Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Nico Kattenberg: New Mission Worker

Written by Nico Kattenberg
In response to a request for an article from our new mission worker, Nico decided to give a brief autobiography of himself to explain how he got where he is today.
Since most of you do not know who I am, I thought that it would be best if I gave a short summary of my life and my journey as a soon-to- be missionary. Hopefully by the end of the article you will have an idea as to who I am.

I was born on February 22, 1976, in Zwolle, the Netherlands. Shortly thereafter, we moved to the island of Curacao (Netherlands Antilles) in the Caribbean. We lived there for 7 years, while my parents taught at the main school there. Due to political reasons we had to move. In the mean time my dad accepted a position as teacher in Smithers, in northern British Columbia. (We first moved back to the Netherlands for 5 months to get our immigration papers.) We arrived in Smithers around Christmas time in 1983. The temperature had dropped to 30 below which was quite a shock to us!! However, we adapted easily and enjoyed our time there. After living there for 5 years, we moved to Chilliwack, B.C. where we have been living ever since.

After finishing high school, I was undecided as to what I should do. l had planned to take a year off to do some travelling as well as earn money. However, I had received a considerable amount in scholarship money so my dad suggested that I attend a Bible College. This was due to the fact that I was already interested in missions and had been to Cubulco in March of 1994. I decided that I might as well use the money to further my education, and realized that a better knowledge of the Bible would not hurt. However, I did not desire to be away from home in order to go to College. Northwest Bible College (on the same campus as Trinity Western University) was suggested to me as being a conservative college. I enrolled in the school with my major being in missions and cross-cultural studies. I attended Northwest for two years. During this time I also met a wonderful young woman whom I hope to marry in the near future.

Due to certain circumstances I decided to enroll at Columbia Bible College. This proved to be a good decision for several reasons: it was a lot closer to home; tuition was a lot less; they had a sports program; I was challenged, stimulated and experienced much spiritual growth. I enjoyed two wonderful years at this school. I appreciated the counsel and guidance of the staff. This past April I graduated, although I still needed to complete a three month practicum. (During this time I applied and was accepted as a fellow mission worker with Ken Herfst in Cubulco).

That brings me to my present situation. I have been in Cubulco for close to two and-a- half months now. The mission board as well as Ken Herfst have been kind enough to accommodate me in regard to fulfilling the practicum requirements. My time here is rapidly coming to a close, however. I have had a good experience here; one that has impacted me for life. I have been able to spend a lot of time with the Word of God. By reading that Word I have been burdened with the souls of the lost: not only in Cubulco, but across the globe. Tens of thousands of people die each day who have not been touched by the Light of the Gospel. I have become convicted of the urgency of reaching the lost.

Yet, my conviction did not come easily or with out cost. God had to change my desire and will. While I became burdened with the souls of the lost, it became quite another thing to actually step out of my comfort zone and do something about it. There have been times when I wished that I could have gone back to the comfort and relative ease of North American life and forget everything I saw. I wanted to forget all about mission work. I wanted to forget the misery and pain I saw. I did not want to face all the frustrations that come with living in another country. It was not easy knowing I would have to leave family, friends, security, dreams and goals.

And yet, when I read the Bible, I saw that this is what the life of the Christian is about: the denial of self and full surrender to the will of God. Jesus often warned His followers of the cost involved in being His disciple (Lk.14:25-35). Jesus also told the chilling story in Matthew 25:31-46, of what happens to those who do not reach out with Christian care and love to others. These people will be banished forever. If I refuse to forsake all for the sake of Jesus, I am not worthy to be His follower. He will say, ÒI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawnessness!Ó (Matt.7:23). This is a terrible warning for me. When I die it will not matter how many personal goals and dreams I have achieved, or how well I have used my talents and gifts for personal gain. What will matter is how I have used my gifts and talents for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. The only thing that matters when I appear before God is the everlasting impact I have made on the lives of others, by reaching out with the Light of the Gospel. When I appear before God, He will commend me on a good job if I have "multiplied my talents" for the furtherance of His kingdom (Lk. 19:11-27). That is the only thing that will matter. All my hard work at my job, or all the money I have saved or invested wisely will not matter.

I could write many more of my thoughts, but I will leave it at that. I have shared a bit of history about myself and my journey. Looking back, I see GodÕs wonderful hand, forming my life. I see how He has opened doors for me and smoothed the way. I must remind you that often I did not see His caring touch in my life or His gentle hand guiding me. I often felt lost and alone. However, I realize now that it was at these times when He was nearest to me and carried me. God has been true to His Word. Overflowing with love and grace, and compassion to those who love Him.

In closing, I would like to say that I look forward to serving God in this capacity here in Cubulco. The plans for the near future are as follows (D.V. of course). I return to Canada on December 1. Lia Kuijt (my fiancee, daughter of Rev. Kuijt) and I are to be married at the end of December. The following week we hope to go for a year of language study in Costa Rica, after which we will reside in Cubulco to begin full-time work.

We would appreciate your prayers during this busy time, as well as for the work here in Cubulco. "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few" (Matt.9:37).

Yours in Christ, Nico Kattenberg

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