Finally summer is here and we are just entering into our furlough time. At last we have some time to sit down and write in details about all that has been happening over the last six months. In fact in many way for us this is a good time to review the entire time we have been here in Brussels and what we have accomplished. The last six months have been a whirlwind of activity, much more than anticipated – usually the winter and spring are quieter patches for us in YWAM but not in this case!
We started off the year by gaining two new staff members, one of whom has gone on to host the visiting teams we have invited to come and do outreach in the city. We have had two evangelists come and stay for two months and reach out in the city, a team of fantastic Americans and another team of creative and dynamic Norwegians. Each of the teams have been working with local church plants and so we have helped 3 plants grow, stabilise and in one case plant a second congregation! Kevin hosted a small conference with his friend Steve for YWAMers who are wanting to start new locations for YWAM and seeking to find the best ways to do that.
We have also launched the new bar called akaZOE. The launch was fabulous and Kevin stood next to the Jewish local government official and his Islamic wife during the event, both of whom loved the bar and the atmosphere of creativity, youth and Christ! Currently the bar opens two nights a week (soon to be 4) from 8pm to 1pm. So our street (gently) rocks to the sounds from the bar of live music of all genres. The name mean “Also Known As: Life” and the bar is seeking to produce all that leads to life: Christ, creativity, friendships, good live music, fairtrade goods and no to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc. Its working well. and many people are coming and sampling the atmosphere and finding more than they expected from the staff who are working there! It is so good to see this finally up and running and Steve and Liam have worked so hard to get it right!
Nicki has been growing the small group at “Maman et Bébés Plus” and now has a strong core meeting each month. Many more opportunities are happening and Nicki is feeling an increased readiness and openness to talk about faith. She also on occasion can make visits to the mothers at home to take some practical items. One pregnant mother, a Congolese with two other children was living at the top of an incredibly high staircase in a tiny room with so little. She was weeping with joy at the things Nicki was able to bring. There is much scope to increase what is happening here and we need more people to help and more people to come to the group regularly. Please pray!
Each week there are lots of little stories like these and we are aware that it is never easy to cram all of them into a newsletter. To be honest we have had a difficult six months too with a number of struggles in lots of ways and we have found it hard to let you all know what’s going on with us. We are currently on our furlough break and this has been great as it has allowed us to look back over the two and a half years and all that has happened. We have moved to Brussels, settled in, learnt French and have achieved our goals of doing talks in French, turned the YWAM base around and changed the ethos from a struggling and negative place to a positive and growing place with much more youth and vigour around. We have renovated and relaunched the bookshop, seen akaZOE start and much much more. And on top we have been key members planting our church “The Link”, which is growing nicely. It has been tremendous and we are just a bit tired!
We are currently relaxing on a campsite in beautiful Devon. We are visiting a few supporters, family and friends and taking time to be together as a family and relax. The Brussels team are holding the fort for us and I am sure won’t need us back when we do return! Kevin is particularly looking forward to returning as he is finally gaining the Administrator the team has been lacking and can’t wait to get him up to speed. What is nice is that Jonathan, who is taking the role, and Kevin already get on well and Kevin has been giving him lots of mentoring input.
We are also going to be changing the way we are writing to all of you. For a while we have been finding it so hard to get the time to sit down and write the long letters we try to do so and the distance between letters has been growing longer and longer. What we want to do now is to use some of the wonderful technology at our fingertips these days and send a shorter but more focused email once a month. We are aware that there are some people who have not got easy access to email and we will be making these emails just simple written text with no pictures. We are also wanting to try to buddy up people with email to some of our supporters with no email so that news will get around to all. In addition to this we have started a blog site at www.thecolyers.net and will be posting other more or less relevant stuff there along with lots of pictures. We will see if it works anyway. So please can you send us your new email addresses and also current snail mail and telephone numbers so we can always get hold of you when the email goes crunch!
Sam and Ellie continue to do well at school and both are becoming more confident daily. They are both growing upwards and Sam is shedding teeth. We are all doing well but have been thrilled with the warm weather which for everyone I talk to was late coming this year! Sam and Ellie both really love going to The Link with us even though they are there for the set up and take down times too. The little group of children they are with each Sunday is very lovely, a bit of a handful but yet very close and they always enjoy being there.
We are really loving the Link. We are involved in so much and really enjoy it too. The aim of the church is of course to be evangelistic and keeping it a church that is always looking outwards is a challenge and a joy. We are both loving the way we can confidently invite people to events or services and know that it will work out for them. We are also loving having a great context to do evangelism and having many conversations with the not-yet-christians who are coming and staying with us at the church. Its great. Kevin also records the services and puts them on the church website. When you have a chance why not listen to us speaking!!! (www.thelinkatstdoms.be)
We need to wrap up this letter now and send it or you will never ever hear from us so take care, hope we see you soon and please be in touch!
Kevin and Nicki
PS Thanks for the donor who sent a gift to the YWAM England HQ in Harpenden. We are not sure who it was but we did receive it and we are most grateful!
- Ongoing work to deepen. Really want lots of new staff in all areas of outreach and support. Pray that we will be able to help our staff develop and grow both personally and spiritually
- Sam and Ellie at school and all the challenges they go through as missionary kids
- The Link to keep growing and for more non-christian contacts to be made and for more great events to keep us mixing with people and helping people to take a step closer to following Jesus.
- Mamans et Bébés to keep growing and for more conversations of a spiritual nature.
- We would pace ourselves well for the next two years and improve our rather poor work/life balance!
- August 29 – Back to work – it will be quieter Autumn as we have postponed the DTS for a year. Priorities for the next twelve months are for deeper staff development and better PR and communications for the base and to have the new website running and to have a new Office Management team up and running and taking the strain from Kevin.
- September 23 – YWAM weekend away in Ardennes
- September 10 – YWAM Brussels open day – inviting all and sundry to come see the Base and what we do. good PR event
- Oct/Nov – Kevin to do a week or two of French language immersion
- Oct – Kevin representing YWAM Belgium at the Western European Leadership Team (Group of National leaders covering WE nations YWAM works)
- Nov – Nicki going to UK for Care Centre Networks conference