MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.199.

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Nr.198 ended with: “There were so many people going with the train that day, that they had to add two carriages. That took a little time, enough for us to get there and get on the train……..! Praise the Lord! And then we started laughing…..! And we still laugh when we think of that……!” (See richardandmarina.net).

From the train on the plane and off to Canada. Leaving our family behind was hard on all of us, but knowing we were all in the will of the Lord and in the hands of our God made a difference. And so we arrived in Canada on Thursday, October 15, 2009. For the first two weeks, we stayed with friends while our condo was being painted and new rugs were put in. I had rented a car to shop around for one. Because of my back problems I needed a car that sits quite high. New ones were too expensive and the right second hand one was hard to find. I don’t know how many car dealers I visited but I was sure getting tired. Saturday came and I drove to Guelph and, to make the story short, within half an hour I had found the right car for the right price, $500.- less than what I received for our car sold in Belgium, wonderful! Our daughter Rosa told me later that she had asked the Lord to “drop a car into my lap.” I believe He did, praise Him!

We moved into our condo and a couple weeks later our boxes from Belgium arrived. While the fridge, couch, bed and TV were bought new, the rest of the furniture was all second hand. We had a great time visiting Salvation Army stores in Kitchener/Waterloo, where we were able to pick up some real good things for a cheap price.

We have been her now for almost seven years, unbelievable how fast time goes. It was great to be able to make a 9000 km trip out West to visit Marina’s family and also friends and churches that had been supporting us from time to time. Except for the last 1½ years, I preached every Sunday and also at some weeknight meetings. Marina spent much of her time phoning and writing cards to folk in Belgium. Last year I had a serious breakdown and had to stop all activity, but slowly I am improving and preaching again. Marina had colon cancer surgery last year December but is now completely clean. She also received a new pacemaker, just in time. I had prostate surgery in May, which went well. We do not have the strength anymore which we used to have and that is frustrating at times, but we have to accept our limitations, this is life. The Lord continues to provide for us, at times in amazing ways, for which we praise Him.

Next week will be episode 200 and the last one for the time being………..! (Go to richardandmarina.net).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.197.

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Nr.196 ended with: “After more discussion with our friends there, a few days later I was on a plane to Toronto………….!” (See richardandmarina.net).

Why the hurry? Because there were others interested in this condo. Our friends had asked the person responsible, to wait and give me a chance to see it. I arrived in Toronto, was picked up and together with our friends went to see the place. I walked through it, took a good look at it and knew this was for us. The financial side had to be arranged which took time and then, on the fourth day I flew back to Belgium owning a condo in Elmira, praise the Lord! Marina and I decided not to move until the fall as I had a lot of speaking engagements lined up yet and we had to get rid of a lot of things. We had arrived in Belgium in December 1971 and were leaving in October 2009, so after 38 years there was a lot to leave there.

Just to mention this, we bought the condo in April and moved in the end of October, but from April until October another missionary couple, Les and Sharon Frey, who were working in Spain, were on furlough and were able to make use of our condo, it fitted all so well, praise God!

Quite a number of our churches in Belgium organized farewell parties for us, either alone or with a couple others, and there was a final farewell of all the churches together before we left. These meetings were wonderful but also painful, as we were saying goodbye to many spiritual children whom we dearly loved. Many were in tears, as we were at times. In one place a woman came to me in crying and telling me that her father had died just recently “and now, you, my spiritual father are leaving me too.” It wasn’t easy, but I assured her that we will meet again, if not down here, then “up there.”

I had quite a library, hundreds and hundreds of books, and since I could not take all of them with me to Canada, I took a number of boxes with books along to the meetings, put them out on tables and told the people they could take them and give whatever they wanted.

Slowly we were getting rid of things, selling some of our furniture and giving away some. Our daughters helped us pack boxes and boxes full of dishes, clothes, and many other things. We had all kinds and sizes of boxes. A friend had an export company and arranged the moving of our stuff by boat to Canada. We agreed to meet a certain day, bring all our boxes and pack them into eight large and strong cartons our friend brought. But now, could we get everything into those…………? (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.196

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Nr.195 ended with: “In 2008 we made a trip to Canada to see how the Lord would lead……….!” (See richardandmarina.net).

