Redeemer Stories: Meet Bastiaan and Elodie


Names: Bastiaan & Elodie Verweij
Nationality: Dutch
Favourite food: We are both in love with Italy, including Italian cuisine. The pastas, the pizzas and of course the wines and Italian aperitivos.

1. What does your day-to-day look like, particularly during the past year since the COVID pandemic?

We are a totally atypical couple if you ask us about our activities during the COVID pandemic.

Elodie: I work as Chief of Politics at a daily talk show (Jinek & BEAU) on the commercial channel RTL4. I work both in the studio in Amsterdam and at the parliament in The Hague. Behind the scenes I’ve been busy every day arranging and briefing the guests of that day, from virologists and doctors to ministers and members of parliament. And then I also had to deal with national elections last March. The biggest change was that we could no longer receive audience at the talk show and that I got tested I don’t know how many times. I will never forget the feeling of having a stick in my nose I guess. And! I think I am one of the few people in this entire world who never had a Zoom-meeting for work.

Bastiaan: I’ve been working from home a few days of the week, but last year I also had to go to the office in Amstelveen regularly. As Director of Communication Project Management and Internal Communication at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, I had to work very hard, especially during the first months. KLM is hit hard by the COVID pandemic and there was a continuous and necessary need for communication to all KLM staff. It is a very challenging time and unfortunately many people have already had to leave our airline. I still really appreciate working from home due to the fact that I also can go to the office some days. At home I have more time for reflections, for walks or to read a book.

2. What have you learned about God and who He is in this season?

Time and time again we see how faithful God is. In big and small things. Even when things go wrong or when we feel tired about the whole COVID situation, we see that God gives rest and peace and that we receive the strength to continue. We also feel very blessed to be healthy and have jobs.

3. How has it been for you to connect with others (friends, family) during this time of distancing?

During this COVID time, we both found it by far the most difficult thing that there have been so many restrictions. Not being able to visit friends and family freely, not being able to go to church on Sundays, not being able to eat or meet outdoors to relax. And for Elodie: not to shop!! We are enjoying life, and as extraverts we love face-to-face connections and meetings with others. That is why this feels sometimes difficult. But we also understand very well that these are necessary measures from a health perspective that we fully support. And we have seen so many blessings. The mere fact that there are endless opportunities  to meet online and stay in touch with others for example

4. Do you have any stories of God answering prayer or breaking through in situations that you’d like to share?

We both believe in the power of prayer. Our whole life is made up of major and minor breakthroughs through the grace of God. For example for Bastiaan: I had to take a couple of very difficult managerial decisions. Even when I couldn’t steer the outcome – because  a lot of things were out of my hands – I still saw God answering prayers.

5. What are you thankful for?

For health, for Redeemer, for all the possibilities that still exist to connect with others and perhaps also for the fact that COVID has also paid attention to us that freedom, health, social security, jobs etc. cannot be taken for granted. It all makes us feel more grateful and humble.

Redeemer Stories: Meet Trevor and Bettie


Names: Trevor and Bettie Nielsen
Nationality: Dutch (naturalized from South Africa)
Favorite food: Italian and Moroccan

1. What does your day-to-day look like, particularly during the past year since the COVID pandemic?
Having spent more than 20 years working/living in several faraway countries (Vietnam, Indonesia, Romania, Turkmenistan, Serbia, Albania, Kenya) which exposed us to much travel, cultural differences and many interesting experiences (weather, food, habits and traditions, etc), before the slowdown/lockdown related to the COVID pandemic, this has taken some getting used to. Our days are now much slower, quieter, less active with the daily highlight being feeding the cat!! We have, however, started walking more than we did before the pandemic.
Trevor joins the Redeemer prayer meeting every weekday morning and Sunday evenings and is busy with the study of the Book of Revelation. Bettie connects with 2 women’s Bible study groups on a weekly basis.  And we do a lot of reminiscing about faraway tropical beaches which we plan to visit once the COVID restrictions allow this.

2.  What have you learned about God and who He is in this season?
We learned that God keeps His word.  He does not change and he remains faithful. We thank God every day even when life is sometimes not easy and He has honoured that.
He has kept us healthy and has met all our physical as well as spiritual needs.  We have come to realize that the more one seeks Him, the closer He comes. He spoke to us about things that needed changing in our lives and issues that needed to be addressed. We have both come to a deeper appreciation of His word and the value of prayer.  We speak more to Him and He speaks more to us.

