Sunday, June 4, 2017

Health Expo, Health Club and Blueberries

It's been a while since I posted last. I've been back to Uchee Pines since April 19, and have been busy working in the Kitchen. We had two medium sized lifestyle sessions, and they didn't really need me as a counselor. However, this upcoming session, I'll be working with two ladies. It will be my very last session until I return to Europe for good.

A couple weeks ago, we went to Atlanta to do a Health Expo at an SDA church. It was a blessing working with the individuals who came. It's always fulfilling to reach out to people with the health message. Other than that, I've been helping with a health club in Phenix City. There is an evangelical lady who attended our Spring Seminar in March and who is on fire for the health message ever since. She has six foster children and has started a health club for obese women in her home. She asked my friend Amy to facilitate it, and Amy asked me to join her. It has been a blessing ministering to these ladies. The children are lovely.

Other than that, I've been enjoying the blueberries that are ripening now. Due to some cold weather back in March, the harvest is not so plentiful this year, nevertheless they are huge! I'm thankful that I can still get to experience them and other blessings from our farm, before I finally return to my mission field in Belgium.

My Dutch friend Daphne just recently left Uchee Pines. It's interesting: She arrived here exactly one day before I came back here beginning of 2015, and now she is going to return to Holland exactly the day before I leave the US! We had met each other at my church in Brussels, and I'm hoping to be able to continue working with her in Europe. I'm very thankful for all the connections I've been able to establish during my time here at Uchee, and I look forward to many blessed future medical-missionary outreach events as a result of that!

Chair Massages at the Health Expo

Lung capacity test

Even the littlest got involved

My latest endeavor in the Kitchen: Raw Pizza


Healing Power on the Farm: The chaste tree berries are blooming


The blueberries ripening



Our Health Club host Delaine (to the right) with my friend Amy
Time to say good-bye (at least for now) to my Dutch friend Daphne (in the middle)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Switzerland

It's another Sabbath and I'm back with my parents for a few more days. It's rather cloudy and rainy today, so I decided to stay at home this afternoon to enjoy some quiet time.

I just spent one week in Switzerland, mainly to conduct a Health Emphasis weekend at the Hispanic SDA Church in Zurich. The Pastor who gave me baptismal studies many years ago is now in charge of this congregation, and he had been wanting me to come for quite some time. So now it finally happened, and I can tell you I did not feel adequate for this task! Well, now I can only give God the glory, because it was a blessing in many ways. Although I was interpreted from English, I wasn't really confident because I had never given these presentations before. I just used the Spanish material I had from our Honduras trip. But the Lord did it through me, and I loved the people there. The church members and guests were very receptive, and I pray that the seed planted will bear fruit.

After that, I had a couple of days to visit my friend Heike, who lives with her family at the Lake Thun. It was a beautiful nature experience - and also a lively family experience with two rambunctious children (the daughter being 10 and the son 8 years old). I think some parents really need a double measure of wisdom and patience!

On Monday, I'll be heading to Brussels in order to prepare for my trip back to Uchee Pines this coming Wednesday. It will be my final two months of volunteering in this institution before I return to Europe for good.

I found a very interesting quote by Ellen White, which shows that she actually experienced feelings of inadequacy in her life:
"Now I must leave this subject so imperfectly presented that I fear you will misinterpret that which I feel so anxious to make plain. Oh, that God would quicken the understanding, for I am but a poor writer, and cannot with pen or voice express the great and deep mysteries of God. Oh, pray for yourselves, pray for me." (3 SM, p. 90)
This is an encouragement to me. I think if anybody knew how to talk and write about spiritual things, it was her. It makes plain that whoever shares the word of God needs fervent prayer, but also those who listen! May the Lord guide the sharing of His messages all over the world, and may He qualify the called.

