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News update: May 2021

Roots and Eschatological Astonishment

Previously I had written to you about the blessings of uprootedness. The potential benefit of uprootedness is, as I said, a reset that shakes off everything that can be shaken to leave only the unshakable – that is, the Kingdom and rule of Christ in our hearts. On the other hand, I also have to agree with the late John Webster that no one can live long in a state of uprootedness, disconnected from that ecosystem from which essential life, that is, moral, intellectual and spiritual life must draw.

Although God spoke long ago in many parts and in many ways to the fathers by the prophets, in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world
Heb 1:1–2 (LEB)

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks at the Son and believes in him would have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:40 (LEB).

Moreover, towards this eschatological culture should converge all our instruments of identity, what we find meaningful, all our ideas and norms, and all our patterns of behavior. Let me illustrate using our church calendar: Why is it that so many Christians celebrate Christmas merely with Santa and Easter merely with eggs and pink bunnies? The simple reason is that they have not yet come to a deep eschatological astonishment at the incarnation so as to be reshaped culturally. This eschatological astonishment is what moves us to embrace new worshipful practices as deeply meaningful while at the same time discarding old ones as redundant and even irreconcilably foreign.

To be clear, this eschatological culture will of course very much still resemble Albanian, Swiss, American, or South African culture, but it will always emerge as something counter-cultural and subversive because of legitimate fundamental tensions bringing offense. This is unavoidable but by no means a bad thing or even Divinely unintended since attraction and repulsion is what the Gospel of God’s Kingdom treks through this world (2 Cor 2:15-16).

Ok, thus far our musings over Kingdom, calling and culture…

A glimpse of our surroundings

One thing we’ve recently taken up again is to go for an early run in the neighborhood. This, to be sure, is not a thing people regularly. And so, we are often met only with confused stares from balconies and coffee shops. Yet, as we all know, stares only last so long if you keep greeting people friendly. And so, every morning people become more interactive little by little, so much so that yesterday morning an old gentleman even greeted us very excitedly with a ‘Bravo! Bravo!’ as he proudly pointed to his own bicycle to show that he’s also into this stuff. Physical exercise indeed has some value.

Moving around in the neighborhood like this of course also gives us a glimpse into what people value and how they go about with their lives. It’s one big homeschooling project for us. The pictures below are from us biking that same route with the kids.

In the picture to the left are a group of older gentlemen playing board games and cards together. This was around 5PM. Most men go down to the coffee shops this time of the day and stay there until around 7 or 8 PM. We are yet to understand what intimate family time looks like in Albania. We’ve always assumed it a global given that 5-8PM is sacred family time, but here things clearly operate differently.

The middle picture shows a goat ewe and her kids in an open area between two houses. No guards, no shepherds. Just quiet grazing all day long. Albania really has low levels of petty or opportunistic crime.

And then the picture to the right. This is towards the end of our neighborhood where we also turn around on our run. Yes, what you see there is open sewage. We used to talk about these types of scenes a lot when we arrived, but we soon realized that we had to grow up to reality and move on in our thought-life. We after all did not come to Albania to have our senses tantalized.

Church life

Living the Christian life together requires a critical mass of people who together deeply appreciate the primacy of the Kingdom, or in the words I used earlier, who together live with that eschatological astonishment. With all that has happened since the earthquake, the pandemic, and the Kona family being stuck in the US, life together has taken a bit of a knock. It is our prayer that God would strengthen (yes, astound again!) this critical mass in our congregation so that graces like Sunday worship and Wednesday prayer meeting would begin to make sense to everyone else also.

We all know how much sanctification and time it sometimes takes for us to purely root our identity in Christ. We also know that one’s history (or non-history) can sometimes rule his/her self-perception for a long time, even after coming to Christ in the most profound ways. This is no different for the younger Christians in our congregation.

Prayer for our congregation

Please pray that we would together live with eschatological astonishment.

Pray also with us that good theology along with exemplary living will address as well as undermine sinful life and thought patterns (Rom 12:1-2)

Martin Bucer Seminary (MBS)

You may recall from our first news update that MBS-Germany had been willing to temporarily extend their connection with MBS-Albania for another year because they had found me to serve as local academic dean and act as a bridge between the two entities. Last month I had a three-hour conversation with the academic dean of MBS and now understand much better the difficulties and challenges feeding into their initial decision to pull out of Albania. The good news is that nothing of what was conveyed to me seems insurmountable.

