Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rhineland Project

Yesterday, I had to head back to Brussels after spending some wonderful days at the "Rhineland Project", the medical-missionary short-term school I had mentioned in my previous blog. This project is taking place in a huge mansion house (a former boarding school, but now an apartment house), situated in a beautiful small town in the Westerwald region of Germany (about one hour from Cologne). In fact, it's only about half an hour away from the place where our camp meeting was held, so I could actually have gone there directly from there! We had lovely weather most of the time, and I wish it had been like this at camp meeting as well.

The project is such a blessing. The initiative and realization of it has been done by a brother who normally works as an architect. Jens attended Meet Ministry in Tennessee a while back, and ever since he is applying what he has learned by organizing all kinds of projects to train new (medical) missionaries. When I shared this with a friend in the US, she said: "Dr. Jackson would be proud" (that's the leader at Meet Ministry). Indeed, the knowledge that is received in these institutions by people from various cultural backgrounds is literally being applied all over the globe. I remember when I first came to Uchee Pines, there was this young pastor from Hungary who originally wanted to stay only about three months to improve his English. Well, he ended up doing the whole 18-months training, and now he is doing a great work in his home country.

The highlight was the health expo on Sunday afternoon. We invited the whole neighborhood. Although not too many "outsider" people came, it was fun teaching the eight laws of health to the church members and as well to a few non-Adventists.

What follows are some picture impressions, but it would be too much to post all the nice ones I have. I think I will post more on Facebook.

The mansion house - we actually used only two apartments and the  ground floor

Left: Vojta from Czech Republic preaching - Right: Jens interpreting
Kitchen duty
Health Expo: "Information & Massage"
I was banned outside with my "Air" booth. Hilarious! In fact, they only asked me  two hours before it started whether I would be willing to help out...
A curious little boy from the neighborhood
How to exercise properly
James from the US - specialist in cutting trees - quite impressive how he was able to climb this huge  one
And this is how the tree looked afterwards - good job!
Morning exercise
Headed where?

Monday, August 22, 2011


Today was my first day at work after vacation. The weekend retreat with my local church was a wonderful experience. The place we stayed at is about one hour from Brussels, and it's in the middle of nowhere - as far as this is possible in this densely populated country.

It was such a blessing, although it wasn't very well organized. The African sister who used to be in charge stepped back, and the others just didn't manage without her coordinating everything. Plus our pastor has been busy packing his container for Canada, so he couldn't really take care of things. But I took it with humour. On Sabbath, the weather was absolutely perfect. I enjoyed every minute in the sunshine. Indeed, this was a compensation for all these cool and rainy days in the last few weeks. It was a true gift of God, because today, it's cool and rainy again.

There were two special young ladies attending our retreat. Galina from Bulgaria, who only recently started working in Brussels. She is very sincere. Also one of our African young men brought a fellow student from university. Her name is Andrea and she is from Germany. She just got acquainted with the church there, and through the invitation of our brother, she first visited our church service while I was at camp meeting. I was glad that she spontaneously decided to come to the retreat, as it was a great opportunity to get to know her. She is like a sponge - in fact, I've never seen this. Being catholic by origin, she feels very comfortable with our beliefs and wants to learn as quickly as possible. I already gave her an internet link where she can order the Sabbath school quarterly, and she can't wait to read the Desire of Ages. What a blessing to finally have somebody from Germany in my church!

We will really miss Pastor Kyala, but I'm happy for him that he can begin something new in Quebec. There is a lot work to be done there as well, after all. As for the Belgian leadership, there is still no leader in sight, so maybe they will have to import somebody from somewhere!

This coming Wednesday through Sunday, I'll be off to the next adventure. I still have some annual leave, and given the fact that it's still very quiet at my work place, I decided to take advantage and visit a short-time medical missionary school, which is being held about one hour from the city of Cologne. I learned about it on our camp meeting and was intrigued by this concept. Not everybody can take a whole year off after all, and this offers an opportunity for an intense training in medical-missionary work, agriculture, True Education, etc. for those who can come during the summer school holidays. There are different speakers on various topics, and now they are also having a few health guests, so I may be even able to help out with treatments. I really look forward to it.

