Steady As She Goes!

Steady As She Goes!

It has been few months since our family visit to Sandrohy and the surrouding area. Many things have happened since: we bought a four-wheel-drive, received approval from AIM Madagascar’s leadership to move to Maroamboka, a village about a mile from Sandrohy. The construction is under way and the car is ready to make the trip. Jurgen hopes to travel down there this month with Issa, our eldest son, to take a look, maybe help some and meet with people we met previously.

The car

This is it: our Nissan Patrol, built 1999. We had to search a long time for this mechanical vehicle, but now we have succeeded. It is important that the car is not only a four-wheel-drive, but also that it is mechanical rather than electrical. Mechanical cars are easier to repair; if necessary even by non-mechanics. Some simple tools and a phone in hand will come a long way. For the car-lovers among you: the engine is a 4.2 litre diesel, 6 cylinders. Click on the photo to see more pictures.

We are tremendously happy about the car since it allows us to travel safely to and from Sandrohy in every season. We were able to purchase the car from the money in our car-fund. So far there even seems to be enough for the repairs and adjustments that are needed. We are impressed with the Lord’s provision. It underlines that we are not here on our own. Thank you so very much!

Although we can drive the car now, there are still some things that have to be done: we need a new dashboard (some meters don’t work); a strong grille at the front and extra steel welded underneath to support our extra high jack; a roof rack; a new steeringpump and some repairs to the front axle. On Madagascar it can take a while to find the needed parts, so in the meantime we are glad to put the car to use.

Home Sweet Home

The builders al ready started to build our house. A couple of weeks ago we heard that the house was al ready finished for 50%. Initially we thought that they meant to say that the builder collected 50% of all the material, but no! He send us some pictures, which amazed us. We have good hopes that the house will be finished at the end of this month. However, the builder told us that the rain does make things harder. Still, we expect that we can move, as a family, at the beginning of the new year.

We have provided the drawings for the house ourselves. The builder adjusted a few things… and, as you can see, during the construction things have been changed a bit more. The ground surface will be around the 40m2. On each side of the house we will have a second floor with two bedrooms: One for the girls and one for the boys. The master bedroom will be on the ground floor with at the other side a living room with kitchen. Outside the house we will get a toilet and a washroom. Attached to the house we will get a porch where we can sit and dry our clothes. The builders use local material: the house will be made of wood with a concrete floor and a tin roof.

Jurgen is planning a trip to Maroamboka to take a look at the building side. He will also take some big furniture along. We will keep you informed!

First Impressions

First Impressions

We have arrived! After an almost 8 hour flight we have landed in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday 10th in the evening. During travel we enjoyed the good food and the views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. It was quite an experience!

After arrival we have stayed at AIM’s guesthouse in Nairobi for three days. That way we could rest awhile after the busy months we have had and be better prepared for the the conference we are now attending. A video about our journey from Schiphol to Nairobi you can find on our multimedia page.

On Tuesday 13th October we travelled in over 3 hours to the conference location. We saw men in business suits and just around corner one of the many slums of Nairobi, where houses are only for the rich. Halfway we passed by Rift Valley. Close to Nakuru we were treated to grazing antelopes and zebra. A video of the sights we saw can be found here.

Sofar we are very thankful for the preparation to missionary life in Africa we receive. The first week we have learned much about African culture, values and worldview. The tutor is an African who has studied in England and thus understands both Western and African culture. We also benefit from the contact with the other attending missionaries – some unexperienced, some with many years of service behind them.

In the the week to come we will dig deeper into African worldview and we will discuss safety and health. The third week will be about transformational development and world religions. Activities will include visiting local churches, a mosque and a visit to a Kenyan family. It is an interesting but worthwhile programme.



Our departure to Madagascar is drawing nearer. For years we have been preparing ourselves, but how?


The language amongst missionaries and within most missionary organisations is English. That is one of the reasons why we have decided to raise our children bilingually from an early age. From about 3 years of age – when they have an age appropriate fluency in Dutch – Katja speaks as much English to and with them as possible. After having learned to read and write Dutch at beginner’s level, we start teaching them the same in English. Sofar this approach works for our family: our children are capable of conversing in 2 languages and are confident about their abilities. On the mission field they will be able to communicate with other missionaries and their children from the start.

