As of today, I have heard of 3 significant earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. My Arabic teacher is actually in the earthquake area in Syria and she is helping many who are in need. And as you can imagine, people in Belgium wanted to know how to best help many who are actually sleeping on the streets because they are so afraid of sleeping in their homes.

So our living room became a collecting location for Antwerp. We were able to send used clothes, blankets and other toiletries 2 different times to Brussels where they will be divided and shipped off to those in need. This is one of the ways we have been able to help out and send aid during this crisis.

Our hearts break for those, especially in Syria. They have lived through 12 years of war and have now said that these last weeks have been the most terrifying of their lives.

The world heard about the baby born in the earthquake and the mother who died. But we have also heard other stories. One is about an older woman who only had one child, who was now an adult. When the left the home during the earthquake, they saw that it was only cracked. So her son decided to go back in the house to get some things. The moment he went in, the entire house collapsed and killed him directly.

And in another story, there was a neighborhood with several children. And suddenly, during the course of a week 4 of those children died of fear. They were literally scared to death. The fear is overwhelming and crippling others too.

Please pray for those in Turkey and Syria. Pray that the earthquakes stop and that those without homes will find shelter. And pray for the aid from other countries to safely enter the most needy places.


Around Town

The official flower season started in January! The tulip farmers had a display of thousands of tulips on the square in front of the station. And they GAVE every last one of them away. What a beautiful way to celebrate a cold day in January.

Rain happens a lot here in Belgium. But we don’t always get to see a rainbow. Phoebe took this picture on a walk home from school. We live around a mile from the school and every day the girls have to walk there and back. And being a 6th grader, Phoebe loves to take her phone with her and she is always ready to take a good picture.

And we have been looking for a secondary school for Phoebe and her best friend. This is the outside of the one we pray will be the best for them next year. It is called Panorama because from the lunch room on the 9th floor of the school, there is a wonderful panoramic view of the city of Antwerp.



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….



In November 2022, Hary and I were invited to join a prayer conference just outside of Cairo, Egypt. Since neither on of us had ever been to Egypt, we decided to take 3 days and vacation together before the meeting. It was also our first real trip to an Arabic speaking nation TOGETHER.

When most people travel to the Middle East they do it in style. But we are clearly not most people. Since Hary speaks Arabic, we tried to be a little more like the locals. We were in about 8 different modes of transportation…foot, boat, taxi, vans that carry up to 12 strangers at a time, Uber, a crazy little tuc tuc (if you don’t know what it is, you really need to google it), bus and even horse and carriage…and that was not nearly as romantic and fancy as it may sound.

We floated on the Nile, saw the city of millions from the top of a tower, visit 2 churches literally carved in the mountains, saw King Tut at the museum, visited the famous pyramids, stopped into the largest evangelical church in the Arab world and took one day to find Christian book stores for Arabic books and visit the Egyptian Bible society.

At our hotel filled with westerners, we stood out as the Syrian and the American who was trying out all my Arabic (I am currently in lessons now…it’s my 4th language that I am working on). Everyone who worked in the hotel knew us instantly and extended a special kindness.

Egypt was a nice break for Hary and I. My mom stayed with the girls and we took the time to be together. And when we finished our 3 day visit, we were ready for the 3 day conference. There was a fresh sense of God. It was encouraging to be standing in Egypt and praying for the Middle East, the Arabic speaking world. God encouraged Hary and I personally through the prayer and worship and the many people that we met. There are things that I heard there that I am still trying to understand and process. And it was just the refreshment that we needed in this season of our lives and ministry.

All of our Egyptian friends and deeply touched that we visited their land. And we are blessed to go to the place that holds just a rich history in our faith. We just might be ready to go back again…


Children of Prayer

Every Wednesday for the last 6 years, I have led a group of moms in prayer for our children and the school. We have seen so many changes in the school and we can’t even count the amount of miracles that have come out of that faithfulness.

