The beautiful Johannus organ is the first thing you notice when you walk into the living room of Berend and Dora de Wit in Hoevelaken. Berend sits down and under his inspired organ playing, all kinds of childhood memories come to mind. It touches and moves me.
Time for an interview with a striking personality who has served the BEM, now VIANOVA, for 40 years. No “ordinary” treasurer but a treasurer who is going to say goodbye.
How did you come into contact with the BEM, Berend?
“Through my sister-in-law Anneke Schellevis, who started the literature work in Belgium. Our first contact was the evangelisation campaign in Sint Truiden in 1975. We provided all kinds of handyman services. With Jan van ‘t Hof, a kind of father-figure for me, I went door-to-door for the first time in my life to talk to people about the things of God. First Jan spoke, and suddenly he said it was my turn. The moment I spoke with that lady at the door, my conversion actually took place.”
When I ask how this could be, Berend says that he noticed that his words were ” just coming out” and were used by God to touch this woman. There at that door in Sint Truiden, faith became something very personal for him, and that same evening for his wife as well. Johan Lukasse explained the Gospel in a tent meeting in Sint Truiden. Johan asked those present to give their lives to Jesus Christ. Both Berend and Dora changed that day. From that moment, Bible reading also became something completely new.
In 1979, Berend took over the administration of the BEM in the Netherlands. An administration system in Excel for “BEM/Onze Hoop” was custom made by him. This system is still being used! Even now it only takes 5 minutes per day to keep track of everything.
When I ask him which part of the Bible really touches him, Berend says the fact that God is faithful appeals to him the most.
And then he shared something very personal. He and Dora would have loved to have children, but their marriage has been childless. They were at peace with that. Above all, they wanted to do what God asked of them. The verse “feed the flock of God which is among you” gave a breakthrough: Dora worked in education for more than 40 years, and there she had children all around her; that became the flock she was allowed to tend.
When I ask Berend what his best memory is, he starts to shine. There are many different ones, but the best thing is when people convert. That is his greatest joy! The purchase of the Norton houses as the Mission’s new headquarters was also special. Johan Lukasse was interested in those houses, but where were the necessary finances going to come from? That need was not publicised further. One day Johan received a call from a lady. She wanted to meet him in Brussels, so Johan walked to meet her. This lady had a plastic bag with her. “Are you looking for houses in Brussels? This is for you.” It turned out to be bonds and cash, enough to cover a great deal of the sum needed to buy what would become the first of the Norton houses!
What should The Netherlands know about VIANOVA?
“That it is the former BEZ. That the methods are different but with the same intention to bring people to Jesus. The roots remain the same. People cannot live without the Lord Jesus Christ! As Dutch people, we must continue to pray for that! ” In addition, because Berent is stepping down, there must be a successor!
Berend’s greatest wish is that VIANOVA, by using and sharing the Bible, will see people decide to follow Jesus Christ. “We can and must insist on conversion!” When people repent and are born again, new congregations arise. That was the calling and it must stay that way!
THE TREASURER IS RETIRING
After 40 years, our treasurer Berend de Wit retired in November 2019, so we are urgently looking for a replacement for his work for the BEM/Onze Hoop Foundation.
This foundation channels around 95% of the daily gifts that come in for the workers in Belgium. This is tracked daily with the help of an Excel program developed by Berend himself. Someone with experience in Excel and with an accounting background can contact Peter. Thus you do not have to invent the wheel yourself, and we are always available to help you remotely via Team Viewer. A drive for mission and making available 5 minutes per day is a requirement. Every month a closure is made and the overview sent to our office in Zaventem. That costs you one hour of work once a month.
Do you recognise yourself in this profile? Then call + 32-2-2413015
Or e-mail: [email protected]
Kees van Velzen
VIANOVA Board of Administrators