Partner Newsletter
​June 2016
Dear partner,

How can we discern where God is at work, and how can we join in with God’s life-changing mission? We believe that God is at work especially in the margins of society, away from the fame and glory of worldly blessings, but with those who are poor and disenfranchised. We see this especially right now in Europe, as new communities start to arise in surprising locations, even within the women prisons in Albania!

This is why we have chosen the new year theme of the GZB, focusing on Europe: the church starts anew! God continues His work. In this newsletter we bring you first of all some news from our partners in Sub-Saharan Africa, because we want to bring under the attention the devastating famine that is creeping up on a lot of families in these countries. In addition, we have news to share about our yearly meeting day and our new policy plan, so keep on reading!


Emergency relief Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa currently suffers from the consequences of severe drought. Zimbabwe and Malawi have already declared the state of emergency in their countries.

Our partner churches in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique are handing out food to those who are least able to provide food for their families. These organizations do not only provide temporary relief, but are also keenly aware of the need to provide long-term assistance. This is why they hand out seeds to farmers in order to ensure they are able to plant crops for the next growing season.

The GZG offers help in the following locations.
- We help various organizations in Malawi to buy corn for distribution.
- The church in Mozambique offers a public health program in rural areas. Volunteers visit various villages in order to provide essential medical assistance and to distribute medicines.
Annual GZB Day on June 11
This year’s theme will be The church starts over! and focusses on the church in Europe. Many churches in secularized Europe are located at the margin of society. This situation might be a cause for concern and worry. Yet, the GZB discerns hopeful signs! In the midst of materialism and an increasing climate of distrust, new Christian communities are emerging. Christians share their faith with new enthusiasm because they have experienced the new life that is given in Jesus Christ. 

Different speakers will share how God is at work in their context, for example: 
- Samuel Foucachon works in Paris in the hip-and-happening neighborhood Quartier Latin. Many young people in this neighborhood are looking for meaning in their life, and Foucachon uses creative ways to engages this creative class. He started a small neighborhood church, which is attended by about 40 people every Sunday. 
- Vita Kariqqi Taja works in a women’s prison in Albania. She provides much needed pastoral council for the inmates. She provides Bible studies for the women and some of them have indeed become Christian. 
Multi-Annual Strategic Plan 2017-2021
One of our employers wrote: "We need a policy document that is not dusty and stuffy." This is our challenge: to write a policy document that is engaging and gives enthusiasm! Writing a policy document is a team effort: our partners, (former) mission workers, office staff and ordinary church members have participated in the process. We even held a big online survey in the Netherlands to find out how church members value mission and the work of GZB. Almost 1400 people responded.

The core value of the new policy document is that the goals we formulate for the work abroad are at the same time also goals for our own Dutch congregations. We strive for inclusive, open and welcoming church communities both abroad and in the Netherlands! 

We will keep you posted on the new developments, and as always welcome your thoughts and input as well. 
Report GZB-team Youth ministry
In our last partner newsletter we wrote about the new expert team on youth work that wants to support partner churches in the assessment and development of their youth work

The team recommends GZB to organize a small conference for church leaders and youth representatives in the fall. 

Read their latest report for more findings and conclusions! An important meeting they had was with Tanka Subedi (ITEEN) from Nepal, who visited the Netherlands last month.



GZB Worldwide Prayer Day on June 11

The annual GZB day is at the same time also GZB Worldwide Prayer Day! We ask all our partners around the globe to pray for the churches in the Netherlands and the GZB. A week before the annual GZB day, you will receive a special prayer bulletin with praise & prayer requests. We hope you will all join us in prayer!







Let's get introduced

Every newsletter we introduce you to one of our staff members. This time you meet Eleonora Hof, who will work at the GZB office for 3 months, before she will go to Union Theological Seminary in New York.

1.    What kind of position do you have within GZB?
As a policy advisor, my role is to provide input for the new policy document. My research in World Christianity and postcolonial studies provides material that is worthwhile to consider for the new policy document. For example: what can be the role of mission from the margins, mission from a position of vulnerability, in the contemporary context, and what are the ways that these ideas can be fruitful for the GZB? 

2.    You’ve almost finished your PhD in Missiology. Could you share a little bit about the topic of your research?
The goal of my research is to search for new and creative ways of being missional in a transnational context: a context in which the former strict borders of the national and the international have become fluid. I propose therefore to integrate national and international mission, in order to work more closely together as historic churches and migrant churches within the Netherlands. This requires the courage to be vulnerable: to move away from positions of superiority and control and to let oneself be seen in one’s openness and imperfections. 

3.    What do you enjoy the most in working for GZB?
I enjoy the wonderful friendly and spiritual climate. Having lunch together, praying together and walking together after lunch, and meeting at the start of the day for a prayer. I am greatly admiring how the GZB blends a professional outlook with a deeply spiritual attitude, and I am very grateful to be part of the team for a short while. 

4.    What does the slogan “Mission connects” mean to you?
For me, it means that Christ has reconciled us into one body. This reconciliation is the true source of connection. Because of Christ, we can be connected even though we are so different. Christ makes this possible! 





GZB website in English

The GZB website is now also available in English. It clearly explains the vision, work areas and programmes of the GZB. The Spanish website will be ready in the summer. Check it out now!
GZB website

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