Monday, September 27, 2010

O Lord whose mercies numberless

After I returned from the US last year, I decided to start taking music lessons again. I was blessed to find somebody here in Brussels who can teach both voice and piano. He is a freelance musician and former boy chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. He is a great teacher and likes to pratice sacred songs with me.

Recently, he asked me if I would like to go for Händel's Saul. I think this is the most challenging song I've ever practiced, but it's so beautiful!

Other than that, he is helping me with our church hymns, i. e. figuring out the chords, as this is the only way I can play them. Thus, I have been able to fill in at church with the accompaniment whenever there is a need. We also do some classical compositions, and scales over and over again (I haven't seen the benefit of these exercises, but maybe one day it will pay!). It's only hard for me to sit down and practice for longer than 10-20 minutes in a row. I think it's in my nature that I quickly hop from one task or activity to the next. This certainly facilitates my daily work, but not really the advancement of my skills. I'm thinking about taking the lessons weekly instead of fortnightly, as this would push me to practice more. Of course it's a question whether I would like to make the investment, but maybe I should take advantage as long as I have the opportunity and time. I just hope my voice will be ready for the drill tonight, as I'm still coughing from time to time. It's almost a month ago that I was sick, but the cough is always the last that leaves my system due to my weak respiratory tract. Oh well, I'd better get over it!
O Lord, whose mercies numberless
O'er all Thy works prevail, o'er all Thy works prevail;
Though daily man Thy laws transgress,
Thy patience cannot fail, no, cannot fail.
If yet his sins be not too great,
The busy fiend control, the busy fiend control.
Yet longer for repentance wait,
And heal his wounded soul, and heal his wounded soul.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We are currently enjoying some mild and sunny days here in Brussels. During late summer/early fall this is quite common here, and of course I like it. Last weekend, there was the annual car-free Sunday taking place again, i. e. no vehicle with an engine was allowed to be driven (except with special permission) in the 19 communes of Brussels. It was nice to see only bikers and roller bladers on the streets, and it was a great feeling to walk along that road near my place which is normally so busy and even breathe kind of fresh air.

I've had some interesting witnessing opportunities lately - well, at least I made some prospective contacts. A couple of weeks ago, there was a gathering of some people residing in my quarter. This was organized by a few dedicated neighbours who invited everyone to come out to get acquainted with the other neighbours. I had never attended such an encounter before, but I realized that this was a great opportunity for me to get in touch with unchurched, common people. At first, I wasn't feeling quite comfortable going there. My French is not too great after all, and I'm a little bit shy when it comes to meeting a whole bunch of people I have never met before. But I overcame my bashfulness, and it actually turned out quite pleasant. There was even a young couple who both work as translators for the European Commission. And there were others that I had greeted before but never talked to. So next time when I see them on the street, I can at least say more than only "Bonjour". And this already worked out! The President of this small neighbours association is a widowed man in his 60's. Last Sabbath, I was on my way for a short walk at the nearby university premises, and there he was walking his dog, so we got to talk for a little while. He shared with me that it wasn't easy for him to live alone. So what do we have to offer to those people who obviously feel some sort of emptiness in their lives? Well, there is a lot we can offer, but how can we make it attractive and interesting for them?

Another encounter also happened on Sabbath. When I was on my way home from church, I walked by one of these sightseeing buses which was stationed near the city center. Suddenly, I heard someone calling me. It was the driver of the bus that I had taken together with the Campos last week. He was very nice letting us on the tour at the student rate. So he asked me if I was taking a walk, and I said I was on my way home from church. He said he liked it if people go pray, but then he went a bit too far by asking me whether I lived alone and if I could give him my number. Basically, he wanted to invite me on a free tour on his bus (is this all he wanted, I wonder?). Too bad that I didn't have any literature to give him. But now, I'm trying to be always prepared. So this morning, I gave a health flyer to my hairdresser. She said "oh, I smoke!" So maybe that was the right candidate!

Anyway, by God's grace I'm still hoping to accomplish more than I have so far. Where are the big fish? Maybe I need to make this a real matter of prayer. It's quite humbling to realize that there are some opportunities in life that may come along only once. Are you prepared to witness or share a piece of literature wherever you go?

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I'm particularly enjoying the peace of the Sabbath hours today. The past week wasn't really strenuous for me, yet there is something special about this day of rest. I also like the fellowship at church, but if there is no afternoon program there, I get to commune with the Lord more deeply. Indeed, it's not only me, myself and I at home, He is there with me; and today I don't have all these distractions. How wonderful!

