Three days of teaching are now completed here in The Netherlands. Teaching a week-long course here in Badhoevedorp (outside Amsterdam) has been such a blessing, and a wonderful experience. My class of 15 or so Masters-level students is learning the material well, and we are walking together in the work of pastoral counseling. One theme for us throughout the course is that we are "redeemed and yet we are being redeemed" as well as "resting in the same gospel that we are giving to our counselees". Students from many different countries gather here for seminary training and then leave to touch multiple continents with the Gospel. It has been a blessing to sit at meals with students and teachers alike and talk theology, coffee and more. It reminds me of the stories I've heard about the Old Princeton...the Princeton of Machen and Warfield, where students and faculty studied, ate, and did aspects of life together.
Today's lunch (by a wonderful cook by the way) was a traditional Serbian Christmas meal (they celebrate Christmas on the Eastern Calendar there in Serbia--so near January 6/7) because of some of our Eastern European students. So, our small little band of teachers and students shared in this meal (money baked into bread and all!). This afternoon, a took a walk into the village with another Prof to go to the supermarket--who doesn't like a walk through beautiful European streets as the sun begins to set.
Everything is in English, which is helpful to me, and yet most of the students here speak multiple language. The academic standards are high, and yet the focus is able to be on preparing students here in Holland for ministry all over the world. I'm encouraged as I arrive at the dining hall each morning (ready for coffee) and see several students reading the Greek New Testament together in a reading group. Encouraged as I hear about the curriculum they have, and blessed by the international hospitality that abounds. I have written elsewhere about how I strongly believe in International Theological Education, and this place, like other places I have been is a special place, and a special part of that mission.
Tomorrow is teaching, as well as speaking in chapel. Glad to be here, and to be a small part of this 30 year old institution.