Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Caroling

These past few days have been beautiful in Alabama. We have a student from South Africa here, and she said that this weather reminded her of home, where they go to the beach at this time of year. Yesterday, pretty much everybody who has been staying back on Campus gathered at the old Lifestyle Center for a nice Christmas lunch. After that, we went caroling in the neighborhood. We had a lot of fun singing for the people in our community and praying over their homes. They also received some literature as gifts.

After that, we gathered for a light supper at my house. We had a very blessed time.

The children having fun
Eliana and Naomi

Amy sharing a testimony

I've been all by myself since Friday. One of my housemates, Sister Rosie, passed away recently while she was visiting family in Colorado. This all came as a surprise to us. She was frail indeed, but we didn't expect such a rapid demise. But she had expressed the desire to rest, so now she is peacefully awaiting resurrection morning.

My other two housemates are gone, and it has been strange being all alone in the house. But tomorrow early morning, I will join the group to go to GYC in Houston. I pray for another blessing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Last week, we had a special Revival Weekend at Uchee Pines. Everybody laid down their daily work on Thursday and Friday, so that we could get together as a body to experience revival both personally and as a group. As a special speaker, we had Pastor Atwood from Wildwood, and the Wildwood Strings Ensemble also came to give the whole weekend a nice musical frame. There were also speakers from campus, and we really had a blessing. At the end of the last evening, our President went forward and apologized to certain individuals for his shortcomings that were of a public character. After that, others also stepped up to apologize for their wrongs towards him and others. It was very powerful. I shared the little book "Steps to Personal Revival" by Pastor Helmut Haubeil with them, which has been a great blessing to me. We indeed need the Holy Spirit for personal revival, and we need to ask the Lord daily to supply us.

Other than that, I've been enjoying my work in the Kitchen. I've been learning a lot of things, and I've also been able to get into raw cuisine, as many of the lifestyle guests are mainly on a raw diet. It's been tyring though. In the evenings, my feet tend to be sore to the point that I don't really want to move around much more. Nevertheless, I'm thankful for this opportunity to widen my horizon. And once more, I'm enjoying the mild winter here. It's such a blessing that you can pick fruit here even up to December. This morning, I picked the last pears from the tree by my house. Also some pineapple guava are still available, and even some water melons in my personal garden!

At the end of the month, we will go to GYC in Houston. I'm sure the meetings will be a blessing. I look forward to this spiritual refreshing.

A recent fall picture with my friends Daphne and Vanessa

The last harvest of pears

My pear tree

Pineapple Guava

Monday, November 14, 2016

California Trip

Two weeks have passed since I entered US territory again and my time has been truly blessed.

It all started with a 24-hour delay of my flight to California. Due to heavy fog, I got stranded in Amsterdam, right at the first leg of my journey. But KLM had already figured it out: I was going to spend the night in a hotel, and thus got the opportunity to do some sightseeing in the Dutch capital. Of course that was not really what I had in mind, but I enjoyed it anyway :-). 

The AMEN Conference was a blessing. I thoroughly enjoyed the testimonies and the talks I was able to attend, as well as the fellowship. The attendees were mainly physicians and medical/dental students of all kinds of specialties. The people were overall older than the attendees at the ENAD Conference in Germany, but this is something I would certainly be interested in doing again. Of course the weather was gorgious in Southern California - even a bit too warm for my perception. 

My journey up north and then down to San Francisco was beautiful. I really enjoyed Yosemite nationalpark, as well as driving through the Redwoods and mountains towards the West Coast, and then passing the pacific ocean with its beuatiful rocks. Finally on my way down to San Francisco, I passed the vineyards, and then I got to cross Golden Gate Bridge once more. The visits with my friends were very blessed, and the different accommodations I found for Yosemite, Eureka and San Francisco were comfortable and pleasant. In fact, I even found out that my "Airbnb" hosts in Eureka were Adventists, which was a neat experience.

This past Wednesday, I eventually made it to Uchee Pines. Somehow, I'm still on Pacific Time, which makes it really hard to get up in the morning, but nonetheless, I'm happy to be "back home". The weather has been sunny and pleasant - just the way I like it here at this time of year. We had a special weekend with Randy Skeete, which was very blessed and a spiritual challenge at the same time. This man is able to recite the whole book of Revelation, as well as the book of Hebrews! This certainly puts to shame my feeble efforts to keep about 100 bible verses in my memory - and I haven't even kept it up as I should these past few months. 

So I look forward to another period of volunteering at my "Alma Mater". This session, they have me work in the kitchen, which will certainly be a physical challenge, yet another great learning opportunity!

And here are some impressions of my trip to the West Coast:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Going West Again...