Presenting at the Hispanic Church
Cooking School


Some impressions of the Lake Thun and surroundings








Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Leaves of Autumn during Springtime

Yesterday, I took the 4 1/2 hour train ride to visit my folks in Germany. It's nice being with family again for a change. We have awesome spring weather right now. While the nights are still cold, the days have been sunny and pleasant, and the flowers and trees are very pretty.

Last Sabbath, I spoke for Divine Service at the French Church in Brussels city. I'm friends with the first Elder there, and when he asked me to share, I couldn't believe it at first, but finally said yes - provided I would be interpreted from English. So arrangements were made, and the outcome was blessed indeed. I'm humbled that I've been asked to share at several occasions lately, and I'm prayerfully considering to accept further invitations. Nevertheless, I'm still dealing with the dilemma that I've never really seen myself in this role. It's been a struggle. However, if they keep asking, it may indicate that the Lord actually wants me to do that; and then I shouldn't need to worry about the outcome, should I?

Besides that, I'm thankful that since I left Brussels yesterday, I've been able to share some literature with four different ladies. Two of them I met in the train, one at the shopping center this morning, and another one this afternoon on a bench by the lake. They were all older, and I just had casual conversations with them. At the end, I shared a brochure about Martin Luther and the Reformation anniversary with each them (the English version of which can be found here). It basically deals with the fact that the Catholic church hasn't changed over the years, and it also talks about the Sabbath truth. Each of these ladies was very appreciative about it. I think it's great that we are having this anniversary year right now. It's a wonderful opportunity to share this brochure. This reminds me of a famous quote from the book "Publishing Ministry" (p. 5):
"God calls for message-filled books, magazines, and tracts to be scattered everywhere like the leaves of autumn. As church members unite with literature evangelists in spreading the good news, the task will be accomplished."
We are living in serious times, and we need to get the message out. Sometimes I wonder how it can ever happen, but if we are sensitive to the Lord's leading, He can use even the weakest vessel.

With my interpreter Laurence
This used to be a telephone cabin. Now it's the so-called "Open Bookcase", where everybody can
drop off books they don't need anymore - a great way to share literature
And some beautiful flowers!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

From Honduras via US back to Brussels

I thank the Lord for my safe arrival here in Brussels yesterday morning. Because of my departure from the US on Monday, I needed to leave Honduras a few days earlier than the others. So I stayed a short time at Uchee Pines, basically just to say hello and good-bye and get organized, as I'm scheduled to return mid-April to volunteer until the end of June.

The second part of our Honduras mission was intense, yet very rewarding. As mentioned in my last post, we had a rather large group during our 10-day lifestyle session. It was a lot of work, and the fact that this was a pilot project (and the treatment facilities not originally being designed to host such a program), made it challenging in many ways. In addition, some of us (including me) were stricken by a stomach bug along the way, but it thankfully didn't last long, and the Lord gave us all the strength we needed. Overall, all our efforts were worthwhile, having seen lives changed spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

I'm going to be in Europe for another six weeks. At the end of this month, I'll be headed to Germany and from there to Switzerland. I'm going to write more about that later.

Today, after having slept for about ten hours, I'm feeling much better. The weather here is not very conducive to overcoming jet lag though; yet in spite of the rain and cloudyness, I went for a refreshing walk on the nearby university premises. Unfortunately, they have been working on some building projects there, and thus, some of the trees and green spots had to be sacrificed. But I'm thankful that there are still some other nature places nearby; so in the future, I might go there more often, even though they are a little further away. This teaches me that there are things in life we cannot hold on to forever. Well, this applies to most things in our lives, doesn't it? And this again reminds me of a famous quote of Martin Luther:

“Feelings come and feelings go, And feelings are deceiving; My warrant is the Word of God-- Naught else is worth believing.
Though all my heart should feel condemned For want of some sweet token, There is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken.
I'll trust in God's unchanging Word Till soul and body sever, For, though all things shall pass away, HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

May the Lord bless you as you feed on His Word today!

