Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Originally uploaded by sraabs.
This past weekend we took time for what we jokingly call "Thanksmas". Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Belgium or the Netherlands and falls on a Thursday, we seldom get to celebrate on the real day. Instead, we get together with other Americans (or interested parties) on a day that works for all of us - which is usually closer to Christmas.

This is always a time of good food, good feelings and good fellowship. We get to have some things we don't generally get, like a great big turkey, pumpkin pie, yams, and such. Many of these foods come with great memories or feelings. It has come to be comfort food.

We play games and even watch a football game (downloaded from the internet). This year we watched Green Bay lose to Atlanta (or should that be Atlanta winning from Green Bay). It's fun, even if you might by chance know the score before watching. For some this is the only time they see American football.

Above all, we all enjoy the time together. This is a time of planning for the coming months, hearing about the ways God has been blessing us, and sharing in new joys, like little Liam who was at this Thanksmas for the first time. Last year we witnessed the birth of Adrian, who gave his life to Christ during this celebration. This year we cooed and drooled over the beauty of a new baby. So many things to be thankful for. We are especially thankful that we make time to share these things together.

(Want to see some more pictures? Click on the picture above or here.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The "Old" testament

The word

Recently one of the people I have been studying with commented that things would be a lot better if we simply threw out the old testament and used only the new testament. Even better would be to use smaller portions of the new testament. Then maybe people would not be so daunted by this book, the Bible. Or by the difficulties with all that “old” stuff in the old testament.

Mind you, most people still aren’t even willing to read small sections of the new testament before passing judgement on the whole library (the Bible). But is was Jesus who “began with Mozes and all the prophets and explained to them what was written about him in all the Scriptures.” Jesus said that Mozes talked about him. That the prophets mentioned his suffering. That if his followers had read these writings, they would have known about him (although Jesus himself had to explain it).

Think about it: Paul went always first into the synangogue in a city and proved from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. We take as our example the people of Berea because they were willing to check the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. These Scriptures were what we call the Old Testament. And they spoke of Jesus!

So we have been studying the Scriptures, looking at where we see Jesus who told us that “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44). It is an intriguing study, a challenge for us all. And maybe we will be able to help others also see that they shouldn’t throw out their Old Testament just yet, but instead start reading it with the eyes of Jesus.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Football fun and fellowship

(photo by Kay Minne)

Last weekend a bunch of people got together to play some football (soccer for the Americans). Actually that’s not quite right – family from all over the Netherlands and Belgium got together to share some wonderful time of fellowship. Football happened to be the catalyst.

It is so important to know that we are family, to spend time getting in touch with one another again, to meet new members of our family. I am so thankful for activities like the Copa Benelux (organized by the guys over in Ghent) to do just that. The church in Belgium and the Netherlands strives to be a family, a close family. But that is because we have gotten to know one another, we pray for each other and we share our lives together.

So this last weekend we had fun, most of us. In Maastricht we definitely had fun – we took the “FUN” trophy home with us for the second time. But we also had some great conversations, talked about what was concerning us in our congregations, sang together to praise our Lord, and spent some time getting to know people we were acquainted with but didn’t yet know.

In Maastricht we understood very well that, trophy or not, we came home real winners.

By the way, my camera was lost at this tournament, but you can see some more pictures (from Luk Brazle and Kay Minne) by going here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The finale

The finale
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
Gentle rain of leaves
dancing on the wind,
tempo rising, swirling,
tossing with increasing urgency,
hurling themselves to the ground
leaving their patrons bare and stark,
staring in silence
at the vari-colored finale
on the floor.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sharing a weekend

Crossing the "High Bridge"
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
We were so thankful that Dale and Vicki Hawley got to share some time with us this past weekend! They are in Heidelberg, Germany for a year and would be meeting up with family in Amsterdam on Monday - a perfect chance to stop it at our place!
It was great to talk about what God is doing in our lives (theirs and ours), have them meet the members of the church and enjoy the beuaty of a colorful Fall season in our area. We know that there are so many who would love to visit and can't, so we are thankful for this visit - Dale and Vicki shared your love with us as well!
It is so good to experience in so many ways the family that God has created for us!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Follow along

Originally uploaded by sraabs.
As we are traveling in the States this summer I am finding it quite difficult to find time to sit down and update our blog with the update it deserves. Instead we are spending some very wonderful and valuable time with everyone we are so blessed to see along the way. We have so enjoyed seeing so many of you and still look forward to seeing so many more as our trip moves toward its end. Please take the time to visit our pictures and follow our travels in that way.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Furlough schedule

Next week we will be stepping on a plane to the United States to begin our trip visiting so many of you. Here is our schedule as it is planned so far. Some parts may change, but we will keep you updated. We are looking forward to seeing you!!

