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London to Brussels 2013

To the heart of Europe.

Today was a great day. After spending the night on the street of the wooden cross, I said goodbye to my hosts German missionaries Berthold and Renatta.

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I had my new sidekick Ben, who followed my every move with his all seeing lens. He has taken almost 350 pictures of me in 2 days, and his camera still works.
This morning I awoke to the news, that I was a minor celebrity,  as I had made the dutch speaking newspaper.  I met a number of people who had read about me in the paper today.
So today we made it to Brussels at the heart of the European Union. Around lunchtime as we were passing the large Roman Catholic basilica, we met some priests outside,  who told me they thought what I was doing was inspiring,  with that we were promptly invited in for lunch.

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Those who are close to me will find the fact of me having lunch with a crowd of Catholic priests highly amusing.

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This is Ben my accomplice showing some of his pictures to one of the guys at the Catholic church.
We pushed on into the city, and had plenty of opportunities to share,  I was a little embarrassed at my lack of French literature,  but somehow we got by with Flemish and English tracts. I got mobbed on a couple of occasions by young people who had seen me in the newspaper, 

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The walk ended symbolically at a house of prayer just a stones throw away from European commission.  I joined with about 20 other Christians in praying for the Nation of Belgium.  God gave me some great confirming prophetic words, what a fantastic way to wrap up the walk.

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Men at Work

After be excellently hosted by fellow countrymen Geoff and Maggie Lee, I was dropped on to the N9 road to Aalst. Foolishly I forgot to take a photo of them before I left. Today was a day to meet working men, particularly those guys who dig up the roads.

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It seems that men love the idea of walking with the cross, many times on this walk, I have been told, “respect”.that respect often then gives me the chance to share the message of greater man than me. I hadn’t been walking long this morning, when I met Geert, who had just had an operation on his arm. He was keen to return to work,  but wasn’t sure how successful the operation had been. After talking about Jesus for some time, I prayed for Geert for physical healing.

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Later this morning,  I spoke to more workmen,  Patrick and Cristoph. They were keen to talk,  and got out of their truck for a chat.

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Also on the road a car pulled over, and I gave a roadside interview to a journalist Herman Laneau, I don’t know what will come of it

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As I passed through one town, a guy came over to give a croissant, followed shortly by two lovely ladies Els and Galina who gave me coke and water. All through this trip God has given me so much favour with ordinary people.

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At lunchtime I met up with Ben, the photography student,  he tracked me on my journey into Aalst, and hopefully we will see some wonderful pictures of what I have been up to.
In Aalst itself I hade many conversations with people from all walks of life. I was able to pray with an older guy Willy who had a hernia issue.
At the end of the day Ben was able to help me get to my hosts for the night. My address tonight is Houtenkruisstraat, which translated into English wooden cross Street.  How cool is that?
Tomorrow is the last day of the walk, I plan to be in Brussels by 6pm, and will be joining with a group in the city who regularly pray for the nation.

The Father’s love

Firstly apologies for the late posting of this blog, but I have been out all day. Together with my hosts, I went to every nation church Gent, for a morning and evening service. The Church is only 3 years old,  but the 2 services pulled in 145 people in total one of their best attendances of the year, no mean feat in a supposedly difficult country.
Also I must apologise for the lack of pictures too, although my official photographer Ben, came to the evening service and took some pictures of me, I haven’t seen them yet. I spent the afternoon in Gent a beautiful city with my hosts Geoff and Maggie where I was shown the sites and enjoyed some of the local food.

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In the evening I had the chance to share, I was able to give testimony of all the wonderful things that God has done in just the last few weeks,  then Trevor the pastor reprised his morning’s sermon on how God wanted us as a family, one ofbthe church’s foundational values.  At the conclusion I spoke about the Spirit of Adoption,  and a number of people were significantly moved and affected.
Tomorrow I walk on to Aalst, where I have accommodation with a chap called Berthold, who contacted me by email a couple of days ago. I will be joined on the walk by Ben the photography student at lunchtime. Please pray for these last two days that they will be fruitful.

Multiplied blessings

What a fantastic day, after a great nights sleep,  and a fantastic buffet breakfast at the hotel Shamon in Eeklo, it was time to hit the road again. The sun was shining and the birds were singing all was good with the world. I had only travelled a few hundred metres when a car pulled in front of me. An older man called Josef, got out. It turned out that he was a believer, and he was so encouraged to see me walk with the cross.

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The first 15 kilometres of today was mostly long straight open road, however about 5 kilometres along a car pulled in the driveway of a house in front of me, as I passed Maurice and Paula invited me in for a drink.  They had married in the Catholic Church but were not devout, I shared something of the grace of God with them, and was able to pray with them too.

