Who are you?
We are Peter and Erik. We are searching for Nothing. What we mean is, we want to start in a city where we have to start from nothing. We are both sort of experienced with house churches and church planting, but going to a city without having any contacts will be a new challenge.
I, Peter, live in Amsterdam with my wife and my ten-month-old baby. We moved to Amsterdam to start house churches. A couple of promising beginnings later, I also advise the local government on how to start community gardens.
I am Erik and I live in a little town called Elburg. My wife is amazing in 1-on-1 mentoring. My grown-up daughters are fully involved in the house churches around here. I only began to go to Rotterdam six months ago. Connecting with people is my biggest passion.
What do you want to see?
We want to see Nothing becoming Communities.
Everything will start with people: we need to get to know them first. People who have never heard of Jesus or have never given him a second thought. Being the largest seaport in Europe, Rotterdam is incredibly diverse. Over 50% of its people and more than 70% of its youths are of non-Dutch origins. We want to see how these people in all their diversity reconsider their stand towards God and get to know Jesus. We want to witness the change in their eyes when they get baptized. It’s the most exciting thing ever!
We also dream of involving people from other parts of the Netherlands. Us starting in Rotterdam could be a good first step in doing this all over the Netherlands . . . and maybe even in Suriname! One of our friends is already praying for that. Still, Suriname feels a bit far ahead; we better gain experience in Rotterdam first.
How did you get this Idea?
For me, Peter, going to Rotterdam is more a matter of obedience to a larger apostolic vision. I want to see the stories in the Book of Acts becoming real all over the Netherlands. Mentoring people who want to start churches in their towns is something I have done a couple of times. I love supporting Debora in Den Haag, Joshua in Harderwijk, and Mark in Ede, just to name a few. Going to a city without any contacts is just a necessary step to grow into my vision. I chose Rotterdam because it is the second largest city. I can go there easily by train and talk to people while my son is sleeping in the stroller.
For me, Erik, the connection to Rotterdam started in Elburg. I have become friends with some refugees, whom I met at the local asylum seekers’ centre. When they moved to Rotterdam, I came along. As I helped them to settle into their new neighbourhood, I saw the needs and problems. But even more I saw the
What challenges do you expect?
Last year we baptized six young guys in Lelystad. One of our best friends had been faithfully reaching out to them for more than ten years. He’s known these guys since they were kids. Probably even he doesn’t know how many hours they played “League of Legends” together, shared food, or talked about Jesus.
We won’t have that much time in Rotterdam; we’ll come and go.
I, Peter, will try to be there every week, but that isn’t much time. Especially not for the people we’re going to meet―unless they’ve been waiting for us because they are sincerely searching for a new perspective on life. Additionally, I don't know how these trips are going to turn out when my son gets old enough to climb out of his stroller. He might start talking to the other toddlers, though!
What are you going to do?
Next month we will be going to Rotterdam together for the first time.
That will be a first step for us. The next will be to take other people along.
We both are ready.