Dear brothers and sisters,
As everywhere in the world, in the Netherlands too, the coronavirus has many ‘in its grip’, as we say here. Humanity is experiencing in a very real way that life is not ‘manufacturable’. The slightest thing happens and humanity no longer has the answers. As a result, many people live in fear and anxiety. It really struck me that the apostle Paul, on the other hand, writes in Philippians 3:12 about being “in the grip” of (apprehended by) Christ Jesus. What a blessing if we can testify about this together with him, especially in these troubled and turbulent times. Our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3: 3).
At the same time, the coronavirus is having a major impact on our family and our ministry. The Dutch government has taken far-reaching measures to manage the situation. The situation in the Netherlands is such that schools will be closed until June 1st. This means that as a family we are together a lot and are looking for useful activities every day. We fill the days with home education, among other things. Another measure taken by the government is that social contacts are to be limited as much as possible. Meeting in large groups is prohibited. As a result, many speaking engagements and church meetings have been canceled. Some churches use a live stream, and because of this, I’m able to continue to teach the Bible. Canceling the vast majority of speaking engagements ensures that I spend a lot of time at home, but I also miss out on income that I would normally receive for the speaking engagements. Obviously, the government has taken several other measures, but the aforementioned ones obviously have a large impact on our family and ministry. We trust that the Lord will provide what we need. In addition, I’m seeking God’s face and asking Him for other methods and ways to be able to be a blessing to people, especially at this time. I am thinking of doing video recordings and writing articles.
I also have very happy news. On Sunday morning, February 23, I was confirmed to be an elder in our church. The Christian Congregation of Alblasserdam has about 250 members/attenders and is now led by 4 elders and 4 deacons. During the confirmation I received the following Bible verse from one of the elders; Psalm 16: 8 “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” It was a blessed service that started a new phase in my/our life. After the confirmation I preached from Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow in all aspects into Him Who is the Head, even Christ.”
Thank you for your compassion for and commitment to our family and ministry. The Lord bless you for that. We would like to encourage you with the words from Hebrews 12:2, “We fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”