June 30 - Fly in from Europe!
July 1-9 - In Minnesota visiting with the Woodbury church
July 9-13 - In Muscatine, Iowa with the church there
July 13-16 - In Omaha, Nebraska with family
July 16-23 - In Colorado Springs with family and the church at Pikes Peak Avenue
July 24th - a Summer Breeze reunion (for those who know what Summer Breeze was)
July 23-25 - In Denver with family and church family
July 25-28 - traveling to Long Beach over Utah and Nevada
July 28-August 5 - in Long Beach with the Long Beach church
August 5-7 - traveling to Abilene, TX over Arizona and New Mexico
August 7-15 - in Abilene with the 11th & Willis church
August 15-19 - in the Kellar (TX) area with the McNeill's
August 19-20 - traveling to Searcy, AR (through Oklahoma?)
August 20-23 - in Searcy installing Stephan and visiting church family
August 23-24 - traveling to Naples, FL through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama
August 24-26 - In Naples, FL with family
August 26 - fly back to Europe!

Please let us know if we can see you along the way! We would love to visit and be encouraged by how God is working in your lives.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hope to see you!

Our travel plans
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
This summer we will be traveling all over the States, visiting family and church family. As usual, we are looking forward to seeing so many of you and getting to catch up on how God is blessing your lives.

This little map will give a bit of an idea of where we will be going. Thanks to some wonderful brothers and sisters we will be able to make this trip a road trip - since it will probably be the last time we make this trip as a complete family.

We will arrive in Minneapolis on June 30, move on down to Muscatine, Iowa on July 9 and further on to Omaha, Nebraska on the 13th of July. Three days later we ill drive over to Colorado Springs where we will stay until the evening of the 23rd when we drive up to Denver.
We leave Denver on the 25th on our way to a stop-over in Grand Junction, after which we move on to Las Vegas. After a few days in the desert, we arrive in Long Beach on the 28th of July, where we stay until August 5 (with a trip down to San Diego).
On August 5 we travel to Flagstaff, Arizona, where we spend the night. The next day takes us to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We may hook up with some friends in Clovis on the way to Abilene, Texas. We will be in Abilene until August 15 when we travel up to Haslett, Texas for a few days. On the 19th we are considering traveling to Oklahoma City before moving on to Searcy, Arkansas where we can install Stephan.
A few days in Searcy willbring us to August 23 when we drive on, without Stephan, towards Naples, Florida, stopping in Oxford, Alabama. We arrive in Naples on the 24th of August and drive over to Miami to fly home on the 26th, hoping to be able to speak Dutch by the time we get back.

Along the way we look forward to vacation Bible schools, a Summer Breeze reunion, birthday celebrations and lots of good fellowship. We hope to see you! Let us know how we can get together if we are in your neck of the woods.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Keep the trash out

- thanks to Olga Zhigulina for the foto -

During our weekend of footbaal in Switzerland I was the goalie for "Holland Pro" (don't take the names too seriously). I didn't keep my goal completely clean. One or two got past me. But the only reason I was able to keep some out was because I wasn't alone. My teammates kept running back to defend, save, help.

It is so good to know in my life with Christ that I am not alone. My brothers and sisters are helping, running themselves ragged sometimes. And when they are standing in the goal, trying to keep the trash out, I am there for them as well. We are a team, a body. We dont work alone.

Friday, May 07, 2010

April 2010

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

April 2010

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11

Dear all,

Every day is a new beginning, an opportunity to grow, to see something new. But growing is not always easy!


We have always loved singing. God has given us a song of love and grace in our hearts that can’t help but be expressed. And doing this with brothers and sisters is the best. This month we welcomed the Dela family into their new home in Belgium with an evening of singing and prayer.

