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!

Sent: To Bear Fruit Together

Speaker: Chris Taylor
Scripture: John 15: 1-17;The recording of this sermon was unfortunately cut short. Here is a brief summary of the remainder of the talk: How do we remain in Christ (his love)?  Delight in God's Word--3 Bible apps to consider downloading to your phone: Bible in One Year; The You Version; and Streetlights Bible (New Testament reading geared toward youth and young adults); Delight in Prayer; Live a life of faith and lean your whole weight on God; Love others
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