360 Degree View (Part 2)

We arrived in the Netherlands in September. Sarah first with our 2 youngest boys, and then Phil a few weeks later, having spent time decorating our house and then dropping our daughter at university in York. The decorating was much easier than the university drop off, which was a bit brutal for an emotional dad!

All along we have sensed God leading us, even when we really had no idea where we would end up. Again and again, we returned to God’s promises and prophetic words, particularly sensing that God would “open a door” for us somewhere. When we decided that the Netherlands was the place God was calling us to, we had nowhere to live and, with no visa, no way of securing somewhere to live. In normal everyday life that is the sort of thing that makes you want to withdraw and avoid taking risks, but such was the sense that God was in this, that we genuinely felt God would provide somewhere for us. That’s exactly what happened. A family here in the Netherlands have moved to Namibia to live with extended family for a year. They have a stunning house with a beautiful garden which they are kindly entrusting to us for these first six months. God has again shown His wonderful kindness to us by providing a spacious home with enough bedrooms to host guests, a beautiful garden to enjoy, and storage space that makes Sarah very happy! This amazing house on the edge of the Hague is a daily reminder that God cares, he is good and he is true to his word.

We have spent the last 2-3 months simply trying to settle which means sorting endless amounts of administrative tasks (which appear to breed overnight) and meeting lots of people. Our boys have been remarkable in settling in and getting on with life in a new country – we are super proud of them! While Phil was still in the UK, Sarah and the boys had to start the exploring without him. Our street name is so complicated that even Dutch people take several seconds to look at it before trying to pronounce it, so that presented a problem. Then one day we spent 8 Euros on a metro journey to the Hague, but then boarded a tram instead because they both leave from the same platform – very confusing!

We have loved getting to know our team of people who are up for planting in Rotterdam and feel as if we have known them for much longer than we really have. Although there’s not many of us right now, we feel so grateful for each one of them. On the wider front, the different church leaders and planters we are connected to here have been super welcoming.

In all these areas and so many others, we have felt very aware of the kindness of God in bringing us here. Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of challenges and still many unknowns (we are still waiting on our visas), but we genuinely feel God has opened a door for us into a season that we couldn’t have planned or imagined, but we feel very privileged to be walking into.

In the new year we plan to start meeting weekly as a Rotterdam group and running monthly prayer gatherings for anyone who wants to pray for the city. Sometime soon we are also planning to move into Rotterdam as a family – once again we need God to open another door for us!

If you have been praying for us, thank you so much. If you’d be willing to pray some more, then here are some thoughts. Please pray that God will start to draw many people to the church plant as we start to gather regularly. Pray that through it all, many people who are far away from God will come home.


You can find more on Sarah and Phil’s adventure, plus their thoughts on living, learning, leading and loving, on their blog, 360 Degree View: