Tuesday, May 15, 2007


The is the last post in a series of posts in which I reflect back on our 30 years of work in missions.
It has taken me a while to be able to write this post, and it hasn’t been easy.
So I’ll just start.

The story goes like this:
Most of you know that I was the team leader and pastor for our church plant in Amsterdam.
It was called “Cornerstone”, and it was actually going quite well.
Between 70 and 80 people attended our services, and there were about 120 people within our “extended family”.
In 1998 my wife and I went for a furlough/sabbatical for a year.
When we came back I realized quite quickly that I was not able to take up my work as I would have liked.
In January of 2000 I started to work less, and my family doctor diagnosed burnout/depression.
In May of 2000 I reported sick and stopped my work in the church.
Later that year I resigned from the mission agency with which we worked.

Cornerstone did not survive these events.
After courageous attempts to continue, the church closed her doors in May of 2003.
One of the members said: “Our church has also suffered a burnout.”

My difficulty with this post is that I still don’t know exactly how to evaluate those events.
I think we did great work, and it was blessed by God.
Anyone who was involved with Cornerstone will tell you “I won’t ever find another church like Cornerstone” (and he or she would mean that positively!).
And that is correct. There will never be another Cornerstone.

But, obviously, a few things went wrong.
What that was I don’t really know.
It hasn’t come clear to me yet.
Maybe never will.
But that doesn’t matter.
I’ve got lots of time (eternity?).

But I do know this:
There are now more than six church p
lanting projects going on in Amsterdam, originating within the Reformed community of Amsterdam.
A relatively large group of people has been touched and forever changed by Cornerstone.
I’ve been blessed in more ways than I can count, together with my wife and children.
That’s true for my whole life.

Thanks for reading this series.

(Note: this is the eighteenth and last 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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