Thursday, February 13, 2020

Brexit

On the first of this month it became a reality: the United Kingdom of Great Britain officially left the EU. After almost three years of seemingly unending discussions and debate, they now entered a transition period, which is supposed to last until December of this year, and during which the EU and the UK are going to negotiate their future relationship. But officially, they are now already a so-called Third Country.

The day before the withdrawal came into force, all staff of the European Commission received an email from our new President Ursula von der Leyen. Here is an excerpt of her message:
"As the sun rises tomorrow, a new chapter for our Union of 27 will begin. And with it comes a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure Europe leads the way on the twin ecological and digital transitions. To build a more prosperous and more just society. To uphold the values that we hold dear. To project Europe’s brand of responsible global leadership in today’s world."
Indeed, the European Union came with many privileges and advantages, many of which I wouldn't want to miss any more today, including my very interesting workplace. But at the same time, with these happenings I see the fulfilment of biblical prophecy right in front of our eyes:
"And whereas you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mix with one another but they shall not hold together, even as iron does not mix with clay." ~ The book of Daniel chapter 2, verse 43
Indeed, iron doesn't mix with clay, i. e. the strong and the weak don't hold together well. So what will be next? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm endeavouring to make my calling and election sure, and I'm asking the Lord to use me in whatever way to hasten His coming. I'm tired of this world. It's really time that Jesus comes back to take us home!

On another note, I'm continuing with health work at my church. Recently, we had our first Health Club meeting, which was a blessing. Although there were only about half the attendees then at our Health Emphasis Weekend in October, I would still consider it a success - and I will certainly continue to organise such events. I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to use me and my team as we reach out with the Right Arm of the Gospel.

Layane (to the left) teaching about Aloe Vera



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Health Emphasis Weekend

And here are some impressions of our Health Emphasis Weekend in October:









Monday, November 11, 2019

Time Flies!

Wow, I can't believe it's already November and we are approaching year end! I've been wanting to post an update for weeks, but I'm sure you all know how it goes if you are busy...

Today, I enjoyed a very nice and sunny afternoon in the park - probably the last nice and sunny day during this month of November, as from tomorrow on, the weather is forecasted to be as it's usually the case at this time of year: grey and dreary. However, this doesn't really bother me right now, as Ihave sunshine in my heart! :-)

Many great things happened during the past couple months. One of the highlights were the ASI Germany meetings in Bielefeld. It was a nice experience for me to go there again after six years of not attending. The main speakers were Taj Pacleb and Nicola Taubert; and it was so nice to see so many people again I hadn't seen in quite a while.

Another one was our Health Emphasis Weekend at my church a couple weeks ago. I decided to do it exactly in the same format as we would do at Uchee Pines, i. e. health presentations on Friday and Saturday, followed by a cooking class Sunday morning, and natural remedies in the afternoon. We had a great team and the presentations and demonstrations were well received. We even got an invitation to do the same in Luxembourg during the first quarter of 2020!

Last weekend, I attended the fourth edition of the ENAD Conference (European Adventist medical network) in Bad Überkingen, which is not too far away from Stuttgart, Germany. It was a great blessing. The main speaker was Dr. Daniel Binus, psychiatrist from California. It was all about "mindset", i. e. mental health. It was really nice to (re-)connect with many people, although this also tends to get a bit frustrating, since there is just not enough time to have all the conversations you want. But I was able to do quite a bit of networking, notably with a family from Aachen church that I've known for quite a while. They are doing great things there in terms of health work. I'm so excited that we are planning to work together in the future. It's high time that Brussels and the Rhineland area start getting busy together for the Lord's cause; and also that we reach the German part of Belgium, which is an unreached territory of 60,000 souls.

Overall, I would say I'm blessed beyond measure. It's wonderful to see how things are moving forward, and that I can play a small part in this. When I see all this sickness and suffering around me, it makes me long for Heaven more and more.

This morning, as it is the 11th November today, I read in Proverbs chapter 11. My personal highlight in this chapter is verse 25:
"The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself."
Let us be a blessing today for someone!

And here comes a glimpse in pictures about the most recent highlights:

Beautiful vineyards near Bad Überkingen

A little video I made from the train

ENAD Conference

More to follow soon!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

So Blessed!

This week marks the "Rentrée" in Brussels, which means that after nine weeks of vacation, the children are going back to school and thus, things are back to normal here in Belgium. It also entails that there is more traffic here (thank God this doesn't really affect me, as I go to work by bicycle) and that the work at the EU institutions is taking up again. There is pressure on many services now to finish certain procedures before the Christmas break, which is actually less than four months away. Especially this fall promises to be interesting, because as of 1st November, a new Commission will be implemented, headed by the German politician Ursula von der Leyen. Being abroad for so long, I haven't followed much the political life in my home country, but I like this woman. I wouldn't have expected that a female would get this high rank position, but she really seems to be the right choice in this political chaos. I especially like the fact that she is actually a medical doctor. Thus, she might be open to implementing more health enhancing programmes and activities among the workers in our institution.

It's always interesting when a new Commission is implemented after five years. You can feel the wind of change blowing; new Commissioners bringing new ideas, there are staff changes (especially in the senior management of the different services), and the "foot soldiers" (i. e. little officials like me) are motivated to give their best in this new term.