I also begun the enjoyable task of connecting closer with the students themselves. What is clear to me from our conversations is that they have a strong eagerness to study and an earnest desire to utilize whatever help I can provide them. And with this is not merely meant academic help. The students seem to understand very well that academic, spiritual and pastoral insights work synergistically to mature them into good and faithful servants and shepherds in God’s Kingdom.

Prayer for the work at MBS

Please pray for these five students as they desire to mature into Albania’s future church leaders.

Pray they will fully embrace God’s calling on their lives, comprehend its immensity as well as the cost to them.

Pray also that God would supply all their needs.

Finally, the one thing that has been heavy on me so far is that these students are significantly disadvantaged when it comes to research resources. There is no respectable library to speak of nor any Amazon or ThriftBooks to order from. The only real option is access to the research library from Logos. If you want to know more about these five students and perhaps get more closely involved with them, please connect with me on this.

Life and language learning

Going to church when everyone else is speaking in tongues is difficult. Imagine walking hungry past a closed pastry shop with all the goodies displayed inches away from you in the window. That is almost how it is for us. We are right there, almost tasting the goodies. Yet the language barrier is like a double-pane window that cuts us off from all the tasty stuff.

Our tutor thinks we are doing quite well with the language, but I think he just likes us. The reality is that we have life to live while learning language as we go. Things are going to take some time, that is for sure.

On the upside, we really are enjoying learning Albanian. We are frustrated in a good way that we can’t yet really use it though. We do get by in the stores and markets and use whatever words and phrases we can recall. We are grateful that people are always very accommodating and helpful.

Prayer for our interactions

Please pray for our language-learning and that God would open ways for us to connect with people while we struggle with Albanian.

Please pray for our neighbors and their children, that we are able to connect with them, even if for now not with many words.

Another place where language of course is also making life difficult is with our neighbors. Our landlady, her daughter-in-law and grandson are especially heavy on our hearts. We recently discovered more of their horrifying past and are beginning to understand the extent of sin’s destructive work in their family. While we cannot say much in this letter, it is our plea that you please pray with us for them – that the Gospel would reach their hearts. We don’t know how God may use us despite the language thing, but we are eager to see Him work and bring deliverance, repentance and healing.

Thanksgiving

Here are some things to thank the Lord for:

  1. Euodia now has full access to all her medicinal needs and the related costs were in fact quite close to what we were told last year. You will appreciate for instance that, while one month supply of growth hormone for her would be more than $2500 in the US, here in Albania we are getting it at cost price, which is only $440.
  2. Despite our difficulties with language, Euodia and I are doing well spiritually. Though we wrestle with many things, we can honestly say that we do not feel far from the Lord. We are deeply grateful for this above all things!
  3. As a family, our family devotion has been taking on real shape over the past few months since we started working our way through Scripture starting at Deuteronomy. This week we started with 1Kings. Reading together through these sometimes rough and heart-wrenching passages brings us together in wonderful ways. Come to think of it, it is slowly working to bring about that communal eschatological astonishment I spoke of earlier.
  4. Culture shock is not much of a topic for us anymore. We are grateful for the marvelous work God has done to change our focus and so also our conversation about Albania and the people around us.

Supplication

As you present your needs before the Lord, please pray for the following ones we have also:

  1. Please pray that we as a congregation would together live with eschatological astonishment. Please pray with us that our good theology and exemplary living will address and undermine sinful life and thought patterns (Rom 12:1-2)
  2. Please pray for the five MBSA students as they desire to mature into Albania’s future church leaders. Pray they will fully embrace God’s calling on their lives, comprehend its immensity as well as the cost to them. Pray also that God would supply all their needs.
  3. Please continue to pray for our immediate relationships with our neighbors, especially with the landlady and her family.
  4. Please continue to pray for us to think responsibly as we seek to raise Nadya and Yehoshua. We are particularly concerned about how to school them, friendships and the dynamics of language and culture. Please pray for wisdom, and trust in God for their futures.
  5. Please continue to pray for Mauritz as he needs to juggle language learning, ordination exams, MBS and ministry in Durrës
  6. Please pray for our language-learning and that God would open ways for us to connect with people while we struggle with Albanian.
  7. Finally, please continue to pray for our financial sustainability as our targeted monthly income is still at around 80% (see our financial page). Please pray that all the finances pledged would easily find its way to us.