It's 6:30 AM and I'm sitting at Brussels Airport. My taxi made it here within 15 minutes, and it only took me another 20 minutes to go through special security and drop off my luggage. I'm excited. I'm headed to Palm Springs to attend the AMEN Conference, after which I'm going to spend ten days with friends at the West Coast. As of November 9, I'll be helping out at Uchee Pines again for another few months. I'm so glad that I don't have to spend the winter in Belgium.

The month of October wasn't even a nice one in Germany. I returned from there this past Sunday. I had a very blessed time with family and friends. Actually, I realized that I hadn't been in my home country for such a long period of time (i. e. 3 1/2 weeks) since I moved to Belgium in 2004. My mother celebrated her 70th birthday, which was a blessing. She is still going strong, and my father is doing pretty well, in spite of his condition. Only my grandmother hasn't been doing great. She is getting anxious and nervous about things, and thus she needs more care now. But given the fact that she is 92, her physical condition is amazing.

Anyway, I'm thankful for the time I was able to spend with them and to reconnect with friends. Now off to the next thing!

My family
My mother to the right with her sister

My dessert
Alp Horn players in the Black Forest

Monday, October 3, 2016

Two Weeks in Retrospect

I was planning on writing again earlier, but circumstances didn't allow me to do so. A couple weeks ago, I got pretty sick with the flu. It occured that I over-exhausted myself during the weekend. On September 17, I was asked to give the sermon at my church, and the following Sunday, I organized a cooking school at my home. Those events took a lot of my energy (mentally and physically), and were followed by a tension headache, which robbed me of an adequate amount of sleep. So the flu virus got me. It was definitely not pleasant, however I took it out of the Lord's hands. According to the Spirit of Prophecy, disease helps the system to get rid of impurities and toxins, and after all the stresses of this past summer, I definitely had enough of those!

I'm still recovering at this point, yet feeling so much better. Yesterday, I arrived at my parent's home after attending the third "ENAD Conference" at a beautiful SDA center near Stuttgart. It was such a blessing to spend a few days together with a lot of health professionals and other dedicated people, most of which being younger than myself. It was great being able to do networking and to find out what's happening in Europe in terms of medical missionary efforts; in particular in Germany. There were quite a few people I hadn't seen in a while, and also quite a few I had just seen at our camp meeting. Overall, it was a very fruitful and spiritual event. The workshops and spiritual speakers were also excellent. I definitely enjoyed Jesse Zwikers talks, as well as Dr. Heidi Schulz who spoke about epigenetics and other interesting things pertaining to lifestyle and health. There was even one of the leaders from the GC health department. He is going to make a video clip about the event, which will probably be shown at the next GC session. Wow!

Now, I'm going to enjoy about three weeks visiting family and friends - a rare treat! It's definitely getting cooler now. Fall is coming. But at the end of the month, I'll be headed to Southern California to attend the "AMEN Conference" (the US model for the ENAD initiative), before returning to Uchee Pines in November. It looks like this is going to be another treat...

My little helper during cooking school...


Ready to devour everything
It was car free Sunday in Brussels - it was almost like a ghost town!

My kitchen cabinet remedies - came in handy to treat myself
ENAD Conference attendees
Getting to know each other
Inspiring talks

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Blue Buddha

On Friday, I came back from the Belgian coast where I decided to spend another few days. I felt my stay there the week before was not really sufficient to get the recuperation I needed. And I didn't regret it! The weather was as beautiful as during my first visit, and I felt like I was in an open-air sanitarium.

During my first visit, I had an interesting encounter. Near the place I was staying, there is this beach club called "Blue Buddha". It's a place geared at least for upper middle class people I would say; and it's characterized by a blue buddha that's present everywhere on this compound - at the entrance, as a picture on all the beach chairs and pillows - just everywhere.

So there was this young lady with a massage table. She greeted me and I asked her whether she was offering massages. To my delight, I found out that she was specialized in neck and shoulders, so we made an appointment for the next day. It turned out that she is a so-called "Zen Assistant", and she told me that she would also do "Healing". Well, I didn't mind as long as she would be able help me. So the next day, she prepared the massage table and started working on me. However, the wind was a bit strong that morning, so she asked me if I wanted to go to a more protected area and start over again. So we changed locations, and in the process we had fun trying to keep my modesty. During my last visit, I got another massage; and it was really affordable, since she is just starting her business.

