Dear Friends, There are some new developments in our lives and family, we would like to share with you. After having lived and worked in Curacao for 7 years, we as a family have decided to move back to the Netherlands. For several reasons.
First of all, for a longer period of time Henk doesn’t experience joy and satisfaction anymore in his work and isn’t reaching his full potential. Fruits are there: people come to Jesus, get baptized, get a job, receive training and coaching and either go or don’t go to a local church. We’ve invested in people’s lives, but building a deeper relationship with them remains hard and stays superficial. The wall Henk keeps hitting, is lack of spiritual hunger. This hunger he does see in the Roma people, whom he baptized in the Netherlands last October. Till this day there’s daily contact and they keep asking ‘When are you coming back? We need you!’
Secondly, especially Joan and the boys miss the family a lot. Leaving our family has been a huge sacrifice. Henk’s mother as well as Joan’s father are hitting their eighties, so we really would like to be near them and the rest of the family at this stage of life. We think it’s very valuable and precious.
A third reason is the on-going financial stress. The monthly support, being structurally or one-time donations, even combined with temporary paid work, isn’t enough to get by. It feels like surviving instead of living, and that’s not God’s purpose. Our decision has not come suddenly. We’ve prayed about all three points for quite a while, talked about it with each other a lot and asked feedback from our board and counselors. It’s a process in which God lets us look honestly at the situation, ourselves and our hearts.
We experience joy and peace in our decision, and at the same time sadness and insecurity. We look forward to our ‘new’ life in a familiar –but certainly changed- country together with family, new work, new schools. And yet it’s also challenging… we do realize who and what we leave behind, and that we start all over again in the Netherlands. With four suitcases we came, with four suitcases we go back. Such a transition won’t be easy, but we believe God will be in this too.
We would like to move to Enschede (in the East of the Netherlands) where our families live, as well as the Roma people Henk will be working with. There are some job opportunities already. If these don’t work out (on time), Henk will be applying for social security in the beginning. Furthermore he’s looking into possibilities to earn money to get financially healthy as a family, and no longer than needed be dependent on social security. He’ll still be available for speaking engagements, conferences, training and coaching.
At the moment we’re already busy with practical and organizational matters for migrating back. Our goal is to move during the Summer Holidays, so the boys can start their new schoolyear in the Netherlands. Also in this process of preparation and transition with all its challenges, regulations, letting go’s and goodbye’s, we ask you for your prayers. Please pray for us, for wisdom and understanding, for strength (Joan still has some medical exams), for the right contacts etc, but above all for God’s peace in everything. We will keep you up-dated and are grateful for your commitment to us! Warm greetings from Henk, Joan, Nathan and Ezra