Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I would like to share with you about a wonderful event in Sicily. An evangelist, while walking through a forest, was seized by a robber. Threatening him with a revolver, the robber told him to start a fire to burn his Bibles. The evangelist lit the fire and then asked the robber if he could first read to him from each of the Bibles that he was to throw into the fire. That was allowed. Psalm 23 was emphatically read to him from the first Bible. The robber then said: ‘This book is good, you don’t have to burn it, just give it to me.’ The evangelist read the Sermon on the Mount from the second Book, and from the third book he read about love from 1 Corinthians 13. From each Bible, he read something that he thought might touch the heart and conscience of the robber. And indeed the robber said with every Book, ‘This is good, give it here.’ Consequently, not one Bible was burned; the robber took them all with him and disappeared into the woods.
A few years later, the evangelist listened to a sermon of another servant of God. The speaker recognized him immediately and said afterward, ‘Remember that robber who ordered you to burn your Bibles, but ended up taking them all into the woods? ‘I was that man,’ he said with joy. ‘Reading the Bible has completely changed me and led me to the Lord Jesus. Now I know that I am His property. I have one desire: to serve Him and bring others to Him.’
This anecdote is a great encouragement in the work that God has called us to do. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your effort is not in vain in the Lord.”
At the start of this newsletter, we would like to express our gratitude for HeartCry’s loyal support of our family and ministry. In addition to the financial support, we are very thankful that we are supported by your prayers and that we can consult you for advice if needed. Know that we appreciate and also need these various forms of support. In this way, we are connected across the great oceans and experience doing the work together with you in dependence on our heavenly Father.
On Thursday, April 8, we had a festive day. It was the day on which Jos van der Welle & Tirza Roor got married in Oude-Tonge. We have known one another for a long time, and it was a privilege for me to be able to share the Word of God during this special day. Together with family, friends, and our church we had a wonderful gathering around an open Bible. The starting point for the preaching was Revelation 21:5a ‘And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new’. A new union with the Lord Jesus through faith and new birth. A new unity as husband and wife through marriage. And finally, the Lord works to restore all things (Acts 3:21). He makes all things new!
It has been several years since I recorded the DVD ‘Born to grow’. Recently evangelist Frank Gelens came to me with a good idea. He evangelizes on the streets in the Netherlands on an almost daily basis and is also involved with our church in Alblasserdam. Frank suggested putting the short Bible studies (audio version) of this DVD onto USB sticks so that he can hand them out on the street to people who want ‘more’ than just receiving a tract or Bible. Because these Bible studies only take 7 to 8 minutes, they are very accessible, and they’re a nice stepping stone to deeper Bible studies. We are very grateful for the brother who wanted to sponsor the start of this project. The first USB sticks have now been delivered and Frank has handed out the first copies on the street.
At the end of April, another brother and I recorded the final chapters of the book of Acts for the Family7 television program entitled “God’s Spirit in Action.” We have now done 52 broadcasts in total. It has become a beautiful series that will be broadcast weekly on Thursday evenings till the end of this year. It was encouraging to learn that – now that the book of Acts has been completed – we can continue together with another book of the Bible. The choice fell on the wonderful book of Hebrews. If everything goes according to plan, the first recordings will be broadcast starting in January 2022.
Recently, I recorded another podcast for the ‘Israel & the Bible’ foundation. This foundation aims to bring the Jewish people into contact with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They do this work in the Netherlands, but also far beyond. The podcasts are being listened to especially during the corona pandemic. It’s a great opportunity to share the Gospel. The topic of the podcast is ‘God’s Glory Has Drawn Near’. One of the most unique aspects of the relationship between God and Israel was that He wanted to live with His people. The Lord shared His glory first with His own people, but eventually also with the Gentiles. After all, God Himself has come to dwell among us in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:14).
This summer we will be facilitating another Bible vacation week (24-31 July) in vacation and conference hotel ‘t Vierhouterbos in Vierhouten (Netherlands). This beautiful hotel is situated in the middle of the Veluwe (a forest-rich hilly region) and is characterized by a home-like and hospitable atmosphere. During this Bible vacation week, visitors can enjoy encouraging Bible studies and a time of vacation and relaxation. Older people often attend, and it’s good to be able to serve them with the riches of the Gospel. During this Bible vacation week, I’ll be speaking about the book of Nehemiah. During the summer I’ll also be busy with various tent campaigns in addition to regular speaking engagements. I love doing that. In August, just like in previous years, we will be in Switzerland (Wilderswil) for two weeks, where a brother and I will be teaching a mini Bible school to Dutch vacationers. We hope and pray that everything will stay on schedule and we look forward to what the Lord wants to accomplish through all these activities.
We are grateful that many been able to find our YouTube channel. New sermons and Bible studies are being added all the time. In our church, I started a sermon series on the Peter epistles. The first sermons are now on our YouTube channel. It is especially important during this time to study the Bible. Psalm 119:130 links glorious promises to it, “The unfolding of Your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.”
Our family is doing well. We are healthy and grateful. The boys are developing well and doing well in school. Annette is the manager at home 😉 so things run smoothly. She takes great joy in that. In our church, she is active in music and plays the pan flute. It is important to maintain a good balance between family on the one hand and work in the church and ministry on the other hand. My work as an elder in our church has been quite tough the last few months. It takes a lot of time and energy to lead the church during corona time and to keep track. As leaders of the church we do experience unity and connection with each other and above all with the Lord Jesus, and we are very grateful for that.
Without the prayers of our brothers and sisters who support us, we can do nothing. That’s why we appreciate it so much when you remember our ministry and our family in your prayers. Please know that we greatly value your compassion, involvement, and support.