Nine years ago, Alfa Wijnveen came from Portugal to the Netherlands. She only knew a little Dutch and was looking for something to do. Last year, she started working for GlobalRize and is now our Portuguese language team leader. ‘Every day I get to make a little world tour.’
‘Last year, Arjan (one of our team leaders, ed.) called with the question if I wanted to set up a Portuguese team,’ tells Alfa. ‘At one point, there had been a start on a Portuguese team, but it didn’t go very well. I answered that I didn’t think that it was something that I could do, but I was happy to do translations. So I translated courses and articles and when those were ready, I thought: I could become a mentor. After that, I thought: You know, I have friends who would probably also want to be mentors. Before I knew it, I was their coach.
Then there was the Portuguese Facebook page, where not so much was happening, so I started posting Bible verses and I started answering people who responded. I have contact with volunteers, and do marketing to reach more people, etc. Actually, I do just about everything!’ Alfa laughs her contagious laugh. ‘But I have the time for it and I love doing it!’
How does this work bless you?
‘For each task, that differs. When I am translating, I have to think carefully about it. With the courses, I think: How can I explain this in every-day language? I get to think more deeply about commonly known Bible verses, which at a second look are not really so common. There are so many treasures to find when thinking about the Bible, and I get to do that for my work! That’s beautiful.’
‘Then you have the students and others who send chat messages: they open their hearts, because it is so anonymous. And I think, ‘Wow, you don’t even know me, if I am trustworthy or not, and yet, you share your vulnerability and ask for prayer. I experience that as the connectedness of the church. I’ve never seen those people, never met them, and probably never will; yet, during that time of prayer we are bound together. The Universal Christian Church has come into my home, right in my living room.’
‘I work with people from different cultures: every day I make a little world tour. It’s so cool if you pray for someone via the chat and later that person comes back to say, ‘The problem has been solved. Thanks for y’all’s prayers!”
‘I was nervous about the work at the beginning. I thought, ‘I need to have a lot of Bible knowledge and experience.’ I see this same insecurity in my mentors, as well, they can be nervous about how to explain things. Right now, I am trying to set up a prayer team, so that we always have someone who is available who can pray for people by name when they ask for prayer. Some people who I ask to pray feel that their prayers are not passionate enough. We are always concerned that we will fall short. When Arjan first called me, I thought, ‘I can’t do this.’ But it is not my work, it is God’s work. He gives us what we need. He teaches us new things.’
‘It is a miracle to me that God sends all sorts of people and things along my path to facilitate my work. My son’s school hours changed, that made everything work out just right. God does the work and I watch what He is doing.’