Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rescue 9-1-1

This past weekend we had a youth weekend in Eindhoven with the theme "Rescue 9-1-1". We wanted to not only let the young people see the need for being rescued, but also that we can be part of the rescue team. It was a pleasure to be able to be with this group again - helping teach, laughing, learning new things. Almost all of the things we did in the weekend had some connection with the theme.

We went swimming and were confronted with 'rescuers' (which is what the lifeguards are called in Dutch), although thankfully no one needed it (other than being told not to run along the edge of the pool!) Back at the building we heard from a woman about refugees and how they are helped, what their situation is. The we also put together some shoeboxes for kids who don't get any presents. The young people had used their own money or had collected their own things to put in these boxes. It was encouraging to see their willingness to share in this way. That evening we watched Tom Hanks in "The Terminal".

Dozen vullen
- filling boxes of shared goodies -

But even back in Maastricht I was struck by this theme as we finished off the "Get to know the BIble" series. The people who attended really don't know their situation (even though they say they do) and how close rescue really is. It has been encouraging to meet and study with the Chinese woman who is really quite interested and willing to hear. On Sunday our visiting brother from Ghana (Donkor has been studying in Maastricht for the last three months) also talked about the need to realize that Maastricht was dying. We need rescue and the Rescuer is ready. He wants us to help out and see the urgency!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A song in our heart


This past weekend was a singing one - and we enjoyed it tremendously! On Saturday we had a Family day organized by the congregation in Antwerp. The theme was "Sing with the Lord" and they had planned some singing and some listening to a group from Paris. Unfortunately, the group from Paris couldn't make it (we hope to hear from them in the future) because of car trouble. But that meant that we had lots more time to sing!


Paul Brazle had asked Johan Huyghebaert and me to prepare one of our favorite songs and share that. Later, because we had extra time, we were able to let others also share their favorite songs and why they meant so much. And then we sang! It is amazing what God has given us in song - simply the ability to mix emotion with understanding, heart with head, is so fulfilling. It was a great day of fellowship.


The next day Karla Verheijen had a concert with her choir from the village they live in. Mozart and (Michael) Hadyn enlivened the afternoon. Wonderful soloists and a great choir. Afterwards we went to the community center to spend some time together. Several members of the church came to the concert to support Karla that day. Some came from three hours away! It is great to be a part of this family.


Oh and by the way, I have even gotten started on that novel! Probably won't make the 50,000 before the end of the month, but who knows.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Getting to know you

The past few weeks have been really busy, but good. Let me quickly update you on what has been going on (since I haven't done that yet!).

Campaign- "Our" Canadians-

At the end of October/beginning of November we had a group of students from ABC (Alberta Bible College) visit to help us out and take part in a ministry experience. What that meant for us in Maastricht was that they helped us distribute some new cards in our neighborhood, talked to our young people, and played some discgolf while I talked to people along the way. It was great getting to know them and we are so thankful for what they were able to do.

- after distributing -

To be honest, distributing has never been one of my favorite methods. When I first came on campaigns (way back in the early 80's) with a group from York, we distributed thousands (over 70,000 if I remember right) folders in all sorts of places. You remember a lot of stairs and doors, but don't meet a lot of people. Of course, when you can't speak the language, there isn't much else to do about that.

Still, getting several thousand folders out into a neighborhood is still a good way to let people know that you are there. We passed out a card that looked like a favorite sticker on many of the mailboxes here. The real sticker says "NO - I don't want any unaddressed advertisements / YES - I want the weekly newspapers". Our card said "NO - I don't want an eternal search / YES - I want real life in Jesus". On the back of the card we list the various activities of the congregation.

Along with this card we also distributed a card inviting them to a course we designed to "Get to know the Bible". When I went around the neighborhood to invite people personally and see if they remembered the cards, I was actually surprised by the results. Almost no one remembered the sticker-like card (which was designed to be remarkable). But several people remebered the invitation. That was also why they let me know quite quickly that they were not interested - but the had seen it.

I also had some good reactions to the card / invitation from the editorial team of the neighborhood newspaper I work with. They had all seen it and I was able to talk with them about it on a trip we all took together. But the best reaction so far has been from a woman who got the card from her mother. She saw that we haev a ladies club and was interested. I let her know that we were beginning a course on getting to know the Bible. She came to that, went to the ladies club two days later and completed the three-day course that evening. We are looking forward to getting to know her better. Please keep this in your prayers.

Pray also for the continuation of the course. I repeat the first three lessons next week and then move on to lessons 4-6 for those who are really interested in finding out what is in the Bible. Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support and encouragement! It is great getting to know so many people and seeing how wonderful our God truly is.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


For those of you who don't know what that is (and that could be quite a few!) - National Novel Writing Month is in November (and isn't really "National", since I can take part). In the month of NOvember there are a bunch of crazies who try to write at least 50,000 words before the end of the month.
I have wanted to get back into writing for some time. At the end of the summer I tried my hand at some "flash" writing (2500 words a day, 10 days in a row). This is different cake - especially since I haven't even gotten started yet!
Fortunately, it sounds like I am not the only one. Unfortunately I am not the only one who can say that I am really busy (I am - especially this month!), or that I have lots of rquirements for my time. In any case, you may not hear from me here for a little while (suprise, surprise for those of you who check in every day and are terribly disappointed to find the same post - still!)
But I may let you read my novel when it gets done.