This year, these children started to pray too. They now have a little WhatsApp group that meets together on Tuesday nights. They usually have around 6 children who pray for their classes and teachers. They read something out the Bible together and encourage one another in a fun ways.

There is really no greater blessing than seeing your children practice their own faith. God hears their prayers and He is so faithful to them. I love each one of them and can’t wait to see what God does in their lives. They are already mighty warriors in the hands of the One who made them.



It’s been a while since I have sat down to write. Mostly, it’s the little things that have stopped me. Like I FINALLY synced my phone pics to my computer and have been able to add them. But in the time since I last wrote, the girls have each celebrated a birthday.

In November, Phoebe turned 12. She is constantly reminding me how close she is to being a teenager. Yes, I know Phoebe! She is in the 6th grade and will start a new school next year. She takes more responsibility over things around the house each day. And surprises me by helping out in unexpected ways. I must say I have enjoyed every age, but the time together gets sweeter each year. I pray we weather the teenage years well. Let’s hope she still enjoys being around her mama in a few years!

In December, Maria-Grace turned 8. She is our bundle of laughter. She is outgoing and chatty. She is now in the 3rd grade and actually loves math. She does NOT get that from her mama. She still loves bears and so we had a bear-y birthday cake for her. I pray for her class at school. There are only 3 other girls in the class and none of them click well with her. She longs for a BFF. She’s had them and lost them over the years because of moves or class changes. So we pray God brings just the right friend along…and soon.

I can’t imagine my life without these two. They are so precious to me and I count them as blessings every day. They fill me with joy, hugs and smile all the time.



Feelings. They can be overwhelming especially when times are difficult. And when feelings are too strong, I sometimes pick up my copy of Every Moment Holy by Douglas McKelvey and search for a prayer that speaks to my heart.

This morning I did just that. Yesterday was the funeral of Hary’s dearest friend. It was a long day of service, burial and sharing over a meal. More than 300 people came to the church and at least 150 stayed to eat. More than 8 hours after the service began people finally started to go home.

We were there when Hary’s friend breathed his last breath. I knew the signs because it wasn’t my first death. It was the third time I was next to someone when they transitioned into eternity. There is something holy and solemn about it all. And one death reminds me of another.


Yesterday didn’t just remind me of the loss of a wonderful man of God, but it also reminded me of other kinds of loss. We have felt the impact of the various kinds over the last years and months.

I try to process it all and questions naturally arise. As I read this morning, the prayer “Death of a Dream” spoke to my heart.

“I bring to you…the broken pieces of my expectations / I invested my hopes…returned only sorrow and frustration…and in my head I know that You are sovereign even over this- over my tears, my confusion, and my disappointment / My history bears the fingerprints of grace. You were always faithful / Now take this [expectation]…and give it back reformed and remade according to your better vision, or do not give it back at all. / Not my dreams, O Lord…but Yours, be done.”

May God always work in and through us. May His will be done even when we feel the loss. May we be reminded that He is the one working things out. May our trust be forever in Him who holds everything in His hands and loves us more than we can imagine.


Bear Love

This child has loved bears since she met the Coca-Cola bear in the Georgia museum about 4 years ago. She loves all the bears but the polar bear is her favorite. She has asked for a long time to see them in real life. Finally I found a zoo in Belgium with 6 kinds of real life bears! And she was delighted!!

Her love is so deep that she tears up at the idea of some of them dying and becoming at risk of being extinct. She jokes about buying a walk in freezer one day to be able to bring a polar bear home. And so it was a joy to see how happy she was at the zoo.

She is one of my favorite people on this planet. She has such big brown eyes. She has a wonderful sense of humor and loves to make people laugh. And her sense of sarcasm is beyond her 7 years. And yet she needs prayer.

She is constantly dealing with stomach pain and we are on a special diet from the doctor. In addition, she has worried about the future and when I will die for the last 2 years, when my dad passed away. It weighs on her and concerns her. She’s not worried about going with Jesus, she is worried about being alone. And at the moment, she doesn’t have a best friend. Over the years they have all moved and last year and this year she has felt that deep loneliness.

