Sunday, February 24, 2013

EQ Summit

I safely made it to the US last Sunday. It was a wise decision to first stop at Uchee Pines, so I had a couple days to adjust to the time zone. Of course it was also nice to stay with my friend Amy and her family, who I hadn't seen for over three years.

Now I'm at the Emotional Intelligence Summit in Dallas and of course the information flow is kind of overwhelming. I haven't had a lot of time to reflect, but what stands out to me is the fact that this Depression Recovery Program has indeed helped a lot of people. Today, we heard some encouraging testimonials of participants who went through the 10-day program. As I have also attended the "Training the Trainer" seminar, I have all the material now to run this as well, but I'm still not sure how I could do this at home. I could only do it in English after all, so this limits the audience. But I will see; maybe I could do something at my own place. Even if it was only for a few people, it would be well worth it.

The key note speaker, Dr. Robert Emmons from California, gave some interesting suggestions on the topic of gratitude. How can we grow it? Some of his challenges were to write down a "gratitude journal" and to make a "what I take for granted list". Very interesting. Tonight, we are going to learn about music therapy. The hotel is a pleasant place to stay in, and I have met a lot of nice people here.

Tomorrow, I'll be flying out to Northern California, where I'm going to stay until Thursday; and then my next stop will be Eden Valley in Colorado. My itinerary is indeed packed, but this is how I have chosen it, so that I can make as many visits as possible. So I hope everything will be working out fine.

Hotel surroundings
They have a nice heated swimming pool

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The ISDA Babies

Things are really happening in my church. In 2012, about 10 children were born into various families. Indeed, the ladies at Brussels International Church seem to be quite fertile. Or maybe it's just multiple answers to the "standard prayer" of our Ghanaian Elder:

"Lord, those who are seeking life partners, please provide for them; and those who are seeking the fruit of the womb, please give them!"

Well, at least the latter part of his prayer has been thoroughly answered - even for those who didn't explicitly pray for it :-). Nevertheless, all of them seem to be very happy with their new babies - although quite busy of course. Since there are usually lots of family members of the babies to be dedicated come to such services, we rented a bigger venue, actually a small theatre in the city center. Even the Conference President came to perform the dedication.

All the children and parents with the Conference President
Waiting for the blessing
The oldest children where 7 and 9 years
Kennely - one of the African babies

So in one week I'll be headed off to the States. Can't wait to see my friends in California, Colorado, Utah, Alabama and Arkansas. Indeed, quite an itinerary, but I wanted to visit as many as possible. I'm also looking forward to the Emotional Intelligence Summit in Dallas, which will start on February 20. I will fly out already on February 17 though. I'm going to stop at Uchee Pines to take a couple days to get over jet lag. It will be so nice to be "back home"!

In the meantime, my Dutch classes have started. Although this language is so close to German, I still need to get used to the pronunciation. I wouldn't have thought that the teacher would be able to maintain the whole class time only speaking Dutch, but it works. At least I haven't had difficulties to follow, however others without any knowledge of German have to rely more on the pictures in the text book and the body language of the teacher. I hope I'll be conversational soon.

I've been reading in the book of Isaiah these days. I noticed the verse in chapter 45:6:
"That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else."
Interestingly, until chapter, 46, this statement is being repeated twice, namely in chapter 45:21, as well as 46:9. So why did the Lord put so much emphasis on the fact that there is none like Him, or none beside Him? Maybe the people of Israel needed this reminder. I think of the distractions that we have nowadays in our secular society. Even if we do not literally worship other gods, we may get distracted with things that seem important to us and that may stand in between the relationship to our Saviour: the job, the spouse, children; yes and even the ministry work we do could consume us to the extent that we neglect the time with our Maker.

It's my desire to strengthen my walk with God, and not to allow anything or anybody to stand between or to weaken this relationship. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8). It's a sure promise.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Church Events

This afternoon after the church service was over, it was so beatifully sunny outside. Thus, I decided that I couldn't stay longer inside, so off I went home to go and enjoy this rare moment of the Brussels winter season - only to find out that there were heavy clouds in my area of town. And now it's even snowing! Well, maybe that's the opportunity for me to post a blog on the recent happenings.

The Health Expo training weekend with Valérie Dufour was very blessed, yet unfortunately not so well attended. But at least we have all the tools and material now to conduct a children's Health Expo. There are actually many possibilities, but we would like to start off with an Expo for the children of the local churches. The advantage with it is that you don't need as many volunteers as for the adult Expo. So I hope we can manage to organize ourselves to get the health work really going here.

The banners for the children's Health Expo - very colorful

The ASAM (Adventist Single Adult Ministries) last weekend with Andrea Hicks from F.O.C.U.S. Ministries was also a blessing. In fact, the church was packed on Sabbath morning, and I counted about 70 people staying back for the afternoon workshop, which is quite an unusual number. The attendees, whether single or married, really liked the presentations and Q & A sessions, and Andrea enjoyed her stay in Brussels very much. I'm glad that we were able to have her, and it's my hope now to continue with this Singles Ministry. There is definitely a need for it.

Andrea in action
With Andrea, Emma and Felicia for a non-vegan treat in Brussels
(Belgian wafles :-)

So church life has been rather busy, and the next event is coming in a week's time: Our big baby dedication. I'll be posting about it.

Meanwhile it has stopped snowing and the sky is blue here :-). Crazy weather patterns.