Jan Crossroads Elder
Where I have been and what I have done
I was born and spent my first 30 years living in Ameide,
a village along the river Lek in Zuid-Holland, somewhere between Rotterdam and Utrecht. I grew up as one of 5 children (the third) in a Christian family, which I consider a tremendous privilege. When I was 10 years old, my younger brother died at age 9 of leukemia, after having been sick for about 9 months. I have struggled a lot with God that time on the why question: why did this happen to our family, why not to others? Both of my parents have helped me in dealing with these questions, and eventually God has also shown me that although we cannot always understand Him, He never fails to love us and to carry us through.
So I grew up in a Christian environment, did the good Christian things, read the Bible, was active in church, yet still I consider myself a seeker at that time, I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It was until that Sunday on 20 September 1992, when I was attending a church service and the pastor was preaching on Matthew 9:9, that Jesus called me personally to follow Him. From that time on, so many things changed in my life. It became so clear to me that Christianity is not about a religion or rules, but about a relationship with a Person, Jesus Christ! And following Jesus is an adventure where the next step is not always (or always not?) clear, yet Jesus never fails us.
My educational background is originally in Finance and Accounting, and more recently in Controlling. I started working as an assistant-accountant. In the early nineties I had also started to be involved in voluntary relief work in Romania. It was in this period that I started to question myself: what does Jesus want me to do with my life. In 1997 and 1998 I got an opportunity to volunteer for the Dutch NGO ZOA in Rwanda. Eventually I started working fulltime for ZOA, first in their head office in Apeldoorn, later as regional trainer in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Laureta was also working for ZOA in Cambodia, so that’s how we met. In 2003 I started working for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the period 2005-2014 in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Uganda, and now back in Netherlands. During these years abroad, we have attended various international churches, and also been involved in church planting, yet we always kept connected with Crossroads.
What I like about Crossroads
Two words: Grace and seasons. From the grace we received ourselves from God showing grace to others. Seasons: our life consists of different seasons, we not always have to run, to do things, but we can also enjoy seasons of rest. To me these themes are central to Crossroads.
Scripture that is central to my life
There are many verses from Scripture that are very dear to me. Yet I have to make a choice, I guess these are the ones that have impacted me most:
Matthew 9:9:”As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man sitting in the tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me,” He told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him.”
Hebrews 12:1-2”And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of faith.”
Hebrews 12:8”Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever.”