Every first Wednesday of the month we get together to learn new songs and encourage one another. The church from Liege comes over for these Wednesdays and we get to practice our French (and they practice Dutch).

How do you do this?

- the kids trying to figure out how everything fits together -

We want people to know Jesus, to come to enjoy the real life that He gives us. To do this, people need to meet Jesus, know who he is. That means reading, discovering, digesting the Bible and

getting to know the Word - Jesus. But how do you do this? It sounds so easy to say simply,

“Read your Bible. Pray every day.” And yet, that is exactly what we are helping people to do.

This past month we worked with the Catholic young people from Veldwezelt. It is exciting to see that not only they, but their parents and people in the village are expecting to hear from the Bible (something that was not always expected). Our discussions with RW and LJ center around how real life is informed by what we see in Jesus’ life (which we see in the Bible). “But can I understand it?” is the question most often asked.

As we have been working through a deeper study with some of the young people in Maastricht, we, too have been faced with how some things may seem easier than they are. The reality remains that we are able to understand what God wants from us, but certainly not all at once (and not everything). We need to keep trying to understand (asking questions, listening to God speak in His word), and in the meantime live what we know is right.


We cannot continue without the strength and guidance that our King gives us every day. The song is right - if we want to grow. Sometimes we forget that we need each other. It is good to know that there are others exeperiencing the same struggles as we (1 Peter 5:8-11). I have tried lately to help the brothers in the Netherlands and Belgium see how they can encourage one another. We have been meeting to share our lives and pray.

Yes, we meet at an Ikea for breakfast (only 1 euro!) because it is a central place and makes things easy. But the sharing time and prayer in the weeks afterwards are invaluable. I pray that this idea and desire will spread locally as well. It is absolutely necessary that we know that we need each other.

Which is why playing football in Switserland is simply amazing! This is the third year that we have taken several groups (about 40 people this year!) to the soccer tournament put on by the church in Zurich and Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Fun teams, “pro” teams, plenty of soccer, and even more fellowship - in a whole slew of languages!

Sunday morning is a time of singing in German, French, English and Dutch. We partake of the Lord’s supper, realizing that the death and life we are celebrating is what binds us all together. And then listening to a wonderful message in English, but translated sentence-by-sentence in French and German - even the movements at times! God has placed us in His family so that we can stretch and grow. Sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle. But some times can be so enjoyable!

Let God have his way with you today so that you can grow. Read his word, every day - even if it is sometimes difficult. And pray. Talk to God every day.


Please keep the following in your prayers.

Keep our studies in your prayers - that we can understand what God is saying and put it into practice in our lives

Pray for our contact with K., LJ., A., R., C&T., and RW.

Pray for our sister, Shadira, and her plans to move to Curaçao with her daughters. Pray that her daughters will also be able to adapt to this move.

Pray for the Spring conference “Love Works!” on Pentecost Monday and afterwards - that the church here will be encouraged to be active.

Thank God for our oppotunity to visit this summer.


Tidbits about Belgium and the Netherlands

Working together

Just recently the prime ministers of Belgium and the Netherlands signed a document stating their desire to organize the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 together. Some in both countries have wondered if two small countries should even try this. But Belgium and the Netherlands are willing to work together for this.

Of course, both countries will first have to get their governments ready. Both governments have recently fallen becasue the parties in the governments could not work together. In the Netherlands that means the normal right and left parties. In Belgium that means the French-speakers and Flemish-speakers AND left and right parties in each language!


April can be such a joy! Everything begins to bloom, the trees gain a hazy green, everyone is busy with muddy hands getting the yard or the garden ready, and the weather finally begins turning. Though not always as quickly as we would like.

We too were able to get out in the yard and get some work done. Of course most of it was simply heavy moving. We had a tree cut down earlier and all of the wood needed to be taken out of the yard. Several trips to the container park with gummy hands later and the yard started looking like a yard - albeit a messy one still. One of these days we will be able to get it completely finished.