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Shortly after this I had a phone call from a guy came Wim, who I had spoken to in De Haan on Thursday. That night he couldn’t sleep as he kept having terrible thoughts of being permantely separated from the love of God. He had a christian friend,  who prayed with him and he gave his life to Jesus. It is so encouraging to play a small part in God’s divine purposes.
As I approached Ghent, I had several conversations with passing motorists and cyclists.  One guy Ben came and spoke to me, he’s doing an photography course, and has to to present 10 pictures telling someone’s story. He approached me and asked if I would be his subject.  I agreed,  he is coming round to talk tonight,  and will come to church tomorrow.  Then on Monday he will follow me with his camera as I walk on to Aalst.
As I entered Ghent I had plenty of opportunities to share particularly with students

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The sun gave way to rain, and I had a couple of mishaps, firstly I dropped my tablet, whilst talking to an elderly man, sadly the screen is cracked.  A short while later I also slipped in a subway , nothing was hurt but my pride.
Geoff my host had been alerted to my impending arrival, by a friend who saw me pass his his house with the cross.
My new friend Geoff saw me two weeks ago, walking with the cross, through Thornton Heath London.  He felt the Holy Spirit say to him at the time, take note of this man, little realising that I would turn up on his doorstep 2 weeks later.

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Geoff and his wife Maggie have been involved in planting a church in Ghent for the last 3 years, and treated me to a proper English roast dinner.  I will be worshipping with them tomorrow.

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On my bike

Today, I overslept,  clearly all this exercise makes me sleepy, I said goodbye to my hosts Patrick and Anja and hit the road. Patrick and Anja, have particular ministry to bikers across Belgium. It was foggy this morning, and I lost my bearings for a short while, but an elderly lady put me on the right track.

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As soon as I hit the main road, a guy called Patrick called me over to ask what I was doing, when he found out, he called out the owner of the motorcycle shop Thon. We had a good chatand I left them both with a gospel tract.

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I pushed on towards Maldegam, where I stopped for lunch, I was able to share something of Jesus with the staff in the sandwich bar and 3 soldiers who were impressed with my physical achievement.
Then as I passed through the town centre,  I was given a round of applause by a group of students,  who were keen to hear about Jesus.

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Later in Maldegam, I met another guy Gino who topped up my water bottles,  he claimed that he was a christian,  but didn’t go to church much anymore.  Hopefully our meeting will have encouraged him to continue in the Lord.

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I walked on to Eeklo where I had a conversation with a doctor who had just told someone they had 6 months to live and found it hard to believe in a gracious and compassionate God. A few minutes later I met a lady whose girlfriend had been diagnosed with breast cancer,  I was able to pray with her for healing and that the Lord would reveal himself
Tomorrow I walk on to Ghent, where I will be spending the weekend.

In Bruges

Today was an easier day of walking, and boy did I need it. The first 10 kilometres was open country. For a country with not many Christians I got a lot of honks, waves and thumbs up.  One dear old sister got her son to pull over so she could talk to me and bless me.

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I made Bruges in good time, to find it was over run with tourists,  despite the language difficulties,  I was able to share the good news, with a Russian, some Italians and Japanese tourists.

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The highlight of the day came at lunchtime,  no pubs with free beer this time. Last night the only food I could find was from a traditional Belgian chippy, basically they deep fry everything.  Today, I thought I would buy some lunch, but not anything deep fried.  I passed a Domino’s Pizza, and felt deep within my being, that this was the place.
I went in and ordered medium bbq chicken pizza plus a portion of chicken wings at 17 euros. I know it’s extravagant but I allowed myself this treat. When I told the guys what I was doing they refused to take payment, and gave me a can of sprite, then two bottles of water for the road. These guys are Muslims,  you have got to love cross cultural evangelism.

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My new muslim friends Soufiane and Amaooeri.

Then to top it off as I left, one of them gave me €20 for the journey.  You can’t make this stuff up. God you are so amazing. I have been learning to give thanks in scarcity and abundance.
God has been helping me overcome judging people by worldly standards, but to regard  people in the Spirt ,muslim evangelism is fun. I have also on this trip twice shared the gospel with trans-gender people. Usually these people are not on our radar,  but Jesus loves them all. If we love people enough, we will go where we are uncomfortable in order to share the love of Jesus.
Tomorrow I head in the general direction of Ghent, I am not sure which town or village I will end up in,on Friday night. Please pray for wisdom.

I do like to be beside the zee sijde (apologies for the spelling).

