The days are getting ‘shorter’ and it is definitely getting colder in the Netherlands. Winter is coming! But first we still enjoy the beauty in nature at the moment. It’s incredible how many colours the trees have now! So beautiful. It has been a long time that we could experience and enjoy autumn. Actually, while I’m writing that phrase I suddenly realize that this is even the first autumn in Holland for our children ever! Now the lessons they’ve had about the four seasons suddenly come to life and are finally to be understood for real!
It’s so good to be back in Holland now. We love to see our children getting to know our ‘home’ country and it’s just so good to have time with family and friends. Though the first few weeks were quite heavy and emotional. It was only after being here a few weeks that Andrew’s step-father, with whom he grew up, past away. Even though he was ill for a long time it still went so fast suddenly. It was good for Andrew to hear his step-father say just before he went: “I want to be with the Lord.” There is no greater comfort than knowing that he is with his Father in heaven now. There is no better place!
It was only a few hours after this funeral that we heard that the cancer (melanoma) of Eliza’s father has spread in his body. Again very sad news. It is very likely that he won’t get better anymore. We don’t know (the doctors can’t tell with this kind of cancer) how long he still has (could be months, could be 10 years), but we do know that God is in control and that He knows what is best. Although sick, he still feels well enough to keep on preaching God’s word every Sunday. He himself is such a testimony to us and the people around him. He loves God’s Word and so it gives him such joy to study and to teach from it, that he can’t stop… not yet! He says: “I know that God is good and I pray that His will be done. If that means that I must die, then that’s ok. If not, then that’s ok too. God is the Potter and I’m just clay. He knows best.” Hearing these words from his mouth gives comfort to all of us. Although it is, of course, still emotional.
After two weeks being back in Holland, Eliza had the privilege to go back to Senegal to attend a Literacy seminar organized by NTM. This was a very good and helpful week! Even though we might sometimes see literacy as a ‘side’ work, subordinated to Bible teaching, it really is so very crucial. Because with giving the people the possibility to read and write… you really give them so much more than just that. You give them the opportunity to, independent from the missionary, read God’s Word! Read how God has intended everything…read about God’s love for them! They can discover themselves what is still not according to God’s plan in their lives, where they have to change things and learn about God’s grace. New believers can write Bible studies and songs for the church. They don’t need the missionaries to tell what God’s Word says, instead they read; and thus says the Lord: “ ….” (reading what He actually really said) and so they know that this is with the authority of God! What a wonderful and important work to teach people how to read and write!
During our home assignment we have the privilege to share from our work in Senegal in different churches. At the same time Andrew has the opportunity to share from the Word in those churches to challenge young people to be
involved in missions. Besides passionately sharing about our future plans (In Senegal) and challenging people, Andrew is part of the NTM Netherlands team. He has been busy already organizing a get to gather evening for people interested in missions within NTM. We (Andrew & Eliza) will organize a trip for both Dutch and German folks to go to England where the NTM REACH conference will be held.
Many people ask how the children are doing and cooping here. Occasionally we hear them say that they miss their friends from BCS, but knowing that we will go back is a comfort.
For the rest they are doing well! They too enjoy family, friends, good food and the changing weather.
This morning they saw Andrew scraping the iced up windows from the car and they were totally excited. Jumping up and down, calling the scraped ice snow. Really funny. After the first few weeks, it turned out that Judah and Gloria were quite behind in some school areas. Especially in Maths. We promised them that when they would know all the times tables really well and quick we would go to the Mc Donald’s. And so they’ve been working really hard . They have both just finished all time tables! We are so proud of them! Mc Donald’s here we come!