Friday, April 27, 2018

Mot Målet #1 2018 / We´ve moved house!


This is our new home now. From the balcony to where you can see the little ladder on the middle of the roof.
The show is gone too, and spring has finally arrived.

Hello again, here a little quick update about how we have been doing in the last months. We have moved house, inside the Grimerud-property. We used to have the apartment on the second floor of the main building, which was very cozy, but a bit impractical for a family of four.
At a missions base like Grimerud there are always people coming and going. People come here to train others for missions, or get training themselves. People leave when we send them out as missionaries, or they become involved somewhere else in society.
With all that moving, this new place became available, so we moved there a few weeks ago. We are definitely happy about our new place.

Mot Målet 1 2018

This year´s first issue of Mot Målet has been out for a month already, but I still wanted to show it to you. The theme of this publication was about sexual harassment and the #metoo campaign.



30 days of prayer in 2018

Another thing I´ve been working on is this year´s booklet for the 30 days of prayer campaign for the Muslim world. Like last year, we will be praying for muslims during the coming time of Ramadan. The Norwegian version of this booklet is a cooperation between many missions organisations in Norway like Open Doors, Wycliffe, Frontiers, YWAM and NLM.
The Norwegain prayer-guide can be found here at www.30dagersbonn.no, prayer guides in other languages can be found at the international site.
And just as last year, I will also be involved with the social media for this project.



Visa and financial situation

The visas for the girls still have not come, even though we applied more than a year ago. Please keep praying for these things to be resolved quickly. Our financial situation has been challenging in the last months. But as we have worked with is both in prayer and by contacting people, our situation has fortunately gotten much better. We are so blessed.

I´ll hopefully post another update soon, and show some more of our new place.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Video updates + Our place in YWAM Norway

First of all we want to wish all of you a happy new year, and Gods blessing on your lives in this new year. This year we as a missionary family are stepping up our communication about some of our work and things that are happening at Grimerud. So, we´ve started making video updates, enjoy: 





YWAM as an apostolic movement, and our roles in this movement.

It´s been more than a month since the last issue of Mot Målet has gotten to it´s subscribers. The theme of this issue was "the apostolic ministry", where we touched upon what it means for us in YWAM to be an apostolic movement.
Simply put, an apostle is a missionary, someone who is sent out with a message (in Dutch we use the word "zendeling"). In Ephesians 4 in the Bible, the apostles (missionaries) are one of five kinds of ministries that God gives to build his church.
If the fivefold ministry gifting from Ephesians 4 are compared to the five fingers of a hand, then the apostle is the thumb. The same way the thumb touches on the other four fingers, an apostle helps and enables the other people in the church to do their thing. Often without being especially good at the things it is helping the others with.



The apostolic nature of our missions movement is clearly visible in our DTSes, our typical short-term missions projects and our commitment to believe in young people as missionaries. People come here for a short period to be equipped, and are then sent to where God has called them.

Now I want to give a few sentences how this whole apostolic thing applies to our family.
Marina and me don´t work with these typical apostolic things, training and sending out young people. Rather, we support and facilitate for others to do this work. Marina has ran the kitchen so there is food for everyone on the training programs. I´m working with design and communication so we are able to let more people know about the possibilities to come here to do missions training with YWAM in Norway. Not everyone is supposed to be a missionary, but we´re all called to be involved in missions.

The whole magazine can be seen here:



Our two girls

We are very thankful that our little girl is growing really well. She is four months now, and has reached two milestones; rolling over from back to belly and eating solids (smushed pears). She has also started to sleep in Ana´s room during the night.
Ana is also doing very well, she enjoys school so much that she keeps setting up her own classrooms and lesson plans at home. A few days ago was obligatory skiing-day at her school. Something that was all new for both me and Marina, luckily there are many people in our community that can help us make sure Ana had all the right things for ski-day. Skis waxed and all.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Three of my favourite work-things of this year



Hello, here´s a little end of the year update from me and the rest of the Middag-family.
Our littlest Middag is almost three months, she is sleeping well, drinking well and growing well. We really enjoy seeing her smile back at us when we talk and play with her.


This year´s Christmas party at Grimerud was combined with the monthly 
big dinner-party that we  host for the refugees in the area. Most of
the people that come for this dinner are Muslims, and this year we had an
clear presentation of what Christmas means for us and why we celebrate it.