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to do some sightseeing here in Brussels. I got together with Juan Campos and his wife, after it hadn't work out to see them at the Hispanic church last weekend. They ended up staying in Antwerp and not in Brussels, and so they went to church there. But they were very interested in an audio-guided tour through the European Parliament that I had told them about. So they took the train to Brussels Tuesday morning and I picked them up at the station. However, they came too late for the morning tour through the Parliament, and so we decided to take one of the numerous sightseeing buses to explore the main highlights of the city. It was a bit windy that day (especially on top of this open double-deck bus!), but they were glad that they got to see Brussels. In the afternoon, I was able to drop them off for the 3 o'clock tour at the Parliament and went back to work. So during their almost one month stay in Europe, they ended up seeing four countries and three capitals. Not bad for the first visit! I love to take friends around here whenever I have the opportunity, and I hope you will be one of my next visitors :o)

A Japanese Tower

The main Commission building - they frequently change the outside advertisement. This one is about organ donation

At the European Parliament

Juan Campos and his wife Magda

Monday, September 6, 2010


The weekend with the Hargreaves was a real blessing. I knew the Lord would use this man to touch the hearts of the church members. I liked his presentations as they were very illustrative. On Friday evening, he compared soul winning with fishing, referring to the incidence in the gospel of Luke. There are indeed many parallels as for the keys of success in both activities. The sermon was about "searching for gold", and with another illustration and many poignant quotations of the Spirit of Prophecy, he made the urgency of the matter very clear. The result was that we got 100 decision cards filled out, in which church members committed themselves to soul winning in one way or the other. The morning service was followed by an afternoon topic on some practical steps in outreach and evangelism. It was held in the English-speaking church, but I was pleased to see some of the French speaking members staying as well. A concern that our Pastor mentioned was that the Belgians might be reluctant with everything that comes from America. But they will have to get over it, as this is going to fly now! On this note, I'm glad that the Romanian Pastor also showed interest, so that we will have this church also join in.

I can hardly believe it that the series will already begin in about seven months. It will be preceeded by a one week health seminar, for which I will be responsible. Of course the question comes up how I'm going to do this, and who is going to help me. This will be the entering wedge after all. I feel humbled to be in this position, and I'm also wondering how the whole campaign is going to be coordinated. I think the main organisational work will stick with me. If I hadn't taken everything into my own hands for the preparation of this past weekend, hardly anything would have been done. The African mentality is a bit different from the German, but these are the people I will largely have to rely on. Another challenge is bringing together team members from different language groups. So I guess I need to start praying for strength and wisdom!

Nevertheless, the Lord must have His leading hand in this endeavor, as there are just too many "coincidences" coming together. He must have sent me back to Brussels for such a time as this. May everything play out to His glory.

The Hargreaves family in Brussels

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Since last Sunday, I've been up and running again - at least my fever disappeared and I started to function relatively normal again. I wish I could already exercise, but after walking the six floors to my office this morning as usual, I was still coughing pretty hard.

At work, it has been fairly easy so far. Although since yesterday my hierarchy is complete again, I don't really see the big wave coming yet. I got to talk to my head of unit yesterday. He told me that he had had an accident last week. While visiting a castle somewhere, he fell down from a 4 meter (4 yard) wall! He said there was a grass patch just at the area where he bounced down, otherwise this could have become a very serious accident. Thank God, he only bruised his hip and rib cage. I told him that he had had a guardian angel, which he vividly affirmed.

Yesterday, my parents passed by for a short visit. They were on their way to Holland in order to meet up with my Dad's sailor friends from the old times when he was still traveling the oceans with the merchant marine. So they stopped at my place for one night, which was nice. I won't see them again before Christmas after all. My father brought me two bell pepper plants with lots of colorful fruits almost ready to be picked. Great idea. So far, I've only kept some herbs on my balcony, but now my independence from the supermarket has even increased!

Tomorrow, our special weekend with the Hargreaves from Amazing Facts is going to start. They are on their way by car from Budapest to Brussels now. This weekend will be crucial as for our further planning for a health seminar and evangelistic series next spring. I've been praying a lot for this to happen if it's God's will. But are the church members ready? I have no doubt that the harvest is ready. There must be some searching souls out there; even in this secular place. So why wait for the church to be ready then? I hope the Lord will give answers soon.

My bell pepper supply