Roelof Weerstand and Jan Schraal came to London Seminary with their families in September 2019. On completion of the pastoral training course in 2021 they returned to the Netherlands to plant a Reformed Baptist church in Emmeloord. This is a very religious area, and most people go to church. However, the churches are very traditional and there is much nominalism. It was from this background that both Roelof and Jan were converted, and their vision is to see a Gospel work characterized by expository preaching ministry and vital spiritual life.
Roelof writes with an update on their progress.
When we returned to the Netherlands we set about the work of church planting. Both Jan and I are working in secular employment to provide for our families; we have about one and a half days each week to focus on the ministry. We began with a small group, and we are seeking to work together. Sadly, there have been some tensions and some have left which is very painful. But there are also encouragements see the Holy Spirit at work causing believers to grow in their faith and come to repentance. At present we have a group of about 20, and occasionally some visitors. We are conscious of our complete dependence on the Lord, and we seek to honour him. Unless the Lord builds the house our labours are in vain.
We began our preaching ministry with the book of 1 John. I have now started a series in John’s Gospel, and Jan has started on the book of Ruth. It is a great blessing to engage in this work.
Once a month on Sundays we have a fellowship meal together. Every Tuesday we have Bible study or a prayer meeting. In the Bible study we are going through the study of “The Church” (mediagratiae.org/the-church), which is translated to the Dutch language. That helps us to think about the nature of the church, and the elements of a healthy church.
At the same time, we are working on the preparation of our statement of faith and on our website to communicate about the church. Working on a statement of faith takes a lot of time and prayer because it is about fundamental subjects.
If I had to describe the last months of our ministry in one word, it would be “Grace”. God granted us His abundant grace and mercy. It has not been easy; there have been many challenges, but the Lord has sustained us.
This coming Christmas, we hope to invite people in the neighborhood. For the first time we will publicise our existence as a Reformed Baptist church in Emmeloord. We want to invite people by spreading flyers, and maybe by the local newspaper. Please pray that many people may come to this church service to hear about Christ.
We are grateful for regular contact with supporting churches back in the UK who provide advice and help. Most of all we are grateful for prayer support, and ask you to pray for:
- Wisdom as we seek to establish the work of the church
- A shepherd heart for the flock
- Openness to evangelize, and inviting people to come to the church
- Christmas service