3.  How has it been for you to connect with others (friends, family) during this time of distancing?
Connecting to other Redeemer members has been difficult.  In fact apart from a few times that we’ve had some of them over to watch the Sunday morning online church service, we’ve restricted our contact to our children and grandchildren once a week. Before the summer  we sometimes met with our Lifegroup in the park near our home. Thereafter contact was only through Zoom.
We have learned a lot about Video conferences, Zoom meetings, Facetime, WhatsApp and Skype! We connect regularly with our friends and family all over the world. We are so thankful to the Lord that this technology is available.

4.  Do you have any stories of God answering prayer or breaking through in situations that you’d like to share?
Our big story about answered prayers is that despite being in the vulnerable group we have had absolutely no problems with COVID, with ‘flu’ or any other physical health issues. We are so thankful for God’s constant protection and provision.
Another answer to prayer is when Trevor lost his wallet containing credit cards, debit cards vehicle licenses etc. during a visit to a town far from home, God miraculously answered a very short simple prayer and a stranger, who had earlier found it, brought the wallet back to us as we were sitting in our car with everything in it!

5. What are you thankful for?
We are thankful that we were given this extra time to spend in meditation, studying God’s word and prayer.  We have both grown much closer to our Lord!

Redeemer Stories: Meet Ihor and Marine


Names: Ihor and Marine Okhrimenko
Nationality: Ihor is Ukrainian and Marine is French
Favourite hobby: We both like running, one can say sport is our hobby.

1. What does your day-to-day look like, particularly during the past year since the COVID pandemic?
We recently married so our honeymoon or like the Dutch say ‘Wittebroodsweken’ 😉 were at home. We tried to work out or go running 3 times a week but don’t always succeed. We keep on trying.

2. What have you learned about God and who He is in this season?
We’ve learnt to be more trusting the Lord with ‘holy uncertainty’ about the future. Lord Jesus is very generous and loving God. He cares even for smallest details too, as well as the ‘big picture’.

3. How has it been for you to connect with others (friends, family) during this time of distancing?
Not easy. There will be no Zoom and Microsoft Teams in heaven!

4. Do you have any stories of God answering prayer or breaking through in situations that you’d like to share?
Our biggest testimony of 2020 is about goodness of God and His provision of clarity, conviction and confirmation about us meeting and getting married. Optically it looked like a very short period but it was as clear as day. In June 2020 we did not know about each other at all. We were engaged in October and married in December 2020.

5. What are you thankful for?
Simple things that are actually very big things, if you think about it: clean water from the tap, bread on the table, roof over our heads. Knowing that we are loved and cared for by the God of the universe!

Redeemer Stories: Meet Matt and Kristen



Name:
Matt and Kristen Bowersox
Nationality: American (Ohio), moved to The Hague in June 2019
Favourite hobby: travelling and going for walks/hikes
 
What does your day-to-day look like, particularly during the past year since the COVID pandemic?
Matt – I have been working from home since the pandemic began (my job is in insurance auditing).  It is challenging not being able to interact with coworkers in person, but I am super thankful for a decent desk chair and computer monitor at my kitchen-table office! On the weekends, Kristen and I enjoy going for long walks around The Hague and getting to know the city better.
Kristen – Although the volunteer activities I was involved in before the pandemic have been significantly cut down (tour-guiding at the Corrie ten Boom Huis, helping with children’s ministry at Redeemer International Church, etc.), I am still able to do some things virtually. Matt and I were thankful to be able to do a bit of COVID-safe travelling back in the summer and get to see parts of Europe that were new to us!  I have also enjoyed having more opportunities to read, spend safe socially-distanced time with friends in our life group, and experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques.
 
What have you learned about God and who He is in this season?
Matt – The biggest thing I have been learning is the reality of God’s faithfulness despite the uncertainty of the world around us.  He is constant and unchanging, even when the world around us seems to be turned upside down.
Kristen – God has been teaching me the value of slowing, silence, and rest.  I tend to be a “go! go! go!” person, so this time of pandemic restrictions has been challenging, but I see how the Lord is using it to help me grow.  I find myself often praying, “Lord, please show me if I’m missing something I’m supposed to be doing!” and He has answered, “My daughter, you are right where I want you.  Be still and know that I am God.”  This brings so much peace!  I am also learning about trusting God to let me know His plans at the time He needs me to know them, not necessarily as early as I would like to have the answers for what is coming next.
 
How has it been for you to connect with others during this time of distancing?
Although we were disappointed that our family members in the USA had to cancel their plans to come visit us last year due to the pandemic, we are so thankful for the technology that allows us to keep in touch with them by WhatsApp messages and video-call.  We are also very blessed to live close to the other members of our Life Group so in addition to our weekly virtual Bible study time we have been able to see each other in person (in safe, socially-distanced ways of course).
 