In the meantime we enjoyed a wonderful Easter break. Sean gets two weeks off of school. A great time, except that he then gets no more breaks until the end of June when school ends. So we decided to make the most of this break. We wanted to have at least one family day, and it became a day to The Hague. (You can see our pictures at www.flickr.com/sraabs) We drove to the edge of the city (about 2,5 hours) and took the tram to the beach at Scheveningen. Mr. Blue Sky was our friend for the day, although it was still a bit chilly.

Walking along the beach, picking out seashells to take to Stephan in the summer, a walk through the parks of The Hague and a short tram ride back to downtown brought us to the center of the city. This is where the government meets, where the queen gives her annual speech, where people demonstrate ... and of course where the shops are. After looking around a bit, we had another tram ride back to the car, a ride home, and a film when we got back. A good time together!

Sean is hanging on since then, willing himself to do well at school (and doing well). He has gotten a job at a local restaurant and cafe boat, hoping to make enough money to invest in amps and guitars. His third gig went well, and he is looking forward to playing twice at his school for their open day. His life is quite a bit busier, but this has helped him to prioritize as well.

And all of us are trying to get our work done here before we leave for the summer. Being gone for two months takes quite a bit of planning and organization. We look forward to seeing so many of you again and are so thankful for the help we have already received. We will be starting in Minnesota, as usual, followed by Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, California and Texas. This time we will also be dropping Stephan off in Arkansas before heading on to Florida. Check out our blog in a few days for the schedule and please plan on hooking up with us while we are there! (http://ravenraab.blogspot.com)

Enjoy the moments together! They are meant to be times of love and joy, struggle and strife - real life. So good.


For the funds for our furlough, cars, and places to stay. It’s going to be great to see you!

For your prayers for our work!

For encouragement, wisdom and answers to questions.

What’s coming up?


Soccer in Switzerland

Love Works! Spring meeting


Ladies day

Youth weekend

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I can do this!

Old kitchen, new pantry
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
Those who know me know that I am not all that handy. So when I needed to get our kitchen done, I asked for help. Paul Brazle and Pieter Good came for a day and helped me put our kitchen together. I kept a close eye on what they were doing and listened.

You see, I knew that I still needed to put together our "bijkeuken" (the pantry). And I can't always have people come all the way from Antwerp to help. So I gathered my courage and jumped in - putting into practice what I had just learned. And it went pretty well!

Made me think about how often we ask others to grow in faith. Most of the things that God ask us to do really are impossible - until we trust in Him to help us. But we still have to gather our courage and get on with it. It is nice to first be able to watch someone else do it. I am glad for those who went before me, whom I could watch. And I am glad that God is using me to teach others as well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What a difference!

Round about this time last year we were thankful to have heating, could open our kitchen door and step out into wide open space instead of walk back to the bathroom, and had begun this journey that is remodeling. 

We started this because ... we couldn't keep the house warm, which was costing us a bundle, and we noticed everyone regularly having breathing troubles. Nothing too serious, but not good. When we looked behind the built-in cabinets that came with the house and looked behind the wood panelling to see what was being hidden - we understood all. 

Fixing these walls would have been as expensive if not more expensive than ripping them down and building anew. So... we did. 
Plans were for less space, but more efficient use. The kitchen, which on good mornings would catch  ray of sunlight, would move out of the dark, inner room to the new sunlit extension. We would lose a toilet and bathroom downstairs until the toilet could be rebuilt in a different place. 

To make all of this possible we also had to tear things apart upstairs where the old heater was removed and a new one installed. Until our kitchen was ready, we (Shirley) would cook in what was basically a sink and electrical outlet with space on the counter. Shirley cooked for almost a year using a microwave and electrical pizza pan. 

When Chuck Hicks and the Good News Singers from Harding arrived last year for the campaign here in Maastricht, we welcomed them with a house not even close to being finished - but we had windows! When we were finally able to hook up the cooker, life started getting easier. We still had to get water from the sink in the downstairs toilet, but dishes were done upstairs. 

Finally, all of the parts were complete. We now have a whole kitchen downstairs. And the old kitchen? This dark little room is starting to shape up, as we try to finish the bits and bobs that still need so much work, and will soon be able to be used as an office. We may even soon be able to finally move the washer and dryer out of the makeshift kitchen upstairs to its rightful place downstairs. 

