Redeemer Stories: Meet Matt and Kristen

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!