Time and time again, it amazes me how God is a God of new beginnings. The Bible is full of examples that show God’s mercy and His desire to restore. He called us out of darkness into His marvellous light, and by doing so, He gave His Son for us! It fills my heart with gratitude when I see where I am today and realise where I could have been if it hadn’t been for God’s grace that saved me and guided me. I want to see that amazing grace restoring the lives of the people we work with today.
We are a Dutch family and moved to Constanta, Romania in 2019. Back in the Netherlands, Marcel worked for many years as a plumber and he is a carpenter. But we always knew that God was calling us to missions, so we tried to prepare for that and did a DTS.
YWAM Constanta has worked with the Turkish Gypsy community in the city for many years. They had the dream to start a wood working place for men of this community but didn’t have the people to start it. Little by little, God prepared our hearts and gave us vision for these people.
We live in such exciting times! It feels like standing in front of this empty field, nothing growing yet, it’s just dirt. But looking closer, we can see the first tiny plant popping its head above the mud. And it’s not yet time to celebrate or sit back, but it gives us a glimpse of the great harvest that can come.
In January 2020, we started small with hiring one guy. We taught him to saw, sand, burn wood, etc. We showed him God’s love and tried to let him know that his past doesn’t have to be his future. It was a time of great excitement and tough disappointments. Maybe we learned more than he did. He got baptized, accepted Jesus, and went back on the streets. We couldn’t keep him, but God can. We are back in contact with him and he is at Teen Challenge doing their program!
2020 wasn’t an easy year to start a new ministry. We have seen God move and are looking forward for more to come. We called this ministry, “Reclaimed.” It’s our desire to see guys being reclaimed out of darkness into God’s light. When we work daily with them, show them a different life and work ethic, we believe it will bring transformation, first in their lives, but also in the lives of their families and in the community. We see young men full of potential, beautifully created by God’s own hands, wasting their lives on gambling and drugs. It’s time to see something new. God has a different plan for their lives and with this ministry we hope to be a tool that God uses to raise up a generation of men that stand up as an example for their community.
Practically, we want to be a workplace that’s open 5 days a week, making furniture and home decor out of pallets and other reclaimed materials. We want to start small, hiring one boy, so we can invest in him and later with the workers who come after him. Little by little we are getting more costumers. We have a range of nice products we make, and are on Facebook and Instagram. Later this year we hope to have all the paperwork finished to be allowed to sell on markets and have a web shop.
Daily we want to have time with our workers to teach them what it means to be a follower of Jesus, so we will have one-on-ones, do small bible studies, and take them to our community times at the base.
So, we are looking forward to what this year will bring us! Please join us in prayer for our community and for starting this ministry.
Marcel and Tineke, Ivanna and Juda