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.

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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