What are you thankful for at this time?
We find we have so much to be thankful for!  Particularly now in the weeks leading up to Good Friday and Easter, we are reminded of God’s amazing love and grace seen in Jesus coming to Earth as the perfect sacrifice, paying the penalty for our sins through his death on the cross, and conquering over the grave in the resurrection.  We are thankful to have forgiveness, relationship with God, and the hope of eternity with Him!

Redeemer Stories: Meet Dietra

Name: Dietra Sober
Nationality: American
Favourite hobby: Exploring outdoors

What does your day-to-day look like, particularly during these COVID times?
I came to The Netherlands at the end of January 2020 to do a University exchange program in The Hague. Not long after, most international students returned home as all classes went online. I remained and continued my time in the Netherlands exploring all of what God had / has in store for me. The Redeemer community has been so crucial to me over the past year as nearly all of my relationships are from Redeemer.

What have you learned about God and who He is in this season?
I have learned that God hears me and provides for me abundantly. Being abroad with no family nearby, God has put people in my life and given me exactly what I need when I needed it. He has shown me Psalm 84, how lovely His dwelling place is, blessing those whose hearts are set on Him and how he graciously bestows favor and honor upon us. He is delighted in us as we are delighted.

What has it been like connecting with others (friends, family) during this time of distancing?
Having my life group during this COVID season has been such a source of much needed human interaction and care. Meeting when we can and getting together in smaller groups has been a key part to my joy here in The Netherlands. I have also been so blessed by people within Redeemer who have reached out to me though I had never met them in person! I am so thankful for the Spirit of Christ that forms a special bond and unites us. With my family back at home, I try to video call them. I am thankful for this technology because it makes me feel as if I am there with them.

How has God answered prayer or provided in situations recently?
I was praying for an opportunity to stay in the Netherlands over the summer. My student visa was due to expire at the end of October. I had applied for jobs / internships and about one week from the expiration of my visa I received a job through someone within Redeemer. Now I have been able to stay in the Netherlands and continue to grow alongside the Redeemer community. I am working with international students in housing and would love prayer for wisdom and to love them with the steadfast love of Christ.

What are you thankful for at this time?
I am thankful that God is not changed or held back by pandemics. I am thankful that His plans are not changed and that he has good and complete plans for us!

—> Want to get to know Dietra a little more? Visit her blog to find out more about her journey!

Meditations with Derek + Karin

Life contains highs and lows, but through it all God’s love remains constant. In these 3 videos, Derek + Karin spend time reflecting on different Bible verses, talking about tough times, and sharing some small practical ways to get through difficulties we face – whatever they may be.

Anxiety & Being in Nature

Prayer

Humility

Issues in Isolation – Relax or Distract

God calls for us to take a day of rest on the Sabbath – but are our normal behaviors actually helping us rest? In this reflective video series tackling issues in isolation, Derek provides some insight and ideas for us to make the most of our time resting in God’s presence!

Issues in Isolation – Made in God’s Image to be Creative

When was the last time you did something new? In our reflection series, Derek challenges us to step into this aspect of our identity. God made us in his image to be creative but we are often too busy. What is God calling you to step out in today?

Issues in Isolation – Finding God in Times of Grief and Loss

How are you coping during this season? Derek Gibbs shares about grief – and what that means for us as Christians. Especially in a time of loss – not only of human life, but also when losing our normalcy of life, our plans, and our expectations – it is helpful to acknowledge these feelings and examine them from a Christian perspective.

Worship Blog – Spring

Ik ben Rianne en ik ben getrouwd met André. Samen hebben we twee geweldige kinderen, Tim en Joanne, allebei tieners inmiddels. Vanaf het eerste begin, alweer negen jaar geleden, zijn wij deel van Redeemer Church en we zijn nog steeds heel blij met deze kerk en voelen ons hier echt thuis. Het is zo bijzonder om te zien wat God doet en gedaan heeft in de afgelopen jaren!

Voordat we deel werden van Redeemer waren we deel van de Wijnstokgemeente in Berkel & Rodenrijs. Deze kerk is ook deel van de New Frontiers familie, maar is een Nederlandstalige kerk. De eerste jaren waren dan ook best wennen aan lofprijzen in het Engels en de preken luisteren in het Engels. Om die reden koos ik er de eerste jaren voor om geen deel te worden van het worshipteam. Met veel plezier heb ik de eerste jaren in Redeemer het kinderwerk gedaan voor de 2 tot 5 jarigen.