Cultural Awareness

Compared to thirty years ago, when we were in primary education, the world seems to have ‘shrunk’! The world comes closer in the books we read, the television programmes we see and even through people living around us who have come from a different culture.

Since we will be living in a vastly different culture than our own, we read and talk a lot about the continents, climates, cultures and religions in the world. We hope to get a better understanding of what culture is and how important it is in everyday life. We read books on Madagascar in particular, so we will have some idea in advance of what we might experience and see.


Children of missionaries generally have more identity problems than their peers who have no cross-cultural experience. It is often heard that the live between 2 or more cultures and have difficulty identifying any which country as home. Ties with the country of origin can be weaker than the ties with the country they, as a familly, have served in.

For these reasons we emphasize our own cultural identity as well. Through history lessons, typical Dutch celebrations and family traditions we enforce our identity as a familly, Christians, Dutch and Europeans. We trust this will enable us to move and feel freely in both our own and our host cultures.



We are very happy to let you know that quite some progress has been made in finances this last month. At the moment we have reached 65% coverage of our monthly budget. We need some additional 25% in support to reach the goal of at least 90% coverage, the percentage at which the mission organisation thinks it is responsible to let us go to Madagascar.

How does it work? Africa Inland Mission has made a monthly budget for us – based on experience – to live and work as missionaries on Madagascar. The mission organisation is not our employer, but is itself dependent on gifts. Consequently, we are not paid any wages but are responsible ourselves for finding sponsors to help us on our way.

You can support us periodically (monthly / quarterly / annually) or one-off. Find out more about how to give here. We value any support given.

Different Location

Different Location

Last month has been intense for us. We got word that, on second thought, we could not join the Betroka team. It was a pretty hard blow to take. As we understand, the teamleaders feel that they will not be able to give us the support we – as newcomers – will need with. Apparently the current situation on the field is already demanding enough. This has been very disappointing to us.

The good news is that a very fitting solution has been found. The unit leader of Madagascar has offered us to start our ministry in the capital, Antananarivo (Tana for short). We will be part of a ministry that trains Malagasy Christians to become missionaries to unreached people groups in their own country. Meanwhile we will learn the language, study the culture and gain insight into the vision and strategies of AIM Madagascar.

There are still many unreached people groups on Madagascar, especially in the south where also the Bara are located. AIM is surveying what people groups still need to be reached and what means and methods might be suitable to that end. In time we will be able to travel to different locations and people groups to see for ourselves and to help in the survey. Lord willing, we will be part of a new ministry to an unreached people group.

We look forward to our envolvement in the training of Malagasy missionaries and – in time – in starting a new ministry amongst an unreached people group of Madagascar.

The ideal is that we leave for Tana in January 2015. To be able to go we need enough financial support. Would you like to be part of our ministry to the unreached peoples of Madagascar? We thank you deeply if you do.

Another Move

Another Move

It is almost half a year since we left England to return temporarily to the Netherlands. We had hoped to be sent to the mission field this spring, but we have learned this is not so. If we become members of Africa Inland Mission (AIM) and serve on one of their teams, we expect to go to Africa no sooner than in 2014. We have changed our mindset and accepted that we are in Holland for a longer time than anticipated.

A longer stay means we are in need of a long term house. It was very difficult to find a house, but the Lord has provided. Next month we hope to move to the center of Den Helder, the northwest tip of the Netherlands. Jurgen and Issa have already started to build a closet and two desks for the new house.

The past few months have not been easy. There was much uncertainty as to when we would be able to go to Africa, whether we would be allowed to continue home education, and with respect to our new house. We are thankful that these things have all worked out, but we would very much appreciate your prayers for peace in our family. Although we see ourselves grow in the capability of adapting to changing circumstances, it can still feel like tidal waves are coming over us sometimes. That is not a nice feeeling. We won’t give up, but please don’t give up on praying for us either!