The Blue Buddha is greeting the guests
Beach chairs with buddha
Public marriage beds - hilarious!
On the beach

So I'm back to Brussels now and started taking care of my back log of things to do. Yesterday afternoon, I went to Mouscron Church. It's a small place in the Walloon Region of Belgium, close to northern France. In two weeks time, the local church is organizing a Health Expo, and I'm volunteering. On my journey there, I was only a bit frustrated because when changing trains in Ghent, I sat down in the wrong train and thus I ended up arriving quite a bit delayed. I found it weired that the ticket inspector in the first train couldn't tell me to which track I needed to go for the transfer. But I guess I really need to get used to the fact that in this country, things are not organized as well than in Germany! Nevertheless, I had a nice scenic train ride, and I still arrived on time for the most important part of the pre-meeting.

Next Sunday, I'm going to conduct a cooking school at my home. I look forward to that. So the weekends will be packed before I go to Germany end of the month. But I'm so thankful that I'm not back at my work place yet. This gives me enough time during the week to prepare everything. Indeed, time is a precious gift.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blessings Galore

Today, I arrived at the Belgian coast, starting to enjoy a few days of total relaxation. After the events of the past weeks, I felt I really needed that. Here, I don't have any tasks to fulfill, I don't have any household chores, I don't have to take care of family members, etc., but I can just rest and relax: walk whenever I feel like walking; sleep whenever I feel like sleeping, communicate whenever I feel like communicating... - you get my point.

Our camp meeting in Germany was extremely blessed. It's just too much to recount. So many lives have been transformed during those six days, including mine. With our speakers, the Nebblett family, Frank Fournier, Norberto Restrepo Sr, as well as Christopher Kramp, it was a programme packed with spiritual highlights. Although I didn't have much time at all to follow the seminars, I sensed that every participant was richly blessed.

However, the logistical part was too much for me to handle. Back in June, our ministry changed the server provider, and this affected our registration website. Thus, everybody who registered after June 8 had to be manually added to the list of participants. I thank God that after returning from the States, I had about four weeks at home that I could dedicate to the preparations for the meetings. Nevertheless, during the week of camp meeting it was a bit much for me to manage. Since I was the only one who had an overview over the registrations (and even the finances!), there was too much only I knew and too little that my assistants knew. That of course is a bad combination, and I did by far not get enough sleep.

Nonetheless, I've been truly blessed. It was actually during the week of camp meeting that I decided to extend my leave of absence from work by another seven months. Yes, I will go back to the US! I'm basically going to spend another winter helping out at Uchee Pines. So I'll be in Belgium until end of September; most of the month of October I'm going to spend in Germany (finally I will have some more time to be with family and friends!), and on October 26, I'll be flying out to Southern California. The AMEN Conference (Adventist Medical Evanelism Network) will be held there, and after that I'm going to visit some dear friends in Northern California. From November 9 until early March, I'll be back at Uchee. I can't wait to come home :-).

Nevertheless, I'm still convinced that Belgium is my designated mission field. The Lord still has something in mind for this country and for Brussels in particular. We really need to press forward and finish the work. I've written more in my latest Newsletter. If you are not on my distribution list yet, please feel free to contact me (through this blog or via Facebook), and I'll be happy to email it to you (I have shared some things there I would not share on this public website).

So back to my latest experiences: After camp meeting, we (i. e. a couple from my ministry team and myself) took Frank Fournier and Norberto Restrepo to the Martin Luther sites, i. e. the Wartburg castle as well as Wittenberg. There, we saw the church door were Luther pinned the 95 theses. Quite impressive. We also saw Hal Mayer's wife Betsy there. However, her and her friend didn't know where he was at that moment, so we couldn't say hello to him. Too bad!

After that, I went back to Brussels - together with Frank Fournier, who gave a seminar there at my church. It was truly blessed. I only felt so sorry for him that after that, he missed his plane to Hungary (long story). But now he is on his way back to the States - only to go on another trip end of this week. Poor him. These OCI/ASI people should be more considerate of the fact that he is an older man who doesn't travel so well anymore. Well, I admit that we also couldn't resist to invite him over again!

Back to the coast: I'm so thankful that I was able to come here. The sea is so invigorating, and the sun is not too hot. As I decided to cook my own meals this time, I had a lot of luggage. It was a bit tough to carry all this on the train (it's about 1 1/2 hours from Brussels to the sea side), especially since Belgian men are usually not very helpful. I hate to say that but it's a fact. If I had been on a train in Germany, I'm sure several men would have offered me help with the luggage. But as Dr. Agatha Thrash used to say: "Gallant men make feeble women", I'm thankful that I managed to carry all these bags. I'm sure I've gained some muscle mass today!

Below are a few pictures to illustrate my latest adventures:

Christopher Kramp speaking
Children's choir 
Paul Dysinger preaching
Frank Fournier
The ad-hoc choir
With my friends Jana and family
We even had a harpist
The door with the 95 theses
The stone were Luther was resting - with Frank, Norberto and Alberto
It's called the "Luther Stone"
Wartburg castle
Frank exploring the yard of the castle