Hello! Thank you if you came to this site. Our previous website provider Vistaprint wasn't our choice anymore to continue with. We are short on people to get the website up and running. If you like to help Stichting Local Body of Christ with that, we like to hear from you.
God bless you,
Joep de Kraker
founder and overall leader Stichting Local Body of Christ
Nederlands, தமிழ, Twi, Espanol, Français, 中文, አማርኛ, العربية, Deutsch, Ελληνικά, 日本語.
You can be part of the Local Body of Christ if you only want to be part of it. All it takes is to acknowledge that every Christian who lives in your locality is together the local Church. It's Jesus' prayer that we may be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:21 NIV).
In many parts of the world this can be done by contacting every christian within a neighbourhood through door-to-door ministry. The Local Body of Christ does this ministry. We want to see a Local Church set up in each neighbourhood.
Are you touched by this? Please click on Contact Us.
You need Flash Player in order to view this. Global UnityA video produced for The Christian Chain Foundation (www.thechristianchain.org). This is the beginning video for the Sermon Series by Christopher Warrington on Church Unity.
bi-weekly updated blog & prayer requests
September 18th 2016
Our leader LBOC Australia has done door-to-door ministry in Nakuru, Kenya where he lives. He has visited the part of Free Area which lies between Smiles Pub and Hillcrest Secondary School. This can be seen on Google Map. There are many Christians in that area and many of them are interested in a local church in their area. None of them were according to the latest report not interested though in having that local church in a home or outside or in a local public building for which they have to pay the rent themselves. 3 of them were interested in a local fellowship (not a church) and 2 meetings have happened which took place in a home. The content of those meetings was according to the latest report a combination of spiritual and leisurely activities. The first meeting was in the home of our leader LBOC Australia. The 2nd meeting was in the home of one of the 3 persons interested in a local fellowship. It remains to be seen yet whether more people are interested in a local church or local fellowship in the area he visited as he has done some follow-up which seemed to confirm that more people are going to meet locally for either a local church or a local fellowship. He started this month September with it. He will proceed in a new neighbourhood as well as seek to establish one or more local churches as well as one or more local fellowships.
Our leader LBOC South America and North America has brought LBOC in c ontact with an external consultant with whom we are communicating now about fundraising (not among private people but with companies/organizations).
our co-worker in North India needs prayer for his wife who had fallen and has quite severe back problems now. The ministry seems to have halted until November upon which brother Samson hopes to continue LBOC ministry again in Saprai Kothi where he lives.
Other people in our ministry (brother Obadiah of Kakamega) has had phone contact with our leader LBOC Australia in which he received training and in which they had fellowship. Brother Obadiah has a team of about 10 people. It is unclear how they are doing with the ministry. The things he shared show that they try to do LBOC ministry but it is not clear yet whether it is done according to the LBOC vision.
September 4th 2016
We have a couple of new people in our ministry. A leader LBOC Kakamega town in Kenya. He has a team of about 10 people with him. We also have an external consultant who has offered to help LBOC with fundraising. He is not part of our ministry. He is like a mediator between LBOC and those organizations who want to donate. We also have a new person who has a degree in theology and who is single, unemployed and without funds but who is willing to get a job as a theology teacher in order to be able to funds LBOC with at least 15,000 KES (€130) a month. We are working with contracts and digital signatures now. We have sent our first newsletter in years. Please pray for everything to go forward. Our leader LBOC Australia is doing fulltime door-to-door ministry in Nakuru, Kenya and he and his family are fully supported with food since 1-9-2016. He became homeless as part of the contract as he was 5 months behind with the rent. We praise the Lord for his commitment. His neighbour has taken him and his family into his home. We don't know if that is temporarily or for a long time. We trust that the Lord will provide. Please pray that the various things which are happening will work out properly. A link to the newsletter can be found in the Facebook account of Joep de Kraker and another link will be put on this website later on too if it works out.
