The only way home

You might wonder, why is she writing so much these days. Well I guess that is what “quarantine” does. Though our government here in Costa Rica has not made it a ‘law’ to stay inside, they highly recommend not going anywhere and stay put. I guess it is the same for many of you.

When you get more time at ‘home’ you get time to ponder, reflect, listen, evaluate and if you are like me, write it down.

I have lived in Central America since 1998. My husband is from Costa Rica, our children were born in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This is home, but I grew up in The Netherlands. This is home, I could not imagine being anywhere else at this time and still yesterday I realized that within perhaps a few days or weeks, if things keep going the way they are, there might not even be a way to go to my other ‘home’, where I grew up. The place where my parents and sisters live.

Me and my dad spoke years ago that there might be a time when we would not be able to travel to see each other. Alas, here we are, we are living in such a time. Even if I wanted to go see my family and had the money, there still wouldn’t be any way to get there. There would be no way ‘home.

Where is home, what does home mean? 

Again, I was thinking of those in the Second World War. Many had to leave their physical homes to go into a ‘home of hiding’. They didn’t know whether, what they left behind, would be returned. Many understood they were most likely never going to come back home. Those who went into hiding had to create a new home. Filled with unknowns, filled with the fear of being hunted, this ‘enemy’ was coming after them to take from them, their very lives.

So many are faced with fear today. The fear that this enemy (virus) will reach them where they are in the safety of their ‘homes.’ It feels we are in ‘hiding’ in our own ‘home.’

Fear, anxiety and loneliness might be filling some of you as you think about staying ‘home’ for an indefinite period. For a few days we embrace this new normal, but for some of you things are starting to shift and feelings of desperation might start to set in.

Can I offer you another a thought of hope?

I was brought again to the Word of God. It is what I live by, what I hold on to as my foundation for life. It is what sustains me, now more than ever.

Hebrews 13:14-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

Oh what a great reminder to me. This world is not my permanent home, the permanent place to depend on. As my personal physical citizenship has changed from one nation to another, I might not have a way back to the ‘home’ I grew up in, but what an incredible thing to be reminded that I can look forward to another kind of home, (city in some versions) even better than this one.

Philippians 3:20-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

And the book of Galatians reminds of this:

Galatians 2:20 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.[a] It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Christ now lives in me. My new ‘home’, my citizenship, this place where I find complete rest is in Jesus.

In response I bring a sacrifice of praise to God, even amidst this current situation, I proclaim my allegiance to His Name. I am reminded to do good, to share with those in need.

Do you need rest while home? Do you need that assurance that you will be ok in the midst of the uncertainties?

Jesus is the answer, read His Word.

Just look for an online Bible, download “You Version” if you do not have a physical Bible. 

Write me a comment here if you want prayer and I will pray for you. 

An enemy to humanity

Is it really a virus the one that is a posing an enemy to humanity? Seems that way doesn’t it?

Fear, troubled hearts, worry, uncertainty, anxiety and dread have all become part of so many lives where before perhaps there was none.

Today I was reminded of a group of people that faced these things for several years between 1940-1945. I walked over to my bookshelf and pulled out a very well known book. “The Diary of a Young Girl” – by Anne Frank. 

Remember her story? Remember history? If you don’t, it is time to take advantage of this ‘quarantine’ or ‘stay home’ time, in order to catch up on your reading.IMG_5232

Anne Frank, the Dutch girl whom, together with her family and several others, hid for 2 years in the secret annex behind her dad’s office on the “Prinsengracht” in the heart of Amsterdam.

As I opened the book, browsing and turning the pages, it was as if I was taken back in time. The personal stories of a 13 year old, penned down for the world to read. That wasn’t her plan, but it soon turned out that she herself realized that it could be published one day. Little did she know it would, but she would live to see it.

