Saturday, August 12, 2017

Great Blessings Even in the Challenges

It's a quiet Sabbat afternoon at my place in Brussels. The day temperatures have been about 19-21 degrees celsius (66-69 F), which doesn't feel like summer anymore, especially with the clouds and the rain that has come down. But I'm sure it will perk up again before the fall finally arrives.

This past week, I returned from our German camp meeting. Again, it was a blessing in many ways; with lives being changed and even the smallest children being blessed by the programme. Overall, we could see the Lord's leading and intervention in everything - even when one of our speakers, Bryan Gallant, had to leave the camp earlier because his family back in the US had been in a car accident (they are doing fine, by the way).

As for the logistics, I was challenged again, with our registration software still giving us trouble. But I'm amazed how we managed anyway, not being able to rely on this tool. I was so glad that a whole group of Uchee Piners could make it this time. As I had shared previously, Teresa and Kim Kodimer were invited as main speakers, and they were able to stop in Brussels before to give a seminar at my church here. They were a blessing, as well as the other Uchee Piners who conducted a workshop at the camp meeting. Our health message is so simple, but yet so powerful.

So this past week, I've mainly been resting; and I will continue to rest some more, as on Monday I will be flying out to Serbia. I'm going to take part at the juice fasting camp again in the very North of the country (last time, I posted about it here). It will be the first time that I'm able to participate for the whole ten days. I'm sure it won't be easy, but the fact that you are there with a whole group of people helps a lot. I'm only praying that I will get there without any problem, as I will have to take a bus from Belgrade to Subotica (3 1/2 hours), and from there a taxi to the camp. These are those situations when an interpreter comes in handy, but I was told that with English I would be fine. Well, let's see how this is going to play out!

I didn't get to take many pictures, but here are just a few snap shots:

Camp meeting audience

Daphne demonstrating a potato poultice

Andreas doing the Livestreaming

Waldemar managing the sound system

Hay balls

Alberto & Patricia with little Henoch

"I like this hat!"

Saturday, July 22, 2017

21st of July

Time is flying. I'm already back in Europe for over three weeks now. I still had a blessed few days with friends in and around Wildwood before I said good-bye to this country that I called my temporary home for 2 1/2 years. The Lord's ways are really interesting, as I had initially intended to help out at Uchee Pines only for a few months! But I'm thankful for all the experiences and the people I was able to fellowship with. I will certainly miss the spiritual atmosphere and the work with the lifestyle guests.

On Tuesday, I came back for a 8-day visit with my folks in Germany, which was nice. Now I'm getting ready for my visitors from the US, Teresa and Kim from Uchee Pines, as well as LydiaLaJewel, who used to work there until last year. Teresa and Kim will be part of our main speakers at our German camp meeting, but before that, they will give a seminar on True Education at my church here in Brussels. I really look forward to having them. It's such a beautiful message. And next Sunday, we will be heading to Germany. I expect another blessing for this year's camp meeting.

Yesterday, it was National Holiday in Belgium. My room mate Adina and I took the opportunity to go to the King's Palace to watch the military parade. As usual, it was quite a spectacle. First, the King and Queen drive up to the Palace, followed by the different military groups, all marching in step. At the end of the procession, not only the Police, Fire Brigade and Red Cross are driving up, but even the garbage collectors. And everybody cheers them on! In a way, I envy the Belgians (and the Norwegians, and the French, and many other nations for that matter), that they have this day that they celebrate in such a special way. It truly gives a sense of belonging. We don't have anything comparable in Germany. However, on the new earth, there will be only one citizenship, and the Lord is preparing a place for His people.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20)
 Indeed, this is our true citizenship! And there will be only one King and Saviour.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Ephesians 2:19)
Very comforting words for an expatriot like me! I won't be a stranger in a foreign land anymore. Everybody will just be one big family. What glorious prospect!

The parade just started

Every step exactly measured out


Many people waiting and watching

Police man checking his phone


The parachutists

The marine corps

Fancy hat coverings

The tanks are coming

Fire Brigade

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