August 22th 2016
I have sent an email on 18 August to brother Lazarus (previous leader LBOC Africa and now a co-worker) and to brother Isaac Muthengi (previous leader LBOC Kenya and now leader LBOC South America). In this email it is explained what and how brother Lazarus has to give back all things of LBOC including materials, funds if any and administration including contact details. He has to do so before 1 October 2016. Failing to do so would mean that he had cheated LBOC and that the 5000 euro funds donated to him over the course of 2 years have been a waste of money. It also would mean that he hasn't done a lot of ministry for LBOC during those 2 years. I expect and trust that he will not cause me to make that conclusion and will act properly in the hand over of these things. One month later after a good hand over he can be reinstated as leader LBOC Africa.
I am glad to say that we have 2 other full-time available leader LBOC continent. One for Australia which is brother Samuel from Nakuru, Kenya and one for South America which is brother Isaac Muthengi whom I already mentioned in passing. We also have a leader LBOC UK , brother Raphael Andende Oyombe (bloodbrother of brother Lazarus) which is great as I have done ministry in the UK at the start of this ministry and it is close to my home and I have an unlimited subscription to landlines and mobiles in the UK also while being there. We also have a new person in our ministry called brother Obadiah who is now leader LBOC Kakamega, which is a town about 100 km north-west of Nakuru in Kenya.
Our leader LBOC Asia and financial leader, brother Sansigithan is busy trying to get proof of his legal citizen status in India. He has been able to brought that issue to the high court in India which is a blessing. In the Netherlands he is an illegal and in India he should have Indian citizenship but he has never been treated as such as they consider him a Sri Lankan refugee. Whatever his status is in India will be provided with proof and dependent on that, he can decide whether he has a future in the Netherlands or that he can go back to India. In the Netherlands they consider him as a citizen of India which they shouldn't given that his citizenship in India has reached the high court. Whatever they decide is going to be binding. Please pray for brother Sansigithan to either get a full Indian citizenship or to get a residence permit in the Netherlands.
I had sent a policy change report to all the emailaddresses in my administration. Just about 60 emailaddresses. I have given a time limit till 1 September 2016 before which they have to respond. Failing to do so would mean that I put those out of their leadership or co-worker position and make them contactpersons. I don't have a ministry obligation to contactpersons. They are just handy to have and might lead to more leaders and co-workers in our ministry. So far only 3 people of those who were meant to respond have responded. 2 others responded too which was nice. It was not completely clear to me what the status was of everybody I emailed in relation to LBOC. Their repsonses were nice and made that clear. It looks though that our ministry will be very small considering the extent of the claims people in our ministry has made according to the size of it. I will base the size of our ministry upon facts and if there are reports indicating that our ministry is a lot larger, then that is just something we hope to see proof of soon. Up till the moment that proof is provided, our ministry will be the size it has based on proof which is currently very small worldwide. It will be much easier to decide who is worthly to get ministry funds from LBOC and who isn't. In this way we can ensure that our ministry will grow in a way which is provable.
August 10th 2016
As of today 15:05 CET, Anjere Lazarus Oyombe, known as brother Lazarus is not leader LBOC Africa anymore. He has disobeyed the leader LBOC world, brother Joep. He has been given 3 chances by way of official warnings. Today he got his 3rd final official warning. He will continue as a co-worker in Njoro, county Nakuru, Kenya under the leadership of the nearest in level leader which is according to my knowledge the leader LBOC subcounty Njoro or otherwise the leader LBOC Kenya which is at the moment brother Isaac. He will become leader LBOC South America though. When that happens, brother Ken will become leader LBOC Kenya. Brother Lazarus will have to give back all LBOC materials, funds (if he has some funds left with him still of LBOC if any) and he has to hand over all administration including all contact details of the 200 leaders he claims has come to be part of our ministry LBOC through his efforts mainly across Kenya but also in Uganda and a total of actually 14 African countries. He will receive instruction later this week (before Saturday 23:59 CET) through email how he has to hand over all these things and to whom and when. The main reason for putting him out of his leadership position leader LBOC Africa is that he didn't submit himself to the leadership of brother Isaac and that he didn't submit himself to be part of a committee consisting of brother Isaac Muthengi and brother Samuel Wangonya (both locals in Nakuru county and part of LBOC) for acquiring signatures for the registration of at least some of the estimated 5 leaders and 100 co-workers who are in Nakuru county according to brother Lazarus. As he refused to cooperate in the manner he was asked to, he makes it impossible to get a clear picture of the extent of his ministry for LBOC in Nakuru county. As that is where he lives, this was the first place to gather proof of the extent of his ministry. His claims as to the extent of LBOC ministry is said to be approximately 200 leaders and 10,000 co-workers across 