After reading a few pages I came across this part in which she describes what her people “the Jews” were no longer able to do: forbidden to use trams, ride cars, go to theaters, cinemas or any other form of entertainment, swimming pools, tennis courts or other athletic fields. They were only allowed on the street in the day, but after 8pm they had to be inside. Allowed to shop only between 3-5pm. Many things were now forbidden to them.

Today, all over the world, we are told a lot of “do nots” these days, due to an enemy out there that is coming after us.

Of course there is no way we can compare today with the suffering of the Jewish people during the World War, in which millions lost their lives at the hand of evil, expressed through human beings. That suffering was something we should never ever allow itself to repeat, yet are we paying attention to what is happening in our world today.

While there is a real threat to humanity with a virus that is causing physical casualties and bringing deep fear, worried hearts, anguish and uncertainty, it is also an enemy that is making us realize we have no control over it. Our fear doesn’t help us to control the spread, our worry doesn’t change the pattern of where it decides to go, our troubled hearts don’t cause this enemy to stay away. So what do we do?

How do we face this enemy to humanity? We stop doing things we normally do. We are told we can’t do this and we can’t do that. And we agree, right? We do what we are told, “wash your hands.” We do our best to protect those we love, praying it won’t ‘reach’ or ‘catch’ us. And yet we can not really see where it goes, we just know what it does and how it decides to travel.

Try to catch the wind, how do you do that? It goes where it wants, blows as hard as it wants, unannounced, unexpected.

Mankind has gone through so much, there has been so many enemies, some we rather not talk about or should we?

Today it is not an enemy, in the form of an army, seeking to kill one people group. Today we are faced with an enemy that seeks to take down humanity. Our lives as we know it. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, from this continent or the other. It just goes where it wants. It is disrupting life as we know it.

Don’t go here, don’t go there. Stay put, stay home, stay calm and change the way you clean yourself. If you washed your hands before, wash them again then wash them some more. Stay away from each other, keep a distance.

Not only lives, but the way we do live has changed within a matter of days. Jobs lost, social contact face to face lost (except for online), community lost, perhaps even relationships lost. How do overcome, how do we keep moving in this ‘new normal’? Or is there another enemy we need to be looking at as we try to stay ‘away’ from the one we hear about?

I ask, is it the virus that is the real enemy to humanity?

Hate, evil, anger, slander, gossip, murder, greed, idolatry, lust, power, pride, and probably a whole bunch of other ones, aren’t these a daily threat to mankind, to humanity?

Do we deal with these the same way we deal with this virus, do we look at how evil, anger and hate spreads? Do we try to stop it? Do we change the way we do life to stop evil? To stop murder, to stop greed, to stop pride? Do we?

I ask, is the virus the real enemy to humanity?

Agreed, the virus is a real threat, an enemy that needs to be stopped, before it stops us. But I would like us to remember that there are many deeply rooted issues in us, in mankind, in our lives that spread like wildfire, that cause death, that cause suffering, that cause affliction every day.

What if we worked on that as well? What if we changed our lives, instead of hating, we would love. Instead of greed we would be generous? Instead of pride we would practice humility? Instead of being right, we would ask for forgiveness?

Is that even possible? Yes it is.

There is an answer to those threats. His name is Jesus Christ. He lived his life in full view of man, humble, not self-seeking, full of love, giving up His life, so that we might have life.

We might not be able to stop a virus from affecting our broken lives, but we can stop having broken lives, by allowing Jesus to heal them.

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He heals. He restores. He forgives. He raises up. He redeems. He saves.

May we take time, during these days of obligated ‘rest’, to reflect on what really tries to attack who we are, what poses a threat to who we are, what is a true enemy to our humanity. May we find grace and favor to go through these days. May He bring us fresh revelation on who He is, so we know who we are.

We are created by our Creator, one of a kind, unique. Loved by our Creator and anything that goes against how He created us is an enemy to our humanity.

Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life. He is the Word, He is alive. His truth penetrates our lives, our souls, our spirits and the attitudes of our heart.

Let’s allow Him in….

