January 2021

‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ Exodus 34:6-7

We are about to start bible studies in the book of Exodus with the church plant in Louvain-la-Neuve, and I have been struck afresh by God’s amazing character that he reveals to us in the book. How wonderful it is to know that God is the LORD, the eternal, unchanging, self-sufficient God who is compassionate and gracious, forgiving all our sin, our wickedness and our rebellion, and yet who does not leave the guilty unpunished. Who knows what 2021 will bring after all the surprises we had in 2020? But we can always know that our God never changes and his character shown through the Exodus and at the cross is what sustains us day after day on our way to the Promised Land that awaits us in eternity. 

We’re so grateful for your interest in the gospel work here in Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. Here’s some news for prayer and praise. 

Praise God for an encouraging first term for the church plant 

Sunday meetings since the launch  

We launched the church plant’s regular Sunday meetings in September 2020 in rather different circumstances than we had imagined. We were very soon at capacity with the COVID spacing regulations in the medium-sized hall that we had rented. We thank God that we had between 15 and 26 adults attending on a Sunday. We are very grateful to God to have had nine weeks gathering physically (with masks of course, although in Belgium we could sing with the masks on). Those nine weeks enabled us to develop relationships among those present and set us in good stead for when we entered the second lockdown in November when churches were no longer allowed to meet physically. We’ve now had nine Sunday meetings on Zoom and the core have faithfully been coming, but we are aware that fewer folks on the fringes connect on Zoom. 

Give thanks for encouraging times had in Mark’s Gospel and 1 Thessalonians in Sunday sermons and in Colossians in the mid-week bible studies.  

Student work 

We’re so grateful to God for the work James Clark (also with Crosslinks) does as the church’s student worker. Numerous students are meeting up one to one to open God’s word each week. Please pray for that momentum to keep going this term and for God to work through his powerful word to save and build up. 

Reaching out with the gospel 

We are grateful to God that we have got to know several non-Christians in the town. Lizzie organised a Zoom thanksgiving event with a short talk on God’s love for us in Jesus and we were encouraged by the attendance. We also organised a Nativity Trail around a local park with members of the church plant dressing up and explaining the Christmas story. Ten non-Christian adults attended the event and heard the gospel. Please pray for all those who we know, that they would hear more of the gospel this year and that some would turn to Christ. 

Please pray for this year… 

Building up the core 

We are conscious that the core of the church plant is still small in number. We are still praying for more Christians who live in the town or who would be willing to move to the town to join the church. Please would you join with us in praying for there to be a handful of Christians who hear about us this year and join the church? We are also looking to consolidate the core and are praying for growth in maturity and gospel convictions as a church plant. We can start meeting again physically with a maximum of 15 adults – please pray that this would go well and that God would feed us through his word. Please pray as we preach through Mark 5 – 8 and then through Jonah, before starting Romans 1 – 4 after Easter. In mid-week Bible studies we will be studying Exodus.  

Mission weeks 

We are due to have a mission week with the students at the beginning of March and we are due to host a team of bible college students from the Institut Biblique de Bruxelles (IBB) during the week of the 22 – 29 March for a mission week for the whole church. Please pray for us as we plan the weeks, that the church members would get behind the events and would seek to meet non-Christians and desire to evangelise them. Please pray that the government rules will be relaxed so that the events can be held face-to-face. Please pray that through the week with the IBB, the whole town would hear about our church and that a good number would hear the gospel clearly explained. 

Family life 

Thank you very much for your prayers for our family! We had a restful time over the Christmas break for which we are very grateful. Please continue to pray for us as parents, that God would give us patience and love for our children and that he would open their eyes to understand and believe the gospel. 

Robbie, Lizzie, Lola, Caleb and Mia

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