) and upstairs in the attic. We’ll see what we get out of it. Come on by if you want some walnuts – we’ve got plenty.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Who is this Jesus?

As I have mentioned in our newsletters I am blessed to be able to take part in a weekly Bible study with international students from the university here in Maastricht. It is always interesting and exciting to meet people from different countries and to see people who want to know more about Jesus. The university here has tried in the last few years to increase its international group and China has been more than willing to send students. Most are post-graduate students studying medicine, economics or law and government.

Recently I met LJ from China at one of these Bible studies. She asked if we could meet regularly so that she can understand more about christianity. We have met twice and it has been exciting to see her desire to know more and her openness to understand. She says that she believes that God exists, but doesn’t really undersatand christianity. So we are reading the Bible together, on a journey of discovery.

Sometimes LJ says she has a stupid question. She says, “I don’t know about these things, so this may be a stupid question.” But her questions are the questions we all ask and all should ask as we discover who God is and how we can develop a relationship with Him. We will be reading the gospel of John and discussing any questions at all that she has along the way. I am so thankful for her desire to know more and for this opportunity. Keep LJ and me in your prayers.