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Middle of the night flights

I wonder why I decided to buy a plane ticket that leaves at 1am??

Must be because the deal was amazing and I figured I can handle the lack of sleep…but can my 9 year old, who is with me?

She has been fast asleep since we left at 1am this morning and has continued while waiting on the next flight.

It is not even that far away from Costa Rica to Mazatlan, Mexico, but when you fly at those hours in the night everything gets broken up and you loose that precious sleep that the majority of us really needs!

I just walked into the beauty & health store “the Body Shop” at the Mexico City airport and got offered a cream for puffy eyes and against black circles….

I GUESD LOOKED THAT BAD??

Ok no more night flights from now on…

But then again I like to think that the Gospel message is worth those late nights, or early mornings, right?

When Holy Spitit calls us to get up and pray in the middle of the night, can you obey, knowing you might have somebody make a comment the next day on how exhausted you look?

Is it worth staying up late into the night, take a flight to another country to be able to participate in raising up and equipping the next generation of leaders who will go out with the message of hope?

My answer is yes!!

The disciples of Jesus had a hard time staying awake when Jesus asked them to keep watch, that one important night.

Sometimes we struggle with staying awake when Jesus asks us to pray, intercede, travel….

But keep in mind that what you do is spiritual warfare! It is worth so much more than you think..

So bring on the comments on my sleepy face and bags under my eyes, I am about to participate in seeing a new wave of missionaries released, who cares about sleep!!! (Well maybe I do a little bit 😉)

Something to die for

Brochure sent to me in 1995, written by Jeff Pratt

In 1996 I embarked on this adventure with God and it was this photo in the middle of a brochure that drew me into applying for this missionary training course.

Jeff Pratt, the director of the course write so well what J was experiencing in my heart.

“Waiting to be invaded by a fresh, relevant wave of the life that is Christ.”

I was captivated, awestruck by these words written on this page, but even more so, the image that is reflected.

Jesus hanging on the cross. While He was hanging there He had the multitudes in mind. And within that multitude was ME. He thought of ME. He thought of YOU.

I could not help but acknowledge a deep confirmation in my spirit that this was the place I had to be.

It was in the middle of the United States of America, Lindale, Texas. It was a place I had never heard of or ever had been.

As a foreign 19 year old from the Netherlands I set foot on a journey that would change my life forever. I would never be the same, the love of Christ, the life of Christ became my passion, my all and it has not changed after 23 years.

Upon arrival that day in late September 1996 I made a decision that He was going to have it all.

On September 28th, 1996 I wrote God a letter:

“Dear God….

I want to let you know why I am taking this course. I really believe you brought me here with a special reason. To be a missionary was not something I had thought of before until a year ago. I believe it was you that put this into my heart and mind.

I desperately want to know you more, know more about you and know what it is you want me to do with my life.

What I hope is that you will touch me so intensely and speak to me so deeply that it makes my relationship with you more meaningful and that I will know and feel you on my side every day……”

 

A small excerpt from my ‘letter to God’ and how prophetic it was without me understanding that. The prayer was answered. Jesus has become to me more important than any other thing. I have had to fight the darts of the enemy on several occasions in these 23 years, but I have overcome because He in me the hope of glory.

In the world we live in today, 23 years later people are literally laying down their lives almost daily as we watch the news. I pray our hearts of those of us who are in the west truly are embracing the surrendered life to Jesus in a way that He is worthy to be persecuted for.

I pray for the persecuted church, those who are being killed for their faith, churches being attacked almost weekly because of their faith. Lord have mercy, Lord stretch out your hand over their lives, Lord show us the way forward in this generation. You are worthy, You are worth it.

I have given my life in another nation for the past 23 years, there has been absolute hard times, struggles, learning to hold on to the truth of who Jesus is, but He is all worthy.

Today, hold on to the truth of who Jesus is. He is no longer on the cross, He is alive, but when He was there, he thought of YOU.