Astounded together in Christ,

The Bezuidenhoudt family in Albania


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News update: December 2020

Back in South Carolina

Next stop, Tirana! God-willing of course. I write this letter to you from Simpsonville, under quarantine… again. I wish I could articulate to you the weight pressing down on us, just getting to this point. Yet, our Father has proven Himself again and again. Added to that, we are also very much aware of all your prayers during this time. Thank you for petitioning the Lord of His harvest to get us to Albania!

Of course, when things move so rapidly and crisis upon crisis mount against one’s efforts, there is that numbness we call derealization that inevitably sets in. Our emotions become detached from the gravity of what we are busy with. But praise to God that emotions do not equate with faith and hope. Emotions are spent like fuel, but hope is something we can preach to ourselves.  

That is why Psalm 131 is what we prefer running to. There is an unlimited sufficiency we may, or rather must soothe ourselves with in the Sovereign grace and goodness of our Father who knows all our needs. We may not always have the emotional capacity for the turmoil we face, but we dare not settle for stoicism or fatalism either – we revive ourselves with expectation, hope and confidence, all in God.

Blessing in Uprootedness

One theme that has hit me hard as we started packing again, is how often we are uprooted in life. Moving to Europe and the US had taught us much about being sojourners in this world, but as we think it through more, uprootedness tells a fuller story – the story of being torn from the stable and familiar to be swept elsewhere. It is for sure a violent story.

Scripture is filled with God’s people being uprooted. Think of Adam and Eve driven from the garden. Think of Noah, Abraham, Joseph and even Israel. But it is as we consider the Man of the Via Dolorosa that the heart can best learn what it should. In uprootedness we sense the uncertainties of this world yes, but it is in following after Jesus through it that we are severed from the one and firmly joined to the Other. In following after Jesus in uprootedness our union with and prize in Him alone becomes all the more real to our faith and hope (recall Php 3:10).

Something about worldview again

This brings me to our theme of worldview again. Uprootedness by God’s grace may shake our worldview. Cultural shifts, joblessness, civil war, family upheaval, earthquakes, pandemics – all these things may force us, even for a moment, to double-check the grids we rely on to settle our understanding of life. This is what we must pray for God’s people in Albania, which in recent decade have been quite familiar with uprootedness.

As we read Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians to live as God’s people in 1 Cor 6:14-7:1, we should see sanctification impacting and transforming worldviews. Unless God’s people begin walking to a different drumbeat, sanctification has not gone deep enough and will not bless the next generation to walk in the footsteps of their believing parents.

All good to go

Now, as we write this letter, our house is sold in Winter Springs, our household goods are somewhere in a port or on a boat, our flights are booked for December 29th, our visas are being processed in Rome, we have accommodation for the day we arrive in Tirana.

What is outstanding is getting three months of medication for Euodia before we leave.  This will give us a buffer until we find an endocrinologist work out a reliable medical situation.

Thanksgiving

Finally, there are so many things for us to be thankful for:

  1. So many of you are praying for us, and often too!  It is glorious to see how God aligns Himself with prayer according to His will. We love how God acts when we pray. Prayer aligns us to His will and causes our hearts to groan after Him.
  2. As of today, our monthly support stands at 73% of our target. In only 8 months, God through your support has created something truly ‘ex nihilo’.
    We are also grateful for all the once-off amounts we have received. With that we have been able to completely pay for our flights and household move. Please thank our God for providing in this way for all we need.
  3. The sale of our home went through as well as it could have. We also feel really happy that we can leave behind a clean dwelling for the next person to enjoy. We pray it will be a blessing to her and her children, just as it had been to us. And thank you to the people who came to help us clean and prepare it.
  4. As we move on to Durres, we look back at our time in Florida with thankfulness. Particularly at Covenant Presbyterian Church, God provided for us more than a home.  At CPC we were able to grow in our faith and love the saints who worship God with us. That is no small thing!

Finally, we have now learned that while this newsletter is very helpful to connect with you all, there were so many things over the last month that we shared in the moment with people via WhatsApp.  We find WhatsApp to be particularly useful in making you aware of our state and prayer needs.  If you would like to connect with us in this way, please connect to us through following this link to WhatsApp.

Together in Christ,

Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.     

