It was a pleasure to meet all our CBMC friends in Finland and being able to encourage them and discuss the future of CBMC and its vision.
They are great people and there is a lot of potential.
The first day we visited some business people and entrepreneurs in Seinajoki. They are planning to start a new CBMC group and activities.
They are really dedicated to the Lord and eager to share the gospel.
The second day we went to the parliament and met an MP and several people working there.
We talked about connecting the Christians in prayer, regardless of their political differences and membership of the diverse political parties.
Afterwards we had a discussion with the board of CBMC about CBMC in Finland, their impact, future and organisation. It was fruitful. 2018 0423 Finland
This was followed up by a meeting with professionals and business people in Helsinki.
During this meeting I could share my testimony and there was time for meeting and discussing afterwards.
It was a sounding success, I think. Worth to repeat.
The last day our CBMC friends from Estonia came over to visit our Finnish friends
and we discussed the Young Professionals Academy, which will take place in Tallinn in September.
We also visited the CBMC friends in Turku and could encourage them too.
Thank God for all the meetings and pray He will work afterwards and bring the fruit. 





It was a privilege to be with our friends in Belfast and discuss the CBMC World Convention 2018 on 21-23 June.
We also talked about the young professionals' network, which is growing and doing well.
The Highlight of the visit was the breakfast, 2018 04 Belfastwhere I could share my testimony and the gospel for many businesspeople.
The response was great and many recognized the examples and stories.
Afterwards we joined the local prayer group. It was impressive to see the commitment and friendship among the business people.

Pray that Belfast will be blessed by what they are doing, and by the coming CBMC World Convention.

Wouter has been invited to speak at the leaders summit for government and business in Bratislava, where Czech and Slovakia business people and politicians met. It was a great place to meet our business friends in Slovakia and Czech and Wouter had many fruitful conversations about partnering with Europartners and personal topics. In the breakfast speech at Friday, he shared his testimony and explained two different approaches in business. One focussed on personal gain and wellbeing only and one focussed on serving the city and all the stakeholders of the company, without being less profitable. It was well received. (Photo Ramses R. Girgis, talking about business excellence).2018 03 Slovakia

 

 

Frans van Santen and Henk van der Linden had the privilege of training 65 young leaders in Kiev. The content of this training was authentic leadership, more specifically how the Christian faith is the foundation for authenticity. 

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Authentic Leadership is a rather 'hip' term these days and especially younger people like to lead authentically. It has everything to do with personal leadership. How you lead yourself will on the long term determine how you lead others. Frans lead the morning teaching and concluded with four principles of authentic leadership: learn to embrace yourself, appreciate otherness, exercise relational transparancy and live up to your Christian values.

 

Henk then took over. As an executive therapist, he lead the group into discovering more about their deepest desires, into experiencing the love of God the Father for them personally, and into the area of self-rejection versus self-love. Henk told these young leaders that rejection of the self is "the mother of all rejection" and that it is therefore very important to learn to love the self with God's help and through Jesus' sacrifice.  

Kiev02We concluded with time for individual prayer and blessing. Almost all wanted to be prayed for, so it took quite a while before we had finished this beautiful day. Most of the individuals were deeply touched, and God's presence was profound. 

Together with Abraham Maldonado we have visited Armenia from 8 – 12 March.
We have run the first weekend of our Young Professionals Academy about ‘calling and destination’. 2018 03 Armenia 1

The 30 participants have worked on their life goals and guiding principles to live by. For some of them, the big take away was that they were able to set goals in their own life and to make these happen, instead of living a life dictated by circumstances and short term perspective. Others got an understanding of the value of planning, focus and discipline.

Most of them valued the vulnerability and life stories of Abraham as an inspiration and example how to live Christ in the daily working life.
Next to this we have been able to testify to some top-class leaders and influencers of the nation, to members of the English club in Yerevan, and we have preached in the local church. 

People were enthusiastic and have invited us back. 2018 03 Armenia 2
Together with the local people we will prepare a follow-up
and mentoring for the participants of the YP weekend.

From 8 – 11 February we organized a retreat for all national and yp leaders. As a group of 25 we used our time for prayer, contemplation and fellowship. It was good to let our busy lives be for a few days. One of our participants put it like this: “The busier I got in my personal and business life, the more I realized how much I needed to step back from it all and spend time with God”. It is hard for many of us to take conscious time for prayer and reflection on a regular basis. There are often so many pressing issues that God is set aside as we work our way through it all. And yet, prayer should be our driving force in life so we know that God is near.

 

Here is our most important takeaway from the retreat: as Christians it is probably our most important task to bring others in the presence of God. 

Malaga

This can be done by praying on behalf of them, and by creating space for encountering God themselves. In this way we live up to our calling as priests, whether in business, at home, in our social lives or at church.

 

We are thankful for the time we were able to spend with God and each other, and for enjoying a guided tour through Malaga by Abraham Maldonado (see picture!).

 

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Our very first YP weekend in Lisbon took place from 26 to 28 January. Our trainers Abraham Maldonado and Frans van Santen enjoyed the company of mostly Portuguese people, and we happy to also have two young entrepreneurs from Romania. This international mix helped everyone to look beyond personal borders, and learn from each other. 

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Together we worked on discovering our calling and passion as a leader. For 2.5 days, the young professionals worked hard on their assignments which lead them to a better focus for their individual futures. In addition, everyone had individual prayertime, we worshiped together and celebrated communion at the end of the weekend. We are curious to see how the lives of these people will develop, and hopeful of what God will do through them to bless their environment.

We will be back next year for our second weekend of the Young Professionals Academy. 

 

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On January 17, we enjoyed a very good night with numerous young professionals from Paris.

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Frans van Santen was invited by Murielle Coco to speak about Faith and Work. He talked about the pursuit of the ideal life: the perfect partner (with nice kids!), the perfect job, the perfect house and according friendships. He used the story of Jacob to illustrate that if God is on your side, the pressure is taken off. He can even use your bad choices to create something good. Life is only ideal if you know Him.

The young professionals were vibrant and had compelling questions, especially when it comes to personal development and honoring Jesus in the marketplace. It is encouraging to see the movement in Paris grow, thanks to the efforts of Murielle. We will be back in June, and hope to launch the Young Professionals Academy there in 2019.

 

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