[by Eunice Parodi / Benny Raemdonck]
Muriel – JOURNEY to baptism
I met Axelle eight years ago at secondary school. As our friendship evolved we came to speak about God. She told me about her relationship with God, and how positive that was for her. Her outlook on life was certainly different but it made sense. I had always thought that there must be something else to it but hadn’t worried about it because no one else did. I began to discern a reason behind everything.
When Axelle invited me to a church service, I found, not a group of esoterics, but a real community, diverse, people seeking together something deep and real. I joined the young people’s group and we met with God through games and moments of reflection. I continued to come to the service, and my discussions with Axelle really deepened. I asked her about God and her faith and she answered honestly without hesitation.
After six years of journeying and friendship, encouraged by Axelle and her father, I decided to follow God. My family aren’t Christians, so I need to journey with a community that takes care of me as a younger sister in the faith. I am now ready to tell the world, through my baptism, that I have decided to journey with God.
Jona – my JOURNEY to the BEM
When he was an adolescent, Jona believed that God existed but had no personal relationship with Him. There was no place for God in Jona’s life. Thanks to a Christian of the same age who refused to drop him, Jona began to change. Their friendship led to a radical turnaround in Jona’s spiritual life.
“G. invited me to Christian events and I went out of curiosity. I went with him to young people’s meetings, to Christian camps and other activities. Little by little, I came to have a lot of questions about faith, and it began to be our favourite topic of conversation. I am so grateful that I could ask him so much about the Bible! My desire to know God better, personally, increased. G. was my model. After a while, he encouraged me to stop depending so much on him, to seek to grow in faith on my own.
After Jona came to know the Lord personally, he met Sara at a Christian camp. After a year-long courtship, they got married. Their desire to serve the Lord led them to the BEM and they now work in our Flemish Bookshop ‘Het Goede Boek’ in Courtrai.
Wendy – JOURNEYing
To say that we want to ‘journey’ with people sounds so strategic, so exciting. It is those things, but it is also so normal and unexciting most of the time. This makes sense, since the whole concept is about a long process, like the growth of a tree, which never happens overnight.
For about six months, I have been sharing an apartment with a friend who is not yet a believer. It has been a beautiful journey to be part of. Very simple, really. We just live side by side, share meals and a bathroom, talk about work and studies, go to movies and hang out at home cooking or visiting with friends. But in all that, I get to be a tangible presence of what it looks like to live with Jesus. It’s humbling, but so very good. She sees the reality of Christian life; not just what people write in newsletters. There are so many opportunities to talk about faith. These conversations start from anything from a difficult situation with her family, my bible reading, or something we saw on the news. Sharing about who Jesus is and what kind of life He wants for us doesn’t seem like a mission anymore, it’s just life. I love how organic and real journeying in this way is.