Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our 90-year-old teenager

This past week we celebrated Willemien’s 90th birthday. We had a great time making her day especially special. The smile she usually graces us all with was even brighter that day.
I may have mentioned it before, but Willemien has pretty much ruined my idea of what “old” is. She had two new knees put in a few years back and was recovered and back to full steam within 3 weeks – this was after she was 85. She walks the dog twice a day. Although she has someone come in to help clean once a week, she still lives at home alone and takes care of herself. So when I meet someone who is, say 78, I think, “Ah, that’s a young’un.”
Willemien came to know Jesus back about the time we started working in Maastricht. She and her husband, Cor, had been searching for truth and God for 40 years (at that time). God brought us together and we have never looked back. So, technically, Willemien is about 16 years old in her faith life. And she is a great teenager. She loves mixing with all ages, is willing to listen, and shares her stories as well. She is a true prayer warrior in the church and always willing to learn.
Join with us in thanking God for His rich blessings in Willemien’s life and through Willemien’s life to so many around her. Willemien has no other family than her Christian family, but what a great family that is!
Willemien and Josephine celebrating together 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Now that's fellowship!

Thanks to Luk for the photo
Once again, members from the various congregations around Belgium and the Netherlands gathered for some fun fellowship. It is moments like these that thrill me about God's family. I learned long ago from my first mentor, Ron Carter, that Christians are the best one's to know how to really have fun. And the COPA Benelux is a good example. 
Usually the congregation in Maastricht brings a team as well - as a matter of fact, we have won the FUN cup twice (in the 4 years the competition has existed), but it's not about the winning (is it?). But this year we had several members not able to make it, so Scott and Michael sought a team that might need some extra players. We hooked up with the guys and gals from Brussels for their PRO team ... and look what happened! 
Not that our presence was that important to the win, but we sure had fun! And to be able to meet with brothers and sisters, having conversations in English, Dutch or French, making plans for other activities in the year, encouraging one another with struggles - it is a great time to be together. Luk Brazle's lesson on the body and finding our place was an encouragement for our spiritual lives. 
I am glad that Christians understand that something like this day is helpful, encouraging, beneficial and fun! I think of the years of camp in Colorado, California, Nebraska or Iowa, or of biking in the Tour de Togo in Minnesota (haven't made it yet, but I will), or so many other activities. Getting to know one another, encouraging each other, learning how to deal with winning and losing, showing non-Christian friends how to really have fun ... that is what a day like this is all about.