14 different African countries. He has been our leader LBOC Africa for 2 years or maybe 3 years by now. He has received over 5000 euro in LBOC funds for direct ministry and for his upkeep. I regret that it had to come to this. I had hoped him to be leader LBOC Africa for the rest of his life but as he didn't obey and caused it to be impossible to gather proof of the extent of his ministry for LBOC in Africa, this was the only acceptable outcome. He can show to all the leaders and co-workers in LBOC that he has done a beautiful ministry for LBOC in those 2 years by acting correctly with handing over all materials, funds if any and administration including all contact details of the app. 200 leaders and contact details of app 10,000 co-workers or ways to get in touch with them through certain persons who have spoken on behalf of many co-workers. If he fails to do that or if he would only give a few contacts, that would show that he has deceived our ministry and has committed treason to our ministry LBOC and that the over 5000 euro funds have been a waste of funds which should never be allowed to happen anymore. Our leader LBOC world, brother Joep who lives in the rich country the Netherlands but who is on benefit, would have been able to save that amount of funds in 10 months with a good income like he has had while he was working in the administration and was living with his parents. He was able to save 500 euro each month then. In his current situation with a stable benefit he could also save 5000 euro in 10 months but only if he doesn't spend anything else besided his bills. He has currently several other expenses which makes saving 5000 euro a task which would take at least a few years if not several years. Let us hope that the bad example brother Lazarus has given us, doesn't extend to the ministry he claims to have done in the last 2 to 3 years for LBOC. It is in his hands to show to all of us IN LBOC that he has been a good leader or that he has deceived all of us and got lots of funds of LBOC which he misused for his personal benefit. If he acts correctlty with handing over all materials, funds if any and all administration including all the contact details of the app 200 leaders and 10,000 co-workers across 14 African countries, it will be a temporal situation in which he has found himself. He can become leader LBOC Africa later again in that case. Some time ago he proved himself not trustworthy with finances. He had received funds for a conference but as the conference turned out to be a scam (brother Lazarus as well as brother Joep were victims in this), I had requested him to give back the remaining funds. He didn't give those funds back but used them instead on the school fees of his children and/or other personal expenses. From that time on, the commitment I had to guarantee his monthly upkeep stopped. As he had broken his end of the promise, I wasn't bound anymore to guarantee his upkeep from my end. For LBOC this was a good thing as we got far more funds available for direct ministry. It was frustrating to realize that after 2 years of full upkeep support (so that we could have brother Lazarus as fulltime leader LBOC Africa ,the first and up till recent the only full-time leader/co-worker in our ministry) it was still not clear that the ministry for LBOC was done in the way it was meant to be done as the communication with brother Lazarus was still not set up properly due to all sorts of problems. We will keep you updated.
August 2nd 2016
Family circumstances caused a delay for this update. We now have somebody who is willing to be leader LBOC Australia and another one who is willing to be leader LBOC South-America. The plan is to focus on the ministry in Nakuru county in Kenya and to focus the available funds on that. The other location where actual ministry is being done is in North India with brother Samson. Ministry might start or continue again in Tanzania and Ghana but no funds are set aside for that right now until we have more funds available and it depends on those LBOC leaders/co-workers in these 2 countries whether the ministry will start/continue soon or not. I haven't heard a lot from them so I believe it is halting.
In Nakuru county, Kenya there are app 5 leaders and 100 co-workers. I want to focus on getting all of them involved and not being merely numbers who seem to be williing to be part of LBOC as a leader or co-worker. Up till now, the impression I definitely get is that our leader LBOC Kenya has done all ministry by himself and that has to change. He has brought a lot of people in contact with LBOC and many people have joined our ministry but they must start doing ministry and that is what is lacking now. Our current leader LBOC Kenya I am communicating directly with too for this very purpose. I am also communicating with our upcoming leader LBOC Australia who lives in Nakuru city, Kenya. He started as a co-worker but soon expressed his desire to get involved as a leader LBOC continent and this means that his focus is now on Australia instead of Nakuru county. Even he has to start a local church or fellowship to be able to speak from experience. That willl be done or tried in his own neighbourhood. Apart from that it remains to be seen whether it is good to involve him in the local ministry or to get that ministry going through the other 5 leaders and 100 co-worker none of whom I have contact details from. It remains to be seen when I will get those contact details as our leader LBOC Africa who has those contact names and contact details has a reason not to be able to give them or not be willing to give them. I do have the right to ask for these details as leader LBOC world but for now I choose another way to get verification of the extent of this ministry in Nakuru county.