Still some nature spots near my home

Monday, February 20, 2017

Honduras

Time flies. It's been over two weeks already that we are in the beautiful country of Honduras. We've been enjoying this mission trip. The hospital "Valle de Angeles" were we are visiting is about 45 minutes from the capital Tegucigalpa, and it's beautifully situated in a mountaineous scenery. It's an Adventist hospital, and the medical director is from the US. Him and his wife have been serving here for five years. However, it's been over 30 years that the "Lifestyle Wing" in this hospital has been operated. At this point, they only have patients in acute care as well as long-time care. So in a way, this is also a nursing home.

The first couple weeks turned out a bit different than we had originally envisaged. In fact, we had to keep changing our plans continually. After our Health Emphasis Weekend, which was very successful, we were going to start a 10-Day programme, however there was only one participant, and he left already after five days. But we took the opportunity to teach some of the staff members, give treatments to in-patients and staff; and especially we were able to figure out things and just to learn how to work with what we have. This past Friday, we were invited to one of the national television channels to be part of a popular morning TV show. It was a great blessing, and afterwards the hospital phone started ringing off the hook!

This past weekend, we visited "Vida Internacional", a medical-missionary institution about three hours from here out in the country. It was a nice visit. We had an adventurous, bumpy ride, and a flat tire on our way back. However, we made it home in good time. To our dismay, we found out that they had broken into hour house while we were gone (we ladies are staying in one of the staff houses). Unfortunately, I had left most of my cash there (an equivalent of about 300 Dollars), and some of the others left electronic devices. All gone. I'm so thankful I had left my PC in the hospital. This would have been such a bummer.

Of course we are all pretty upset now, but what can you do but to learn your lesson and move on. Our last 10-Day programme will start this evening, and we are going to have a good group of lifestyle guests. Please pray with us that the Lord will work through us during the remainder of our time and that we can make an impact for eternity.

Entrance of the hospital
This lady is making "pupusas", pancakes filled with whatever

The Adventist Hospital "Valle de Angeles"

Giving chair massages to outpatients

Duthier teaching the hospital staff

At Via Internacional - an OCI institution in Honduras

Panoramic campus view
Corn on the cobb

Tamalitos - my favorite street food here

Sunday, January 8, 2017

GYC

Today it's already a week ago that we returned from the GYC Conference in Houston. Again, it was a blessing to attend this Conference. There are always good messages, and it's nice to see friends from all over. I look forward to listening online to some of the seminars I wasn't able to attend.

Last week was rather relaxed here on campus, as the operations are only really starting again today with the beginning of a new lifestyle session. I was working on the farm and enjoyed the time outside in the sunshine. As of tomorrow, I'll be helping in the Kitchen again, but only for a little over two weeks, and then I'll be attending the Adventist Agricultural Conference in Florida. I really look forward to that meeting.

This afternoon, we are going to lay to rest Sister Leta, a dear friend of Uchee Pines. She was in her mid-90s, and since her and her husband were at a point where they needed 24-hour help, my friend Amy here on Campus decided to take her into her home. So her family has been taking care of her for about 1 1/2 years, but finally, her suffering came to an end. I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to minister to her when she was staying at the Lifestyle Center two years ago. May she rest in peace.

The Uchee Pines group at GYC
Sabbath morning at GYC

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Caroling

These past few days have been beautiful in Alabama. We have a student from South Africa here, and she said that this weather reminded her of home, where they go to the beach at this time of year. Yesterday, pretty much everybody who has been staying back on Campus gathered at the old Lifestyle Center for a nice Christmas lunch. After that, we went caroling in the neighborhood. We had a lot of fun singing for the people in our community and praying over their homes. They also received some literature as gifts.



After that, we gathered for a light supper at my house. We had a very blessed time.


The children having fun
Eliana and Naomi

Amy sharing a testimony

I've been all by myself since Friday. One of my housemates, Sister Rosie, passed away recently while she was visiting family in Colorado. This all came as a surprise to us. She was frail indeed, but we didn't expect such a rapid demise. But she had expressed the desire to rest, so now she is peacefully awaiting resurrection morning.