We pray every day that she will find a new best friend. But last night she sat on my bed and asked me if I think she is weird because no one else likes her. My heart broke. Please pray for her to find a friend who enjoys playing with her and will be her friend for a long time.


Kingdom Kids’ Day Camp

Since January, we have been hosting a Kingdom Kids’ day one Saturday a month. It is just a time to do crafts, study the Bible, sing and play with kids. So this summer we wanted to see what would happen if we hosted a 4 day camp.

We never know who will be around in the summer holidays because so many go back to their home countries for vacation. But in August we had almost 50 children from around the neighborhood who came for camp. We knew most of the children before but with the help of Ardmore Baptist Church and their team of 9 faithful leaders, we were able to build deeper relationships and find a way to continue to promote the kids’ club during the school year.

As an added surprise, one of our 150 homemade flyers found its way into the hands of a journalist of Het Laaste Nieuws, which is the largest newspaper/journal in Antwerp. The journalist called me and asked several questions. She didn’t know anything like a VBS still existed in Belgium and she was intrigued. She also loved that I am an “Angel” who tells people about Jesus on Altar Street (Altaarstraat – in Dutch). She found it funny how all that would work together. And she personally advertised the camp in the newspaper. No extra children came from the last minute publication but a contact was formed and the name of the school was also advertised. God only knows how He will use all that.

The kids loved the camp. Many parents appreciated the time alone in the summer and that they could send their children to a place to hear about Jesus. We counted that the children came from around 22 different countries and we had countless languages represented…like Arabic, Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and local African languages.

We are thankful for such a wonderful week and grateful to Amy and her crew at Ardmore Baptist who gave of themselves so graciously. It makes us look forward to next summer all the more!


Criminal Charges Closed!

3 and a half years ago, we bought a large house in Antwerp to use as a small church building in the heart of an Arabic neighborhood.  As the city required, I asked for the fire inspector to come.  The inspector brought along the building inspector who told us that we could not meet as a church in the building because of a permit issue that would be almost impossible to change.  But they promised to continue to let us meet for a short amount of time while I worked regulate the permit.

I worked for the next 3 years and the church continued to meet in the building for 2 of those years before they official removed us.  With this process came 2 sets of criminal charges against me personally and the city made it impossible to meet their unrealistic requirements.  It brought a little comfort to know we were not alone in our battle as the mayor was rumored to have said that “God will be dead in Antwerp” and the city offices worked hard to close down many houses of worship.

After meeting with a building lawyer, we realized that the only way to remove the charges against me was to return the house back to a one family home.  And feeling a bit cornered, we made the decision to move our family in the home, knowing that we could use the large living room for Bible studies and prayer meetings during the week, while living upstairs.  And we have started to us our small home as a ministry house where those in need of a temporary place to stay are welcome. We have hosted 6 different groups already.

Hoping and praying this would all work out, a team from the States and some of the men in our church helped us to ready the building for our family.  After our official move, we invited the city to do a final inspection.  On June 24th, a different building inspector (which was actually a huge blessing in disguise) came and gave us his approval and has finally closed the city’s file against me.  Having the criminal charges dropped and the police charges dropped has been a huge relief to me.

This is not the way we originally envisioned using the house for God, but we are sure that He still has great plans to use what is already His for His glory. We will keep following in obedience.

During this time of 3 and half years, many people around us in our community of ministry have contributed words of discouragement and criticism, not understanding the full weight of what was happening or even the spiritual warfare of it all. And yet God reminded me of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Surely those around her gossiped and whispered at her condition. I know there had to be talk…I work with Middle Easterners! And God led her to the position that put her in the center of this gossip. So we have been in good company…amid the gossip, following the Lord in obedience in the whole process.

Thank you for adding your prayers and support to bring about the closure our family needed! And now a new chapter begins…