First of all…. I need to apologize for such a long period of silence from our side.
This was in one way also intentional in the sense that we had no choice. Reason for that is that we had so many things ‘floating in the air’ that it was really hard to communicate with you all without risking future rectifications. So we chose to keep it a bit quiet in this season as we were figuring out where God was leading us. But THANK YOU for your patience!
As you know, we have been in quite a big transition. At the end of July we left the Dominican Republic and ended our commitment with Cups Mission. Our focus has been to ensure a smooth transition as we handed all the programs over to Cups. There are a few new local leaders on the ground, and we had all our local youth leaders trained and ready to roll after we left. Main focus has been to ensure that all our programs in ‘our’ villages (Paradise and La Union) would continue and that our departure would not be a reason for the mission to fail.
We know that we have left it all in good hands. Cups Mission agreed to take it all as recommended, and even though we have already seen quite a few changes, we know that it is not our responsibility anymore.
We did communicate to you that we had the desire to join a local church in Alabama (USA) in order to help expand with a ministry serving immigrants in the area.
In fact, we were convinced that this was the way it was going to go.
But… as the Bible tells us also: we as people make plans but GOD directs our path.
That is something we experienced firsthand. With all our major decisions in life, we always came to such a point in which we ‘just felt that peace inside’. A peace which the world does not understand.
Crazy enough, after months being convinced that Alabama was going to be our future, we suddenly found ourselves back at that T-crossing… It felt for us we had already turned one way towards Alabama and all of a sudden we were back at the crossing.
Long story short, our initial ‘Plan B’ actually became the new direction.
And we felt peace about it. We also felt sad for the potential mission in Alabama, but we are thankful for understanding hearts of our friends in Alabama and it has been our prayer that GOD will send who needs to be send there, or that He will raise up within the church who needs to be raised. So much work to be done, also there.
I (Jan) was approached by Mercy Ships (the floating hospital ships organization where we spent many years as missionaries on board) to take on the role of (Maritime) Safety Manager.
A role which is mandatory by maritime law and with my experience also as captain this would be a logical next step in my maritime path.
A Captain on board reports to the Safety Manager in the office. Part of the responsibilities will require us to live close to the Main Office of Mercy Ships. This is located in Garden Valley (East Texas).
In order to become eligible for the correct type of visa, we will have to be employed at least 12 months at a Mercy Ships location outside the USA.
So at this point I am starting to work through the Dutch Mercy Ships office in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
This means that we expect to be living in the Netherlands for up to 2 years.
Does this mean we will stop with our Hope and Healing Foundation?
Not at all! The Board and we (Elizabeth and Jan) are convinced that our work is not done yet in the Dominican Republic.
Within a few weeks I plan to send you a specific newsletter explaining the different projects we will be engaging in.
We are thankful and excited that we have a solid way of maintaining Hope and Healing presence in the lives of several Dominican families. The goal of these projects is as always to provide Hope and Healing. This can mean spiritual healing, physical healing, a Hope for a better future especially with regards to Education for youth leaders who are all in vital years of their lives.
After our 3 years of living in the Dominican Republic, we are deeply convinced that education is (beside JESUS!) the most important aspect to break the circle of poverty in these families!
I cannot wait to tell you more in the next newsletter in a few weeks’ time! Stay tuned!
Once we arrived in the Netherlands, I (Jan) have been sailing quite a bit on cargo inland vessel. This provides some income as I was in a waiting period with regards to getting clarity for my new job with Mercy Ships.
Elizabeth has been resting after many extremely busy months (years??!!) in the DR, but she is also now getting involved in refugee programs in our town here, as well as a homeless ministry in the city of Rotterdam. If you know Elizabeth a little bit, you already know that she LOVES to love on people and she loves the multi-cultural environments which we can find amongst refugees and in the city of Rotterdam!
And our lovely daughter Grace Isabella?? Well.. she has also started a very new chapter in her life!
Since the Dutch government does NOT allow homeschooling, we were able to get her into an English speaking international school in Rotterdam. Imagine… 17 students her age, ALL coming from different nations! Grace Isabella loves it, and we are thankful to see that she understands her assignment of being a light of Jesus in her class! Not always an easy task, but she is on it!
Well… I think it has been good to get you all an update on this!
I promise you that very soon you will receive specific PROJECT news which shows the adjusted focus of our Hope and Healing Foundation as we transition into a new chapter of our life!
We are deeply grateful for your love, interest and support as we continue this journey TOGETHER WITH YOU!
Please, never hesitate to drop us a personal email if you like! firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (+31) 6 39591000 Dutch cell.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may His face shine upon you all!
Jan, Elizabeth and Grace Isabella