What’s all the buzz about Italy?

We just got back from Italy a week ago. What exactly were we doing there and why were we there?

As many of you may have read in our newsletter, there’s some big plans ahead! We’re hoping to relocate our family to Northern Italy in 2018! Continue reading to see what this is all about. Click the link at the bottom of this message to see our last newsletter and you can even subscribe there for future newsletters.   Read More

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The elevator that never came

I still remember very well how we moved into the apartment we are currently living in. It’s already been nearly 5 years now. Some moments it feels like yesterday. The five story building right a cross Central station.

Some amazing friends from our home church in Ede had gathered a little army to make it happen. It all went like a well-oiled machine. People in the North of Amsterdam loading the 2 vans, others driving, and a dozen of people here in the center to bring everything up. There was a chain of people in the staircase that would hand over boxes to one another instead of 15 people running up and down. Before 3 pm it was a fact. We had moved from the North of Amsterdam to the city centre of Amsterdam with our 3 kids.  Read More

“What do you say?…”

Do you get that feeling that you have more things to do, than you have time for? Sometimes I have the illusion that I can actually work down the list of things that I made on friday night in the free weekend that lies ahead of me. Sort out the wardrobes, write nice cards to people, scrub the mold from the bathroom (yes we got that), collect pictures that I have been wanting to print off for the last five (more realistically fifteen) years, do a deep cleaning in the craft cupboard… Well, you get it, those kinds of things. I think it was about a year ago I made it a point to no longer answer with ‘I am really busy’ whenever people would ask me how I am doing. Read More

Small Beginnings

‘It’s been like sowing seeds on concrete’ the pastor said.

The words echoed in my head and that phrase in itself just made my respect for the man go through the roof. For 30 years Zvonko and his wife had been plowing the ground here in Slovenia. Facing disunity and unbelief, judgment, and not tasting the fruit of their labour.

IMG_6330I can only imagine the leap in his heart when hearing about how God has been putting Slovenia on different people’s hearts to come over and help. To labour together and support what is already happening. To see the small beginnings sprout into blossoming trees, a picture that we can all relate to in this season of Spring.  To be a part of pioneering is always standing on the shoulders of people who went before us. And even more linking arms with those people who have plowed and sowed with tears for countless years. Especially those people that we call ‘the locals.’
There is something incredibly exciting about being a part of the first beginnings of something new. The spark in people’s eyes when talking about the opportunities and possibilities. Praying into the desires on God’s heart for a place that is in such spiritual need and choosing unity amongst different people to build what God’s plan is and not to build our own little kingdoms.

Since the summer God brought Slovenia to our attention during our summer break. We started exploring and seeing what was happening there already and discovered soon enough there has never been any YWAM activity in the country. We managed to get in touch with as far as we know the only girl that ever did a DTS in the nation and things started rolling. Being in Kanses City in september, Reinier got in touch with 3 other key YWAM leaders from Grimerud in Norway, Harpenden in the UK, and Central Europe only to find out that God had also been putting it on their agenda to get into action to see YWAM pioneer in Slovenia.

It is always flabbergasting to look back and see how God is a master in putting the pieces of the puzzle together even before we know what the puzzle might even look like in the end. At the same time its a reminder to be faithful when God does give us a piece, to see that puzzle completed when we play our role.

The flip side of pioneering is how do we put the dreams, prayers and opportunities into action. What does it look like, when we move from the drawing table into reality. When we walk the streets and talk to the people.

One of the local people that shared with us quoted Ravi Zacharias by saying: “the most effective evangelism tool we could use in this age is being a worshipping community.”

And I think I have to agree on that one. At least as one of the most effective ways.

And to expand a little bit more on that a worshipping community is in my opinion not being a group of people that in side 4 walls is 24/7 singing worship songs.

A worshipping community is what we are when we went with our group of 10 from YWAM Amsterdam for dinner to a steak restaurant for one of our friends’ birthday. We walked in and at the door ran into an super friendly guy from Australia.

Soon enough we all sat down at the 2 tables next to him and some of us started talking to him. Just hearing what he was up to here in Slovenia and sharing what we were up to.

Long story short… By the time we left the restaurant our new friend Drew joined us outside and said as soon as you guys came in I knew something was about to happen. He decided he wanted to be a part of that Kingdom ruled by Jesus that we talked to him about and come home to his Creator.  May that be that love that we carry for one another that is contagious to the world around us. For all to see, for all to be welcomed in. A worshipping community. IMG_9860

It’s been so exciting to be able to do this trip with our whole family and to take back to YWAM Amsterdam what our future piece of the puzzle is. As a base it’s been our DNA to pioneer to multiply in other places where we are not. We want to be faithful to our piece in this puzzle for what God wants to do in Slovenia and get the talk in YWAM Amsterdam going how we can send teams, workers and our prayers to see these new beginnings grow.

What a God we serve!

Happy New Year!

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Even though there seems to be a rule in the Netherlands that you can only wish people a Happy New Year until January 6, we’ll just go for it: all the best for 2017!

Love from the Blijlevens

Rianne, Reinier, Noélani, Loïs, Luan, Zeph