Psalm 131
1 O Yahweh, my heart is not haughty nor my eyes arrogant
And I do not concern myself with things too great and difficult for me.
2 Rather I have soothed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like the weaned child is my soul with me.
3 O Israel, hope in Yahweh from now until forever.
Please pray for our hope in Christ to characterize these next few weeks











Hebrews 12:2
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…”
Please pray that we recognize Christ as our only prize within our circumstances.







1 Cor 6:17-18
“Therefore come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord,
and do not touch what is unclean,      and I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,     and you will be sons and daughters to me,
says the all-powerful Lord.”
Please pray that the Gospel will impact God’s people in Albania in the most radical way imaginable.
Deo Volente
Please pray with us that God would go before us and provide as He has always done, especially for Euodia’s medical situation.

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News update: November 2020

South Carolina

On Sunday we arrived back from an intense, but fun and very fruitful trip to South Carolina. Not only did we as a family attend Calvary Presbytery, but we also finally met our future partners in ministry, Albert and Jenny Kona along with their children. You may recall that Albert is pastor at Durrës Reformed church in Albania where we intend to join them in serving the Lord Jesus and His Church.

Furthermore, we also had opportunity to share ‘our story’ and vision with many people, including pastors and missions committee members at several churches. We were greatly blessed by the support for our desire to have the Gospel bear fruit in Albania, not only among unbelievers, but especially in the hearts of God’s people so as to affect their lives through and through.

That said, during our ten day trip, we could meet with only so many people. Almost everyone we spoke with, including Rev. Kona, encouraged us to return for a longer stay in South Carolina to bolster prayer and financial support which at this stage is about $1600 short of our targeted monthly living expenses.

In our previous letter, we had mentioned shipping out to Albania in early December. That is still on track with respect to our household content, but we have agreed to linger in South Carolina for another month or two while our goods are shipped across the Atlantic.

COVID-19

The current spike in recorded infections across Europe is making our plans to fly to Albania very tricky. Sudden restrictions and cancellations of connecting flights could make life quite eventful for us.

Anticipating life in Albania

As we begin to imagine life in Albania, we realize that we can only draw so much from living abroad in Holland and Switzerland. For one, we will be learning a non-Germanic language and immersing ourselves in a culture where past experiences may help little. Euodia will continue to homeschool, but without all the resources we had in Florida. And of course, I will not be designing clinical trials, but instead learning to apply Scripture to people’s lives who now consider me not merely as a guy babbling theological jargon, but as someone who should be reliable in his assertions.

All this is a bit scary of course, but as I write this I feel deeply thankful that Christ considers also us faithful, placing us into ministry to demonstrate His grace through us to others who believe and will believe in Him (1 Tim 1:12-16).

In our family devotions we are following Paul’s theme in his letter to Timothy, i.e. love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience and an unhypocritical faith (1 Tim 1:5). This corresponds so well with our vision to live in this world for the sake of deeply rooting Christ’s covenant community in Him.

It all has to do with how we truly want to see this world instinctively. We do not want a ‘biblical’ worldview that merely has good theology on the surface; what we do want is a Biblical worldview that also ‘instinctively’ clings to our Father in Heaven whenever confronted with temptation, confusion, childrearing, taxes, injustice – yes everything. None of that can be accomplished by sidestepping piety – that pure heart,  good conscience and sincerity in faith.

All this requires a patient view of God’s grace, both for us as well as for those we seek to minister to. It is a long view that seeks and prays for Truth to confront and convert those sinful views we and others never consider doubting. This is one of the reasons why we want to be in Albania for the long haul.

Thanksgiving

Finally, there are so many things for us to be thankful for:

  1. As people share their sense for God’s Kingdom in our conversations with them, we are comforted to know that they (you) pray with and for us with God’s bigger purposes in mind.
  2. Since our previous letter, the Lord has added pledges to our monthly support of more than $800. Added to that, several individuals and congregations have given us once-off amounts to help us move to Albania and settle in. For all these we are fearfully grateful and excited to see this plan being blessed by God.
  3. The sale of our apartment in Winter Springs is moving forward very well. We were quite concerned about this in February when COVID-19 came to the scene. Yet God’s meticulous care and timing has astounded us once again.
  4. We are thankful for all the people supporting us and especially the goodwill we experience. We are truly receiving back “houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands…” as we venture out in faith (Mark 10:30).
  5. Despite all the uncertainty regarding COVID, the time we are allowed to stay in the US, our finances, work-permits, housing in Albania and many more, it is so easy for us to look up and remember that we have a Father in Heaven that knows all these things and will not only give us all these things when we ask Him (Matt 7:5), but even His Kingdom because it is His good pleasure to do so (Luke 12:32).

