Last weekend, our family took the train to Holland to visit the Church of God congregations in Holland as well as a new house church in Belgium. We also have a new Congolese Church of God meeting in Holland and it was a great joy to meet the pastor, his wife, and some of the young people. We first visited the Holland folks back in 2005 or so where I joined S. Rennick in speaking at the Holland conference in Petten (on the North East Coast of Holland). We got very attached to the folks there. There are a lot of people our age, and now there is a group of 20 somethings emerging as well that are ready for leadership. In fact, it is looking like Holland could be a Church of God area primarily led by young people. They're all sharp, super-intelligent, multi-lingual and lots of fun. It was so great to get back there.
I spoke twice: once about the need to utilize young people and a second time about "what to do when the church hurts you." Not a topic preached about much, but it should be because it's a common problem.
I was surprised at the turn-out at the youth event. I was seriously expecting three people because Holland was playing Brazil on TV at the same time I was speaking.
We had a lot of time to listen to Pastor Adriaan and his dreams of the future. We enjoyed staying with them and being with his wife Uschi. His wife is struggling with a very painful, difficult illness that the doctors don't know how to treat. We are all very worried about her and need to pray for her. It's a miracle that she can withstand the extreme pain. I feel frustrated that we are so far away. It's about 5 hours from Berlin so we can't come and go that easily. I hope to get back there relatively soon.
On Saturday, Pastor Adriaan took us to a renaissance fair in the morning. There we saw our first ever live-action jousting match. Very cool and totally unexpected. They thought it would be fun for Marco and it was.
That afternoon we drove to Belgium and met with the leaders of a new house church there, as well as the leader of the new Congolese church in Belgium. We heard all about how difficult it is in Belgium for protestant groups. Belgium is primarily catholic and Evangelicalism is viewed as a strange cult--as it is in much of Europe. But this small group of people aren't being deterred. They are even planning a very large event coming up July 1st. The leaders are about 35-40 years of age.
The Congolese church is also a real exciting development as this probably means that Holland will develop a connection to the Congo. It's also exciting because we see Three Worlds in action with the Post-Christendom church working alongside the non-Western Church. So needless to say, I was a very happy camper.
And we met very young leaders who are ready to assume higher levels of leadership. This was also great. We began to get a clear picture of how Three Worlds can help the churches in Holland and Belgium as they go forward and connect.
Back when we first met the folks in Holland and we were so charmed, it never occurred to me that one day we would get to work alongside of them. That's very cool.
Well, today I am off to the USA for our semi-annual Regional Coordinator meetings. This one is in Anderson. Then it's off to Washington D.C. to visit one of our supporting churches, and then back to Anderson for the annual North American Convention (almost all of our 3W team will be there), and then we visit churches in Arizona and California. So that's what's coming up in the next four weeks. I'll see you from the good ol' US of A. Keep that humidity in check USA. I want to enjoy the summer.
Keep Uschi in your prayers.