Things are far from being completed (finishing touches, the yard still full of debris), but the winter showed us why we did this - we were able to heat the house and no longer suffer from the mold which was eating away the back part of the house. Interestingly - the original house, from 1936, never has had troubles. It was a section added on in the 70's which we tore down. Let the sun shine in!

Friday, March 19, 2010

January-March 2010

LIGHT in the Lowlands
Reaching out to the people of Belgium and the Netherlands
January-March 2010

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
so great is his love for those who fear him;  as far as the east is from the west, 

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.    Psalm 103:11-12

Dear all,
Take a moment and look back at what God has done in your life these past few months. He is amazing!
Lots of things happen when you start a new phase in your life. In January we were pleased to marry Adrian and Kata at our building (after their wedding in the City Hall). Both families were able to meet Adrian’s new Christian family. This was a great start to Adrian’s new life in Christ, his new life with Kata and their new life together with their daughter (who was born a month later). Keep Adrian in your prayers as he continues to grow in grace and knowledge.  

All about the money?
In January we had our annual Camp meeting. We usually use this time - a planned and required formal meeting - for church fellowship and singing. This year was exciting to me. Although some felt like we were only talking about money - since we have been trying to raise funds for the needed renovation of the facilites - what we saw was a heartfelt outpouring of encouragement and support.  Members from all around Belgium and the Netherlands looked into their hearts and their wallets and prayed about what camp meant to them and the future of the church here. It has been exiting to see this level of commitment and unity!

SING to the Lord!
One of the most encouraging aspects of our work here is how we are able to encourage one another in song. Listen Up! is one aspect of this encouragement. The church in The Hague planned an evening of learning new songs and learning how to learn songs. Listen Up! was there to help and it became an evening of great fellowship which has echoed in the church for the last two months. 
In February Listen Up! traveled through the snow to Eindhoven to teach some kids in an internationals school about singing. In March we shared about a cappella singing to a group of Chinese believers in Utrecht. And every month the church in Maastricht welcomes the members from Liege! Singing gets us into the Word itself and touches hearts. 
In May we want to repeat the Gospel Singing workshop we started last year (we were blessed with Chuck Hicks and the Good News Singers from Harding). We have had several people from last year contact us asking if we will continue this project. We learn songs and then sing for our local nursing homes. Our young people will take the lead this year! What a great opportunity!

Every time we get together, we can share what God is doing in our lives. 
That is why God created church. We are part of a body, a home, a family, a building built together. Back at the beginning of the year the young people gathered at camp for Survivor Camp. It is good to know that you are not alone. At the end of March I will get together with several brothers for a time of prayer, so that we know that we can depend on each other. 

The annual Spring fellowship meeting in The Hague is based around the theme: “Love Works! ... discovering how we can look like Jesus”. We want to encourage one another to be active parts of the body of Christ, wherever we are!

I started this letter with a request to look back at what God has done for you. That is so that we can continue to look forward, knowing that God is doing wonderful things and can be trusted for the future! We are looking forward to: seeing some of you in the summer, welcoming new babies into the family, being used daily to praise God in all we do. 

Please keep the following in your prayers.
Praise God for how He is teaching and encouraging our young people in the church here in Maastricht. 
Pray for our contact with K., LJ., A., R., C&T., RW., N.,  and M. We have had some good studies and discussions.
Pray for our sister, Shadira, who is in Curaçao for her grandmother and making plans for the future.
Praise God for the response to our Bible camp needs. Pray for the plans and red-tape.
Pray for active churches here in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Pray for our plans for our furlough this summer, that all can be planned well. 

Tidbits of information about Belgium and the Netherlands
Something to be proud of?
In the past few months there have been various elements in the news about both the Netherlands and Belgium - some causes to be proud, others less so. In sports, both Jutin Henin and Kim Clijsters made good on their return - and then didn’t. Sven Kramer was the hope for the Netherlands during the Winter Olympics, and a lesson for many. 
Belgium experienced its worst train crash in more than a decade and the government in the Netherlands fell, due to an imminent “train crash” over troops in Afghanistan. 
In The meantime, Dutch car company Spyker bought Saab and Europe’s largest art fair settled once again for two weeks here in Maastricht. 

