I write this blog in Suriname. We are here with a team of 7 people on behalf of Royal Mission with the same dream as in the Netherlands: ‘Revival of the church!’ The past 2 weeks have been very special. Not only because we had powerful meetings, God visibly healed people and heavenly holiness descended upon us. We are extremely grateful for that and yet our deepest longing lies elsewhere. We do not just want to bless for a short time, but rather to build for a long time.
How it started
34 years ago, Karin left for Suriname for a year to help in the Indian children’s home Koesikwarano. She made her childhood dream come true. Ultimately, she stayed for 2 years, during which time she invested in dozens of Indian children, shared her life with humble employees and became lifelong friends with a number of young Javanese leaders.
Back in the Netherlands she decided to go to a Bible school in Belgium, where she met me. Yoohoo! Immediately after those 2 years of training we got married and Karin wanted to show me Suriname and its history there. This is how this beautiful country became the destination of our honeymoon. This year we celebrate 30 years together!
The love for Suriname has always remained and yet we only went here again with a team in 2016. Speaking in churches, training child and youth workers, visiting prisoners, blessing the disabled and so much more. Year after year we have flown across the ocean with small groups to sow in this beautiful country.
Looking back, it was a lean 7 years. Beautiful things always happened and we were able to distribute a lot, but the doors of churches and the hearts of leaders hardly opened. It was swimming against the current, despite the enormous investments in time, money, materials and love.
Sow with tears
Just before this trip I said to Karin: ‘Maybe this is my last trip to Suriname.’ Especially since we came almost no closer to our dream for church revival. For the umpteenth time in our lives it felt like sowing in tears.
But once again God suddenly surprised us with a breakthrough. “For those who sow in tears will reap with joy” (Psalm 126:5). During a pastors’ dinner last week, we received 50 leaders, all of whom listened with open mouths to the vision of Royal Mission and our love for the church. Pastors asked us for help and in-depth conversations started. Suddenly there was trust, hearts became soft and walls fell away. God rewarded our faithfulness and the courage to persevere even though I almost gave up…
Largest and smallest
We were allowed to lead a healing service in the largest church in Suriname and we are talking to them about education and discipleship for the future. The pastor has given us all the space to give conferences, training and education.
At the same time we also served in the smallest church we know here. Employees of the children’s home more than 30 years ago now lead a mini church with Indians. We were able to present a huge donation there for the construction of a wall in their simple corrugated iron building and the purchase of a van/car, so that they can pick up poor Indians from the surrounding area. During the Wonderful Sunday in Bunschoten, an offering of more than 8,000 euros was collected for this purpose. Wow!!
During this trip, leaders of various denominations became enthusiastic about our Growth Year and will be working on this next year. In Paramaribo and in Nickerie. God taught us what e-learning is during the years of corona, so that we could build the Growth Year. A unique onediscipleship process with which we help churches to help people grow in groups as followers of Jesus. Now we are also going to make it available in Suriname. The dream for church revival is coming to life. Our faithfulness and reliability is rewarded by God.
Do not give up
The children’s home building has been in disrepair for years and no one lives there anymore. It is always a moving moment when we look at the place where Karin lived and sowed for 2 years. That time is over and yet there is enormous fruit.
The young Javanese leaders of that time are pastors of various churches in the Commewijne. When we were there last week, the heavens opened and dozens of people were healed one after the other. The Indian church is blessed and the Indian children from the home more than 30 years ago now have their own families and teach their (grand)children Sister Karin’s songs. The harvest is there and the land is fertile. Luckily we didn’t give up!
Next fall we will make an extra trip to this beautiful country. We want to take good care of the seed that finally germinates and support leaders in this. We are overwhelmed by the favor and goodness that God has now given and come home this week shouting! For ‘He who goes out in tears, carrying a bag of seed, will return with joy, carrying sheaves full’ (Psalm 126:6).
Don’t give up even if you don’t see any fruit yet. Do not be discouraged if doors do not open or hearts remain closed. Even when buildings crumble or organizations disappear, God continues to work. God does not require success, but obedience. And fortunately we have been obedient in recent years and also this time in Suriname. And then comes the fruit. Not a short-lived success, but lasting fruit. Thank you for your support and prayers. We believe in a good future for the church in Suriname and also for you. So don’t give up!