December 2016 - January 2017 Bimonthly newsletter Issue 63 The Belgian Evangelical Mission Bld. Lambermont, 158 1030 Brussels - Belgium
BEM Info NEWS FROM THE BELGIAN EVANGELICAL MISSION
Seeing or looking? By Luc Salsac, Director for the French-speaking ministries Our eyes are constantly stimulated by all kinds of images. As Ecclesiastes tells us ‘The eye never has enough of seeing.’ (Eccl. 1 v.8). Our eyes work so hard that they use more or less half of the brain. The eye muscles are the most active in the whole body: they can distinguish 10 million different colours including 500 different nuances of grey. In terms of a digital camera it would be equipped to capture 576 million pixels. Impressive! If we see a hundred and one things every day, what do we really look at? And what are we thinking about? As soon as we leave the house, we cross paths with so many people, but do we look at them? And if we do, in what way? How do we look at the family, at a neighbour, a colleague, the boss, a foreigner, a refugee, a tramp, a drug addict, a teenager, a senior citizen,….? Chapter 10 of the Gospel of Mark describes an encounter between Jesus and a rich young man. I am challenged by the following short sentence, “Jesus gave him a look full of love.”(v.21). Although the story does not finish well for this man (he went away sad v.22), Jesus had looked at him with love, even though he did not become one of His disciples. Is my look also full of the love of God? Or is it filled with indifference or even judgmental? In fact, how would I have looked at Mary, the mother of Jesus, pregnant at such a young age but not married?
Looking with love at those who are dear to us seems normal, even something easy to do. Jesus says that everyone does that. He asks, even expects, that His disciples love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. (Matthew 5 v.44). If our attitude should be marked with this love towards our enemies, surely there is all the more reason for that love to show itself in the way we look at those around us! We are caught up in the whirlwind of our busy schedules, concerned with our own needs and desires. We scarcely see those around us, and if, by chance, we take the time to notice them, we are soon rushing off on our crazy way. Of course, it is always difficult to know what to do about the many problems we see as we go about our daily lives, but let us ask God to help us not only to see but to look, to look with His love. That’s a good start. May each day that God gives us to live in 2017, allow us to grow in our way of looking at others and may that look, coming from Him. touch and transform lives. This is what God expects from His disciples.
Dear reader of BEM Info Throughout 2016, we have taken you on a journey right across Belgium to discover the BEM church plants.The February issue included a map on which we had placed the co-workers engaged in pastoral ministries. In April, Teo, Matthias, André, Andreas, Stephen, Hilde and Charles undertook to answer some questions. In June, we looked back at the March evangelistic campaign ‘Project 3-16’ which involved several Belgian churches from beyond the BEM family. In our 100% feminine number in August, you discovered the joys and challenges of the ministry as lived by some of the wives of our pastors or church planters. Then, in October, we covered some of this summer’s evangelistic efforts in Wallonia as well as in Flanders. We would like to conclude this wide-ranging journey by giving you the latest news of our other ministries. Because, yes, in the BEM, we do more than plant and develop churches. In fact, the support ministries enable us to respond to the three ‘pillars’ of our vision – evangelise, plant, motivate.
The Norton House The large building in Boulevard Lambermont houses the hostel for teams coming for short periods to help churches in Belgium (for evangelism, practical work, or as observers,….) and also the administrative offices of the Mission. Under Peter as director, Barry and Coreen welcome the teams, Eunice and Ciara share the work of public relations, Kristel takes care of the secretarial work and Jonathan and Barry look after the accounts. Please note that, as from January 2018, we will need a new accountant who is French or Dutch-speaking. Candidates are invited to apply by email to email@example.com or by telephone to +32 2 242 3015. More information (in French or Dutch) can be found on our website under‘Job opportunities’.