July 4th 2016
A complete month has passed instead of the 2 weeks I intended. I got a request from one of our leaders to send a regular newsletter. I will consider to do that. I have informed him that I do my best to update this blog bi-weekly.
We have a business bank account now and I am administrating all expenses thoroughly. I am also investing strategically in leaders and co-workers in Nakuru county, Kenya where there are according to our leader LBOC Africa about 5-10 leaders ((I don't know the exact number) and app 100 co-workers. I have direct contact with a new co-worker and with the leader LBOC Kenya. Our leader LBOC Africa seems to be critical of our leader LBOC Kenya whereas I am not critical of the leader LBOC Kenya. We are working on this issue. We trust we will work it out properly.
I will focus on allowing as many as possible of the leaders and co-workers in Nakuru County, Kenya to get involved in the ministry. Until now, the impression is that our leader LBOC Africa has done all the ministry and that nobody else has been involved. That is not acceptable were it to be true. He believes to have a good reason not to provide me with all the contact details of the leaders and co-workers in Nakuru county. The risk is that these people will leave the LBOC ministry. Whether they are staying or leaving is therefore dependent on the diplomacy of our leader LBOC Africa. This is not an acceptable situation but I give our leader LBOC Africa de benefit of the doubt and I have given him free reign to sort it out. At the same time, I can't accept any longer to be lacking of clear proof of the extent of our ministry. Therefore I will be directly involved in the training of our leader LBOC Kenya and that of a co-worker and in funding their ministry expenses. At the same time our leader LBOC Africa needs to train our leader LBOC Kenya and they should have regular fellowship and prayer through the phone for which I have provided our leader LBOC Kenya with the funds for an unlimited subscription for mobile phone calls to landlines and mobiles.
One or two years ago I had bought a netbook which I sent to our leader LBOC Africa. He got a laptop for himself and he gave this netbook to our leader LBOC Kenya. The problem is now that the leader LBOC Kenya says that he has never received that netbook. It is not clear what has happened to that netbook and who has the netbook and why both persons say what they said.
Without regular email communication it is not possible to run this ministry properly in the way it is meant to be. I have recently sent an email to the leader LBOC Africa (he responded), the leader LBOC Kenya (he responded), the upcoming leader LBOC Europe (he responded), the leader LBOC India (he didn't respond), the leader LBOC administration (he didn't respond) and the leader LBOC West Africa (he didn't respond). I have to change the policy of concentrating the available funds for the leaders continent to those which are most able to do ministry with the funds they get. It is the question: What can a certain leader or co-worker do when they get €50 and can they have regular contact through email. The question is also what a certain leader or co-worker can do when they get as much as I can set aside per month. Although some leaders/co-workers contribute in some ways financially to this ministry, I as leader LBOC world spends the most money on it. By age 50 (less than 8 years to go) I will stop with tennis (if not before) and I might start with itinerant ministry then instead of continuing to lead this ministry from a 8m2 bedsit in the Netherlands. If that is to be so, there is all the time to prepare for that way of life and ministry. For now, I will see what can be done through whom and I will not make the leadership position of that person the most important point in deciding that he/she gets funding. I might go ahead to fund a co-worker instead. The main thing to me is that the actual ministry will go on. I will therefore send an email to as many leaders and co-workers as I have contacts from or otherwise contact them by phone later on and ask them whether they can have regular emailcommunication if they get funding for that and to ask them whether they have time and explain that if I am happy with what they do, I would love to give a lot more funding so that they can do even a lot more. Right now it is unclear why the leader LBOC administration and the leader LBOC West AFrica are not responding to my emails. They seem to be motivated, they seem to have the funds for their own internet access. That is what it seems to be. The facts are though that they take too long to provide email updates and that would mean that I would have to call them to find out what is happening for which I am currently not able to devote funds to. Apart from that this ministry should run with regular email communication. I continue to send reminders to them, hoping that I get the necessary email