Karin and I got married more than 27 years ago. We left Bible school completely in love and immediately started working full-time for God with dedication. God led us to Holsbeek, a small Belgian village near Leuven. From there, we have set up a huge amount of youth work throughout Flanders for eleven years. Although we both have a good diploma, we simply lived on a very modest income that was largely provided by donations.
Soon after we got married, a desire for children arose. We dreamed of a family that we would take care of together. But we didn’t dare. Not because we saw ourselves as incapable parents, but because we had little money and did not live an average life. We had chosen such a dynamic and exciting life, but our children would not be able to make that choice themselves. And would we have enough money to take good care of them? It was an exciting time.
The church I grew up in and which we were part of as a young couple had the custom of doing something special at the beginning of a new year. On the first Sunday, Bible texts, which were pasted or printed on beautiful cards, were distributed to all visitors. We called it ‘Annual Texts’. The sermon on that Sunday was usually about the new year’s theme and the power of God’s word. And everyone received a unique Bible verse as encouragement and inspiration for the new year.
January 1995 it happened again: the Yearly Texts Sunday! In the weeks before, the subject of children and our concerns about them came up often. Finally we decided to ask God for a sign. We prayed for confirmation that we should not worry and that He would take care of our kids. I don’t know exactly how long we had prayed about it, but that Sunday morning in early 1995 it was very topical. The Sunday service was as expected. Beautiful worship, inspiring sermon and the trays with Bible texts were ready. Individuals and families took turns walking forward to grab a card from the baskets. Quietly and slightly tensely, we walked back to our seats to read the text. What would God say to us? I don’t remember what was on my card, but I do remember what Karin had drawn: He blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’ (Genesis 1:28).
Immediately in tears
You just have to have courage to put that text in there! No idea who did that. But for us it was a word from heaven. God had heard our question about children. He would take care of us and them. How wonderful that Karin, as an expectant mother, received this text. She immediately burst into tears. Of overwhelm and joy! A year later on January 18, 1996, Ingeborg Louise Koornstra, our first daughter, was born and God has always provided everything we needed. Also for Ingeborg!
Since we live in Veenendaal and we hold the Wonderful Sunday every month, the first of the new year is all about New Year’s texts. We have brought that good habit from our youth. This has been the most visited service for six years now. People come from far and wide to receive a yeartext and to be blessed. I always talk about the love for God’s word, like honey that you lick from your fingers. And every year the testimonies are unique, overwhelming and moving about how God speaks.
This year we cannot have a ‘normal’ Wonderful Sunday with year texts. But… We won’t let that stop us!! We are going to hand out annual texts via a unique drive-in. We have different time slots and space for up to 375 cars. You are very welcome to be so blessed, encouraged and guided by God’s Word!