Amsterdam, the Netherlands – BHC’09

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

God used this year’s Blessed Home Conference (BHC) to secure His call for this annual event. It takes a lot of prayer, dedication, focus, energy, time, and resources to prepare for this outreach. Frankly, it’s quite a stretch for everyone involved in the ministry of Lifework Forum. Amsterdam may have taken us over the top this time around and we praise God for meeting and providing for us at every turn.

First, various situations caused the final details of the trip to come together much closer than usual to our departure date. While we rested in the Lord’s provision of arrangements and material to present, we received the growing impression that BHC’09 was going to unfold solely by the grace of God. We understand that is always the case, but just like so many others we tend to fall into the trap of thinking that our efforts are somehow making things happen.

On our first evening in the Netherlands we realized that the talks and workshops we had laboriously prepared were not going to meet the needs being expressed to us. We went back to our room that night and with divinely-granted smiles and giggles disposed of our carefully organized folders. We humbly approached our Father and asked for His wisdom, direction, and power to carry out His purpose for us and for those we’d come to serve in His Name.

We made our way through the week that followed with increasing confidence and joy in our Father’s provision. Curt and I began each day by seeking His providential plan through His Word and prayer. He responded by filling us with His Spirit and giving us just what was needed by those He brought to us. We learned to rest in Jesus for timing, preparation, travel, etc. moment by moment. We are jokingly calling BHC09 our divinely appointed course in “off the cuff” ministry.

There was the request that we present separate meetings for husbands and wives for which we had 48 hours notice. All of our notes for this type of meeting were on Sandra’s computer at home. God provided each of us with an outline from His revealed mandates to open up the subjects. The deep and fruitful discussions that developed went on for more than three hours. Nobody got to bed before midnight that night.

The next day we were driven more than an hour way to a curriculum fair. The event was a coordinated effort of Americans serving in the military and national homeschool families. Sandra has been praying about this very combination for almost 10 years. It was a blessing to be part of this first-ever event. In the opening prayer we learned that we were the speakers who would be filling the 2.5 hours from lunch to closing. Someone just neglected to inform us. We didn’t even have our Bibles with us, thinking it was a time of fellowship. The Lord directed Curt about an outline and then carried us through the afternoon. It was a hearty and joyous discussion of God’s provision for His people as we seek to build families that reflect His glory.

One of our favorite parts of the ministry is being camels for the Lord. This voyage was no different. One mom who came in from Norway went home with almost 50 pounds of educational items she had shipped to our house. She graciously shared them as examples of the quality items that are available. The other parents enjoyed the opportunity. Beyond curriculum, we shared special materials from HSLDA, NHERI, and Apologia, along with CHEO‘s magazine, and the Victory in Jesus booklet by Lorraine Lostroh of Nebraska. We were able to leave behind many wonderful resources for the growing group of homeschooling brothers and sisters.

Of course, as we’ve come to expect, there were countless conversations with fathers and mothers about family life and education as they shared their questions and concerns. The Lord also provided our hoped-for blessing of children of various ages enjoy as His unique and delightful creations. Some of these relationships were informal and casual while others were more formal and specific as parents asked for particular assistance. Our days were filled with pointing people to Jesus, our Redeemer and Lord.

The final report for this outreach would not be complete without sharing its two major highlights. One is our own experience of the John 15 type of “remaining” in the Vine. We usually sit down after each trip and consider what God has shown us personally as a sort of by-product of our ministry to others. This time we were aware of God’s work on our behalf throughout our field assignment. There wasn’t a moment that we didn’t need to look to Jesus for something and every response was in accordance with Ephesians 3:20, “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”

The other major highlight was the response of our Dutch brothers and sisters. They took steps to get to know us in the Lord and when they recognized our true kinship they welcomed us with open arms. They not only received what was offered to them from God’s Word, but expressed their deep desire to know more. Not only that. They have obviously read Titus 3:13 and are working to put its meaning into practice. They expressed their appreciation for God’s provision by showering us with thoughtful touches of gratitude. There’s a maturity in the Christian homeschool community of The Netherlands that is a joy to witness.

At the end of our time, two of the women mentioned to Sandra that their marriages were already being transformed by what the Spirit had showed them through what we shared. I let them know that Curt and I were growing through our time together as well. We reveled in God’s economy at its most fruitful: everyone growing in grace by every portion of His provision. John Piper says, “When we think God is doing one thing, He’s really doing a thousand things.” We’ve learned that the quote can be revised to, “When we think God is doing one thing, He’s really doing millions of things.” Hallelujah!

God deserves all the glory, honor and praise for what was accomplished in and through us at BHC’09 by the power of His Word. Our prayer is that you also know His infinite and intimate love.

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