Today, I said farewell, to Oostende, but not before I bought a replacement nut to hold the cross beam on, it cost the princely sum of 30 cents.
I shared a room with a young guy of 20 Gunther,  whose heart sank when he saw me come into the hostel,  and heard he would be sharing his room with a wild eyed street preacher.
He made it clear, he wasn’t a believer, but as we chatted he asked more and more questions.  As I told him the stories of what had happened that day, particularly the way the Lord had provided,  he gave me some money. I was amazed, but said I would get a kebab with it, no he insisted go to the Italian restaurant on the corner and gave me even more cash. What could I do, so I ate hearty meal last night.
To leave Oostende I had to take the foot ferry before walking another 20 odd kilometres to Blankenberge.

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I had several good conversations with folk, and after a while met only the 2nd Christians in 3 days. Roger and Rita, as we talked a crowd gathered and Jesus was the centre of conversation.

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Some while later I was chased up the road by a young man named Fons.  His father had driven by and seen me, and he wanted to find me to discover what it was all about . What a wonderful chance to talk about the saviour.

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Later in the afternoon I passed a small bistro in De Haan, the proprietor Helen, literally ran out of yhe door to invite me in for a drink,  I declined beer this time, I was able to share with her family staff and customers.

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It started to rain again in the afternoon,  this is Belgium after all. Eventually I made the hostel to find no one there, a quick phone call soon got me in guest number 6 in a 80 bed hostel.
So I say goodbye to the North Sea and push inland to Bruges tomorrow

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Miracles of salvation and provision

Today was a key day for the whole mission.  I left the youth hostel in Oostduinkerke, with just under €20 in my pocket not enough for a room, but enough for food.
When I arrived in France on Saturday,  I felt discouraged as most of my financial resources eere stripped away in a single day, I felt lonely and isolated.  However things picked up through going to church on Sunday, and I resolved to have a happy heart.
This morning I resolved that if I had to sleep in the open air,  then I would in order to continue the walk.
The morning weather was overcast with sunny spells, and I had several opportunities to speak to groups of people in Niuewport. Some curious police officers,a group of old boys,and some swiss cyclists.

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As I passed Niuewport,  Satan had his last dig, the bolt fell of the cross beam, and the cross fell apart in my hands. As Made a makeshift repair the heavens opened and it started to rain. I just laughed.
As I was passing the town of Middlekerke, the key moment came that sets the tone for the rest of the mission. As I was passing a bar, a shout went up accompanied by laughter.  This was an encounter not to be missed. I was invited in, and the landlady Mimi offered me a free beer,which would have been rude to decline. There was a lot of banter, but I was able to share some good news with Mimi and her customers.  One of them Fernand gave me 10 euros, which meant I had enough for a youth hostel,  I could have kissed him,which is of course culturally acceptable.

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From here on, it was all about getting to Oostend,  particularly as the wind picked up and I struggled to walk along the sea front.

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Almost as I reached Oostend,  a car pulled up at the side of the road and a large guy walked over followed by a blonde lady. Stefan had been driving past, when he saw the cross.  He felt compelled to come over and talk to me. His girlfriend Vera was a christian,  but Stefan was not yet, he confided in me thst he had a drink problem and was desperately unhappy.  I shared Jesus and my own story, and was able to pray with him as he gave his life to Jesus.

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Stefan and Vera from Ypres.
I was singing as I walked along the sea front, as if I didn’t get enough strange looks already, as I came into Oostend I had many more opportunities to talk to people. And was given a total of €75 from 5 different sources 4 of them not Christian. God is awesome,  no sleeping in the sand dunes tonight.

Crossing borders.

This morning I said goodbye to the lovely Hubert and Morissette,  despite the language difficulties they were marvelous hosts, looking after not only me but Morissette’s mother of 102 and a small grandson too.

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Hubert, took me to the border, and so the walk began again in a third country.  For most of the day their was steady light rain and not many people about . However those I did meet were happy to chat.
Generally I have found people to be open to talking about Jesus, not as difficult as I had been told. I had a very discouraging email last night from a christian who thought that walking through Belgium with a wooden cross was odd and not appropriate for the 21st century. Well no one told the locals who regularly stopped to chat.
One guy Jean Marc paid for my frites and mayonnaise after the man behind the counter told him what I was doing.

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Jean Marc reading a gospel tract
I pushed on to Oostduinkerke, where I will be spending the night as the rain eased and the sun peeped through, People were even more willing to stop and talk.

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Tomorrow I walk on to Oostende, please pray for provision of a bed tonight and for the rest of the week. I have a bed for the last night in Brussels but nothing else. My faith is really being stretched.

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