Looking back at my life, I can be thankful for all the experiences I have been through so far, for they have helped shape me into the person I am today. Today I travel between England and Hong Kong. I have taught in Albania, the Philippines, India, Kuala Lumpur, and am involved in projects in Pakistan.
I grew up in the Netherlands in a traditional Protestant home. There were six children and I was number five. My father was a school teacher and my mother took care of the home and children.
I was born just after the second world war. At the age of five I was taken to church. That meant sitting through what I considered to be an hour-and-a-half of a boring preaching session, which was followed by an hour of Sunday school taught by my father.
In our household my father always led the family devotions. They consisted of a prayer before every meal and a prayer at the end, plus a bible reading. He made us repeat the final words of the bible reading as a way of ensuring we had listened to his words.
As I mentioned, I found church services very boring. Unfortunately, this did not change even when I started to grow up. I remember thinking as a young adult, “When will I ever start to listen?” At that time I would have liked to give up going to church altogether but I was too afraid to do so. The God that I then knew through my parents and through the church was a very strict God, a very legalistic God, a God who was Judge. I had not yet learned that God is a God of love too.
At the age of twenty-two I went to England to spend a year there working as an au-pair. This involved taking care of children and doing some light housework. Interestingly, I did do what my mother had asked me to do and tried to find a church. That was quite a challenge and I ended up going to a church which had a total of seven people attending, all quite old. They were delighted I had come to join them. However, my time with them did not last very long for, while in England, I met a young man from Hong Kong and we started to date. I began to attend church services with him in his church.
After our time in England, I joined him in Hong Kong. We eventually married and over time had three beautiful daughters. Churchwise, we began to attend a Southern Baptist Church. I started to listen to the sermons for the first time in my life and God began to do His work in my heart.
I had a full-time office job even while married. However, with the arrival of our daughters I became a stay-at-home mum. That gave me the opportunity to become more involved in various ministries offered by the church such as group bible studies, book review times, coffee mornings. I was eventually asked to be part of the organising committee for the women’s ministry. At a later stage I was asked to be part of the committee of a para-church organisation as well. These activities provided an opportunity for me to grow in my God-given gifts and abilities which, no doubt, have laid the foundation for the ministry I am involved in today.
My view on the role of men and women was still quite traditional at that time, believing that only men could be in leadership roles in the church.
In 1997, I began to spend more time in England because our daughters were living there by then. I became acquainted with some people who obviously loved the Lord but were more traditional than I in their view on the role of women. This prompted me to study the subject of the role of men and women from a Biblical perspective. I read steadily for a year. At the end of that time, I had learned that God has never put a restriction on the role of women in the Church. I had learned too that the traditions of men had often restricted women from functioning in the way God may have desired for them. I began to put some thoughts on the subject onto paper, and eventually published that material on a website.
Events from 2006 to 2011