This past Sunday, we returned from our annual church retreat in Eupen, German part of Belgium. It was such a blessing to be there once more. We have a very nice venue there, which is a relatively newly renovated hostel. The staff is very pleasant, and they are even able to somewhat accommodate our dietary needs. This year, I decided to supplement the choice of foods they could offer us, namely by making some plant-based spreads, granola, and getting some avocados. We were a smaller group than last year, mainly due to the fact that since then, quite a few families left our church for other pastures. Nevertheless, we were very blessed with Pastor Denny from Brazil as our main speaker. Our own Pastor, who is a close friend of Pastor Denny, was also present and involved in the programme. There was something in it for everybody, and our time together really helped to bond with each other. The messages were very practical, and I think everybody learned something that they are going to apply in their lives. My main resolution is that I'm going to start a prayer journal, as I think this will be really helpful. Thus, you can document answers to prayer requests and keep track how the Lord has worked.

I would like to share one thought I took home from our spiritual weekend:
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust." ~Psalms 91:1-2~
To dwell in the secret place of the most High (or to "live in His shelter" as the Common English Bible translates) doesn't mean to just visit, or to come by for tea. It means to spend time in His presence. It's also quantity that counts here. Do I spend adequate time with the Lord in the daily hustle and bustle of life? Do I praise Him for who He is, i. e. for His attributes, like His omnipotence, faithfulness, His infinite power? Do I also pause from time to time to listen to His voice? And not only "bombarding" God with the "T's" and "G's", i. e. saying thank you for xyz and please give me this and that? May the Lord help us to get closer to Him, and thus get ready to spend an eternity in His holy presence!

With Pastor Denny and his mother Marli

Love that picture of our children!
Group picture on Sunday - unfortunately we forgot to do it on
Sabbath when more people were there and sun was shining brightly!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Back with a Vengeance

I know I have abandoned this blog in the past few months, so I guess it's high time for an update!

But where shall I start? I wanted to share about our health evangelism in June, but this has been already two months ago. In any case, we were very blessed having Ashwin Sukumaran from Uchee Pines at our church, and we even had attendees from outside.

And a couple weeks ago, we were very blessed again at our Westerwald camp meeting in Germany. This time, it was Michael Carducci and Ron Woolsey from Coming Out Ministries, Eugene Prewitt, Paul & Natasha Dysinger, as well as Johannes Kolletzki who served us as seminar speakers. The workshops on different (practical) topics were also very well received. And we managed the logistics for about 370 participants. It's getting better and better I would say. Having been at that place for the 8th time in a row certainly helps to get more and more routine. Our new registration software is also improving, and I'm learning to delegate more with the logistics. In fact, I'm already looking forward to our next camp meeting!

After the camp, I spent a couple days in Eupen, the German part of Belgium, just to relax. I like getting out of the city one more time after the camp meeting. In the past, I would usually choose the Belgian cost, but this time I decided to go to the east of Belgium. I really like this part of my adopted country. I fell in love with this area when we went there for our church retreat last year. I found a very nice Airbnb with a super friendly and helpful host. This lady went out of her way to make my stay comfortable. I look forward to visiting her again next week when we will go back there with the church! We will do our annual retreat at the local youth hostel in Eupen again, and I'm expecting another blessing. More about that will follow!


Hohegrete Christian recreation center

Eugene Prewitt and his interpreter Alberto

Johannes Kolletzki preaching


The food was great as usual

Edwin Voerman giving a workshop

Jay Krueger's workshop

The technicians did a great job

Nice octet

Children singing
Everything has to come to an end....

Thursday, May 9, 2019

From Paris to Germany

So here I am in Germany visiting my folks. It is my birthday today, so as I often do, I chose to spend this occasion with family. I'm thankful for another year of life and look forward to what the Lord has in store for me for this coming year, aiming to draw closer to Him and to become the woman He wants me to be.

The weather has been rather nasty though - doesn't feel like May at all. However, I'm trying to make the best out of it. Thankful that the trip by rental car went well in spite of the rain.

The ASI meetings in Paris were a blessing. It's always encouraging to see how the mission work amongst lay people is moving forward. In parallel with the meetings, Doug Batchelor gave a public evangelistic campaign in the evenings. There were many decisions for baptism at the end.

I'm following the daily bible readings of the General Conference, and currently the book of Joshua is on the plan. So I came across chapter 21 verse 45, which is my favorite verse in this book:
"There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass."
Isn't that a wonderful promise? Here is a statement I found in an online commentary on this verse:

"all came to pass; exactly, precisely, and punctually, even everything relative to their temporal and spiritual good: so all that God promises to his spiritual Israel, with respect to their present comfort or everlasting happiness, all is exactly fulfilled, all his promises in Christ are yea and amen."

And this is valid even for us today! The Lord will bring to pass all good things with respect to our present comfort or everlasting happiness - at the right time. This may not be exactly the time when we expect or hope for it, but we can rest assured that in God's eyes it will be precisely at the right time and in the way He deems best for us. Aren't you thankful for this today?

Sacré Coeur - my favorite site in Paris


View from Sacré Coeur

Jardin desTuileries

River Seine
Notre Dame is still standing
Interesting house
Doug Batchelor preaching