Belgian countryside - there are no mountains, but lots of hills
Pastor Kyala
One of my favorite "carob chips"
More kids
Getting ready for campfire

Andrea from Germany and Leonard from Zimbabwe
The geese greeting me

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Counting The Blessings

I'm in Germany with my parents and younger brother after returning back from camp meeting yesterday afternoon. It was a great blessing - to put it mildly.

As expected, the Nebbletts and their messages and songs were a highlight throughout the week. I'm especially thankful that the Lord is able to touch the hearts of the young people through them. I interpreted part of the medical seminar given by Edwin Nebblett who is an MD. The information that he gave about brain health was highly interesting and timely.

I know that it is a blessing whenever Frank Fournier speaks somewhere, and that's why I suggested to invite him to our convention. However, I wouldn't have imagined that his presence with us would make such a tremendous, extraordinary, and deep impact on all people involved at our camp meeting. When he made an altar call the last evening, quite a number of young people came forward who decided to be baptized. Overall, this hour of consecration was just overwhelming. I'm sure the Lord had planned this for us, however it became obvious to me that the enemy didn't like this plan. Indeed, Frank would have had many good reasons to cancel his trip to Germany even in the last minute. It just seemed way too much for him to fly in from Sacramento directly after the ASI convention, his wife being sick on top of it - plus he missed the OCI board meeting. In addition, the German air traffic controllers threatened with strike - exactly for Monday morning last week, when he was supposed to arrive. Interestingly, this strike never happened, although they seemed very determined to defend their rights. Yes, the air traffic controllers may control the airspace, but God controls the whole universe!

It was quite challenging for us not to have Thomas with us to help with the organization and a smooth running of the meetings, but by God's grace we managed. Due to my busyness throughout the week, I haven't taken many pictures, but here are a few impressions:

Frank Fournier preaching
The Nebblett family singing

Hour of consecration Saturday night

At the end of the meetings, I decided to stay one more night in order to get some rest before moving on to the next place. So on Sunday, I was able to spend some time with the Nebblett family (who also left the place only yesterday morning), which was very blessed. I was the last one leaving the Christian recreation center, and it was such a peaceful sunny day. I wish we could have had more days like this during camp meeting time, but unfortunately, we had more rain then sunshine, and it was quite windy (just unpredictable in this part of Germany). Nevertheless, we were truly showered with God's blessings.

This was how the park in front of the building complex looked like at my departure. I should really have taken a picture of that tree on the first day of camp meeting as a comparison. When I arrived at August 7, only the leaves to the left were yellow. What an early fall!

I'm planning on driving back to Brussels already this coming Wednesday instead of Sunday. I really need to see my chiropractor, furthermore I decided to attend the yearly spiritual retreat of my church in Brussels, which is going to take place this coming weekend at a beautiful place in the countryside of Belgium. Our pastor is now definitely leaving for Canada, and this will be our last time with him.

I'm ready for another blessing, I think.

Monday, August 1, 2011


I’m back to Brussels and I’m enjoying the sunshine – at least for a couple of days.

The funeral was very sad, yet not as dramatic as I had thought it would be. Sonja appeared to me quite strong. Of course there is still an element of shock in this whole experience, and now there are still lots of things to be organized, plus her newborn gives her a lot of distraction. This shows me again how close joyful and sorrowful events can come together in life. I pray that the Lord may give her strength, comfort and peace, especially when she will start processing everything.

Well, it was nice to spend a few days in the country, although the weather wasn’t very summery. My almost 92-year old grandmother was happy to see me. She could very well relate to Sonja’s fate – in fact, she was even younger in age when her husband fell during World War II; and she was also left alone with two little children. Nevertheless, it's definitely no easier today to cope with such a loss than it was then, although the social systems in Germany are stronger now.

There are still lots of little things to be done at work, and I’m really looking forward to vacation now. But only six days left, and I will be headed to Germany again. I’ll write more after camp meeting.