A certain David Devoir once said the following, “When I crossed the Atlantic Ocean I discovered that the ship was equipped with two compasses. One was placed on the deck so that the man at the helm could see it. The other compass was halfway up the mast. Often a sailor would climb into the mast to look at the compass there. I asked the captain, ‘Why are you using two compasses?’’ He replied, ‘This ship is made of iron and the compass on the deck is sometimes affected by its environment. This is not the case with the compass in the mast. We actually determine our course on that compass.’” Devoir teaches us the following lesson here: In our life’s journey we also have two compasses. You could call one compass “feelings.” Those are often influenced by our circumstances. You could call the other compass “faith.” That compass goes beyond our circumstances and indicates the course on the sea of life in any kind of weather. Let’s sail by that compass. The just shall live by his faith. Believe in the promise of the Living God. “For as many as the promises of God are, in Him they are yes; therefore through Him also is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
The Netherlands and Covid-19
In the Netherlands, almost all measures regarding Covid-19 have been lifted. The lifting of the measures has had major consequences for our work. During the restrictions, we were allowed to gather together as churches in the Netherlands, but often only in small numbers. Now that all measures have expired, all meetings in the church can take place with the entire congregation, which is wonderful! Before the lifting of the measures, I would be speaking a lot via Livestream connections, which is not ideal and certainly not as the Lord God intended. That is precisely why we are glad that there are now no more obstacles to keep us from meeting together.
In recent years, our church has grown a lot, so we had to look for another building. That is quite an exciting process because growth is a very beautiful thing, but “how” do you keep a watchful eye on each individual at the same time? The danger of people disappearing into anonymity increases if you are not careful. As elders and deacons, we prayerfully began a search for another building. This process took a lot of time and energy. After about two years, a church building that matches our congregation became available. As of March 1, our congregation moved. We will be renting the building first, and then hope to buy it in the future. We are extremely grateful for this church building so that all our church activities can take place under one roof.
The end of 2021 was a joyous period for several reasons. In addition to celebrating several birthdays of (among others) our oldest son Levi and myself, we as a family – together with our congregation – witnessed Levi being baptized. It was a special day for us as parents, full of joy and gratitude. There were five baptisms in total. It is always very encouraging to hear each of the testimonies—the Lord continues with His work. It was my privilege as a father to be allowed to speak, in addition to doing the baptizing. The key verse for the sermon was Galatians 6:14, “But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” As leaders of the congregation, we always give a baptismal text to those being baptized. The text that I was able to give to our son was 2 Timothy 2:1, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
It is a privilege each year to teach at different Bible schools in Belgium and the Netherlands. Recently, I taught for a week at Gospel Mission Bible School in the city of Amerongen. Every year I speak on the theme of “Christ in the Tabernacle” on the basis of a model. It is encouraging to hang out with the students and taste their hunger for the Word of God. They long to be equipped for service (Ephesians 4:12). Together we look back on a richly blessed week.
In recent weeks Brother Johan Schep and I made several new television recordings for the Christian television channel Family7. Among other things, we completed our Bible study series on the book of Hebrews and recorded a total of 26 episodes. It was a big project, but an amazing privilege to be able to do. It was very instructive for me and also deepening for my personal life of faith. We now have discussed the book of Acts on television, as well as the letter to the Hebrews. We are currently contemplating doing another book of the Bible, which will be recorded sometime in the summer.
We have a number of conferences behind us during which we were able to minister the gospel with great joy and gratitude. What was very intense – and what I have not experienced before – is that during the last Bible study weekend one of the participants died in his sleep. You understand that this brought great sadness to everyone at the conference. We were confronted with the brevity of life (Psalm 103:15-16). We were able to say goodbye to the deceased brother in a dignified way—the week after the conference, I was allowed to speak at his celebration of life service. We grieve, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13-14). What a great consolation!
I am currently working on two important projects. The first is to build a new website. A brother I’m acquainted with is co-owner of a company that builds websites. They are now working on a new website design for me that fits these times. Additionally, I purchased camera equipment to be able to record more videos myself. These will be published on my website and my YouTube channel. All of this is possible because donations were made for these projects. Aside from being immensely grateful to the Lord, we are extremely thankful for those who have made finances available for this. The Lord provides for our needs so that the work may proceed and be extended.
This newsletter is written to inform you about the work of our ministry. This is, of course, only a “selection” of the activities of the past months that have taken place in addition to our regular speaking engagements. We cannot nearly describe everything. We’re doing our work with the conviction of what Isaiah writes in Isaiah 53:10, “The good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” That gives peace and confidence, and it relieves stress.
We are extremely grateful for HeartCry’s loyal support to our family and ministry. In addition to the financial support, we are very happy we are supported by your prayers and that we can consult you for advice when needed. It is wonderful to experience connectedness in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ across great oceans.
In closing, we would like to encourage you with the words of Hebrews 7:26-27. These words speak gloriously of the Lord Jesus and His work: “For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens; who has no daily need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because He did this once for all time when He offered up Himself.”