There were several reasons for why we were thinking of returning to Canada. Already mentioned was our physical condition, we were really tired, I guess the result of years going in overdrive. Another one was the fact that we did not feel right about being fully financially supported, while we were not able to be as active anymore. On top of that, our health insurance was running out, or in the case of Marina, had already run out. We were with a company in Canada that insured missionaries, but only up to the age of 70, then they were expected to return to Canada and be covered by government insurance. Our church graciously covered the monthly premiums. Staying in Belgium would mean getting private insurance which is very costly. And then, of course, there was our daughter Rosa, who, because of her debilitating illness, has had to be without us, without her sisters and her nieces and nephews for many years. We felt we should be near her now.

We prayed a lot about this and talked to the elders of our church. They were in agreement with our returning to Canada and were ready to give us a letter of commendation for full-time work in Canada. We also asked the advice of good friends who were in accord with our move back. Because of Marina no longer being covered by health insurance and having heart problems, we felt we should go ahead with planning our return. We were at perfect peace about all of this. So we started looking for a place to live and after driving all around Elmira I found a house on a quiet street that was up for sale. The elderly lady who owned the house showed me around and it looked real good. However, the next time I went to see her, there was a note on the door which said that she had changed her mind and was not selling. It was sort of disappointing, but we left it in the Lord’s hands and returned to Belgium.

In April 2009, we received a call from good friends in Elmira telling us that there was a condo for sale in a seniors building, which had 27 condos. Our friends took pictures of the condo and emailed them to us. We thought they looked great and were quite excited, even though some years ago we had visited other friends who were living in that building and I had told Marina afterwards that I would never want to live in a place like that! We really prayed about it and felt perfect peace. After more discussion with our friends there, a few days later I was on a plane to Toronto………….! (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.195

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Nr.194 ended with: “And then, finally, shortly before leaving for Canada, we moved into our “dream house” provided by the Lord, what a joy………!” (See richardandmarina.net).

It had been about 3 years since last being in Canada and now after several months of visiting family and friends there and preaching about 30 times, we returned to Belgium. But during the summer of 2006 we went back to Canada, and this time with our whole family as there was going to be a Funk (Marina’s) family reunion. It had been many years since the last one and our granddaughters had never yet met their Canadian relatives.

The Lord was so good to us and provided for us. We flew to Calgary, in Alberta, where one of Marina’s brothers had rented two cars for us. We drove to another brother of Marina who had a farm just out of Three Hills, AB. Our granddaughters were so impressed with the outstretched landscape and the long roads. While driving on one of those, one of the girls said, “Is this road never going to end?” Imagine their surprise when a day or so later we drove from the farm to the highway, turned left and stayed on that road for about 500 km through part of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and then turned right, into Pike Lake Provincial Park where the reunion was being held. It was a wonderful weekend indeed with at least 110 family members. Marina comes from a family of eleven children.

After the reunion, we drove back to Calgary and spent some time in the Rocky Mountains. Living in Belgium means being only a day’s drive from Switzerland and Austria. We find the Alps very beautiful, while the Rocky Mountains are very majestic. We were all very impressed with God’s wonderful creation.

Then our children and grandchildren flew back to Belgium, while Marina and I took a plane to Toronto to spend some time with our oldest daughter Rosa who, because of her illness, had not been able to be at the reunion. The next three years were spent in preaching, teaching, visiting and meeting with church leaders, while Marina continued with encouraging women, through visitation, and over the phone. At the same time, we were getting more and more tired and I was starting to find it difficult to deal with some of the problems, so we began to wonder about our future. There were some 24 churches now and quite a number of workers, so, should we continue in Belgium, even though we were not able to be as active anymore as before? Was it right for our home church and others to keep supporting us financially, should that support not rather go to younger workers?

In 2008 we made a trip to Canada to see how the Lord would lead…………! (Go to Musings).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.194

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Nr.193 ended with, “But now we had about six weeks to find another house and move, to us that seemed almost impossible, but God………………!” (See richardandmarina.net).

We were very thankful that our house was sold overnight, but we were not looking forward to driving all over the place to look for a house to rent, having to fix it up, as usually is the case, then moving, and all this in 6 weeks.

As I drove to the store one morning, I came to the street where I was to turn left, but “something” inside me said, “Turn right.” I hesitated for a moment but then turned right. Just a little down the road, again “something” said, “Turn left.” I did and after about 150 meters I saw a nice bungalow with a sign in front, “For rent.” I took the phone number, went to the store and then drove home and told Marina about this. I asked her whether she would like to go and see this house. She agreed and we drove over. I rang the doorbell and a lady opened the door. I asked her about the house which she herself was renting but was soon moving out. We looked it over and it was just right, Marina said right away, “That’s for us.” That morning we had read Ps.25 en verse 12 had touched us, “Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.”

