BEM Day at Limauges
On Ascension Day, there’s always something going on at Limauges. In the past it was ‘The Day of the Mission’, which later became ‘The Day of the Camp’. Now for the third year running, it’s been ‘The Day of the BEM and the Camp’ that we celebrate – and we do mean celebrate! From the hubbub of all the happy reunions, to the preaching and the news flashes, visiting the stands, everyone queuing for their free portions of chips, the children enthusiastically making the most of the bouncy castles and the playground, and the time given over to praise and thanksgiving in the afternoon through song and testimony – yes, we certainly did make ourselves heard! What a joy it was, this year once again, to come together from all over Belgium to benefit from these blessed moments of fellowship.
Baie dankie, Barry en Coreen!
This is the story of a family living happily in South Africa, who gradually found themselves being called to leave it all behind. Barry and Coreen were living with their three sons near the ocean, both with full-time jobs, but at the same time members of a church congregation of 1200 people. They’d heard about the spiritual needs of Belgium. Their church supported the BEM Mission post of Hamme, and they themselves had offered hospitality to BEM missionaries. They’d even participated in a three-week mission trip to Flanders. But there was nothing to indicate that they would be the ones to make a great leap of faith. And yet, little by little, that’s exactly what happened.
On July 31st 2001, Barry, Coreen and their son Bernard, then 12 years old, arrived in Brussels leaving behind family, friends, sunshine, broad plains and high mountains. In exchange, they discovered not only a country that was certainly small, flat and rain-swept, but also the changing seasons, the long summer evenings, Belgian cuisine and Belgian beers, as well as loving fellowship with colleagues and a new local church. For seventeen years they’ve welcomed brothers and sisters from across the world, showing them hospitality, then ‘sending them on their journey in a manner worthy of God’ (3 John 5-8) and thus also helping them in their ministries. Their joy in serving others and their gift of hospitality have made Foyer Norton what it has become, – in the words of an 8 year-old boy: ‘a big house where everyone loves each other’. In the years that followed, Barry also made use of his professional skills in taking on part of the work on the BEM accounts.
Now Barry and Coreen are returning home, enriched by unforgettable experiences and many multicultural encounters. It’s time for us to get out our handkerchiefs to say a big thank you and ‘au revoir’! Baie dankie, Barrie en Coreen. Mooi loop! (Afrikaans for ‘Thank you.’ Barrie and Coreen ‘ Take care.’)
Merci, Gérald et Bernadette!
For nine years they’ve been the public face of Camp Limauges – Gérald with his slightly greying beard, Bernadette with her welcoming smile, not forgetting their three younger children who joined them on this adventure. We’ve seen our friends at work all over the camp, at all hours and in all weathers. Their desire to see a job well done, and their reassuring presence, has blessed the thousands who benefit from the increasingly modern infrastructure of the camp.
As they make ready to leave Limauges to begin a new chapter in their lives, the BEM wants to take the time to honour their dedication and their faithfulness in the ministry. Thank you, Gérald and Bernadette. It’s been a privilege to count you among our colleagues. May the Lord richly bless you both!