Ministry in 2017

It certainly has been a good year for us, firstly because our dear daughter and sister Liv Elise was born, but we can also look back on good work in missions this year. I want to name three of my favourite things of the past year:
  1. In the spring I started to put together a manual for how we make Mot Målet. Even though I have been making this magazine for a long time, I still thought it would be helpful to put all the how-to´s of magazine making into one file. It ended up to be much bigger than I thought it would be, especially because it also involves a website and social media.
    In the end it was a very helpful document to have for myself and to share with others that help out with making the magazine.
  2. I´ve had an "mission builder" work with me right at the time that Liv Elise was born. A mission-builder is someone who volunteers short-term to “lift up the arms” of frontline missionaries through practical, hands-on service. Elise, the mission builder, worked with hospitality and graphic design while she was here. She was able to take over a lot of my work for Mot Målet so I could be with my family.
    If being a mission builder sounds interesting to you, and you would like to serve missions anywhere in the world with your skills, please have a look at www.missionbuilders.org
  3. Since the time we were in England for Marina´s TESOL course, I have been putting my own expertise in illustration to good use for front-line missions by making illustrations for Wycliffe Bible translators. I have contributed to a database of thousands of images depicting words used in the text of the bible. These images are used as a visual reference for national translators to translate the bible into their own language.When people can read God´s word in their own language, it becomes a God´s message for them.
    It´s nice to work with communication in Norway, it´s much more valuable to me to be able to do something for peoples that don´t have any bibles at all. See more about Wycliffe´s projects here.

    These are the latest four images I have drawn for Wycliffe, Marina was happy to pose for these pictures.

Martha


Vain/Vanity


Rebekah


Vashti


Visas

Nothing has changed with the visa-application since the last time. We are still waiting to hear from the authorities about our case. Please keep on praying with us that our case will come through quickly and favourably.


Happy new from all of us here in Norway,
God bless you in the year to come!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Liv Elise Marques Middag



She is here

Two weeks ago, on the 16th of October at 06:06 our sweet little Liv Elise was born at the hospital in Elverum. At birth she weighed 3740 grams, and was 53 cm tall. So far we have come to know her as a quiet baby that sleeps a lot, drinks well and cries little. Ana is really proud to be a big sister, and keeps telling everyone about the baby in our family.
My parents have been here since the beginning of last week, and have been a great help with all kinds of small things around the house, or spending time with Ana when Liv Elise needs our attention. This weekend, also Marina´s brother and his girlfriend have been visit, all the way from Brazil.




Her name

Once we knew our baby was going to be a girl we started thinking and praying about what her name was going to be. Me and Marina have some differences in how we want to decide and process things, but in the end we are really happy that we can call our girl Liv Elise.
«Liv» is originally a very old norse word, which meant refuge. In today´s Norwegian, it is the word for life. «Willem», which is in my name also means protector or protection.
The name «Elise» came out of our time in praying for our girl while Marina still was pregnant, it means dedicated to God. As parents, we want her life to be dedicated to God, and will raise her with that purpose.
She has both our last names, which is normal in Brazil. And in this way she will share a last name with Ana, who does not have my last name.


For the baby-room, I have spent a month or so working on this collage.
It is themed around our choice for the baby´s name.
The caterpillars and butterflies signify God´s promise that all things
will be made new. The hiding mouse and bird signify refuge.


Work and visas

Marina is with maternity leave now, and there are others that are taking over her responsibilities as the kitchen manager. I have been able to be with my family all this time since our little girl was born, but soon we have to start working on the next issue of Mot Målet. I had not posted about the newest issue yet, but that one is available at www.motmalet.no
We are still waiting for the visas for both girls, we should have gotten an answer for more than a month ago, but it seems that they still have not started looking at our case yet. Please keep praying that the visas of the girls will come through soon.

While I am at home with the family, I do have some time here and there to keep drawing bible-images for Wycliffe Associates work to speed up bible translations into all the remaining languages that do not yet have a bible.
We have heard very good reports from the work where the images have been used alongside bible-translation in different countries in Asia this summer. Here are some of the recent images I have drawn (Winepress, Wineskin and Unleavened Bread):




Sunday, August 20, 2017

We are waiting for new things

It´s like advent

Marina is past the 32nd week of her pregnancy, and the due date for the baby (19th of October) is coming closer. We are preparing our house, and pretty much the rest of our life, for the arrival of our baby girl. For me who has never had a daughter born, the whole time of preparation made me think of advent (the Norwegian version). We buy a lot of things (even a car), people give us things (lots of newborn-baby clothes, thanks everyone) and move our stuff around in the house and decorate the baby corner. It´s like advent, we´re anticipating the birth of a child. Our child.
Both Marina and the little girl that is growing in the belly are very healthy and active.


Our beautiful pregnant mom in the family,
picking cherries in our friend´s garden.
  


The family car

Yes, we suddenly, and finally have our own car. It´s a Zafira. It´s a very nice family car, with a lot of space for Ana´s car seat, and soon for the baby seat and stroller. Another family that has been living at Grimerud for the last four years needed to sell their car, because they are going to the middle east as missionaries. We were able to finalize the purchase and the paperwork just in the last days before they left. We will be able to pay for the car with the money we will receive because of the baby.