updates so that the ministry and ministry training can continue. The question is maybe how long I should wait before I have to conclude that it is somehow not working to have the current leader LBOC administration and the current leader LBOC West Africa. For both persons I had some very nice plans for ministry and it would be painful if I had to conclude that somehow it is not working to have the current leader LBOC administration and the current leader LBOC West Africa. Another solution is that I just continue to send reminders and allow them to answer once they are able to and in the meantime just accept that they might not be doing ministry at the moment for LBOC or that at least they don't allow me to proceed with them because they are not communicating with me. I can then in the meantime while I wait for their emails just focus my attention on those who can communicate and who can do ministry with funds they get from me. The leader LBOC administration did get funds from me and so far he hasn't used those funds yet so it might be pointless to send more funds right now to him. The leader LBOC West Africa hasn't received any funds from me yet so it might be useful to give him funds. In order to assess the usefulness of that, communication is needed and that is not what he is doing right now. I will send an email to those 2 leaders though in which I talk about giving funds to them to be used for the ministry which email I will also send to other leaders and to some co-workers. Enough written for now. Let us see how it will work out. Our Father in heaven knows our financial needs and our material needs and our need for leaders and co-workers and their time.
May 25th 2016
Who is part of our ministry? We don't have a proper idea. Who has received funds for doing ministry quite recently? Our new leader LBOC administration has received €20 to be used for the ministry. What is he doing? Nothing so it seems. Our leader LBOC Ghana (sort of) has received funds for internet and funds for 2 return bustickets. What is he doing? He was waiting to hear from our leader LBOC West Africa. On 23 May he received a brief email. He had to go through this website and report back. We assume that he is doing that now or about to do that this week and that he will set up a meeting with a co-worker in northern Ghana for whom he got 2 return bus tickets of which the first soon will be used. This co-worker will do ministry in his village.
Who is using his own funds for the ministry? Our leader LBOC West Africa uses his own funds for internet access. We are greatful for that. He has a team of 4 co-workers around him in the city Jos in Nigeria. They will start with door-to-door ministry (hopefully they have started now) in a specifically designated area in order to get in touch with all Christians. There is a co-worker in northern India too who is using his own funds to access Whatsapp which he uses for sending photos, videos and for sending messages and reading messages. He got green light a few days ago to start as a co-worker. We were at first spending time in fellowship with him to get to know him better. His training has started this week. By 4 June our leader LBOC world (Joep de Kraker, Netherlands) will have his first month subscription with T-Mobile which includes unlimited phone calls to landlines and mobiles in the European Community which is quite amazing. We hope to be able to use that in order to get in touch throughout Europe with many Christians and specifically with Christians who will love to start meeting with Christians in their own locality.
May 8th 2016
Our leader LBOC Ghana (more or less) has received about €20 in his mobile wallet for one month of unlimited internet access in an internet café as well as funds for 2 return bus tickets. He has replied the email of our leader LBOC West Africa, brother Rufus and we can expect that the training will commence for the ministry in Sawla, Nothern Ghana. In Jos, Nigeria a neighbourhood of 30m2 has been designated for door-to-door ministry. One of the co-workers lives within a few hundred meters from that area. In the Netherlands a meeting is planned for Tuesday 10 May with a Christian from the neighbourhood of brother Joep, leader LBOC world. The courtcase for brother Naguleshwaran from Sri Lanka who likes to visit brother Joep in the Netherlands has been postponed until a later date. His tourist visa was refused and the objection to it was also refused so that a courtcase is the last step which can be taken and which is also taken.
May 1st 2016
Our ministry has a lot of challenges. We might have 10,000 co-workers and 200 leaders in several countries in Africa but we might also be as small as a handful of people. Those who have signed something are 3 or 4 people. We have a leader LBOC administration now who lives in Nigeria. We will send a paper to sign to a central location where the co-workers can put their name and signature on the form.
