|Christmas 2011 in Brussels
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Happy New Year from all of us here in Brussels! The weather may still be very cold and wintry, but ministry wise we feel like we are entering a new season of our lives. It feels exciting if a little daunting!
Nicki has started the new year by increasing her hours with Alternatives. As well as the Thursdays she now helps out on Monday and Wednesday mornings, doing administration and communication with churches, supporting the team of volunteers and answering phones. She is very excited to work alongside Clara who heads up the ministry as they balance each other well and share a passion and hope for the ministry.
Thursdays are the day when Nicki has more direct contact with clients (and often their husbands and partners). One day is never the same as the next and last Thursday was a particularly busy and diverse day.
It started with a Mothers and Babies special party for the New Year. It was actually a postponed Christmas party but due to the general strike before Christmas nobody could travel to us on public transport! Fourteen women and their children attended the group and enjoyed drinks and nibbles before we sang songs with the children. One of the team members then shared what Christians believe about Christmas. As 80% of the women attending the groups are muslim at the moment we have found this an excellent chance to share our message of hope in the gift of Jesus. Gifts were then given to the families from Alternatives and a local church. Everyone left smiling!
Nicki, then quickly went upstairs from the party and to the counselling room where two appointments waited. The first lady was from the Ivory Coast and was seven months pregnant. Clearly feeling overwhelmed and dazed her story came out haltingly. Her journey here had involved a traumatic and long boat journey, no doubt made worse by having left a young child there. On entering Belgium she quickly fell pregnant but was left to face the pregnancy alone. She is homeless (sleeping at a friends) and with no income not having registered. In fact we are the first place she had visited for an appointment of any kind and we quickly realised she must have been in shock preventing her from doing anything. We gave her contacts and details of where to get help and we shall meet with her again this Thursday to help her further as she has nothing for her baby.
The second woman had come for a pregnancy test and was very quiet and nervous. She already had two children and was very relieved when the test came through negative. She suddenly became very animated wanting to talk more about her options.
To end the day Clara and Nicki made a home visit to one woman who referred from social services. We were able to deliver to her home two cots and baby clothes; until she had adequate furniture and clothing for her children they had to stay in care. She has attended one of the mothers and babies meetings and our hope is she will return again, this time with her children.
Days in Alternatives are not always so intense and busy but that gives you a flavour of the type of women we encounter. Please pray for all the group meetings and counselling sessions that Jesus remains the centre of all we do and say.
Kevin in the meantime has very much enjoyed having a quieter pace of life over the last months, but is also eager to explore the freedom his new role offers for his gifts. He has reviewed how the leadership transition has gone in Brussels and is providing on-going coaching and support to the leadership team as well as taking on a few projects for them. He is working on forming a team of young people to go on outreach in the summer to the Olympics as well as exploring his church planting ideas. Kevin would really welcome your prayer at the moment as they are many options to explore all over (see diary dates below.)
That is all for this month except to say Ellie is out of plaster and we are all well!
Till next time,
Kevin and Nicki, Sam, Ellie, Luc and Josh
- 19 January: National Leaders Meeting, first meeting of the new year with senior leaders in YWAM Belgium
- 20-22 January: Forum Evangelistes: Kevin is attending a weekend conference for French speaking evangelists. Close to Brussels.
- 23 January-3 February: Kevin is taking a two week introduction course in Dutch (in the morning). In the afternoon he is hosting Lukas Spuller a young German student for a work experience placement. (Lukas was in Kevin’s youth group last year before moving back to Germany)
- 29 January: Nicki talks in the two Brussels Vineyard services about Alternatives
- 6-10 February: Western European Leadership Conference: Kevin goes to London with some colleagues for this. It is always encouraging and vital for networking.
- 10-11 February: Nicki attends a ladies retreat