Partner Newsletter
Christmas 2015
GZB Partner Newsletter

Dear partner,     

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." 
                                                                                                             (1 John 5: 11)

Seasonal greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

We are looking forward to Christmas. Our Lord Jesus came to the earth to dwell among us. In Him we receive peace and joy. We wish you a very b
lessed Christmas. That it will be a wonderful time of fellowship in your congregations.

In this newsletter we share with you our news from the office. We hope you enjoy reading it! 



Expert team on Youth work
At the partner conference in January, we discussed the idea to start up an expert team on youth work that would support a selected group of partners in assessing and developing their youth work. Since 1 November, Kees Zeelenberg, Diane Palm and Esther van Maanen (see interview on the right) form this expert team. All of them have much hands-on experience with youth work in the church.

At the moment, the team is developing ideas and an action plan for 2016. They have held interviews with the regional coordinators and the director to get a better understanding of the pressing issues related to youth work among the partner churches. Next year, partner churches will directly communicate with the team. The team is a joint project of GZB and the reformed youth organisation HGJB. 
Diaconal programme 
"Project 10 27"
On 1 January, our new diaconal programme "Project 10 27" will be launched. The name is derived from Luke 10:27: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’.

Project 10 27 wants to support Dutch congregations in fulfilling their biblical task to take care of the needy, nearby and far away. Diaconal projects of our partners are presented to the congregations on the Project 10 27 website. Congregations can choose a project for an offering or as goal for a fundraising event.

Moreover, special activities will be developed for the Dutch youth. In 2016, diaconal experience trips are organized (e.g. to Mexico, Prague, Turkey), in which Dutch youth will meet believers from other cultures and can give practical help to existing projects. We believe this will be a wonderful faith experience, which will inspire them to become more active in their church and community. 
Emergency aid for refugees
In the last couple of months, we saw a huge influx of refugees to the Netherlands. As a result, the mission field comes more than ever to our doorstep. Many Dutch congregations are involved in activities for refugees. Last month, we sent all our donors a Gospel of Luke in Arabic and encouraged them to pass it on to a refugee or someone else who speaks Arabic.

In September, a joint emergency relief fund for refugees was launched by church-based mission agencies, coordinated by GZB.
Different partner churches provide aid to refugees on their way to Europe. From the relief fund, 25 projects of local churches were supported in Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey and Jordan. They provide food, clothes, shoes and hygienic products to the refugees. In Lebanon, we support education for refugee children. Rev. Karagouzian of the Armenian Evangelical Church in Lebanon has seen a lot, but he is still full of hope: “This is God’s world. He is still doing miracles. That’s why, I’m hopeful about the future.”

GZB joined other Christian organizations in signing a manifesto to stand up for the refugees. You’re free to use it in your own country and translate it into other languages.

GZB website in English

Finally, our website is now also interesting for partners! Read about our programmes or download the proposal and reporting formats. If you have any suggestions to improve the website, please let us know! The Spanish website is under construction.

GZB on Pinterest

Do you know Pinterest? It is the place to develop creative ideas by pinning items on boards.

From January onwards we will address different topics on our boards related to mission, which also play a role in our new Policy Plan. We will invite our mission workers to join pinning. As office staff we tested Pinterest last week. Click here for the boards we created about Christmas and Christian Family Life and start following us!


Let's get introduced

Every newsletter we introduce you to one of our staff members. This time you meet Esther van Maanen of the new expert team on wordwide youth work.

1.    Tell us a bit more about the new youth work team? What is its task?

We want to walk alongside the partners to address youth work. How can the youth have a full-fledged role in the congregation? How can we help them to grow in faith? We hope to support the partners, but also learn for our own youth in Holland.

2.    What kind of work did you do before?
I worked as a youth worker in a local congregation. I was mainly involved in policy development and the training of youth leaders.

3.    What do you enjoy the most in working with young people?
They are full of energy, eager to learn and in search of who they are. I enjoy talking with them and to see how creative and surprising they sometimes are. That also inspires me.

4.    What is the meaning of Christmas for you?
Because Christ became human and ultimately gave His life for us, I find salvation and an eternal life with Him. This fills me with joy and thanksgiving!



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