Here is the last report of the year 2015 which flew by. I was reminded of Psalm 90. Many Christians in the Netherlands read Psalm 90 on New Years Eve.
The last few months were the busiest months of 2015 for me. On September 18th I officiated at the wedding of a young couple, friends from our congregation. It was a joyous and very blessed day. During our gathering I shared from Ephesians 5:1-2. It is wonderful to see how they serve the Lord together and are active in His Kingdom.
In September I started a Biblestudy series in the book of Romans in the city of Wijk en Aalburg, where there’s a loyal interdenominational group that takes care of all the practical issues and preparations while I’m responsible for the spiritual part. It all works out really well. The participation is overwhelming. Every night we get together we have about 220-225 people. But most importantly,
there is a hunger and thirst for the Word, for the Lord Jesus. The presence of the Lord is noticeable during these evenings. I’m going through the book of Romans verse by verse in about 20 evenings.
In another city (Kockengen) I teach a Bible study series during 4 evenings regarding the (spiritual) meaning of the tabernacle. Our starting point is Exodus, chapters 25 through 40. In the Old Testament sacrificial and worship service we can actually see the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice gloriously portrayed. The epistle to the Hebrews teaches that at the same time He is also the unique High Priest who is always serving on behalf of others. These studies have truly deepened and enriched my own spiritual life because I have gained a better understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus. Our group meets together in the barn of a big farm.
On November 29th, we were shocked by the death of a very devoted brother in the Lord, Teun van der Weijden. Teun was always involved in our ministry. We went to prayer meetings together and to Heart Cry Netherlands conferences. He was a true intercessor for our country and for our people. He was an example to me with regard to his passion for and devotion to the Lord Jesus. He regularly came to our house, and we would talk about the Lord and the work that we were called to do for Him, and we always ended with prayer. Teun is no more on the earth. He was 67 years old, and has now been promoted to glory. One intercessor in the Netherlands is gone. We miss him.
Recently I was reading in a book that I received as a gift from my parents in 2000. It is a book by John Owen and bears the title “The Glory of Christ.” The title of this book became the theme of two conferences in the Netherlands and Belgium where I was privileged to speak. In Doorn (Netherlands) I shared five times in three days about this wonderful theme. Our family stayed in a beautiful country manor where I also taught Bible studies. It was a wonderful privilege that we could stay here as a family so that Annette and the children also could participate. Those were very blessed days in which we could sample and taste something of the Glory of Christ. The same foundation that organized this conference, asked me to start planning a conference several times a year on this estate and then to teach Bible studies. In early January, we will be discussing this together.
The conference in Belgium took place in Zaventem on the 4th and 5th of December. Zaventem is a town in the immediate vicinity of the Brussels Airport. I was invited there by an Evangelical church. The spiritual need in Belgium is huge. There are only a few Bible teachers who systematically go through the Bible. Churches often hear only topical preaching, while there is a great need for teaching that explains the whole Bible. There I also spoke about the Glory of Christ, and I used Hebrews as a starting point. In January 2016, I hope to go to Belgium for another 2 days for a continuation of this conference. There is a lot of spiritual darkness in Belgium. They need preaching of the Word of God that is powerful and living. Sometimes I ask myself – given the great spiritual need and lack of biblical teaching: would the Lord want us to go serve in Belgium with the Gospel?
Developments in our own church also continue. In recent months, important steps have been taken. We as a family are very grateful that the spiritual support from our congregation has increased. In recent weeks we have been meeting together with a group of about eight brothers and sisters. It is the intention that this group regularly meet in our home, where we continue talking with each other about the work of our ministry and our spiritual life. We share the blessings and concerns, joys and sorrows, and spend much time in prayer. The intercession during these meetings is specifically focused on our work / ministry. We are very grateful for this development. This prayer group includes an elder and a deacon from our (home) church. Furthermore, our church is trying to support us financially where possible. However, we are a small congregation which is still developing, also as far as financial support is concerned.
December 13th l was asked to speak at the meeting in our Alblasserdam church. The special thing was that during that service two elders and deacons were confirmed, which was an important development through which our young church is increasingly taking shape and gaining purpose. One of the elders that was confirmed, is brother Johan Baan. He was also present at the conference in Germany where European laborers of HeartCry Missionary Society met together. During the special service at our church, I spoke from Mark 10:42-45.
In the month of December a lot of cities have so-called ‘Christmas markets’ throughout the Netherlands. These Christmas markets are visited by thousands of people. Our church seized this opportunity in the city of Dordrecht (near our hometown) to evangelize in one such Christmas market. I also went evangelizing with my two eldest sons. Street evangelism is not something I often do, but it is very important to stay in touch with the world in which we live. The (spiritual) need is high in the Netherlands as well. It was very instructive to participate, also for my children.
Finally, I want to especially thank HeartCry Missionary Society for the encouraging and blessed conference in Grönebach (Germany), held last October. It was a special privilege for me to spend a number of days with other European workers and to be taught from God’s Word. Having contact with and listening to experiences from other European workers was particularly instructive. Hereby I express the wish that these kinds of conferences will take place more often in the future. We need each other very much. Glory to God for these wonderful days!
I’m also thankful for my wife Annette and for our children. They are doing well. We try to spend as much time together as possible, including when I have to travel throughout the country for speaking engagements. We’re enjoying one another and are counting our blessings one by one. On behalf of our whole family I thank you for your kind interest and your support throughout the last year. It continues to amaze us.
We pray for God’s blessing and nearness for you all, and we’d like to commend the following words to you from Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!”
Closely united in our Savior,