Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be
The aforementioned song came up in my heart and mind, because this year it has been 5 years since the Lord called us to full-time ministry. After working as a real estate agent and appraiser for 12 years in the real estate world, our life took a completely different turn at that time. Called to preach the Gospel. Privilege and responsibility, again and again. When we look back now, we can only thank the Lord for His faithfulness, patience, and goodness throughout all those years. This applies to our personal lives, our marriage and family life, and also to the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to us.
I often think of the calling of Moses in Exodus 3 and his response in Exodus 4:10-12, “Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.’” Very powerful! I can not stand in Moses’ shadow, but the Lord is the same. He provides what is necessary, especially when it comes to our calling. That makes us as a family very small and dependent and at the same time it gives us hope and expectation for the future.
Our family is looking back on a wonderful summer period and that in many ways. We stayed at camping De Betteld in Cadzand-Bad for a week. This is a town in the province of Zeeland. I taught various Bible studies on the subject of ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation’ from 2 Corinthians 5:17. What does this mean and what are the consequences? It was truly a privilege to proclaim the Word of God during the summer vacation at the camp site. The beauty of this kind of setting is that it often leads to very open and confidential conversations with the camping guests. Our children also really enjoyed everything, partly because this campsite is located near the beach and the sea.
Next, our family drove by car to Switzerland to stay there for two weeks for vacation, but also for Bible studies. The Christian group-lodge/hotel is situated in a beautiful location against a mountain slope in Wilderswil, near the city of Interlaken. During these two weeks I taught from the book of Nehemiah. We had a group of about 75 Dutch people who were on holiday in Switzerland. What wonderful and deep principles are shown to us from this Bible book – very timely and practical. It truly was a very constructive time. Additionally, we were really amazed by the beautiful surroundings of nature. My son Levi and I climbed a glacier, among other things. It was very impressive (Photo 4).
One of the highlights of our summer was the wedding of a young couple from our church. The brother wrestled with homosexual feelings for years and also with the practice of it. A few years ago the Lord powerfully intervened in his life. He came to faith and repentance. Then he met a young lady and they got married this summer. Truly a miracle from God! Annette and I guided them toward marriage for some time and then also did pre-marriage counseling with them. During the wedding ceremony I spoke from Revelation 21:5, ‘Behold, I make all things new’. The service itself was a great opportunity for this young couple to testify to many people what the Lord had done in their lives. It was a richly blessed meeting. We serve a living Lord! Currently, we are guiding another young couple from our congregation toward marriage. We meet together in our home and share biblical marriage principles and also speak a lot from our own marital experience. It is precious to invest like this in young people. The wedding ceremony of this couple will take place on December 1st.
For years I’ve been part of the board of HeartCry Netherlands. As a board we have been looking for a while now for a location/accommodation in our country to further develop and expand our activities. Of course, this desire has been accompanied by prayer, seeking the will of the Lord. Some time ago, a number of Christian investors crossed our path and we shared our desire with them. It’s a long story, but these investors now have the same desire as we do and are willing to make it financially feasible. In short, a mission house has been purchased at a very central and beautiful location in the Netherlands (Amerongen). After fifteen years of developing our foundation, we see this as a new and special step toward the future. The Mission House originates from a spiritual revival in the last century. We consider it a great privilege to be able to equip Christian workers for the great commission on the same spiritual foundation as what this beautiful building was used for in the past. The way it is looking now, the building – with plenty of space and possibilities – will become available for our activities in the summer of 2019.
We desire and intend for the mission house to become a Prayer, Mission, Education and Meeting Center. Starting with a community of four families – we want to house our Bible schools, provide equipment, and also organize all our pastoral activities in this building. This would include the Heart for the Family platform and the support of all our Workers in the Vineyard. You understand that we are extremely grateful to the Lord for these wonderful developments. This process will require a lot of my time, energy, and attention in the near future, as it has in recent days. But it is a great blessing to witness this process and to be able to contribute to it.
Since September, after the summer vacation, various Bible studies were started again in different towns in our little country. I’m teaching a series of Bible studies on ‘Christ in the Tabernacle’ in two different towns. This teaching touches the core of the Christian faith and theology. It is very gratifying to see how much interest there is for these evenings. This also applies to a Bible study series on the book of Nehemiah in yet another village. I really sense a hunger and thirst for the Word of God – very gratifying and encouraging. In the town of Baarn I have taught two evenings on ‘Discipleship’. The starting point for these studies was Mark 3:14a, ‘And He appointed twelve so that they could be with Him’. This is the most important and perhaps most neglected aspect of discipleship. At Your feet, Lord, that is the highest place. Personally, this has again convicted me of the importance of personal and hidden communion with God (Psalm 25:14).
We are grateful for the many opportunities we receive to preach the Gospel in the Netherlands and Belgium, both on weekends and during the week. My speaking agenda is filling up quickly. It is important to stay attuned to the will of the Lord, especially when it comes to speaking. Where does He want me to speak? What is His will in this? That constantly requires dependency on Him. In addition, I notice that I quickly spend a lot of time and energy on answering e-mails, having (telephone) conversations etc. In itself that is good, but staying in the Word of God is my first priority. And that is something that I really have to keep an eye on. We’re called upon often and that takes time. Fortunately, Annette helps me to stay focused and especially to do what the Lord has called us to do.
Given my lack of knowledge and command of the English language, I started an English course. I would like to become proficient in it for various reasons, not in the last place with a view to our ministry. Aside from doing the course, I read my English Bible every morning, plus I also try to read a sermon in English. This requires a great deal of time, and I have to confess it’s quite hard for me, but with the help of a dictionary I come a long way. It is really a prayer point for me. So please feel free to pray for this too, that I can make time for it and that my efforts to master the English language will be blessed by the Lord.
Our children Levi, Boaz and Jesse started their new school year one and a half months ago. After a long holiday period during which we had the boys with us every day, they have to get used to going to school again, and we as parents have to get used to it, too. We are grateful for and with our children, and it is our daily prayer that we may first of all be a blessing to them. We pray that the Lord will also fulfill His glorious purpose in our four sons. This coming weekend (19 to 22 October) our family plans to go to the fall conference of HeartCry Netherlands. Brother Paul Washer has spoken at this conference in the past. The theme is ‘Living Stones – Are You Buiilding With Us?’ More than 1,100 people have registered for this family conference, something for which we are very grateful.
Last but not least, thank you very much for your commitment to our family and our ministry. We do not only appreciate your spiritual and financial support, but we also desperately need it. The Lord bless you richly for this. We would like to give you the following verses from Psalm 32:7-8 for encouragement,”You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
With loving greetings and God’s rich and indespensible blessings,
Jacques & Annette,
Levi, Boaz, Jesse and Juda Brunt
Stephen began working for HeartCry in 2015. As coordinator for Asia, North America, and Western Europe, he currently oversees the missionaries over 10 countries. He currently lives in Virginia with his wife and four children.More By Stephen Jacobs