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 May/June 2020 – Mission Albania

In 2018, when Euodia and I felt moved to pursue fulltime ministry, little did we know what would now lie ahead of us. You may recall that it was end of August that year when we said our goodbyes to Switzerland and Basel and Europe, not knowing where exactly the Lord would lead us once I complete my Master of Divinity degree.

Well, as I am about to finish that degree in June and stand on the shore of another leg of our sojourn after our Lord, we are deeply convinced that the Lord is leading us to Albania.

Brief background and reasons for Albania

For several years now, Euodia and I have identified the key things we think are closest to the gifts Christ is developing in us through His Spirit. The first of those identifiers is that we want to be in a place where we can serve the Lord through shepherding and discipling a young church that would truly need help.

The second thing is that since we visited Nepal in 2008, a country with no evangelical infrastructure, yet with the church in great theological need, we’ve had the strong desire to be in an environment where I could support pastors in such environments – teaching and guiding them in the Word as they shepherd their flock.  And thirdly, it is for me specifically a desire to engage apologetically and evangelistically with people from the Muslim community, without it siphoning away too much of my primary devotion to the church and its leaders.

Durrës, Albania

When we thus became aware of a Reformed church plant in Durrës, Albania, we felt that this church is perhaps the place where God is calling us to. The evangelical church in Albania is very small, poor, young and in great need of help on its way to mature as the body of Christ in Albania. On the other hand, most Albanians are nominally Muslim, very much like in Turkey.

The pastor, Albert Kona of this church plant of ~30 members is Albanian and had studied at a reformed seminary in the US. I say this because I will be called to serve alongside Albert as his associate. Albert himself, along with his wife and children are supported financially from churches in the US and just like him, Euodia and I would have to raise our own support as missionaries. Albert’s vision is to establish churches with reformed theological depth in Albania. Our own vision thus overlaps significantly with theirs.

Martin Bucer Seminary, Tirana

In parallel to this, an opportunity has arisen for me to be involved with Martin Bucer Seminary (MBS) in Tirana, the capital of Albania and 25 km from Durrës. The campus in Albania needs someone to act as the local academic and student dean, i.e., to teach, provide theological consultation, support the students and liaise with MBS in Germany. While MBS in Albania is a small campus, it is in a position to fulfil a critical role in providing a much-need solid foundation for Albanian pastors to equip themselves in the Word.

From our point of view, this role wonderfully overlaps with what Euodia and I believe to be our calling. The vision is that I would support the seminary with 60% of my time and the rest along with Albert in support of the church.

It is clear to both Albert and me that the existence of this campus MBS in Albania provides significant opportunity for the Gospel. MBS does not only provide theological training for local pastors studying there but is also the only serious Evangelical body to engage on a theological level with other communities like for instance the Orthodox church in Albania and the Muslim community.

Support

It is for these and many other reasons reason that we as a family feel confident and fervent in our pursuit to serve God’s Kingdom in these ways in Albania.

If you have a desire to see the Gospel of Christ reaching people in Albania, will you prayerfully consider supporting our call to Albania. All our resources and efforts over the past 12 years, especially the last two have been geared to prepare us for serving the Lord fulltime, but we recognize that there is no doing it alone in Albania for us.

One thing that the Lord had taught us over the years is that when we engage the world without prayer, we only walk into frustration, confusion, exhaustion and even defeat. God had designed the Gospel of His Kingdom to breach the gates of hell, NOT without prayer. Will you kindly consider supporting us in prayer for this work?

Furthermore, while life in Albania is relatively cheap, the reality is that unless we are sent financially along with prayer, we will NOT end up in Albania. We need partners in the Kingdom for this. This partnership, we do not seek in shame, but in full confidence that God builds His Kingdom through His people. As of June 2020, we stand at 20% of the $4000 p.m. we need to live in Albania. While big sums of money seem grand, all the missionaries we meet tell us it is the small amounts that matter more. Will you also kindly consider supporting us financially for this work?

Finally, we deeply value your response, even if you are unable to support us. It is a great encouragement to us, knowing that you will read, know, share and even give feedback on our efforts.

There is so much more that we could write to you about our mission and even our lives and will do so in the coming months. Still, I hope this letter provides you with sufficient insights as we ask you to consider prayerfully whether the Lord leads you to support his church in this specific way.

With warm regards and longing in Christ,

Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.

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