Sunday, September 30, 2012

Don't Know Where To Start

Please bear with me. I've been wanting to post for a while, but firstly, I just couldn't find a dull moment to write down any of my adventures, and secondly, things have been happening so fast that I can actually think of at least three different posts I could write, and I really don't know where to start.

Shall I write about what happened at my work place lately?

Shall I write about what happened at my church this weekend?

Shall I write about the political developments in Europe?

Well, one thing has been following another in quick succession. Right now, I still have Nadège from France visiting. We met at our camp meeting in Germany last month, and I spontaneously invited her to come to Brussels to share about her experience with "Congo Frontline Missions", an ASI-sponsored project, where she has been working as a full-time missionary. It has been such a blessing having her here. The church members were intrigued by her story.

So there have been three women in my house this weekend, since I have also Larissa staying with me. She is a student from Northern Germany, and she is completing a masters programme in "urban cultures". The first six weeks of the programme are happening in Belgium, and so she ended up staying at my place. It has been a blessing having her here. It's nice to have her company, and she is also a great help at home. And together with Nadège, we've had a blast! Today, Nadège and I did some sightseeing in Brussels, as she is traveling back to France only tomorrow. She came over to Europe to renew her visa, but very soon, she will be going back to her mission field.

I'm going to write more as soon as possible. Right now, I'm a bit under pressure, as I'm going to give another health talk at my work place this coming Wednesday: "How to strengthen the immune system." Well, I'd better make sure to really know what I'm talking about!

Police at the Grand Place in Brussels Center

In front of the Berlaymont - main Commission building

"Parc Cinquentennaire" - Jubilee Park
Nice view

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just A Few More Pictures on Aachen

One of the many sculptures in this city
A terraced shrub garden with a terraced water fall running through it 
It was warm - also for the dogs
I think this man played a lute
It was very nice to listen to

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Staying busy

This past Sunday, I came back from my weekend trip to the city of Aachen. As I had reported on my blog, I have been there already in the fall of 2010 for a seminar with Dr. Timothy Jennings. This time, they invited Ron Halvorsen and his wife from Florida. In fact, he is a very interesting speaker. He shared about "Prayer Walking" - a concept to prepare big cities for evangelism.

With Ron and Carroll Halvorsen

Of course it was also a blessing to see my friend Tanja and her husband Ilja again, since we haven't had the opportunity to get together since the last seminar there. Again, they did the video recordings, and they did an excellent job.

It wasn't easy going back to work on Monday, but I'm getting into it. The workload is slowly increasing, and it will definitely become more in the next few months. I'm thankful to be in this food task force, as it's getting more and more interesting. Food is something that concerns everybody in the world after all. And there is definitely lots of work to be done when it comes to competition/antitrust concerns in this field.

Anyway, I feel honored and privileged to be at this particular post right now. Of course, it gives you a lot of insights what's happening on EU level. And fact is that my Directorate-General has a lot of power. Furthermore, there are lots of interesting things happening right now on the political floor in Europe. President Barroso gave his famous "State of the Union speech" today. More on this on an upcoming post!

And here is an encouraging bible verse that somebody sent me today:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Thursday, September 6, 2012

La Foresta

I thought before the next adventure comes, I should take the opportunity and share about our church retreat, which took place last weekend.

We were guests in a former monastery near Leuven, which is about 30 km outside Brussels in the Flemish part of Belgium. The venue was quite impressive. They have lots of guest rooms there, in which the monks used to live. However, there seems to be only one monk left in this place. I even met him, but couldn't communicate with him much, since I don't speak Dutch.

Anyway, we had beautiful weather and the spiritual meetings with our Pastor were really blessed. Only the food needed some improvement (to put it politely), but this can certainly be fixed for next time. There was also another group present while we were there. Interestingly, this turned out to be a weekend seminar on how to find God within yourself, or something like that. At least this is what I understood during the conversation I had with one of the participants. They didn't think that God can be found somewhere outside themselves, and thus, they endeavored to learn looking within. Very weired. I wanted to give this lady a GLOW tract on health, but she refused (the monk gladly accepted it though).

Anyway, I have lots of good memories from this weekend retreat, and I look forward to the next one!

The main entrance of "La Foresta"

Lunch time: French Fries (yuck)

family time

Discussion group

Relaxing outside
The meeting hall
Play time on Sunday morning
Can I hold the little doll?

On Saturday morning, somebody slipped a piece of paper under each door. It was a paper with a spiritual message. We were wondering whether somebody of our group had this bright idea, but we came to the conclusion that the monk of the monastery might have provided us with it. It said the following:

The Difference
I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day. I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task. "Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered. He answered, You didn't ask," 
I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak. I wondered why God didn't show me. He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence. I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock."
I woke up early this morning and paused before enter the day. I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

I guess every guest in this house receives such a flyer in their respective language. What a beautiful ministry. The monk might be "out of the loop" at this place, but he can definitely not be blamed for not doing the Lord's work.

On Sabbath after lunch, I took some time to stroll around a bit around this monastery. There is something special about this place, and I'm definitely planning to come back. But there was more that the Holy Spirit put on my mind when I was walking around this stately building, glancing through the beautiful and quiet surroundings. It's this burden that has become heavier and heavier on my heart lately. This burden for the ten million people in this little country, which is not bigger than the State of Maryland. I didn't say a long prayer while I was strolling there - I just said:
Lord - give me Belgium!