Our leader LBOC Asia who doubles as financial leader is in the Netherlands and is doing his best to become a dutch citizen. That is very difficult but we have hope that he will succeed. We have a co-worker, brother Samson in North India and a co-worker in Ghana, brother Sawla whom both are either getting training now or about to get it. Brother Samson through brother Sansigithan, leader LBOC Asia and he through brother Joep, leader LBOC world. Brother Sawla through brother Maxwell, leader LBOC Ghana (more or less), he through brother Rufus, leader LBOC West Africa and for the time being he through brother Joep, leader LBOC world.
November 2nd 2013
Regrettably the transfer from Vistaprint to weebly hasn't been done too well. I had forsaken to copy the whole of the blog entries many of which have been made between the one of February 28th 2010 and now. All these are lost unless they are still with Vistaprint. That might be the case but who knows for how long? Also, in order to get access to these files, subscription needs to be renewed for which we are not willing to spend funds.
Therefore we will have to accept the loss of a large part of our previous website. What follows is the most recent state of affairs.
We have a full-time leader for Local Body of Christ Africa who is fully supported by Local Body of Christ. We have a financial leader who doubles as our leader LBOC Asia, who runs a taxi company and a real estaste investment both of which bring in sizable amounts of funds. Our leader in Asia, brother Sansigithan started out as a co-worker who was extremely poor and it is to the glory of God that we can say that he is now a businessman having personnel under his charge. I, Joep de Kraker am the founder and overall leader. My benefit (unemployed since October 2012) will end in January 2014. We need to start a business and to have a back-up plan incase that doesn't come about. 2 co-workers in Lira, Uganda want to start a business to help Local Body of Christ and we might be able to pull of a company which delivers computer hardware like USB sticks and netbooks etc. We have done a test for our leaders LBOC country and all but one failed. Some had good reasons. They will get another chance. The one who passed is our leader LBOC Kenya, brother Isaac Muthengi. From 10 November on he will get €5/month for internetaccess which should hopefully be enough for 1 hour/week of internetaccess.
I have come back from a trip to Stornoway, Lewis, Scotland where I stayed with friends who are interested in this ministry but who also have their own challenging viewpoints as how this ministry is run. It was a profitable stay. The discussion was good. I bought 13 books on St Kilda, which will be shipped to Kenya later on where they will serve as an example of the necessity to establish local churches even when pastors within that area resent this to happen due to the perceived (and likely to be true later on) loss of people from their fellowships.
It was great to visit New Wine Church again after having been there on Lewis 4 years ago. That marked the start of the ministry Stichting Local Body of Christ. 4 years ago I started with the website and did a cycling tour which ultimately brought me to Stornoway.
We appreciate your prayers. We focus on continuity of the ministry and this means that whatever happens we strive to let our leader LBOC Africa to continue full-time ministry for Africa, himself based in Kenya.
February 28th 2010
It has been too long for those who you who have come in to see whether there was an update to the blog. For those of you who noticed that it is advertised as a bi-weekly blog and that the last blog dated from December 16th 2010 you may have wondered what have happened to this ministry.
I feel sorry for all of you whom I have left in uncertainty. The Lord is leading Local Body of Christ's ministry in a way which to me just emphasizes how beautiful it is to know the Lord Jesus and to live for Him. Nothing else can compare to that.
It is time to open up to some of the things which have been going on but which haven't been talked about in this blog and which have only partly been talked about in the section 'About Us'.
1. The vision of this ministry is to see a Local Church being set up in each and every neighbourhood in the entire world. Not only that as it also seeks to come to a loving and mature Bride which is ready to marry her Husband the Lord Jesus. This vision is as large as it can get and that's the way I like it. Why settle for less? It's not about me in any way. It's about the Lord Jesus getting what He wants, which is a beautiful Bride, the Body of Christ. This is all to the honour of our Father in heaven.
This vision is that big that it cannot be achieved by one person. That's true with many visions but even more so with this one. I am willing to do whatever it takes for this vision to be fulfilled. Why? Because of my love for the Lord Jesus. If it all will work out and I believe it will, I will be in the centre of much attention. However I am not seeking fame or seeking to be rich for the sake of that. It will be the by-product of this ministry but if I can choose to be with the Lord in heaven right now, there isn't anything which would hold me back except the knowledge that the Lord has a task for me and that it will be beneficial to many if I stay here to live out that task.
