Today we bring to conclusion our three weeks with Joop and Annie Strietman. Since the days that the ITA Council and the FWBIM Board gave us the green light to move forward as the future CEO of ITA, we have planned to spend this time with our predecessor, mentor, brother and friend – Joop. We have looked forward to it, asked you to pray about it, and now the time has come and gone. Since the very first day that we met Joop, at our first LMC experience in the Canary Islands in 2005, we connected in a very special way and have felt a close bond of friendship. Joop and Annie are VERY special people in God’s Kingdom work, and we love them and appreciate them with all our hearts. They have been actively involved in ministry for over 40 years! They were used of the Lord to begin OM Netherlands, were actively involved in OM’s ships ministry, and in recent years worked to form ITA. Their involvement has taken them literally all over the globe. What a privilege to fellowship with them. What an honor to call them our friends.
Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that in our hearts we can make our plans, but the LORD directs our steps. We didn’t know that Annie’s 99 year old mother would pass away, nor that Annie would suffer a heart attack -all on the day we arrived! Obviously, those major events changed our time together drastically. Nonetheless, we believe the LORD was directing our steps, perhaps so that we could simply be there for people we love and admire so very much. We thank the Lord that Annie’s mom was a believer and that Annie is home recovering and doing very well! Joop and Annie still gave a lot to us, and we have grown and learned from their insights that we will never forget.
We have worked our way through ITA’s Policy Manual, the CEO’s position result description, developing a plan of action and budget for the new year, the roles of the ITA leadership team, full partner and affiliated member statuses in ITA, the complete trainer notes for Communications, many specifics about developments around the world, and Joop’s future involvement in ITA.
We have also been able to spend time with ITA’s Staffing Administrator, Johan and Thea Veenstra, discussing how we will work together in the future. Plus, we reconnected with Peter and Martha Lester, SIL leaders in China, who have also played a big role in the development of LMC in China. We were privileged to meet and spend time with OM’s International Director of Financial Development, Wim and Anja Goudzwaard. We accompanied Joop to the churches where he preached, churches of over 800 people in attendance, and met leaders in each of them.
In light of the events in their lives, Joop has asked if we could move up the time of our transition from January of 2016 to November of 2015. Please pray about this – there is much to do. All our official papers to legally incorporate ITA as a 501c3 in the USA are turned in, and we are waiting. We will need individuals, churches, businesses and foundations TO GIVE financial support to continue to develop leaders around the world. We are also having serious conversations with key people to serve on our new ITA management team. Hopefully we’ll be announcing their names soon.
Now, we move on for the coming three weeks to visit about one half of our FWBIM workers in Southern Spain, Southern France and Bulgaria. We appreciate your prayers not only for safety of travel, but for the Lord to go before us and to meet with us as we meet with these servants working in difficult places. Also we will be speaking in the Bulgaria Church Retreat.
We are happy to visit with you to share more about what God is doing! Let us know!