This incredible story from Jonathan and Esther, based in Rotterdam and working with 24-7 Prayer Netherlands, is such an encouragement of God’s provision and answered prayer!
Three and a half years ago God called me and my wife Esther to Rotterdam to start a movement of prayer, support the church in unity, and create a place from which new social enterprises could originate.
It all started when we prayed for God’s guidance in our lives and received the invitation to come to Rotterdam to support a movement of prayer. However, at first, we weren’t that enthusiastic, as we felt that there was already so much Christian mission there. So, we decided to pray about it for two weeks.
During this time, I attended a conference and before it began, a senior pastor spoke these words to me: “At this conference God is going to speak and it will change the course of your life, do listen” – as I did so, I realised the conference was focused on the transformation of the city. At the end, someone else came to me and said, “You are thinking of moving: God says that you should go.”
I went outside and said to God: “If this is about Rotterdam, you have to be clearer”. At that moment I was reminded of a social media video clip of the honouring after the championship of Feyenoord [a Rotterdam football team] a few weeks prior: 150.000 people gathered on the famous Coolsingel [an area in Rotterdam] singing one of the club-songs: “You’ll never walk alone”. God told me: "This is what is on My heart."
God told me: "This is what is on My heart..."
When I arrived home we gave it back to God, involved advisors and dedicated this journey with friends and new contacts in Rotterdam to God, praying: “Lord, we don’t know what exactly you are asking from us but here we are: please guide us.”
The following years were challenging, as we started looking for a location where we could live with a team and set up a house of prayer, looking at dozens of locations. We moved towards a small village near Rotterdam to be closer to the city but still couldn’t find anything we could afford.
We returned to God in prayer and asked if we had heard him correctly. After years of searching we weren’t sure our dream was achievable, which brought us to the question: would it ever succeed? Together with our team we gave our plans, desires and the location back to God. We felt God was asking us “How long are you prepared to wait?” Painfully we decided to say to God: “even if it takes longer, we are prepared.”
“even if it takes longer, we are prepared...”
Later that evening someone got in touch with us: “I have heard about your longing. I would love to give a building to your ministry….”
We were blown away by this offer, especially as I had said, just the previous evening, “where are all these people who give buildings to God for his purposes?!”
And then, just three days later we got an email about another location we had our eyes on, with an offer to be able to buy it under market value! More than three years of searching and in one week we got two buildings!
The buildings are situated in a neighbourhood with 30% Dutch people and 70% different cultures, representing the city of Rotterdam.
One location is in the centre of this multi-cultural, bustling neighbourhood – the perfect place to be close to people. The other location is a three-minute walk around the corner and a totally different world; green and quiet; the ultimate place for prayer and reflection.
We couldn’t have made this happen so perfectly. So on 6 March we’ll move and continue our adventure with God and a beautiful team of people.
Find out more about 24-7 Prayer in the Netherlands on their website.