Of Waffles and Chocolate

These two delectable snacks are as good in Belgium as they are plentiful. Also plentiful in Belgium is the spiritual need. But OM Belgium has seen the evangelical presence in their town of Zaventem grow from zero to at least four churches since they began ministry 50 years ago!

  

I had the opportunity to travel to this team last month. The ZavCentre, conveniently situated five minutes from the airport and fifteen minutes from the Brussels City Centre, is historic for OM. It was the hub of the Bible-smuggling endeavors during the Soviet era and housed and maintained 200+ vehicles that set out over Europe and even to India, carrying loads of Bibles, Christian literature, and men and women pioneers who were willing to risk it all to bring the hope of Christ to many.


ZavCentre Coffee Corner

After the Iron Curtain fell, many of the offices were turned into dorm-style bedrooms, and the ZavCentre became a retreat center for missionaries and churches. This was the setting for the Mentoring Clinic I attended.

I arrived three days early, with time to visit Brussels as well as tag along with the OM Belgium band, Chesterfield, to a multi-church Christian youth event two hours away in Ieper (Ypres). Chesterfield ministers to young adults through living room concerts and the local music scene. They were one of two bands invited to lead worship at Reborn. (By the way, “youth” is ages 15-30.)


Brussels Skyline

On Sunday morning, I attended Evangelical Church Zaventem. What a joy to worship at this Flemish church that was birthed out of OM! When I travel, I do my best to follow what’s going on at church but inevitably miss most of it because I don’t speak the language. This church has English translation in headsets, and what a difference that made! It reminded me why we encourage indigenous worship in Heart Sounds—understanding what’s being sung and said and having that in your heart music makes all the difference. While we’re used to this in the U.S., thousands of believers across the globe attempt to worship through someone else’s heart language or music.

Belgium has two major languages—Flemish and French. Flemish is, in essence, a dialect of Dutch. It is written like Dutch but spoken differently. One of the goals of the OM Musicians Ministry in Zaventem is to “equip the local church to write Belgian worship music.” This is a challenge, as the Flemish church isn’t writing any Flemish worship music, though their language and culture is distinct from Dutch. The OM team has asked HSI to do an ethnomusicology/songwriting seminar next year for the OM team and Flemish church musicians. I had some good conversations with the leaders of the Musicians Ministry and we are putting plans in place to go next spring. I want to be a part of this trip, as I feel particularly drawn to this project and I’ve met many of the team.

Monday brought the Mentoring Clinic. It was an intense week of adding tools to the toolbox and honing skills. I was challenged by “serviette tools”—power-packed visual aids and learning devices that you can write on a napkin anywhere. So watch out if you’re out to lunch with me and I pull out a pen and napkin!


Learning Styles Session

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