Work on your Vineyard

While reading the book of Watchman Nee called ‘the Song of Songs’, I stumbled upon a very interesting passage in which I think that a lot of (young) believers would find comfort. Here it comes:

Let us get up early to the vineyards (Song of Songs 7:12a)

“..Here she draws attention not to her own personal vineyard but to a plurality of vineyards beyond herself. Her concern and burden are now extended to many works of the Lord. In the beginning of any service for the Lord, believers must learn not to yield to the temptation of working in too many vineyards, but, rather, to cultivate one’s own vineyard. Remember the loved maiden’s lament in her own immaturity: “They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard I have not kept” (1:16).”

“But now she has been brought to spiritual maturity through caring for, and giving attention to, the development of the ground in her own life.”

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Valley of Comfort

Once I heard Him speak so clearly
a voice of tender spoken whisper
for my stance never to flee.

Not since I met that shiny pearl
as if He burned for me a treasure,
but now stunned in the painful whirl
of losing her precious measure.

He still will teach me more of His
taking my heart through darkened paths,
by comforting with a tender kiss
all the burning scars of sharpened darts.

I will press through this empty season
and surely once again
flourish in a healthy reason
to never stop where I began.

He provides, His grace sustains.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”
– ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong

There is a saying to describe a Russian man, and that is that ‘He cannot do without problems, and even when there are none, he’ll do his best to make some.’ I found it very true in my life to be always searching for new challenges. So this summer I packed my backpack again and hit the road with no money and with just some food to survive for a couple days. In this way I’m collecting experiences of how God provides and what His way of dealing is in times of peril.

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This trip began with me having quite a struggle on the idea of taking my younger brother along with me. In my opinion he was not yet ready to dive into such an adventure. We eventually got all organized and he took some money along with him, which was a good thing because it helped us to have more food on the road. My peanut butter was enough for me, but bread was a thing that would vanish quickly.

We hitchhiked all the way to the Serbian boundary, and I was hoping to go through without my passport but I had to find out that it was not possible. So be went hitchhiking back through the countryside of Hungary, meanwhile I was trying to make new plans of where to go because the main mission was to go to Bulgaria and have some driving lessons over there. I prayed that God would close doors and open those that where possible to realize in this trip, and that actually happened because all the people of Help Exchange turned down my requests of staying at their place and work for a few days. Same thing with the people from Couchsurfing, so I had to trust God in providing places to stay.

So after a few days of camping outside it was getting too much for my brother and he decided to go home. We still managed to visit the Balaton lake in Hungary and after that we went back through Vienna. In that time we did not had any money left anymore and I prayed for the Lord to specifically provide about thirty euros in order for me to survive until I got my salary the next week, because my brother would leave to go home by himself.

When we reached Vienna two people (Gunther and Oscar) had brought us to a youth hostel and bought a place to sleep for us, which was a great blessing to both of us. We could see the city at night and have a good talk with each other while doing so. The most interesting part to me is that they also gave me exactly thirty euros! This was a very strong encouragement for me to continue my travel and collect more of such experiences.

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So while in Vienna, the next day my mission was to visit a church (it was Sunday already) and afterwards to guide my brother to get his first ride back home to the Netherlands. After the first service of that church which is called the ‘International Christian Fellowship’ I met a young lady named Lisa and she could host me for two days! That night I slept at her place and the next day I went into Vienna to prepare for my next trip on the day following. That night we had a Bible study and I was with Thomas, another man staying there, in the middle of about 10 sisters. After the study we prayed for Thomas because he had a ministry of a psychotherapist and also one of the sisters got healed after praying for her back. It was a great evening and one of them also blessed me with some money to go on.

The next day I left to Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, which really is a beautiful country with wonderful mountains and forests. Maybe on some occasion in the future I will go back there. While in Ljubljana I could stay at a friend’s place and meet with Clemen, a man who wrote a book with my testimony in it. The book’s name is ‘Life without enthusiasm is like sex without orgasm.’ It was a nice experience to meet that writer because he loves to talk about different philosophic themes and we had some great time talking with each other.

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So after spending time in that beautiful city I choose to go to Italy, with no plans or without any particular reason to visit somebody. After a very long hitchhiking trip, wherein on some occasions I was waiting for about six hours on gas stations, I managed to come into Rome. I was quite nervous because I had booked no hostel, neither knew any people who lived in the city. The day turned into night very quickly and after having a long conversation with God, reading psalms and almost being robbed by lurking immigrants from Syria, my prayers were answered when I met a man on the streets whose name was Murat and who came from Morocco. He invited me over to sleep at his place and I could spend my night in a warm house on a soft mattress!