 

The future Campus

Since 1999 God has spoken to Giacomo and I to have a University of the Nations Training facility here in the capital of Costa Rica. After 15 years the Lord released to us our very own 30 acre piece of land to develop this Campus.

As Youth With A Mission in San Jose Costa Rica we have a heart to see this generation not only reach with the Gospel message, embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but also trained and equipped to passionately obey the call on their lives to go and make disciples through whatever means the Lord is calling them to do this according to Matthew 28.

This is the entrance to our new land, you are more than welcome to come visit, bring a team, minister with us, reach out to the communities in Costa Rica, send youth to come and get trained.

Email us for more info to info@ywamsj.org or get a hold of of any of us personally.

But you can also find us online through our website YWAM San Jose!!

Go and make disciples

Wow what an amazing week Marjolein had in YWAM El Salvador in the first week of this month of April.

Being invited to speak in a Discipleship Training School is always a huge blessing, but also very humbling. Every day the Lord gave direction and we saw Holy Spirit give much revelation to this wonderful group of young people.
They come from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala and they are being equipped to be send out into the nations with the message of unconditional love – the message of Jesus Christ.

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At the end of the week God spoke to several of them to get baptized and give their lives completely in surrender to the Kingdom of God and be used by Him to go into all the world and make disciples.

The Word tells us to teach them all that Jesus has taught us and to baptize them, so that is what happened and there is no greater joy than seeing people received revelation of this Love that they are accepted into God’s family.

Thank you for making it possible for me to go to El Salvador and be blessed by what God did during this week.

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Week #4 Jesus is everything

What can I say but this week, even after walking with Jesus for 22 years now, Jesus once again became the center of everything.

He has always been the center, the reason, the truth, but this week again His life, death and resurrection have become the main objective and the reason for why we do what we do.

Being part of a Discipleship Training School and getting to lead this September school has been one of the greatest blessings! Not only do I get the blessing of walking alongside young people who are discovering more about who Jesus is to them, I also get the blessing of being like a student again myself.

We never stop learning no matter how long you have walked and followed Jesus.

This week was a special blessing as we had Jeff Pratt teaching. He led the DTS I did in 1996 and his testimony and teaching impacted my life as much then as it did this past week.

Why? Cause Jesus does not change! He is the same yesterday, today and forever! His truth is truth whether you want to believe it or not.

His truth has changed my life! His life effects my life, His Love reaches out to me still every day! He takes me deeper into the understanding of His heart for me and for those around me. His patience with me is so incredible, yet He doesn’t let me get away with feeling sorry for myself and will confront me like a loving Father/Mother would, gently leading me into truth and application of that truth.

Four weeks flew by and how amazing to look back and see how the Lord orchestrated the sequence of these weeks:

Week 1: our foundations and beliefs, what are our roots and what is the soil we are rooted in?

Week 2: character and nature of God, who is God, who is the trinity, how deep is God’s Love, how does God respond? Always according to who He is…

Week 3: the person and work of Holy Spirit as lived out and exemplified through the life of Jesus. Dependency on Him, being led by Him, listening in prayer and intercesión to what He would have us pray instead of what we feel to pray.

Week 4: the person and work of Jesus, Jesus wants to be the Lena through which we see the world, but we have a wall of divide that we have built that keep us from walking in the fullness of what Jesus has for us and keeps us from seeing through His eyes. The work on the cross was the ‘finished’ work of Christ and we are invited to walk in the freedom of that finished work. We take up our cross daily to follow Christ, we die to self to become alive to the love of Christ.

Wow such amazing weeks and such a richness to keep pondering on. It is like being in my own Discipleship Training School all again….

Celebrating a student’s re-birth in Christ day!

I love going deeper with the Lord and what a joy to walk alongside a new generation and together experience greater freedom in Christ!

Have you ever wondered about going deeper in your relationship with God and knowing more about Jesus. Come join us in the January quarter for the next DTS! Email us today dts@ywamsj.org!!