Maar vanaf 2017 merkte ik dat God me leidde en voorbereidde op een andere tijd. Ik las toen een boek waarin het ging over de weiden waarin God ons leidt en dat er momenten zijn dat God ons naar een andere weide roept. Ik merkte heel duidelijk dat God me hierin aansprak. Het was een tijd van vertrouwen en wachten, maar ik merkte dat God me weer vaker iets op mijn hart gaf om uit te zingen tijdens de diensten en ik kreeg ook steeds vaker zelf tijdens mijn stille tijd of via anderen een woord of aansporing om me weer uit te strekken naar het lofprijzen en dan ook binnen het worshipteam. Dat deed me besluiten om eind 2017 deel te worden van het worshipteam. Samen met het team en met de kerk zingen en God aanbidden op zondagochtend maakt me zo blij en vult me met dankbaarheid!

Ook in mijn persoonlijk leven gebeurde van alles de afgelopen negen jaar, waardoor ik God van nog dichterbij heb leren kennen en steeds meer heb geleerd hoe ik zijn stem kan verstaan, door zijn Woord, door de muziek heen en door zijn stem die tot me spreekt. Hij is zo trouw en zo goed en ik ben steeds meer verbaasd over zijn grootheid en zijn plan in en door alles heen. De liederen “Jezus Overwinnaar” van Mozaïek 0318 en “There is power in the blood” van inSalvation hebben me de laatste tijd erg aangesproken, zeker in deze tijd rond Pasen. Zijn plan stond al vast vanaf het begin om Jezus te laten lijden en sterven voor ons allemaal om zo de relatie met onze Vader te herstellen. Zijn bloed betaalde de prijs en Hij is de Overwinnaar! Toen, nu en voor altijd.

Mijn gebed voor ons als kerk is dat we allemaal steeds meer gaan zien en ervaren wie Hij is en wat Hij voor ons gedaan heeft. En dat Zijn aanwezigheid voelbaar en tastbaar zal zijn tijdens de worship, dat mensen zullen worden bevrijd en genezen en dat steeds meer mensen de vrijheid gaan voelen en nemen om hun hart bij Hem uit te storten en te delen wat God ze geeft om zo de kerk te bouwen. Oh, wat een vreugde zal het zijn dat de mensen die binnenkomen en onze geweldige Vader nog niet kennen Hem zullen ontmoeten tijdens de dienst. Ik kijk uit naar wat er nog komen gaat!

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My name is Rianne and I’m married to André. Together, we have two wonderful kids, Tim and Joanne, who are teenagers at the moment. We decided to join Redeemer Church from the very first start of the church, nine years ago. We’re still feeling at home in this church and it’s so amazing to see what God is doing and has done in the past nine years!

Before we joined Redeemer, we where part of “De Wijnstokgemeente” in Berkel & Rodenrijs. This church is part of the New Frontiers Family as well, but it is Dutch speaking. So it took me a while to get used to worship and a sermon in English. That’s the reason I didn’t join the worship team from the start, but chose to help with kids work for the 2- 5 year olds in the first years. I really loved to do that over the years.

But at the start of 2017, I noticed a new season was coming. I was reading a book at the time where it spoke about how God sometimes points us in another direction and challenges us to leave the pasture we are in and to enter another. This really spoke to me. It was a time of waiting and trusting, but I noticed that God more often gave me a song again to sing out during worship in church. And through hearing God speak, during my quiet time and through other people encouraging me or giving me a word of God, I really felt that it was time to join the worship team. At the end of that year, I decided to become part of the worship team. To sing and worship God on Sunday morning with the team and the Church really makes me happy and fills me with gratitude!

In the past nine years, a lot happened in my personal life as well, which made my relationship with God grow more intimate. In that time, I learned to recognise His voice more and more, through His Word, through music and through Him speaking to me. He is faithful and and good and I’m more and more amazed by His greatness and His steadfast plan. At the moment, the song “Jezus Overwinnaar “ of Mozaiek 0318 and “There is power in the blood” of InSalvation are two of my favorite songs, especially in this time round Easter. His plan for saving us and reconciliation with the Father through the death and resurrection of Jesus amazes me again this season! He payed the price and He is the Victor! In the past, today and in the future!

A deeper knowledge of God, who He is and what He has done for us, and seeing and experiencing Him more, is my prayer for us as a church. I pray we’ll feel and acknowledge His presence in our midst during worship and that we’ll see people being set free and healed. I hope and pray more people will feel the freedom to speak out their heart before God and feel free to share what God gave them to build the church. Oh, what a joy it will be to see new people, who don’t know God yet, enter the church and have an encounter with our amazing Father during the service. I’m looking forward to what is yet to come!