Alibarba & The Bitners

No – it’s not some new funky band, it’s a list of our August visitors here in Nieuw Vennep. First came the Bitners. Jim and Carol are Americans who lived near Belfast for a few years and attended Windsor Baptist when David was pastor there.  They are now ‘retired’ back in the US but have taken up a part-time pastoral role caring for mission workers. This involves them travelling to Europe twice a year and driving through parts of France, Germany and Switzerland where they visit mission staff members from the US and help support and encourage them in their work and everyday lives. Actually, this is pretty much what they did in Belfast when they befriended several Windsor families and encouraged and helped in so many practical ways. Their ministry continues and their rich life experiences (including having 17 grandchildren!) make them valuable mentors as well as all-round good friends to many, including us. What a great use of retirement years! When they left us, we paid a flying visit to NI for David to have some dental work and got back just in time to welcome Alison Bingham and Barbara Johnston – old friends from Windsor, Belfast – for a weekend.  There was much laughter, chat and a few late nights as we reminisced and caught up with all their church and family news, after they had walked their feet off around Amsterdam all day. We all took the bus to Haarlem to sample the Jazz Festival and some yummy Mexican food, went to the English Reformed Church on Sunday, all shared lunch with another US friend Lauran Bethell.  Now our August visitors are all gone and we carry on writing blogs, editing journal articles, discussing plans and getting stuck into work with our new boss… it’s been a good summer!

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