Together in Christ,

Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.     

What is a presbytery?
A presbytery, like the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 consists of a plurality of elders extending beyond the local congregation, but within a limited geographical area. This body is responsible for the spiritual health and protection of its local congregations, but also for the training of those called to preach the Gospel. I was brought under the care of Calvary Presbytery with these purposes in mind.
(also follow this link for a good defense of the Biblical Origins of the Presbytery)
Trust and wisdom
Please pray for this plan – that we may have God’s kingdom foremost in our hearts, as we seek more individuals and congregations to partner with us. The difficulty for us is knowing the difference between faithlessness and wisdom and between trust and foolishness.
Providence and blessing (Ps 20)
Please pray with us that God would safely steer us clear of trouble as we pick flights and dates to fly out to Tirana.




















Fruitfulness
Please pray with us for fruitfulness in our future ministry – that we be in Albania for a long time, that we exemplify the love Paul refers to in 1 Tim 1:5 and that God would bring about a pure church in Albania.

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Prayer needs – November

November is a big month for us all isn’t it? As you also pray for us, please remember the following things:

  • As you probably know what a blessing family devotions can be, please pray with us for these times to deepen as we continue to invest in them.
  • Please continue to pray for all the logistical and relational issues that have to come together for us to arrive in Durrës. Please specifically remember permits and visas, moving companies, and plane tickets.
  • Please continue to pray with us for financial support. In the last month our pledged support had risen from 42% to 64% of our targeted support of $4000 p.m. Praise God with us for His grace in this.
    Many people encourage us to find a way to remain in the US until we have raised sufficient support. Please pray with us as we consider taking a two-three month detour via Greenville, South Carolina to do this.
  • Homeschooling, as you can imagine, remains challenging. Please pray with us that we may wisely ensure continuity and study routines and to continue to instill good learning ethic with our kids.
  • Euodia’s medical situation (Sheehan syndrome) continues to be concern. While her endocrinologist assured her that he will prescribe three months of medication just before we leave, we do not know how long it will take to get everything set up in Albania. Please pray for this and especially that we will indeed obtain Growth hormone at an affordable price in Albania.
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Prayer needs – October

As we go into October, please pray for the following things:

  • Pray for our family dynamics as we enter unchartered waters yet again. Please pray for our family devotional time – that it would be unchaotic and fruitful. Please pray that we as parents would live the Gospel to our children as they see in us the fruit of true faith and hope in God.
  • Pray for all the logistical and relational things that have to come together for us to arrive in Durrës in December. As I mentioned, we have permits and visas, moving companies, plane tickets, all of which to organize in the middle of a pandemic.
  • Please continue to pray with us for financial support. Even though we are on our way to Albania already, we are still below 50% of our targeted support. Please pray for opportunities in which we may share with others about our mission to Albania.
  • Homeschooling, as you can imagine, has been challenging over the last two months. Moving country and settling in will not make anything easier. Please pray with us that we may wisely ensure continuity and study routines and to continue to instill good learning ethic with our kids.
  • Euodia’s medical situation (Sheehan syndrome) continues to be a risk. While her endocrinologist assured her that he will prescribe three months of medication just before we leave, we do not know how long it will take to get everything set up in Albania. Please pray for this and especially that we will indeed obtain Growth hormone at an affordable price in Albania.
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News update October 2020

In March when we all became aware of COVID-19 and its potential effects on the economy, a major concern for us was how we would be able to sell our home if the housing market crashes again like in 2008. But of course, to my shame (and our relief), you and I know that we do not serve a world-system with its instabilities and false promises. We serve a God who cares for His Children. And so, this last week we received and accepted an offer for our home here in Florida so that God-willing, we will be closing the sale on November 30. God has done a wonderful thing for us yet again. Let us bless the Lord and never forget any of His graces toward us (Ps 103).

What all this means is that our date for moving to Albania is now set for the first week of December. Yes that is less than 60 days from today! Before then, we have installed traveling to attend Calvary Presbytery in South Carolina, a US presidential election, Thanksgiving, packing-up, work-permits, visas and of course support-raising.

