It has been a while since you heard from us, although we have seen some of you last conference, over 2 month ago now…wow, time flies!
What a great time we had together! Why are those times so special? Is it not because we experience the presence of the Lord? He manifested Himself in so many ways – it always humbles me to realize that the Lord of the universe comes and ministers to His people and does what He wants to do – amazing!
Besides that, we so enjoyed the teachings, the worship, the meals we had together and the fellowship, laughing and sometimes crying together.
It was great to meet people for the first time and to see that children and teenagers were present! If children have a desire to join, let them come – they are never too young! I (Ank) know the Lord from young age on and as a child I always walked and talked with Him and so can children nowadays. Do not hinder them.
A very special thing for us was that our son Ruben and his wife Miranda were able to join us for the first time, as well as Elsbeth and her family.
It was also great to have Bita and Marius from Finland with us, as well as Leena, who translates the Weekly Thoughts into Finnish. After our conference Marius and Bita had a busy time, together with John, travelling and ministering to housechurches in Finland. Sadly we could not join them, but next year we will! The reason we could not go to Finland, is partly because we had a family-weekend the weekend after our conference, and yes, family is important! Can you imagine: 19 Kleinmeulmannetjes together…lol. It was a very special time!
We want to thank everyone who helped us in one way or another: we could not have done it without you!
Well, time flew by an we heard from several people they felt the conference had just started…but then they had to go home…that is what they said…lol
How it all started, for those who were not with us from the beginning.
We came in contact with John in 2004 and he and Barb came to the Netherlands for the very first time. We rented a small room and invited some people and John share about the basics of housechurch there. That was more or less the beginning of CWOWI Netherlands/Europe!
For a couple of years after that, we held one-day conferences, on Saturdays, and on Sundays we travelled to a group or a housechurch here in our country.
In 2009 we perceived it would be a good idea to look for a venue where people could stay over for a night, so we could spend more time together. We ended up renting a sort of holiday farm for a weekend, located close to the German border, in the east of our country. Good for once, but we had to take care of the meals ourselves, and the rooms were pretty basic…so that was a busy time and a lot to take care of for us.
But that weekend people from abroad came to the conference for the first time, from Germany and France, if I remember well. That was possible now, because they could stay overnight!
That same year we heard about Helvoirt, the venue where we have been now for 5 years in a row, which works very well. The good thing is that all the meals, snacks, drinks, are taken care of, what helps us a lot! And there is enough room to host a lot of people. Besides that, the people in charge are very helpful and willing to make the weekend work for us.
So till now, the conferences were held Friday afternoon till Sunday afternoon.
But now we perceive in our spirit that something has to change. The last two years we were with around 70 people, and we feel there is not enough time, for us and others, to talk to everyone. Besides that, there are always people coming for the first time and they want to learn about the basics of housechurch, which is good and needed! But for those who do housechurch for years, they have different interests. So it comes down, probably, to having multiple ‘seminars’ or so, about a variety of subjects next year. But that is not doable within those two days….and it would be good to have some extra time for fellowship too….
So, quite a challenge! Pray for us for wisdom, thank you!
Feedback and ideas are welcome, we will prayerfully consider them.
And now what?
What we see around us, is that people are ready now to start a housechurch, even if they are (still) with their own family. Oftentimes that is exiting for them, but they also have lots of questions and that is where we come in: being there for them, helping them out, answering questions…There is always the question that comes up: What about covering? And what they hear from friends in the churches they left: “But you have to go to a church! You can’t be a church just with your family! And what about accountability?!”
So good for them then to know they are not alone, but are part of a family. Covering and accountability comes by being in relationship with one another, by knowing each other. Just like it was in the book of Acts!
However, that requires a dedication to each other, being willing to travel and visit each other and to spend time together.
You can find more about housechurches on our website and on John’s website, if interested.
What is happening here in the Netherlands, is that people want to see each other, and not just once a year. There are a couple of young families in the northern part of our country who decides to come together on a regular bases and they already did so! Good for you!!
But the same can happen here in the middle and the south of our country. Just be willing to travel a bit – we are not that big☺ We Dutch have to change our thinking about travelling; an hour or so is not that much…and investing in people is eternal!
Wil and I have not planned a trip abroad so far, but we are in the process of doing so. You will here more soon. For now, we are visiting people here in the Netherlands during summer.
Great news: our daughter Elsbeth and family heard from the Lord and know they have to move to the Netherlands! They will be here to help us with CWOWI, what will be a great help to us and a big blessing!
Their house was for sale, but is already sold!
So for them, that means they have to stay at Mat’s parents for some time and from there on they have to work on the rest.
Mat needs a job here, that would be the best way to be able to move here, so prayer is very welcome! And housing of course!
Carsten has just finished his third year Human Resource Management and has one more year to do. His girlfriend, Nasta, from Belarus does an internship here in Houten at the moment, but her visa expires end of July, so she has to go home then. Carsten will join her, and he will meet her parents for the very first time!
Also pray for them, for the next step for Nasta, because she also needs a job here to be able to move to our country and to live here. As you might now, Belarus is not a part of the Shengen countries, which makes it more difficult for people to stay here.
But that’s something the Lord knows as well, and we know He has already made the provision, so…☺ it will be all good! Same goes for Els and Mat!
There are also some changes coming up for Wil and I.
Way back, for the Israelites, when the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire moved, they had to move too. That’s the way it feels for us too – He is moving us and it’s up to us to follow; we do not want to stay behind. I can imagine it was not always convenient for the children of Israel, when the cloud moved in the middle of the night and they had to pack their stuff and follow the cloud and when He wants us to move, that is most of the time not convenient at all for us! But it is the best thing to do.
At the moment Wil works 4 days at a Shell gas station, but with all the work we do within the network, it’s very busy. Actually, we have two fulltime jobs…We perceive the Lord wants us to work less at Shell, and to expect to receive provision from the ministry. We have to make the transition from two fulltime jobs to our current fulltime ministry only. So for us, we have to do some research about taxes and other stuff. Please pray for us!
Some of you already give regularly and we appreciate that very much! But if not, consider prayerfully how you can help us in this transition. We appreciate any amount, the consistency of it is important for us to be able to pay our monthly bills.
July and August are vacation month for many and we wish you all a very good time; enjoy your family, free time and the beautiful weather.
We planned a day to meet all of you in the Netherlands, September .. .
So everyone who is a part of CWOWI or is interested in housechurch, in relationship based faith, is very welcome!
Finally, we want to thank you all for praying for us and for your donations.
Know we are here for you, always welcome to contact us!
Wil and Ank