There were several suitcases standing in the hallway and the lady told us that she was going on holidays to Spain the next day, “You caught me just in time.” We talked things over and were able to buy her curtains, her dishwasher and several other things. We went home, phoned the owners, had a meeting with them that evening and rented the house, unbelievable! The rent was a bit high, but the wonderful thing was that we did not have to do any fixing up at all, no painting, no wallpapering, no new rugs to put in, etc., etc. We could move right in without spending a cent. This was the first time that we were able to do that, all other times, we had to spend a lot of money and a lot of time fixing up a house. Now everything was just perfect, what a relief and what a provision from the Lord!

Before the moving we had to get rid of a lot of things we didn’t need and which had been collected over the years. Thank God for Robert, a dear Christian brother who helped me much of the time. I don’t know what I would have done without him. And then, finally, shortly before leaving for Canada, we moved into our “dream house” provided by the Lord, what a joy………! (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.193

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Nr.192 ended with, “When I told her what had happened, she was absolutely amazed………..!” (See richardandmarina.net).

“Well, she said, I have never heard of anything like that.” I had told her that we were part of an evangelical Church or community and that two couples had given us interest-free loans so that we could buy the house. Everything had been paid back by now and I offered to give her the names and addresses of these couples so she could check up to see if this was true. But she shook her head and told her secretary that he didn’t need to do that because she believed and trusted us. Maybe reading our wedding booklet had touched her heart. We had to prove that we were married, and unlike in Belgium where people have an official marriage booklet, in Canada, many people are married in a church and the minister has a license and can sign the marriage certificate. We had this certificate inside a booklet with the wedding vows and order of the service. One of Marina’s sisters who has a beautiful voice sang a song based on the words in Ruth one, “Wherever thou goest I will go.” The lawyer smiled when she saw that and told us that was sung at her wedding too. Interesting.

She then told us that it would take three months to check everything after which the deal would be official. I told her that we were going to Canada on September 27 for a 3 months visit and we would very much like to have things settled before then. It was about the middle of August then, so it seemed almost impossible to have things finished by that date. She looked at us, smiled and told us that she would give us priority and that she was quite sure we would have our money before we left. And we did, a couple days before leaving for Canada everything was cleared, unbelievable.

There was something else we had sort of worried about. In Belgium, as in other countries, when deals are done, often people will do things under the table so they don’t have to pay as much tax. When we bought this house, the owner wanted to do part under the table, but I refused and instead gave him extra money. Now we were the ones selling. What if the buyer insisted on doing that too? Well, that problem never came up, as the buyer was chief of police and I imagine he couldn’t risk doing something unlawful, ha! So we rejoiced and thanked the Lord.

But now we had about six weeks to find another house and move, to us that seemed almost impossible, but God………………! (Go to Musings).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.192

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Nr.191 ended with, “We had no idea that several miracles were about to happen………….!”(See richardandmarina.net).

Marina opened the door and greeted the lady standing there who said that they had heard from our neighbor that our house may be up for sale? Marina was quite surprised and answered her that I was not home, could she come back later? The lady said she would come back with her husband as they were interested in our house. Later on that day they returned, he was the police commissioner for southern Ghent. Their unmarried daughter was also with the police and they were looking to buy a house for her. We showed the whole house, garage and yard and they said they were definitely interested and could come back the next morning to meet our realtor. After they left I phoned him and told him that we had some folk who were interested in our house. When I told him their name, he laughed and said not to expect much, as he had shown them a number of houses already and every time they were interested, but then changed their minds.

The next morning the couple returned and also the realtor. He went through the whole house with them, left them upstairs, came down to us and asked us again how much we wanted for the house. I told him that he knew that already and that we were sticking to that price. He frowned and went back upstairs, and a little later the three of them came down with a smile on their faces, yes, they wanted the house and agreed to the price, unbelievable! Not only that, but I had a list of some 23 things that needed to be done to the house before we could sell it. The policeman told us not to do anything whatsoever, as they themselves would fix up the house the way they wanted it. He had also studied to be an architect and loved to fix up old buildings. What a relief, as I was quite worried about all the work that needed to be done and how I would get it all done.Talk about a miracle, the realtor was so impressed that he and his wife took us out for a very expensive dinner and we had a great opportunity to witness to them.

Miracle number two: together with the buyers we went to a lawyer to get all the legal paperwork done. She was a very nice and friendly lady who had a young man, her secretary present too. She had a list of fourteen things that needed to be looked into and checked. I was asked about mortgages and I answered that we didn’t have any. She looked surprised and asked how we were able to buy the house. When I told her what had happened, she was absolutely amazed………..! (Go to Musings).