Netherlands Partnership Adds to FBCO’s European Presence


In March, FBCO started a new European project with IMB (Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board) members in the Netherlands. The partnership marks a second work for FBCO on the continent along with ministry partners in Scotland.

The Netherlands is informally known as Holland. In the late 19th century the Dutch were overwhelmingly Christian. More than 60% of the population was Protestant and 35% was Catholic. Today, one Dutch report claims that 50% of the population has no religious affiliation, 43% is Christian (largely Catholic), Islam represents 5%, and the balance is other religions.

FBCO mission team member Jennifer Williams said the group’s purpose focused on working “with local missionaries in their efforts to share the Gospel with Turkish people living in the Netherlands, specifically Turkish women.” Turks represent Holland’s largest ethnic group. Missionaries’ names are undisclosed due to the sensitivity of working with some people groups.

During March 25 through April 2, FBCO’s team worked with IMB personnel in Rotterdam, the nation’s second largest city. FBCO team leader Rob Simmons, Carol Dotson, Leah Turnbaugh, and Rick and Jennifer Williams comprised the mission team.

“We had multiple community outreach meals and activities in which the Gospel was shared,” Jennifer said. Ministry with local women included sharing meals, creating crafts, and just chatting.

One particular meal was a trip highlight, Jennifer said.

“We were able to have a meal with several Turkish women in which they taught us how to cook traditional Turkish dishes and we taught them how to cook an American dish (cheesy potato casserole.) We were able to share our faith in some ways through ice breaker questions while eating dinner.”

“Some were very interested but still had many questions. It was a special time of sharing that the missionary intends to make a regular activity.”

While the FBCO women primarily worked alongside the missionary’s wife with women, Rob and Rick had other duties.

“Rick and I got to support and encourage the husband,” says Simmons. “Rick and I were with him several days helping to make connections for him in the community where he works.”

Jennifer said the team was also able to encourage the missionaries, “who have been fairly isolated on the field for almost a year. We were also able to contribute toward some of their long term goals by helping them create Gospel-focused events that they intend to make regular occurrences.”

She says the ongoing need for the missionaries in the Netherlands is prayer due to their isolation. “They serve in a very secular place in which there are very few believers.”