Riverboat Captain Klaas Kattouw (Dutch), marvelled at a ship sailing by as a 13-year-old boy. Compared to other vessels on the Rhine, the Alexander Von Engelberg looked stunning."I said to myself then, that I want to be Captain of this ship." Today, it is known as the Andante, which is also the first vessel to be used by OM Riverboats for a new ministry with a floating escape room on European waterways. When Captain Klaas first heard about the Riverboats ministry, his heart was immediately moved and he committed himself to serve on it. When he realised the vessel to be used was the same one he remembered fondly from his childhood he was shocked! Please pray for Captain Klaas and the Riverboat community as they go from port to port to share the gospel and mobilise churches in the Netherlands, Germany and France.
Amsterdam has long been a refuge for Jewish people fleeing persecution – starting at the end of the 15th century, when they were expelled from Spain and Portugal, and later with the arrival of refugees from Poland, during the 17th century’s tragic Thirty Years War. Amsterdam’s Jewish community has come to life again – now numbering some 40,000; made up of young and old, religious and secular, including many Israelis who have relocated there. Today, Jewish people in the Dutch capital are hearing the Good News about Jesus through our recent summer outreach which saw 15,000 gospel leaflets distributed to Jewish homes and over 1,000 gospel conversations with Israelis tourists and Jewish locals. Please pray that the Lord will bring many of them to put their trust in the Messiah!
Europe’s expansive river network is a unique way to travel through the heart of the continent and is a channel that OM workers want to use to share the Good News to Europe’s 700 million inhabitants. Riverboat project, launching at the end of 2017, aims to mobilise the church to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least-reached from a mobile platform. Pray for the team that will host events for two weeks in each place, stopping at key ports in the Netherlands, France and Germany, and who will use their practical ministry skills to share the gospel. Pray for God to connect them with the right people and provide all our staffing needs.
During April, a four-day conference in the Netherlands brought together 380 workers, from 130 organisations, who produce resources to spread the gospel in minority languages throughout Eurasia. Praise God for a valuable time for learning from one another. Pray for those who are reaching out to minority groups in Eurasia, for wisdom in how to use what has been learnt to further maximise media for building God’s kingdom.
In Spain or Italy being a member of a church is part of everyday life, but in the Netherlands almost half the population identifies itself as non-religious. This huge change has occurred only within the last few decades. Yet there is reason for hope. People are still looking for answers and, unlike their parents, young people of today do not automatically reject religion out of hand. Pray that the many existing churches, together with the newly-founded congregations, can be a growing witness, so that Dutch people can discover God’s liberating gospel.
As in many parts of Europe, mission in the Netherlands must cross borders of nationality, language, economic and social status. Every day hundreds of Brazilian and Russian young people arrive in the Netherlands, deceived into the sex trade by mafia organizations. Once primarily a sending base, the Netherland, like most of Western Europe, has become a needy mission field. For example, Brazilian missionaries have planted a church attended by over 1,000 ex-prostitutes in Amsterdam. The growth of the evangelical movement gives hope for the future. Unlike their parents, young people in the Netherlands are becoming more open to the gospel.
Population: 17,100,475 (2017)
Official languages: Dutch
GDP (PPP) per capita: $53,139 (2017 est.)
Life expectancy: 81 years
Religions: 58% Agnostic or Atheist, 25% Catholic, 11% Protestant, 4% Muslim, 2% other religions