The one thing that we are learning is that turmoil is always part of the game. If we wait for calm waters before we invest our souls in God, then we will effortlessly drift away from Him. “Set your minds on things above”, said Paul (Col 2) and that is how we want to have our souls quieted in Christ (Ps 131).

In view of this, we would like to make some specific prayer requests known to you as you also pray for us.

  • The first is our family dynamics as we enter unchartered waters yet again. Please pray for our family devotional time, that it would be unchaotic and fruitful. Please pray that we as parents would live the Gospel to our children as they see in us the fruit of true faith and hope in God.
  • Secondly, please pray for all the logistical and relational things that have to come together for us to arrive in Durrës in December. As I mentioned, we have permits and visas, moving companies, plane tickets, all of which to organize in the middle of a pandemic.
  • And thirdly, please continue to pray with us for financial support. Even though we are on our way to Albania already, we are still below 50% of our target. Please pray for opportunities in which we may share with others our mission to Albania. If you would like to make a once-off donation, or support us monthly with whatever amount, please visit our financial support page for details.

Also, if you would like to have access to our password-protected page for prayer support, please send me an e-mail and I will gladly share it with you.

Finally, we also now have a brochure to more easily share our vision and mission with people. This was made for us by Taylor Alt, a kind friend of ours from church. If you ever want to acquire his services, please visit his website at https://www.doublestag.com/.

Together in Christ,

Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.   

2020-12-01T12:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Shipping out to Albania!!

              

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News update August 2020

Dear friend and beloved in Christ,

Last week was a surreal, even sad (very silly yes) experience for us as we drove to seminary to pick up Mauritz’s degree certificate. What we were thinking twelve years ago when he started with seminary is foggy in our minds, but we do recall that we did so, because we wanted to preserve our faith in the midst of a spiritually hostile world.

Those were simple choices for God’s Kingdom to be formed in our hearts, but as we now begin to take stock, at least

So, what now? Well, like you, we simply continue to seek for God’s Kingdom to be formed within us. This we pray and long for, both for ourselves and for you – whether we profess faith in Christ somewhere on a mission field, or at home preparing dinner for our families.

With that firmly in mind, let us update you on all the developments since we last sent you a letter. Our plan to move to Albania is moving forward very well. Working with Mission to the World (MTW), Martin Bucer Seminary (MBS) and Durres Reformed Church has now materialized into a three-way agreement with respect to Mauritz’s call. On paper, the plan is that Mauritz will apply his efforts in a 3:2 ratio between MBS and the church.

Of course, in the first year we will be spending a lot of time learning language and to love the country’s people and culture. While Mauritz is eager to begin spending time with students –  understanding their worlds, their walk with the Lord and their theology, Euodia and the children will immerse themselves in the lives of women and children from the church alongside Jenny, Albert’s wife. In fact, Euodia is already part of their homeschooling group, meeting via zoom on a regular basis.

Just thinking about all this is exhilarating. And humbling! Please pray for God’s blessing in this so that the power of the Gospel (Rom 1:16-17) would permeate all these relationships – that our redemption through Jesus Christ be foremost in our minds and hearts.

Our target move date from Florida to Albania is still set for November/December this year. Several reasons go into this:

  1. Mauritz has started the process to be licensed within the Presbyterian church in America (PCA), which if all goes well, will occur in November.
  2. We must raise sufficient monthly support for us to go. As of today, our financial support stands at about 25% of the $4000 per month we need. For this we are deeply grateful yet also very aware of the responsibility we have with your investment and trust. It is not a small thing for us every time someone informs us of their desire to stand with us in this call from God.
  3. Our financial ability to stay in the US is also limiting the time we can stay around. December seems the latest possible date at this stage.

The good news is that we finally have our USA (and soon also Swiss) channels set up for financial support. More importantly, if you would like to support us on a monthly basis, we would like to know about that. It will not only help us plan adequately, it puts you firmly in our minds and hearts when we pray also for you.

Kindly e-mail us at contact@landofoursojourn.org, or go to Financial Support and leave us a message at the bottom of the page. Of course face-to-face is always the best, if possible.

US Support

Our MTW account is also now live for US support. You can redirect to the online payment page here.

Alternatively please go to the MTW website (https://mtw.org) and search for Bezuidenhoudt, or the account number p-0366.

