Wednesday, May 02, 2007


We arrived in Holland on January 4 1990.
That was the climax of a long process of evaluation, testing, research, support raising and arranging.

Most of you probably don’t know this, but before someone is sent to the mission field he or she must undergo a quite thorough process of psychological en personality testing.
They want to know if you are crazy enough to be a church planter in Amsterdam.
Only when they are assured of your complete madness do they send you out.

In order to fully put your madness to the test they make you raise support.
It took us a year to get enough people to be willing to give money to our project.
We had about 20 churches and 40 individuals that supported us.
I contacted the churches by going through the Yellow Pages, writing the churches, calling the Pastor and offering a no-strings-attached visit. Most of the time I got no response. Sometimes I did. I think I wrote 300 churches. That is actually not such a bad sales percentage.

Six weeks before we were to go the support was not in. We were getting ready to postpone our departure when I got a surprise phone call from someone I scarcely knew in Chicago. He was the son of Dutch immigrants who had become rich in the waste business in Chicago.
In a short conversation conducted in a businesslike tone (as only the Dutch can do!) he informed me that he and his wife were going to support us to the tune of $1000 per month.
We could go.

Amsterdam is known as the church planter’s graveyard. Most of the church planters and their projects perish in battle here.
Nigeria was known at the beginning of the 20th century as the white man’s graveyard.

I must really be nuts.

(Note: this is the sixteenth in a series of blogs celebrating the 30-year anniversary of our departure for Nigeria. The blogs can be found under the label "Anniversary". Click here for the first one.)

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