One of the things that we usually miss here is snow. Scott is from Colorado Springs, Shirley is from Omaha. We are used to a bit of snow. Or at least we thought so. Although we obviously did NOT get as much as many of you, we got our share (was it fair?). And soon enough we were yearning for the wet, green Spring of Belgium and the Netherlands. But it is now on its way.
Our family has of course been quite different since Stephan headed off to Harding. Now when we think about telling what has happened, he is on the sidelines, somehow. But this is not how we feel. A typical skype evening is something like this: we call around 11 p.m. our time, which is afternoon for Stephan. Somehow, the days we have planned (often a Friday or Saturday evening) Sean is not quite home yet. This gives the parents time to talk. Questions about school, life there (girlfriend?), life here, some forms that need taking care of (taxes, orthodontist). He shows us where he’s sitting, we show him the latest changes in the house (isn’t it great to be able to video-chat!). 
Then Sean comes home, cuddles up to us on the couch - head in the video - and the discussion turns to music, guitars, the latest sports or plans. By this time we are almost falling asleep, so we say goodnight and Sean takes over for another little bit before heading off to bed. The next day we all simply sigh; it is good to see that he is doing well, but we sure miss him. 
In the meantime, our family continues here as well. Sean is pushing through the 11th grade. Some days better than others. He will have his wisdom removed next month (his teeth, in any case), but is quickly becoming a wise young man in dealing with everyday problems and relationships. He is also enjoying expanding his music. He has now had two “gigs” with his band and is looking forward to the next one next month. He has also started playing a melodica (ask him about it). 
In February we all went to Germany for ABSS and saw Scott Lambert. What a great time to touch base again (although way too short!). 
In March Shirley went off for three days to the Ladies Retreat in Germany. A good time of fellowship and encouragement, spiritual food and some goodies for the boys back home (Sean’s “Whoah!” when he saw some of the specials). 
This summer we are planning our furlough once again. Has it already been three years since we stayed with the Jablonski’s, helped with the VBS in Muscatine and saw family in so many places? This will probably be our last furlough with the boys, so we are making it a bit special. In the coming newsbits we will let you know more. 
Thanks for being part of our Family!!

What’s coming up?
Youth weekend
Soccer in Switzerland
Gospel singing workshop
Love Works! Spring meeting

For the funds for our upcoming furlough
For your prayers for our work! New life and new chances!
For contact through fb, emails, calls and cards

Friday, January 08, 2010

Newsletter - summary 2009

LIGHT in the Lowlands
Reaching out to the people of Belgium and the Netherlands
Fall 2009

Sing to the LORD a new song,  

for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.  

The LORD has made his salvation known 

and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

Psalm 98:1,2

Dear all,

Let me take the time to bring you up to date on what happened in 2009 and look forward quickly to 2010.

NEW life!  

Recently during a Wednesday evening Bible study we were talking about the past year. Our newest brother in Christ, Adrian, mentioned how glad he was to be a part of the family, but that he 

was just a baby. As we looked around the circle, we realized that we have 5 babies in the family here! And it is exciting to see how active they are in allowing the Spirit to guide their lives. 

FAMILY time  

In Maastricht we are a family. We try to care for one another and encourage one another. This is evident when the Dela family is looking for a new house. Anita helped to find one in her village, Ruud worked with them in communicating with the bank and notary, others helped them to move house and all are helping the children adapt to a new situation. 

On Wednesday evenings we travel either to Shadira’s or Geesie’s house for the study. This way they too can share in the fellowship and growth. On the first Wednesday of the month the church in Liege comes to Maastricht and we sing in English, Dutch and French, learning new songs and encouraging one another.

We are here for each other. It is not always perfect. In november we tried to help Willemien out with her house; together with the help of some students from Canada we cleaned out some of the extra in her house. On returning, this turned out to be quite a shock to her, although we had discussed it. We are now working through loving each other as a family - and God is such a wonderful help and healer!


Every season is full of activities for us. In 2009 we helped with or conducted five weddings, taught at or helped with seven youth weekends and activities, including a youth weekend in Maastricht, directed or helped with four camps, conducted an international song seminar, and met weekly for various studies. But we don’t want to just be busy. It is important that we are reaching hearts, helping people to grow and learn so that they can also know who Jesus is and let others know this as well. 