Switzerland

In Switzerland and the EU, you may soon support us via payments to the BIA verein account being created.

Geoffrey Holder, Marco Ferraro and Jing Qian (from left to right)

Earlier this week a verein called Bezuidenhoudts in Albania (BIA) came to life, complete with board members and all (see picture above). We are grateful for these three and their families who have been championing the mission to Albania for some time now.

News update: March 2021

Finally in Albania

After all the planning and prayer, we finally came across the border from Kosovo into Albania two months ago. Many of you know about the distress, illness and difficulties we have had just to get here. Your prayers and petitions to the Lord are close to our hearts. Be assured that you did not merely pray into thin air, God hears us when we pray according to His will.

We have also now finally moved to Durrës after two months in Tirana. Things are still a bit disorganized at our new home as we work to turn it into ‘our’ home where routine, normalcy and stability can become something familiar again. Frequently moving across continents with two children is by no account normal. We look forward to becoming efficient in the simple things again so that we can shift our focus to serving others instead of only our circumstances.

One thing that has been a great blessing to us is the fellowship we’ve already enjoyed with our church, even within such a short time. The teens and students are especially eager for conversation and helping us so that getting to know everyone has been easy and very pleasant. The return of Albert and Jenny Kona with their kids from South Carolina two weeks ago has also been a great blessing. We really enjoy their friendship.

Our ministry

It would be foolish to try writing anything to you about our last two months in Albania, about the culture, our engagement with people or our ministry. What we cautiously dare mention is that we have come to a part of the world that has shunned the true God perhaps more explicitly than where you and I may have grown up in. And this has had consequences. In Albania, Islamic and Marxist categories of thought have had its effect on how people deal with one another, how people view themselves and others and how they treat God’s creation. Yet, these same people also are still each individually and as part of the collective the image of God.[1] Subsequently the ‘traces of God’ (vestigia Dei) in them is undeniably real, and to be recognized and celebrated.

Our experience of Albania has thus so far and will always be twofold (curse/grace) and this is what we want to reflect in our news updates also.

To illustrate, it has been hard for us to get used to the endless sight of rubble and trash in our neighborhood, along the highway and on all the riverbanks. We are also upset at the huge disparity between rich and poor, especially since the absence of a middle class in Albania exposes its underlying injustices so well. Without a middle class to drive the economy, materialism in its raw, unsophisticated and ugly expressions has eroded any natural sense of hopefulness out of most people we’ve met.

On the other hand, we are very happy to find friendliness and helpfulness from people wherever we’ve been. Even the police at the immigration office seemed sympathetic and even appreciative that we would come to do something positive for Albania. People are generally respectful and kind.


Free range chicken

Thanksgiving

Here are some things to thank the Lord for:

  1. So many of you have prayed for us during our wrestling with kidney stones, food poisoning and COVID all within the first five weeks. Rejoice with us that God has delivered us from all that. Mauritz’ kidney laboratory values have all returned to normal and we are all full of energy again.
  2. When we left the US, Euodia had received three months’ supply for all her medicines. We are grateful that this was not a concern over the last few weeks. We have begun engaging the healthcare system and hope to get her medication supply set up soon.
  3. We are excited about our home in Durrës since it is not far from where the church is and also since the children will have some room outside to play. We look forward to having people over often.

Supplication

As you present our needs before the Lord, please also pray for the following:

  1. Please pray for our immediate relationships around our home – with our landlady and other neighbors, with the butcher, the baker and the barber etc.
  2. Culture shock teaches us that people are as bad as they can be, that they are opportunists, out to extort you and not worthy of love, attention or even kindness. Scripture teaches otherwise. Please pray that we will stand on the truth of Scripture if and when culture shock begins to make its appeal on our hearts and minds.
  3. Please pray for us to think responsibly as we seek to raise Nadya and Yehoshua. We are particularly concerned about how to school them, friendships and the dynamics of language and culture. Please pray for wisdom, and trust in God for their futures.
  4. Please pray for Euodia’s medication. As many of you know, she suffers from Sheehan syndrome and growth hormone is essential in her case. Please especially pray for the availability of hydrocortisone and growth hormone at a pharmacy easily accessible to us. This is a very explicit prayer request, but quite critical in our case.
  5. Please pray for Mauritz as he needs to juggle language learning, ordination exams, Martin Bucer and our ministry in Durrës

Together in Christ,

Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.       



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