Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Champions of fun

Last Saturday was the inaugural "Copa BeNeLux" - a football (soccer) tournament for the churches in Belgium and the Netherlands. We got this idea from the Swiss churches last year. Thanks to Pieter Good, Luk Brazle and Dennis van Erp a local variant was organized. 

There were 10 teams from 6 different congregations and plenty of friends of members taking part. It was a great day! The teams were either "fun" or "pro" depending on how serious they wanted to be. In Maastricht we put together a fun team, decided which color to wear and headed out to just have some fun. 

It was great to see how our young people worked together. A lot was learned that day: keep going, even if you are afraid; perseverance will get you where you want to be; be fair and honest - it is the most fun. I was so proud of everyone!

Copa Benelux 2009

And in the end, we were the "fun" champions!

(Thanks to Elisa van der Oest for the picture of team Maastricht ready to play)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Demolition man

Renovation / Verbouwing
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
You may have heard that we are working on our house. Actually we are demolishing part of our house. This picture is a good example of why.

For years we have struggled with dealing with smells, heating the whole house, keeping it dry, wondering what is going on behind the wooden panelling on the walls. We considered trying to fix the problems with the walls, but after examing all it became clear that it was more cost efficient to demolish this section and rebuild.

I can't build very well, but I am good at demolition. So before the builders come, we have torn out all the wood, all the extras, taken out the windows etc in preparation of the new section. That is when we found out why we really do need to demolish this section. Mold in most of the walls, walls that were not correctly built. And a heating system that was pouring money out the walls trying to keep everything warm and dry.

Now we have an efficient heating system for the whole house and soon the old, sick section will be surgically removed - to be replaced by a clean new section.

Check out the pictures by clicking on this picture here.

Monday, March 02, 2009


It has been a while since we've talked. Sometimes I want to wait until there is something BIG to announce. Something exciting happening. But the last two months have all mostly been preparation for things that are coming. 

How much "stuff" do you have? Do you have stuff in which to put your stuff? We have lots of stuff, with lots of stuff in it. God has always blessed us with enough, and people bring us things, knowing that we will be able to get it to those who need it (or sometimes simply because they didn't want to bring it to the trash). And we have been blessed with a house large enough to hide things away. But now we are removing a whole section of that house, and that meant getting rid of stuff. 

Stuff in the form of papers and pictures, books and folders. What do you do with all those things you were going to read? You can't throw "that" out, it could come in handy some day! And that memory means so much (which is why you found it under a pile of books under a pile of papers, at the back of the cupboard you hardly ever open). It needs to get sorted!

Stuff in the form of clothes ("remember those jeans!"), shoes and boots ("oh he was soooo cute in those"), coats and socks (do you have one of those sacks of unmatched socks too!!!) Stuff in so many forms - things. It all needed to get out of the way, because they are coming to demolish soon. But in order to put it somewhere, we needed to make room where all the other stuff was. 

Short story long, (or is it the other way around), we have gotten rid of lots! And boy does that feel good! Clean it up, sort it out, move it, throw it, junk it. You can gather so much over the years. And this was a very good time to think about what was gathering dust in our spiritual lives as well. It's good to check things out, sort things through, throw away the junk and keep what is really good and necessary.