The following day I visited a church service in the evening, it was Saturday and there again I could find somebody at whose place I could spend some nights. This brother whose name is Maxwell inspired me very much because of his testimony, and I could spend some nice time talking with him and we eventually got together with a group of his friends to evangelise that Sunday. It was a great time with a lot to think about, and of course a beautiful city, nature and weather all the time to praise God for!

After Rome I hitchhiked to a small touristic city in Italy to visit the sea, it was beautiful and I met Andy there, a Baptist who experienced much of Gods favor in getting a job. It was encouraging to hear his testimony and have a talk with him. The hitchhiking itself was great, it was super warm and almost no cars on the roads so I had to prove my patience and perseverance once again. Meanwhile I could meet dozens of wonderful people.

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While passing through Switzerland on my way back home a man named Bean invited me to sleep at his place. I found it funny that he already called his wife Verona before asking me if I wanted to and they settled with the fact that I would come. It was funny that there was a storm that night so if I would sleep in my tent I probably could have a hard time, so God was merciful and showed me His great protection and care! Also, I had a chance to evangelize to Mark, the son of that man who seemed to me like he was struggling in pursuing his dreams.

On my way back I also met a couple who were Pentecostals and I had a very good prayer time with them, it was super encouraging to meet them and I hope of doing so once again someday before going to heaven! When I almost reached home, a Dutch couple dropped me off at the train station on my own request. I felt led that I needed to continue hitchhiking, but because I thought of having my student card with me, I could take the train instead and it would be for free anyway. After reaching for my wallet to check-in, I found out of having not taken my student card with me and that was a moment of great discouragement and a awful moment of dealing with my own stupidity. So with that experience as the last one I could end my little adventure by acknowledging God’s grace and wisdom higher than my ability to obey and accomplish.

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When I started the trip I asked the Lord to reveal me more of what His grace is, and to learn me thoroughly just to believe and receive that grace. There are a lot of things which happened and made me look differently at myself, my life, and others as well. When hitchhiking I get to show much interest in the lives of others and this gives me a boost in having an altruistic attitude towards the people I meet and in my conversations with them. I have learned very much from this two-week adventure through Europe, and it made me stronger to face a new set of troubles in the next year of study in Almere! All for the Glory of God who hears and answers our requests and provides for all our needs in His wonderful and unique way!

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” – Hebrews 11

A step towards the north

ImageOn 5 March in the year 2013 I left Kempten, a small city in the southern parts of Germany (Also called: the Bavarian area). After serving there as a youth group leader, organizing some activities like treasure hunting, whereby the group listens to what the Spirit of God says to our hearts, it was time for me to continue my journey.
After saying goodbye to all the new good friends in Kempten I started to hitchhike towards Essen, to visit another friend whom I met a couple months ago in the south of France, doing mission work (mostly supernatural healing through the laying on of hands.)

The first driver who picked me up was a man who was very interested in listening to me while I was telling him about Jesus Christ. This man was just about to study theology because he wanted to obtain a deeper understanding of the life he lives. His name is Robert and eventually he dropped me off in Frankfurt, I prayed and blessed him, and he gave me 100 euros to support my journey! Praise God! It was perfectly in time, because I was running out of money.

In just a couple hours I could arrive at my friends place. He lives in Gelsenkirchen (a city next to Essen). We talked about our various adventures, and shared stories and encouraged each other in faith by telling how awesome God works in our lives! I stayed with him for two nights, and in order to ride out of that urban city area, I asked a driver on a rideshare website if he could take me to Hannover!

It all went very fluently as I continued to hitchhike to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. Through the HelpX website, I could arrange a place there to do volunteer work. This I did in order to be able to live there for a while. HelpX offers different places all around the world where travelers like me can do volunteer work in exchange for food and accommodation. Why Stockholm? Well, when I was in Kempten I contacted a pastor from a certain international church (ICC) and he had opportunity for me to serve in Paris or in Stockholm. I don’t like Paris, so I went to Stockholm 😉

The hitchhiking was a bit harder than I thought when I came to Denmark, and in the middle of this country I stranded on a quite abandoned gas station. – But God turned it for good! There I met Filip, who also is a christian and I loved to talk with him about all kinds of things; preachers, missions, science, and much more. It was encouraging, but the problem was that he was heading the wrong way, not on my path at all, that made me worried because it was late already. When we came to the city he lived in (Aarhus), he brought me to the train station and bought a train ticket to Copenhagen! That train ticket had a worth of about 50 euro! So we blessed each other and I went to Copenhagen, there I walked a while through the city and eventually decided to take the train to Malmo, a city on the Swedish coast.