We are so happy we got our own car now.

Waiting for visas

I have not mentioned this on the blog before, but we are in the process of applying for a family-reunification visa for the girls. They have used up their four years as volunteer workers here in Norway, and for us as a family to be able to stay in this country we needed another visa. We have sent in the application already before we went to England. With a processing time of half a year, we hope to get the visa before the baby is born. It´s a bit of a tricky and unusual visa situation, but all families we know that have applied in similar situations have gotten their visa´s granted. Please pray for us about this.

We´ll keep you updated

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Back from England with a growing baby, ready for big school.

TESOL in transit

We´ve come back at the beginning of June, and we are very happy to be back in our own home. Our own beds, our own kitchen our own bathroom. And especially all the people here at Grimerud.
We plan to be at Grimerud this summer, where we will work practically with some events. We don´t have plans to go any places on vacation.
Now that we have completed the TESOL in England, we want to go on and offer english-teacher training in Norway as well. What this is going to look like, and how we are going to do this is still something we are trying to figure out.

Big school for Ana

The day after we came back we visited the school that Ana is going to go to after the summer. It´s going to be a big class with 19 kids. The school is called Hedemarken Friskole. The school is half an hour away from where we live. YWAMers started this private christian school 25 years ago, and in it´s time it was the first private school in the country. Most families that live at Grimerud have kids that go to this school. About half of Ana class are kids she knows from the preschool here at Grimerud.
After having gone to a public school in England, we see that Ana is very ready for big school.


Ana´s new school-class.


The baby

The second day after we came back we had an appointment with the midwife. Our baby is very healthy and active, and everything seems to be okay. At the first appointment we couldn´t see the gender yet, because the umbilical cord was in the way. At the second appointment, the midwife was as sure as she could be that our growing baby is a girl. Watch the video below to see Ana´s reaction to the big news.



Burning Bright

Just this week, we had a little party with «Burning Bright», the children´s dance-group we started last winter. Since the seven months we started the group, many kids have joined us. We have been able to do three projects in this time, with different dances for each project. Towards the end, the oldest kids even made their own group where they themselves prepare some parts of our weekly rehearsals.
It´s great to see the little and the big kids grow in confidence of expressing themselves, even on stage in front of a lot of people.


The kids of our dance-group «Burning Bright»,
We´ve had a lot of good times and performances since we started this winter.


What I do

Besides the practical work here at the base, I am hoping to do a few dozen more illustrations for Wycliffe. Their project-deadline is in July, and it looks like that me and the other artists will be able to finish off some 300 key-words. Besides that, the summer is typically the time of the year to catch up on unfinished projects.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

TESOL England: Almost done already


Marina teaching, most of her students are Brazilian too. All future missionaries.


Finishing the TESOL

Our stay in England has felt like it has gone really fast, we´ve had very long days with the TESOL-course and everything. But it´s all been very good, but we´re looking forward to come home again to Norway. Marina has been having good results on her course, and is always very happy to be teaching English again.
Ana has been having a good time at school, even though it is all so different from what she has been used with in Norway. She is happy to have made new friends, and have new teachers.
But the thing that really motivates her is reading books. When I pick her up from school at the end of the day, the first thing she does it to show me the new book the school sends home for us to read.



Before we travelled, we made sure we packed
our Norwegian flags, so we could celebrate the
Norwegian national day.
 



One of the pictures I drew for Wycliffe.
 

What I have been doing

I have had my taste of «Stay-at-home-dad» while I have been here. Taking care of our apartment and of my family. It´s been a new role for me, but it´s been good. Once Ana is in school I´ve had the time to make more illustrations for Wycliffe´s list of keywords for bible translation. More on my tumblr-blog.
For YWAM Norway, our second issue of Mot Målet got moved to the summer, so I don´t have to stress with that now. With the available work-time I´ve got now I´ve instead given a little hand the Norwegian version of the 30 Days of Prayer project. Next week, Ramadan will start, and during those 30 days many christians around the world are praying for the Muslim world.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TESOL England: First impressions



This is «the clock building». This is where we are staying on the second floor.
There is a café on the bottom floor, and I´m using the office space on the top floor (behind the clock).


TESOL

We´ve been here for a little more than one week, and it has taken us some time to get settled and into our new routine. Marina has started the TESOL-course, and Ana has been going to one of the public schools in the town.
Marina her class is quite small, only three students and two staff. But she´s very happy to be able to be here. As part of her course, Marina will be teaching English on the ECO-course (English Cultural Orientation), which is a course where people learn English. People take this course either before their DTS, or before joining a missions team where English is the team language.
The ECO-class that Marina will be teaching has six Brazilians and one Chilean, which is nice.