My other two housemates are gone, and it has been strange being all alone in the house. But tomorrow early morning, I will join the group to go to GYC in Houston. I pray for another blessing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Revival

Last week, we had a special Revival Weekend at Uchee Pines. Everybody laid down their daily work on Thursday and Friday, so that we could get together as a body to experience revival both personally and as a group. As a special speaker, we had Pastor Atwood from Wildwood, and the Wildwood Strings Ensemble also came to give the whole weekend a nice musical frame. There were also speakers from campus, and we really had a blessing. At the end of the last evening, our President went forward and apologized to certain individuals for his shortcomings that were of a public character. After that, others also stepped up to apologize for their wrongs towards him and others. It was very powerful. I shared the little book "Steps to Personal Revival" by Pastor Helmut Haubeil with them, which has been a great blessing to me. We indeed need the Holy Spirit for personal revival, and we need to ask the Lord daily to supply us.

Other than that, I've been enjoying my work in the Kitchen. I've been learning a lot of things, and I've also been able to get into raw cuisine, as many of the lifestyle guests are mainly on a raw diet. It's been tyring though. In the evenings, my feet tend to be sore to the point that I don't really want to move around much more. Nevertheless, I'm thankful for this opportunity to widen my horizon. And once more, I'm enjoying the mild winter here. It's such a blessing that you can pick fruit here even up to December. This morning, I picked the last pears from the tree by my house. Also some pineapple guava are still available, and even some water melons in my personal garden!

At the end of the month, we will go to GYC in Houston. I'm sure the meetings will be a blessing. I look forward to this spiritual refreshing.

A recent fall picture with my friends Daphne and Vanessa


The last harvest of pears

My pear tree

Pineapple Guava

Monday, November 14, 2016

California Trip

Two weeks have passed since I entered US territory again and my time has been truly blessed.

It all started with a 24-hour delay of my flight to California. Due to heavy fog, I got stranded in Amsterdam, right at the first leg of my journey. But KLM had already figured it out: I was going to spend the night in a hotel, and thus got the opportunity to do some sightseeing in the Dutch capital. Of course that was not really what I had in mind, but I enjoyed it anyway :-). 

The AMEN Conference was a blessing. I thoroughly enjoyed the testimonies and the talks I was able to attend, as well as the fellowship. The attendees were mainly physicians and medical/dental students of all kinds of specialties. The people were overall older than the attendees at the ENAD Conference in Germany, but this is something I would certainly be interested in doing again. Of course the weather was gorgious in Southern California - even a bit too warm for my perception. 

My journey up north and then down to San Francisco was beautiful. I really enjoyed Yosemite nationalpark, as well as driving through the Redwoods and mountains towards the West Coast, and then passing the pacific ocean with its beuatiful rocks. Finally on my way down to San Francisco, I passed the vineyards, and then I got to cross Golden Gate Bridge once more. The visits with my friends were very blessed, and the different accommodations I found for Yosemite, Eureka and San Francisco were comfortable and pleasant. In fact, I even found out that my "Airbnb" hosts in Eureka were Adventists, which was a neat experience.

This past Wednesday, I eventually made it to Uchee Pines. Somehow, I'm still on Pacific Time, which makes it really hard to get up in the morning, but nonetheless, I'm happy to be "back home". The weather has been sunny and pleasant - just the way I like it here at this time of year. We had a special weekend with Randy Skeete, which was very blessed and a spiritual challenge at the same time. This man is able to recite the whole book of Revelation, as well as the book of Hebrews! This certainly puts to shame my feeble efforts to keep about 100 bible verses in my memory - and I haven't even kept it up as I should these past few months. 

So I look forward to another period of volunteering at my "Alma Mater". This session, they have me work in the kitchen, which will certainly be a physical challenge, yet another great learning opportunity!

And here are some impressions of my trip to the West Coast: