The first months of 2016 went by fast. In the beginning of January I had the privilege of speaking at a conference in Zaventem, Belgium, which is near Brussels. The first part of this conference took place in December of 2015, and then in January of this year we had the second part. The theme was The Glory of Christ. We had a good and blessed time. Systemic Bible exposition is rare in Belgium. There aren’t many Christians in Belgium, but the ones that are Christian have a great hunger and thirst after the Word of God. We hopefully will have a third part to this conference.
January was also the month in which the flu had a grip on our family. I was quite sick for more than 2 weeks, resulting in my having to cancel various speaking engagements. The problem was that I had nearly lost my voice. A singer warned me during one of my speaking engagements that if I were to continue speaking in this condition, eventually my vocal chords could be affected, which would bring even more problems. I ended going back to work after 2 and a half weeks. My voice is completely back to normal.
In the Netherlands it is common that in the first month of each year speaking engagements are set up for the following year, in this case for 2017. We are extremely grateful for the possibilities and openings that the Lord is giving to us, to pass on His Word. We have received requests for speaking engagements from congregations, Christian circles, and Bible study groups from every part of Holland. We are so thrilled with this and see it as God’s confirmation of our calling, and we’ve actually already set up some speaking engagements for 2018, if the Lord wills. At the same time we’re seeing the need to keep a healthy balance between on the one side our marriage and family and on the other side the work for the Lord. I have noticed that one can be very busy with beautiful, spiritual things, while neglecting time for the children and even our personal relationship with the Lord (Psalm 25:14). It is a trap for which we must be and stay watchful.
It is a tremendous encouragement to find out that the Lord is indeed blessing the work that we’re doing. Recently, our family was invited by an older couple to spend the weekend with them. They follow my studies via the Internet. The study on marriage (from Ephesians) turned out to be a tool in the hand of the Lord to save their marriage. They personally wanted to tell us that. We had a wonderful time with them. This is only one example, but you understand that such a testimony greatly humbles us, filling us with gratefulness to our Heavenly Father. The Lord uses puny men to glorify His Name! What a marvelous thing!
During this particular season I’m coming to the end of several series of Bible studies that I’ve been teaching. I just finished a series on The Spiritual Meaning of the Tabernacle, in the town of Kockengen. In our hometown of Alblasserdam we are finishing an 18-part series on the book of Hebrews. We had a richly blessed time these 1 and a half years. We had great attendance each time, and during each teaching I sensed the longing in the listeners to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). The overarching theme of this series was Christ Surpasses Everyone and Everything. Such a rich content! It was wonderful that my family also attended each of these Bible studies.
We have some good news. There are three young couples in our congregation that are intending to be married. We’re very happy about this. All three couples approached me to share God’s Word during their marriage ceremonies, and after prayerful consideration with our elders, I have agreed to do so. Of course, this means that I will be needing to make the necessary preparations for the ceremonies, plus I will be doing premarital counseling with each couple. This will all be happening during the coming months. We are looking forward to blessed meetings, but most of all to marriages that God will use to further His kingdom and His church.
Over the last few weeks Christians in the Netherlands have very specifically pondered the suffering, the dying, and the rising of the Lord Jesus. I was invited to speak six times during a 4-day conference on the theme One With Christ in His Crucifixion and Resurrection – from Romans 6:5. We again – also as a family – experienced that these truths are the heart of the Christian faith and thus the center of our spiritual life. During one of the meetings we also partook of the Lord’s Supper. It was a precious time in God’s glorious presence.
During the first 2 weeks in May we hope to stay in Israel – the whole family. A Dutch Christian travel organization approached me to lead a study tour to Israel and also to teach Bible studies there. What is so special is that it has been made financially possible for Annette and the children to come along. I’m delighted with this, as I so often travel alone. We will have a group of 58 participants. We hope to see much of the country, and it is my prayer that this trip will have lasting impact on all of us, including our children. We are really looking forward to this. This will be Annette and the children’s first travel by plane. All in all, a very special opportunity.
During the summer several evangelistic campaigns take place in the Netherlands. Sometimes an enormous tent is pitched in the center of a village. Various meetings are organized to take place in this tent, plus in many places there is door-to-door evangelism. I will be involved with this kind of campaign in two different places this summer, as I’ll be ministering the Word of our Lord. These are always fantastic opportunities to preach the Gospel.
In the mean time family life continues to go on. By now, Annette and I have been married 11.5 years and are still living in the same house which we bought when we got married. Part of that house was in need of a makeover after all those years. We kept putting it off for various reasons, but it came to a point where we really needed to get to work. To save money I often do various jobs around the house myself. That demands a lot of time and energy, especially alongside the work that I already do. Our brother-in-law does plastering work for a living, and he is working hard right now to get everything perfect and neat. Currently, everything is still chaotic and full of clutter in our home, but in the midst of all the stuff and the packed boxes I’m still able to find my way to my study. We hope that the renovation will be finished within a few weeks.
Finally, we would like to encourage you all with the words from 1 Corinthians 15:58
‘Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.’
Unitied in our Lord and Savior,
Jacques & Annette Brunt
Levi, Boaz & Jesse