I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3
Amazing days and wonderful things have been happening! Most important is the birth of our brother Wim in April. He and Anita will wed in August.
Youth weekends and touching hearts
We try to plan a youth weekend at least every 6 weeks. A weekend in January in Haarlem, another in The Hague in April, and two soccer tournaments in May meant wonderful times to encourage and challenge our young people.
The soccer tournament in May was the first organized in the Benelux, fashioned after the tournament we have come to know in Switzerland. It was great to see teams from all over the Netherlands and Belgium get together to compete and encourage one another - and Maastricht won the trophy for amateurs!
In addition to these opportunities, we were also challenging and touching hearts among the Catholic youth in the village. We spent time examining if Jesus’ death and resurrection were real or not. It was especially exciting to see how we were able to integrate this group with our campaign group that came in May.
In May we welcomed a part of the “Good News Singers” from Harding UNiversity for a campaign in Maastricht. They offered a Black Gospel workshop, teaching people new songs, if the people were willing to sing those songs at a local nursing home. We had three different opportnities, including one with the young people from our village. The reactions from those parents speaks volumes. “What have you done to my daughter? She doesn’t stop singing!” One of these parents also has started reading her Bible seriously.
From the adult groups we had several people who were not only interested in the workshop, but also in who we were and our faith. K. has visited us twice and hopes to come more often. A. was a bit wary, but has come to our first Wednesday singing and is more open to talking now. J. wanted to know more for herself and her daughter. They both attended the Song Seminar from Listen Up! and plan to visit us more in the future. Keep these hearts in your prayers.
Our campaign group ended their time with the yearly Spring gathering, this year organized by Maastricht. We chose as our topic to talk about how to talk with one another when there are differences of opinion or teaching in the church. It was a challenging day full of good discussions and good fellowship.
Far away and close to home
The end of June took a group of our young people to Marseille, France for an intense week of sharing faith (in French!). I was so proud of our young people and their desire and ability to move out of their comfort zone to help others. It was also exciting that LJ, with whom we study and discuss all things biblical, decided to go along! Keep her growth and questioning in your prayers.
Back in the Netherlands Listen Up! welcomed an group of more than 100 people from across Europe to learn more about and practice a cappella singing. This 15 year birthday celebration-turned-workshop was a great chance to encourage people to sing, write songs and spread the gospel through song.
Camp and what’s coming
Before the summer ever arrived we took the opportunity to help fix camp up. There was a work camp and a “dig camp” where we laid a drainage pipe. Wonderful work together!
The summer camp season included Teen Camp for us, where Scott taight about Paul’s missionary journeys and how we can go “to the ends of the world.” The following week, he and several other brothers taught about the Christian Family during Family Camp. Now we are slowing down and planning for the coming year - looking forward to what God will bring!
Please keep the following in your prayers.
Praise God and continue to pray for our new brother Wim and for Valéri!
Pray for our contact with K., LJ., A., R., J & J., C&T., RW., N., and M.
Pray for our studies in the coming months with several of these contacts.
Praise God for our young people who have encouraged one another and have been an example in faith for so many in many places.
Praise God for His work in the campaign, youth weekend and camp weeks this year so far and for the coming months.
Pray for guidance for world leaders, also here in Europe.
ON THE FAMILY SIDE . . .
And life goes on ... this past half year has often been in the theme of change. With Stephan off at Harding, things were quite different here. We noticed that especially at “normal day” moments. Shirley would get dinner ready and set the table - for four. And there would always be too much food. Sean would get home from school - to find a much quieter house and no one to talk to (except parents, of course). Scott would walk in to Stephan’s room in the morning to wake him up - and find Sean, in Sean’s room. Things change.
So it has been a thrill to have Stephan back with us since May when he arrived at the same time as the campaign group. We only just brought him back to the airport back to Harding last week, after a wonderful three months. It was great to hear him and Sean with their infectious laughter again. To hear them playing guitar together or telling stories to one another. To count on his strength when Scott needs to lift something (which was quite often) or his spiritual strength during youth activities.
It was especially nice to have both boys here while all of the renovation works were going on in the house. As some of you have been able to follow, since the end of February we have been in the middle of fixing up our house. The back section of the house (with 3 rooms, the bathroom and the toilet) have made way for a smaller, but better and healthier section for the kitchen/dining room. But we are not yet done. The kitchen still has to be placed, the electricity finished and connected, and the outside taken care of. Plenty to do in the coming months. And to think that we thought this would be done in a few months back in October!
It has been very nice, however to have the new section when it is wonderful weather - as we have had several times this summer. It has helped make new memories with the family. Sitting in the peace of the backyard eating lunch or dinner together outside, chilling in the chair playing guitar while a cool breeze plays around the house, enjoying the morning sun before getting going for the day ... the addition has been worth most of the trouble.
And now the year continues. Stephan and Sean both finished their school year last year and are ready to begin another year. Stephan as a sophomore at Harding University, Sean as a junior in high school. Stephan is looking forward to playing rugby (oh no!) and singing in the chorus. Sean is gearing up for a gig with his band and realizing that he will need to work hard at school this year. And we are taking advantage of every moment we have together as a family. We are so thankful for this family God has given us.
What do you do with your trash? Well, it actually depends on what kind of trash it is. If it is glass, you put it aside in separate containers, which you later bring to a large central container in the neighborhood - the “glasbak”. Once a week this glass is collected by the city and recycled.
If it is food scraps, you put it in a green bucket which is also picked up once a week. This bucket might be big (if you have a house) or small (if you live in an apartment). Both stink quite a bit when it is warm weather.
If it is certain kinds of packaging, you separate it and put it in plastic sacks which get picked up once a week and recycled. Otherwise, you simply throw it away. What do YOU do with your trash?
For your contact - email, fb, calls, cards and letters!
For your prayers for our work! New life is exciting!
For your faithfulness in living for God in your life
What’s coming up?