INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY: NETHERLANDS- NOV 2021
As I landed back in the United States after twelve intense days of ministry in the Netherlands, I could only say one thing: “Wow!” It is amazing how much the Lord can accomplish in such a short time.
I had felt in my spirit that the Lord would have me come back to the country since my last trip two years ago. The last time I was there, it was before the pandemic. We ran into a few hurdles as the trip grew closer, but I had peace knowing that the Lord knew ahead of time what was going to take place in the world. So I knew that if He wanted me to take the trip, He would make a way. Some of the people in the Netherlands were surprised that I was even going to be able to come. I was the first foreign speaker that they had been able to bring over for a couple of years. Government restrictions changed just a couple of weeks before I was scheduled to leave. But the Lord made a way, in the way that only He can do, and I soon set foot on Dutch soil.
My first day of ministry was spent with the students of the Philadelphia Bible School. There are about 80 students who come from all different backgrounds and from across the country to be equipped and trained to serve the Lord. I shared two lessons on prayer. The first was about developing a personal prayer life, and the second focused on the value of corporate prayer. I then shared two lessons on the topic of addiction. The first lesson was about the nature of addiction and how it affects people, and the second was about how to get free and stay free from addiction. I was able to share personal testimony of my own journey of getting free from addiction. I received some great feedback from the students and had a chance to minister to some of them between sessions.
That evening, I left with Leander, one of the leaders of the Bible Schools, and we travelled about 30 minutes away to a Christian campground in Putten called “Camp Herikon,” which means “The Lord is King.” There were about sixty Students at the camp, between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. That evening, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with the students and talk about how the Lord had set me free. Afterwards, when the leaders dismissed the students, many of them stuck around. Some had been touched by the message and others had questions. We were able to answer many questions that they had and minister one-on-one with some of them. One young man confessed to us about sin in his life that he had kept secret for over two years. We were able to direct him to share with his parents and his pastor and I believe he has taken his first step toward freedom. I also shared that I sensed there were students who were contemplating suicide and encouraged them to speak to a counselor if that was them. The leader of the camp came to me the next day and shared that a young man had come to him who was experiencing suicidal thoughts and had opened up about what he had been through in his life. Praise the Lord for the way the Holy Spirit operates! The next morning, Leander and I tag-teamed on a message. I gave the young people some practical ways that they could share their faith with people around them. We had many great conversations with the students and the Lord did a great work that weekend.
That Monday, I had a day of rest, and Leander and I went to an inside garden that is used for evangelism purposes. We did a tour of the gardens, and the tour guide shared the Gospel in an interactive and impressive way. They see people come to Christ as they walk through the gardens and listen to the message given by the tour guides. It was a blessing to experience, and we had great fellowship with the tour guide. We also had the opportunity to go to a local town called Amersfoort. Europe is unique from America in that it has buildings that date much further back in history. We were able to see a church that was built back in the 13th century and many of the houses built with original architecture. It was a beautiful city. Leander and I had the opportunity to share a few thoughts about the Gospel in a unique way. We met an Italian man who spoke no Dutch or English, but we were able to communicate with him through Google Translate. It was difficult, but we were able to plant some seeds of the Gospel in this man’s heart.
During the day from Tuesday through Friday, I began teaching three sessions a day to the full-time Gospel Mission Bible School students. They come from around the country and give a year of their lives to live in the community, be taught the Word of God and have practical ministry experience. To have a chance to get to know these young people, hear their stories and minister to them is such a privilege. I taught on the topic, “The Crucified Life.” That topic creates opportunity for many deep conversations about the heart. I was able to speak in group conversations as well as minister to the students individually. The Lord really did so much through those sessions and through those times of ministry. One student told me that he had been skeptical about an American coming to teach and expected it to be one of the worst weeks there, but after having a chance to connect with him and share my story, he said it became of the best weeks he had. A couple of students wrote me letters to thank me for pouring into their lives that week.
During the week, I began to really have a difficult time spiritually. I felt incredibly discouraged and exhausted. As I took some time to pray, I felt the Lord bringing to my attention that the enemy was at work to try to disrupt what God was trying to accomplish through the trip. He showed me that the devil was not going to just sit back and allow me to come and minister the Gospel without resistance. Once I saw that, it really encouraged me to continue on. I realized that if there was spiritual warfare happening, then the Lord was doing a work even when I could not see it. I truly felt the prayers of God’s people during this time, and I was so encouraged to know that many were praying for the trip. So, thanks to all of you who prayed before and during the trip, because I really needed it. And God came through at just the right time!
On Tuesday evening, we travelled to Oudewater, where I spoke at a meeting on the topic of personal revival. I shared primarily through Psalm 51, and talked about the connection between repentance and revival. David’s experienced a personal revival when he finally came clean about his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. As a result, the Lord did a beautiful work in his heart. And God wants to do the same for each of us who will respond to Him with a sincere desire to experience a revival in our spiritual lives.
On Wednesday evening, couples from around the area came to the Bible School property for an evening dedicated to marriage. Some of the single Bible School students also attended to prepare themselves for their future marriages. I spoke about the “Mystery of Christ and the Church” that Paul talks about in Ephesians chapter 5. I encouraged both husbands and wives to really examine their marriages in the light of the attitude and character of Christ. We gave them some probing questions to ask one another after the service as they spent time together as couples. It was a great night of ministry.
On Thursday night, we travelled to a small town called Krimpen aan de Ijssel and had wonderful dinner at the home of a precious couple and their children. Afterwards, we walked to a local church where there was a men’s meeting assembled. They asked me to speak on the topic of “How the Lord Wins Our Hearts.” I spoke about God’s desire for us to have a wholehearted devotion to Him. I also talked about several obstacles that men face that can divide our loyalty to God. Afterwards, several men came and spoke with me about how the Lord had challenged and encouraged them that night.
My last day on the trip was a Sunday. In the morning, I was invited to speak at the church of a friend of mine name Chris. He is a Dutch brother who married a Romanian woman named Emma and had translated me on my previous two trips. They now have a church of Romanian speaking believers. It was interesting to be in a service in Holland where Romanian was the main language. The worship was beautiful in their native tongue. I spoke on the topic of “Repentance” and encouraged the believers to live a lifestyle of repentance with the Lord.
That evening, I travelled to Rotterdam, where I spoke at a Pentecostal church that I have spoken at several times in the past. It is great to see Pastor Hugo and his wife as well as believers who have been there since my first trip to the Netherlands back in 2017. I spoke about the difference between the old man and the new man, using the Exodus as an illustration of God desiring to bring us out of our past slavery and change our identities into sons and daughters of God. We had a great service together, and it was bittersweet to say goodbye. There is nothing like the fellowship of believers in the Body of Christ. Regardless of cultural differences, the love of Jesus in our hearts is unmistakable.
This was my third trip to the Netherlands and every time I go back I leave with the same hope in my heart that the Lord is doing a beautiful work in the country. With a strong group of believers who have a sincere desire to reach their country for Jesus, I believe the future is bright. Certainly there are many challenges, being in a country that would be considered post-Christian and very liberal in its beliefs. But the Lord is raising up a generation of sincere and passionate Christians to share the love of Christ.
If you want to watch my VIDEO VLOG through the trip onsite, I have it available on our YouTube Channel. Below is the first video in the series.
I thank the Lord for each of you who is praying for and supporting Make Way Ministries. The Lord has continued to open up doors for our speaking ministry and we are excited to see what He has in store for the future.
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DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.