Tuesday, 7 February 2012


This blog wants to be written and published for everyone to read. The past 5 days have been a rollercoaster, and we’re exhausted. The blog I spent time on earlier today tells the story; for now only to be shared with our closest loved ones. And here we are, late in the evening, in our hotel room, trying to read, with music chosen almost at random from what’s on the external hard drive. Sons of Korah. The album: Shelter. The selection: Psalm 127. The words: Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. I jokingly say to Marijke: the LORD has certainly given us lots of sleep in the past few days, hasn’t He? And then I am put in my place by the psalmist’s subsequent imagery. Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children are a reward from Him… Like arrows in the hand… blessed is the man whose quiver is full… What an apt description: a quiver, a holder, a place for safekeeping. Not one of those precious arrows should be lost or sent off purposelessly. That’s what parents want and have and need to give their children. And what a blessing to experience the togetherness of children growing up with us as we live our lives as best we can. But the quiver is not just for safekeeping. Arrows are not just for bundling together. Arrows have a life of their own to live, a purpose for which they were kept safely. Not to be hoarded, but to be released with power and faith and confidence so that they will reach their goal. If nothing else comes out of our experience of the past days, it is the blessing of seeing God’s purpose working out in our children. We love them. We miss them, especially now. But we are also hugely proud of them and thankful for every single one of them. We are discovering that blessing in a special way right now, and we want that to be published. As widely as possible.


  1. We are coming to terms with the fact that all of us should risk danger as we work for God. Safety is not our prime concern. God is. We pray that he will provide safety for us, but trust that he knows best. You are living that out in Benin. We have to live that out wherever we are.
    You are amazing, wonderful blessings to us.
    We love you both!

  2. Love you too papa and mama! We're also blessed with each other and you as our parents!

  3. Powerful reminder, Joe and Marijke! Thank you for that! You are daily in my mind and heart, and in my prayer for safekeeping, for security, and for God's honour to be shown through you. Love you! Coba

  4. Lieve Johan en Marijke,

    Ja jullie zijn rijk, maar stel die rijkdom niet in de waagschaal. Geluk is broos. Ik wens jullie een hoop gezond verstand. Ik ben mijn ouders en een kind kwijt. Verlies binnen je gezin is soms onvermijdelijk. Als het je niet overkomt, zoek het dan ook niet op.

    Wellicht mis ik het vermogen om jullie zendingswerk te begrijpen. De liefde voor God snap ik, de weg naar Jezus snap ik ook...verder heb ik blijkbaar een blinde vlek.

  5. Leuke foto toegevoegd, pap! Mooie blog! Wij zijn zo dankbaar voor jullie!
    Liefs, maria