Our bookshops The bookshop team has also grown with the arrival of Esméralda and of Chris in Ghent and of Sophie in Liège. Chris and Veerle are parents of a little Michaël, born in December 2014. Both are involved in their local church (youth group, teaching and helping the older folk). Esméralda is married, mother of three and ‘Moemoe’ to two grandchildren. Formerly a medical secretary, she spent four years volunteering in the Ghent bookshop, and is now a part-time co-worker managing the shop with Chris. Sophie had worked in tourism and hospitality; now she works part-time in the bookshop in Liège. She married Joshua in July 2016.
And our new project Expressé, under Geneviève’s supervision. More information coming soon.
A team of m issionaries committed to
Camp Limauges This summer, once again, Limauges welcomed several camps organized for children and young people, French-speaking as well as Dutch-speaking. Since September there has been the usual round of spiritual retreats, church camps, and weekends for children, adolescents or young people. As far as the personnel are concerned, Gérard and Bernadette Corneille are supported in their ministry by a Camp Management Committee composed of volunteers from various churches in Wallonia. We take the opportunity here of reminding you that the BEM is actively looking for two couples to manage the camp. Do pray for people interested in giving a hand at the camp on a regular basis, especially during the week.
The Children’s Committee (in Wallonia) As you will have read in our last newsletter, our children’s committee is pressing on with the creation of children’s activity programmes aimed at bringing the Good News to children between 6 and 12 years old. This summer the programme SOS Heroes was successfully tried out by the teams of volunteers at our church in Herstal and also by our partner church of Ganshoren. We are also happy to announce that the Children’s team has grown in size. Déborah, who was already involved in the creation of the programmes, is gradually taking on the tasks of coordinating the ministry from Anne, her mother. This is an answer to our prayers and to our search for staff over these last months.
Bible Exhibition (in Flanders) The Bijbel-Expo (the Dutch version of the BEM Bible exhibition) is home safely after a really successful trip to our neighbours north of the frontier. Described both as “A useful summary about a glorious past continuing into the future” and “a fabulous means of learning and of understanding these things”, the Expo is aimed at adults as well as younger folk. One pupil wrote in the visitors’ book “I discovered things I didn’t know and that was great. The explanations were clear and the people friendly.” A few pages further on an R. E. teacher added “During a period of six days I have able to see what a fantastic exhibition this is. The Gospel message comes across clearly all the way through. What a privilege for our students to have been able to come! It has given me a lot of ideas to think about for my classes in the coming weeks.”
On the website www.bijbel-expo.be you will find a short film. If you have access, do watch it, even if you can’t understand the Dutch. We think you will be impressed! The Expo is also on Facebook - https://www.facebook. com/bijbelexpo.
to support the work in
If you believe in the vision of B.E.M (to preach, to plant, to inspire) you can contribute to the work by sending your gift to: The Belgian Evangelical Mission see info on the back with (if applicable) an indication of the ministry or project you wish to support
Belgium o building Christ’s Church in
Previously... About a century ago, God called Ralph and Edith Norton, an American missionary couple, to proclaim the Gospel in Belgium. The Belgian Evangelical Mission was born. But what motivated them, what were their fears, what inspired them? Every second month follow their adventures.
Excerpt from Edith Norton’s journal That winter of 1916-17 was bitterly cold, with depressing fogs and biting winds. The new exacting responsibilities resting upon her shoulders taxed her slender strength to the utmost, and the absence of her beloved husband drove her very close to the Lord, Whom she in past months had come to know in a new and vital way. As the work grew, pastors from different London churches, proffered their aid and one Belgian Adjutant, O .Vansteenberghe, came often to help in translating the Flemish letters. Later he would be appointed one of the Associate Directors of the Mission. Christmas Day 1916, Mrs. Norton records 330 letters received from the front, and three days later 235 letters. This beginning of an increased tide of letters was caused by the sending to the front at Christmas time of 10000 Christmas boxes. These boxes contained food, such as jam and chocolate, and an envelope holding two Gospels, a French and a Flemish and a Christmas card. To be continued...
JOB OFFERS French-speaking Belgium
► two managers for Camp Limauges
► coordinator (M/F) for the Flemish Bible exhibition
Belgian Evangelical Mission
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