r.179 ended with, “Towards the end of ’92, Marina and I returned to Canada for a home assignment and also to see how things would go with Rosa, as Burt and Elaine felt that their time was up and they needed to move on. How would the Lord lead this time………………..?” (See richardandmarina.net).
We had planned to be in Canada for a short time, to be with Rosa and to be in touch with our home church and other supporters, but because Burt and Elaine moved away and because Rosa still needed some help, we stayed longer. After Rosa was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Elaine helped her get a disability pension. I went back to Belgium on the 23rd of December and stayed for more than two months helping believers and churches, and dealing with problems in some places. I also spoke at conferences in France, Germany and Belarus. There I stayed in Gomel, the second largest city of the country, with friends who worked for World Vision. I was invited to speak to the doctors and nurses of a large hospital. I also had the privilege of speaking to the staff members of the largest women prison in the country and Bibles were handed out to all who attended the meeting. The head of the prison was very moved and I think that she may have accepted the Lord. What struck me most in that country was the absolute poverty, just unbelievable and it made me realize how rich and privileged we are in the West, and how thankful we ought to be!
I flew back to Canada the end of February, but in April I was back in the Netherlands for the funeral of my mother. Because of all the travelling, the meetings, the problems, the emotions and so on, I was exhausted. I talked to our elders and asked them whether I could have a six months sabbatical, to which they wholeheartedly agreed. Jesus told his disciples after a very busy time, to come apart for a while. Someone has said, “Yes, come apart or else you will come apart.” We had been going pretty steady from 1971 until now, 1993 and it was good to be able to let go of everything for a while.
In December Marina and I traveled back to Belgium. Rosa received help from the elders for a while, then from the Red Cross and then from an organization, ILC, Independent Living Center for people with disabilities. She has different ladies come in five days a week for two hours to cook, clean and give help and personal care, they are called “attendants.” For the rest she is on her own and looks after herself.
We were happy to be back in the country to which the Lord had called us, but the enemy was not so happy and 1994 became quite the year, starting with a serious accident….! (Go to Musings).