Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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Exams in Belgium

A good street view of Brussels from my bike ride.

A good street view of Brussels from my bike ride.

Here’s a little photo I took as I rode my Villo! bike through Brussels yesterday. It may be unwise and a little dangerous but the view is impressive.

Exam time started today! And exams here in Belgium are serious business. Already last year when Sinéad and Silas were in grade 2 and 4 they had quite serious end of year exams that many children stress about. This year Olivia (grade 6) and Orien (grade 8) have significant exams that could leave them with extra work for the summer or the chance to do their grade over. If you’re Canadian, you can’t relate to this type of exam stress until grade 12 or university.

The good news is that our children are developing good study habits at a very young age and that they are excelling in their exams. Continue reading

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Christa’s Uganda Experiences

It has been 2 weeks since I returned home from Uganda. What a fantastic time it was!

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We landed at almost midnight on Friday- Aug 14th. Bea and I were hoping we would have a ride to take us to our hotel. We walked through the airport at Entebbe and into the dark night and there found a smiling face holding a sign with our names! Patrick is one of the amazing employees at Kampala Children’s Centre (KCC). He drove us around a lot in the 10 days we were in Uganda! I was SO glad that I did not have to drive and that he was such a competent driver. The driving is crazier than here in Belgium- which is crazier than Canada…those are my comparisons 🙂

When Patrick dropped us off at our hotel on Friday evening he said he would be back to pick us up on Monday morning. Continue reading


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My morning walk in Hoeilaart

One of the best things about having a dog is that I have an excuse to get out and explore. Then the benefit of a smart phone is that I can go further and still find my way home.

I suppose that’s the way with the Lord too. The Holy Spirit is very curious – so as I listen to the voice of God I get taken on journeys. The added benefit is that God can’t get lost – so we can find ourselves in far away and interesting places, confident that we will find our way home.

Here’s some of what I saw this morning on the roads near our home.

 

Missionary Call

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Missionary Call

The history of Belgium has a dark shadow of about 75 years (1525-1600) where protestants and especially Mennonites were martyred for their faith.  Perhaps as many as 2,500 Mennonites faced fire, hanging, drowning, beheading and some were buried alive (see this article).  At this same time, William Tyndale, the first scholar to translate the Bible from Greek & Hebrew to English was also captured and martyred.

This is important because God builds his church on his people.  Those who died for Christ didn’t just suffer for Christ, they suffered with Christ.  Imagine, the same way you meet Jesus when you visit the sick or imprisoned, you meet Jesus when you suffer for his sake.

The book of Revelation reminds us that Christ will bring justice to those who faced persecution and death.  Justice works two ways – punishment on oppressors is the last resort, the justice we long for is repentance and salvation for every murderer and every oppressor.  We fear hell so much that we don’t wish it on anyone – not even our persecutors.

The writer of Romans reminds us that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  This is comforting to us because we want to know that nothing done for Jesus is worthless.  In this upside down Kingdom, Jesus takes what looks worthless and meaningless and makes it infinitely valuable.

It is possible that 400 years later, that the Lord is still answering the prayers of these saints who laid down their lives for Christ.  We pray that God may use us to share with many who’ve never heard that the old story is still Good News.  May justice come in the form of grace and mercy.

And may the Lamb who was slain, receive the reward of his suffering.

 


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New Adventures Ahead

I am so excited to share with you that I have accepted the position of Associate Pastor of the Brussels Vineyard Church in Brussels, Belgium!  Starting on July 1st, the next chapter of our lives of following Jesus takes us to the capital city of Europe to join the staff of this exciting and missional church.
The Belgian tri-color

The Belgian tri-color

Belgium (and most of Europe) is considered to be very difficult ground for bringing the Good News of Jesus.  According to Operation World, 1.2% of the population is evangelical Christian and another 0.9% is charismatic Christian.  Most Belgians have given up on faith and have little or no knowledge of the Biblical story.  This means that, though we will be ministering in the church,  we will be acting as missionaries to make disciples.

My role will be to help the church in 3 key areas: children, youth and Alpha.  It’s exciting to be able to take my experience and passion and serve with a team of elders, pastors, staff, bivocational missionaries and local Belgians. This church has many highly involved members.  I’ve been told that my job is to work myself out of a job!

There are many other questions to answer, but I think this is enough for now. Tune in as I keep you up to date here!

Send in your questions and I’ll do my best to answer.