On the train I met someone who was studying Hydrology, and he knew people who had the authority over the Swedish tap-water filtering facilities, so I shared about the new thing I just found about the Black Mica filtering method. I found this appointment as I call it very inspiring, for he had traveled a lot in his life also!

When I came in Malmo, the friend in the train provided me with some information about the salvation army, in order to sleep there. So I went to the salvation army, but it appeared to be closed already, for it was very late. But suddenly I heard a voice behind me asking me if I was looking for a place to sleep, and when I turned around I saw a man with a bike, his appearance winked the idea that he had slept in the salvation army for years. He asked me if he could show me the way, I said yes and that was the first time I hitchhiked a bike. It was a very weird experience, him, me, and my backpack on one old and shaky bicycle! So he managed to drop me off at some place where I could get a completely free room to sleep in, and in the morning I had a wonderful breakfast along with a couple other immigrants and troubled souls. And after I had eaten the breakfast I was heading towards the entrance, and I saw a man sitting and he was hurting badly in his arm. I asked If I could pray for his arm, he allowed me and so I prayed and commanded the arm to restore and fill up with Gods life. After the prayer I talked a bit about the gospel and he eventually said to me: ‘You know, I’m very surprised, all pain is gone!’ A woman who was working there saw it and I saw that she saw it and I knew that this was the moment to ask for some food (I had none), so she gave me a couple sandwiches! That morning I was tested on my patience, because it was quite difficult to hitchhike out of this city. While I was waiting and a bit frustrated, two girls joined me in waiting for a car, and of course, a car stopped and we could hitchhike together to Stockholm. We talked about a couple things, but we didn’t get along with each other very well (probably because of my frustrated condition). It was cold outside and it was super hard to find someone who was heading towards Stockholm.

That night I came in Linkoping, and again I had nowhere to sleep! This time I kept walking through the city and it seemed like I was going to sleep outside (it was very cold). I started to pray and ask God why didn’t he give me someone this time! I came to the bus station and some of the last buses were about to leave. I stood there and got into a conversation with someone who had trouble speaking English (He was from Syria), when another man joined I started to tell them both about Jesus and what I was doing there in their city. Then one of them asked me if I had a place to sleep that night, I said I had not and he invited me over to his home. It turned out that I slept in the home of the other man that night, God works in strange ways!

That morning I got a straight ride to Stockholm and there I met with Gerard, who is a scientist-architect, he has a project called ‘equilibrium’, which is a method to build super cheap eco-villages made out of houses of ETFE plates. Nice idea, and I will store that one in my archive 😉 So until this moment that I write this post, I worked at Gerards place, 8 hours a day, mostly doing spakling and sanding.

I found a very nice church in Stockholm, the New Life charismatic Baptist church, which is very active in missions and it has an effective deliverance ministry!

Praise the Lord for his Grace and Mercy!

When all are busy

Throwing higher your focus,
when nowhere to go
and nothing to do.

Who makes this burden lighter,
when life screams to build
but doesn’t give a clue.

You want to make beauty,
to create, to lift, to do your eternal duty.

‘Find first your rest
in movement and shout,
Lifting upwards your hands

While saying out loud
one desire to your best.’

Worship makes your heart cling to the realm of ideas, whereafter your desires and thoughts are changed to the motive you empowered by praise.

Searching for more light

Dozens of ways in Thought
exist to reach the spot,
in what Life has wrought
an staying as in God.

Understanding, make clear your hidden mystery
though without movement you do not exist.

Life flows in circles
and change is made through will.
An unknown realm tickles
either pleasant but can kill,
or joyous and strangely familiar.

Understanding once again, allow my soul
to taste the everlasting flow.

Oh how blocked your realm can be,
when my heart is in low expectation
and hard for it to see,
what a sweet reward brings revelation
for them who dare to be.

Made this poem, when I wanted to produce some fruit, and a desire popped up in my heart to write a poem. As poetry is the description of the unseen in beauty, I wrote about my longing for more light in my life at the present moment.