THOMAS' TRAVELS - FEBRUARY 2010
At times the Lord surprises us. Thirty-seven years ago I began to work towards my doctorate at the Free University of Amsterdam (Holland). In the process, I wrote what they call a «scriptie» which is a preliminary research dissertation before one begins the doctoral dissertation itself. The «scriptie» was entitled: A Brief Analysis of the Development of the Belgian Gospel Mission from its Inception until 1940. I included this «scriptie» in the bibliography of my doctoral dissertation which was published in Holland in 1977. I hoped that one day the «scriptie» would be published too. Thirty-six years after writing the "scriptie", in fact, just recently, Mr Aaldert Prins contacted me. He is a Dutch doctoral student living in Belgium. He is also an archivist for Belgian evangelical Protestants. He came across my published doctoral dissertation and found the reference to the «scriptie». He located me through the Internet and asked me where he could find the «scriptie». I told him, "I have the only copy, and hope that one day it will be published." It just so happened that Mr Prins works for a Belgian evangelical publishing house named EVADOC that got started last autumn. They aim to publish two volumes per year. So, to make a long story short, I went to visit him and there is a possibility that after thirty-six years the «scriptie» will get published. If this works out, it will be EVADOC’s first published work.
STRASBOURG: (On the home front)
Our weekly meetings with the former Muslims continue. The attendance varies from week to week depending on the wintry weather and other circumstances. We have been studying the book of Ephesians. This gives us a good opportunity to highlight the point that our behavior has its source in Christ. It is a joy to see the depths of insight in some members of the group, and many of the questions that they ask really make one think about the true meaning of the Gospel as it applies to new converts from a Muslim culture.
We spend a lot of time in worship and praying for specific needs: family, finances, health, and the conversion of unbelievers. Some of the group will be involved in a special outreach next summer in Strasbourg that is being organized by LIFE AGAPE MOSAIC (a branch of Campus Crusade). We believe God for great and mighty manifestations of his glory. I have also talked with the group about my ministry in francophone Africa and a few have expressed their desire to accompany me.
Just four months to go for the May 17th Festival followed by two four-day campaigns in Matadi and Boma. I will be grateful to those of you who can help me raise $8,000 for this endeavor. We want to include some humanitarian relief and also make a short DVD and we want to purchase a projector and a laptop for film showings. Of course the actual cost of this project is much more than that amount, but it is a partnership in which local churches are doing their part.
Let us continue to pray, act and believe that out of this horrendous tragedy, God will bring blessings. I talked with some Haitian members of the Baptist church here who lost relatives in the earthquake. The church is praying and working out ways of contributing to the relief efforts from France.
Before the end of 2010 I hope that I will be able to make a trip there myself.
Thank you for caring and for sharing in this ministry as the Lord enables you.
Bill meeting with some of the former Muslims