We´ve already made really good friends with one of the Brazilian families that is here for ECO-course. They have two girls that are around the same age as Ana. Marina will be giving classes together with the mother. And I hang out with the dad, he helps me with my Portuguese, while I help him with his English. And we talk about bicycles.



Ana is going to a British public school while we are here.
The day after we arrived,
we went to the big mall to get her a school uniform.


Wood End School

We see it as a miracle from God that Ana has gotten a place at one of the public schools in town. We had been a bit anxious about how the whole transition would be. The British school-system is quite different from the Norwegian YWAM-preschool that she is used with. But she is happy to go to school, and takes in all the new thing quite well, the uniform, the homework. The school is a little more than a mile away. So, with a borrowed bike I bring her to school in the morning, and pick her up at the end of the day. We feel so blessed with all the people have helped us getting started here.


Some of the illustrations I have been making for Wycliffe this past week.
It´s so cool to be able to contribute to bible-translation with what I am good at.


What I do

In the first week I have been helping the girls getting started with their schools and schedules. I´m happy to be able to support my girls in this way. As a husband and parent, I want to make sure they can get the best out their time here.
Besides all the organising, I have started to contribute to an illustration-project for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Of the total of 6887 languages in the world, 3287 do not yet have a bible-translation. To speed up the global bible-translation work, they have asked artists to illustrate a few thousand key-words. The words that are the most important to bible translation. They hope to get all the drawings in by the end of this year, collect them and put them all in a kit that the translator can use to speed up their work of bible translation.
I am really excited to be able to be part of this project. Imagine that in our lifetime (perhaps only five years from now), there will be a bible in every language on earth.
I´ll be posting my illustrations for Wycliffe in my tumblr-blog.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Our family is growing


We can´t hide it anymore,
there is a little Middag-baby on the way.


A baby!

Whoohoo, we´re excited to tell that we´re expecting a baby in October! Just some days before my birthday. We had found out ourselves just before we were in the Netherlands for my sister´s wedding.
Marina and the baby are doing good. We have visited her doctor and the midwife here in Norway, we already got to hear the baby´s heart beat. Despite it being so early in the pregnancy.

Bit by bit we are preparing for the new member of our family, and the small apartment we have is filling up with clothes and other things that our generous friend have donated to us. But all of that will have to wait for another six weeks, as we are travelling to England tomorrow. Then at the end of May we will be back in Norway.



Our group «Burning Bright» was performing at the
local refugee-centre last Tuesday.
 


Burning Bright

Just last week we were at the local refugee-centre with the dance and drama-group we started half a year ago. It´s a dance group for young children, inspired on what is internationally known as King´s Kids. We´ve named our group Burning Bright.
Our group has twice perfomed simple dances and dramas during the dig dinners that we at Grimerud organise for the refugees, and twice our group has performed at a local church.
But over the weekend we took contact with the board of the refugee-place, and to our surprise they allowed us to have our Gospel-presentation now on Tuesday. After the presentation we had an easter-egg hunt outside with the refugee-kids.

Alright, that was the news for now. We are flying to England early in the morning tomorrow. In the next post I´ll share with you our first impressions of the place.

Happy Easter everybody!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Back to England, with my family this time


The YWAM Harpenden base.


What Marina is going to be doing

The tickets have been bought, it´s real. We are going to be in England from the 14th of April til the 30th of May. Marina has been accepted for the TESOL-course that we have been applying for since the end og last year. It´s going to be an exciting time for our family to be on a training-trip together for this one and a half month. It´s a little crazy to think that we have not been married for half a year, and we´re already travelling out together. Quite the YWAM missionary family.

TESOL is not just a YWAM-thing, it´s a internationally recognised method to train non-english speakers in speaking english (Wikipedia link). But english-teaching is in high demand in non-english speaking countries, as knowing english will potentially give people many more opportunities and advantages. Many of our missionary friends in the Middle-East and Central Asia have been involved with TESOL-training. It´s a great tool in missions to reach people.

Marina has for many years felt that God has been leading her to be a missionary by using english-teaching. The bible-passage that has been very central for her was from Ezekiel 3, where God calls the prophet that his mission is "not to people of a strange language".

What me and Ana are going to be doing

Ana will not be able to join an English public school while we are there. The application process is just impossible. So, our six-year old will hopefully be happy to mostly be with Marina in the classroom, and sometimes with me at the place where we are going to stay. There are several schools for Ana only a mile away, and I (as a Dutch dad) had been really looking forward to bicycling her to school and back every day, but that´s just not going to be working out. For most of the time I will be quite busy with the next issue of YWAM Norway´s magazine. Doing all the layout from across the North Sea.
It´s not the first time that we´re working this way, with me not being in Norway. It´s been done before two years ago, and I also was in England at that time. I was in London at that time for the Arts Internship.

Thank you to everyone that has been praying together with us in this step of our journey as a missionary-family. We really appreciate your prayers and support.