We are seeing the Lord at work in many ways, in us and around us. We are so grateful for your support!
We continue to be greatly blessed by a large group of young people in their 20s who seriously follow the Lord and are devoted to praying together several times per week. We see them regularly in the shop and in church and are able to have great conversations with them, as well as joining in some of their prayer meetings. Seeing God at work in them gives us great hope for the future of the church in Flanders and around the world. The enemy has taken notice, though, and is making life difficult for some. Pray that they will stay faithful.
William is preparing for a week-long walking adventure in June with 8 others in northern Spain, walking the last 120 km of the Camino del Santiago. They meet at least weekly for training walks, beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday mornings. This is valuable discipleship time. William experiences a lot of pain in his ankles and will eventually need bone surgery. Pray that the pain is bearable and that God will use this time investment for His glory.
The Future of the Book Ministry in Belgium and Beyond
On March 11 William was asked by the leadership of the mission to organize a small team to unite the 6 bookstores in the BEM (4 Dutch-speaking and 2 French-speaking) into one with a renewed vision and business plan. So we are busily engaged in meeting with the managers of the other stores, forming a team and coming up with a proposal. We want to contact every church and ministry in Belgium to get their input, and this is no small task. Some of the team members speak French (no Dutch and very little English), and thankfully God has provided that 2 of our volunteers speak fluent French so can translate for us. The business plan has to be written in Dutch and French. This is one reason the team is so important. Our need for each other is very obvious! June 1 is our deadline. We need your prayers for God’s clear leading and unity.
Lyssa recently finished an 8-week block of language classes. It was really helpful but a real stretch to attend 4 mornings a week for 3 hours. We need your prayers that God will enable our continued development in the Dutch language. We work exclusively in Dutch but still make many mistakes and can’t always fully express our ideas. We are beginning with French using an app, Duolingo.
God brought a lady and her 3-year-old child into our home for a month because they needed shelter. Occasionally others ask to stay with us for short periods. We consider it a privilege of serving Christ, but it is not always easy.
Our daughter Wendy and her husband James are expecting their first child on May 6th. Lyssa plans to spend a week with them after the baby is born. Daughter Emily and her husband Ben will be moving to Bristol with new jobs around the same time.
Trip to the US
We are also preparing for a trip to the US in September/October. We plan to arrive in Michigan on Sept. 18 and visit churches and family for a couple of weeks, then on to Chicago where we have been asked to speak in the missions classes at Moody Bible Institute–an immense privilege!–and to meet with Moody Publishing. Part of our new proposal for the book ministry is to influence and equip Christians in Belgium and throughout Europe, and we are seeking advice from experienced Christian publishers. Finally, we plan to spend 3 weeks in Florida also visiting churches and family. If you are in Michigan, Chicago or Florida and would like us to speak to a group in your church about God’s work in Belgium, please get in touch. We are praying that God will send more workers into this field!
God is supplying more and more volunteers to help us with the bookshop, especially when we have to travel. They are at different stages of training, and this takes investment of time and energy. But what an answer to prayer! Thanks to those who have prayed about this–and for our other needs, which God supplies day by day. We pray that you, too, will see and experience the incredible grace and mercy of God as we do.
Thanks for your partnership in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ here in Belgium,
William and Lyssa Bode
Our mission, the Belgian Evangelical Mission, is changing its name to VIANOVA.