Our youth weekend in Maastricht focused on perseverance. At Fall Camp in the Ardennes we took the weekend to look at the dools we need to dig in to the word. It has been exciting to see how our young people have taken both of these topics to heart, diggin into their Bibles with perseverance!

The end of the year was filled, as was yours, with many visits with family, although ours was of course our church family. At Thanksgiving we saw the birth of Adrian. Near Christmas we sang with Listen Up! of the true and living Savior, the reality of Christ in our every day. At New Year a group of young people was down at camp examining the old year, looking toward the new and considering how best to survive.


As we head in to this new year of 2010, we are looking forward to the life and activities that God has prepared for us. We are encouraged by how our work with the Catholic kids is touching hearts and pray for more open doors and hearts in this group. We are greatly encouraged by the growth of our “babies” in Christ, how they hunger for His word, and look forward to how God is going to use them this year. We know that we have some challenging studies coming our way as well.

In all of this, God is doing marvelous things, and we want to tell the nations of Him (you should see our services on Sunday: Dutch, Belgian, German, Philippine, American). We look forward to what He has planned for us in each new day.


Please keep the following in your prayers.

Pray for the continued growth of our newest brother and sisters from this past year: Wim, Susan, Valéri, Isha and Adrian! There have also been births in several other cities. God is moving and bringing life!

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 the church family here and how they are helping one another.

Pray for guidance for the coming year and the work that God has prepared for us to do.


Tidbits of information about the Netherlands and Belgium


Europe has all sorts of heads of state. The Netherlands has a queen, although that may soon become a king. Belgium has a king. Germany has a president. But all of these people are mostly window dressing. The Prime Minister, or Premier (the “first”), is the one who runs the government. 

Recently both the Belgian and Dutch prime ministers were being considered for the job of head of the council of Europe - a new position. Herman van Rompuy, the Belgian Prime Minister, was chosen over the Dutch Jan-Pieter Balkenende. If Europe were something like the United States, then a president would be the leader of Europe. But this is still Europe. This “president” may be more show than action. Something to watch in the future.

On the family side . . .

How can you summarize a whole section of the year in such a short space. I know we receive some of your year-end letters and they are wonderful! Although I will probably miss some things, I will try to hit the high spots of the last bit of 2009. 

As mentioned, we were so glad to have had Stephan home for the summer!  Stephan is doing well at Harding, enjoying his studies and various opportunities. He was chosen as beau and has been enjoying that added attention as well. 

We are always glad that we have the possibility of skype - it is nice to be able to see him, talk with him, laugh. During the Christmas break he was able to stay with Scott’s brother and family in Colorado Springs, see a good bit of Scott’s family and enjoy what little snow he coul find there (he had expected so much more coming from Arkansas).

Sean has continued with his music. He played his first gig with his band “Karma Police” and has since played another gig as well. It is exciting to see him growing, trying new things, writing songs. He is growing into such a fine young man. This Fall he took the PSAT, reminding us that things are moving pretty quickly. He was serious with his studies, which showed at the Christmas exams: he did very well with his grades. 

Scott took a course in reanimation with a hand-held machine so that he can help in the neighborhood. An awesome responsibility which also reminds us of our responsibility with the knowledge we have of Jesus. We need ot know and know how to help.

In the meantime Scott has been trying to get some things done on the renovations of the house that still need finishing. The downstairs toilet is finally available, parts of the kitchen have been added, and the old kitchen, which has become a gathering room of assorted objects, is periodically sorted out and emptied.

Shirley had some fun in the Fall putting some of her clothes online - Style by Shirley. The closet gets cleaned out, others get a good deal, and Shirley ahs learned how to use the computer and internet. Still plenty to work with, a fun hobby.

In December Scott and Shirley celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They forced a few days free during a busy schedule for this month and went off to Brussels together. Bill and DeeDee Bundy lent them their house for the days, making a wonderful anniversary. Here’s to the next 25!

In 2010 we look forward to the challenges coming up. We are also looking forward to seeing some of you again - it is time for our furlough already! More on that in the next letter. Enjoy the new year with all that God has prepared for you.



Youth weekend

Camp fellowship

Song workshop


Youth outreach


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