For one month, November – December 2022, I took a sabbatical of sorts. I have been in ministry here for over 18 years and desperately needed a pause. Although my heart is always to be obedient to where the Lord leads, sometimes I feel weighed down in the many cultures and languages I try to balance every day. And so I needed to just put the breaks on for a few weeks and return to my first love.
It was the best thing for me. I let my mom help me with the girls and house work. I asked Hary to let me have this time and not require much of me either. I read my Bible for long chunks of time each day and worked through a Bible study on joy. I cooked for my family each night…not rushed and with love. I had the time to try new recipes. I slept more. I sat down at the piano and sang more. I worked on sitting in Gods’ rest.
After I jumped back into hosting Christmas and New Year’s for the church and the Khano family members. I went back to preaching and teaching. I continued with Kingdom Kid’s (our monthly kids’ club for about 40 children). And I continued to maintain the balance of rest and worship in my normal pace of life.
Since my mom was with us for 3 months, I asked her to join me in learning to make Syrian baklava. I googled and found a Syrian man on youtube who was able to walk me through step by step to make the best baklava. After my mom returned the States, I even made it alone for the church. You know when I attempt to make Arab food for Arabs, I am feeling brave. The pan I brought was completely eaten and I received many compliments. Even one woman sent me a picture from the next day as she enjoyed her pieces she took home with her. Yay! Believe me when I say it is an accomplishment when Arabs like the food you prepare.
I made the baklava because our worship leader at church FINALLY got his Belgian documents as a recognized refugee after almost 5 years of waiting. So a celebration was needed. The girls and I decorated the kitchen and we, as his family, celebrated together. I told him that I was so happy to scratch his name off my prayer list. There are still more names on the list and we wait for a chance in the future for more celebrations.
And we also have added a Christian secondary school to our prayer list over the years. As Phoebe and her classmates get ready to enter secondary school next year, our hope was that they would have a Christian school to go to. But there is only one Christian secondary school in the entire country and it has suffered many legal issues and now functions more like a homeschool group.
My dear friend, Hellen, from Ghana is one of the smartest women I know. She is a secondary teacher who understands non-profit organizations. And God placed this secondary school on her heart. Her daughter also happens to be Phoebe’s best friend. And these 2 girls were in our hearts when we have talked about this possibility. Hellen has worked diligently to bring this into reality. She still needs more time and open doors. Of course it takes money and a staff to make this happen. But she would also like the school to be bilingual with English and Dutch together. And believe it or not, the bilingual part is more difficult than anything else. It’s done in the Netherlands but Belgium is not on board for a public bilingual school. But in the ever changing world, allowing the already bilingual children to study in English will be a benefit. So please pray for this school to become a reality in the future. Pray for open doors in this area of education.
And God’s work continues here in Belgium….