2. The Church is divided worldwide over too many things. Unconditional love is the most important thing both directed to the Lord and to humans, especially brothers and sisters in order to achieve a visible Christian unity. It's not the only thing though. However everything else springs from that base.
3. If anybody wants to know what the full vision of Local Body of Christ entails I will send this person a very long email which talks about this in detail. It's very personal too and it's talking too about sensitive issues. However that's part and parcel of this ministry. In order to achieve the goal of this ministry one cannot hide from that which needs to be confronted. So whoever wants to get a copy of this email, he/she can let me know and I will send it to him/her. I put my trust in you when I send this to you. I hope it will benefit you spiritually and that you can be a blessing to those whom the Lord Jesus has given you.
4. Last but not least...
The Local Body of Christ ministry has now representatives in the Philippines, Ghana, India and Ethiopia. The contacts with India has been there for a time already. The contact in the Philippines had finally received the email explaining the vision of Local Body of Christ in detail. This is about 2 1/2 months ago. He hadn't been able to respond earlier but his response was encouraging.
The pastor and head of a mission organization in Ghana wanted to establish Local Body of Christ in Ghana but because of several circumstances it didn't work out until very recently. Now we are definitely heading towards the start of this ministry in Ghana.
About a month ago a pastor with a housechurch network in Ethiopia (in one city/town if I am not mistaken) has gotten in touch with us too. Translation of the website into Amharic is about to start and the ministry will find its way in Ethiopia too.
A brother from Oman I was brought in contact with. He is an expatriate from Chennai, India and will be able to visit the Local Body of Christ in Chennai somewhere this year as he visits Chennai every year. Right now we haven't talked in detail about opportunities for the ministry of Local Body of Christ in Oman but the challenge is in my heart especially because Oman has one of the lowest figures of indigenous Christians in any country in the world. According to Operation World 1997 edition there were about 20 native Christians in this Middle East country. There are however many expatriate Christians in this country.
A pastor from Pakistan also got in touch with Local Body of Christ but it is still not clear whether that was intentional. According to the content it was but according to the emailaddress not. It wasn't sent to email@example.com but to two emailaddresses with a Dutch name in it. He hasn't gotten back in touch with me so I don't know what is happening.
Please pray for all those new openings for ministry of Local Body of Christ in various parts of the world and subsequent cultures. Please pray for me, Joep de Kraker as founder of this ministry and please pray for the brothers and sisters in Chennai, India that they will stay focused on the Lord in whatever they do.
December 16th 2010
The business cards have arrived in India. 1500 in total. Yet another person got saved which is such a joy. There is now a team in India consisting of four persons.
Please pray for the letter to the pastor in the Phillippines to be finished shortly. I intend to send it at latest by Sunday. It's a letter explaining the vision of Local Body of Christ in detail. The pastor asked me for this so in order to pray informed. Please pray for the brothers and sisters in Chennai, India that they have good meetings and can do fruitful ministry for Local Body of Christ.
November 29th 2010
The business cards which were sent to India didn't arrive for one or another reason. They have been resent and again it seems that they haven't arrived. Hopefully through contact with the courier the problem will get resolved.
The translation of the website into tamil goes steadily which is very nice.
Those whom I sent a letter with a stamped letter in it, didn't reply in giving their emailadress. I have waited for about 2 weeks now. From now on I will start organizing meetings through email in the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord, Almere, Netherlands.
Please pray that I find the time to finish the letter to the pastor in the Phillippines. It's a long letter with prayerpoints for the full vision of Local Body of Christ. Pray that the two persons who got converted through this ministry will grow into mature Christians. Please pray that the problem with the business cards will get resolved.
November 15th 2010
Finally I have sent letters to those in the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord, Almere, Netherlands in order to get their emailaddresses. I put a stamped envelope inside the letter and the letters are stamped with the Local Body of Christ stamp. This looks nice and is beneficial for the communication. I will wait some time and then I will get on with preparing various kinds of meetings in this neighbourhood informing everybody through email.
My co-worker in India will start translating parts of the website into Tamil.
The pastor in the Phillippines asked for prayerpoints and I am presently busy already for some weeks preparing an extensive email in which all facets of this ministry and its vision is encompassed.
Please pray for the continuation of this ministry in the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord. Please pray that the business cards will arrive at the home of my co-worker in India. The last delivery went somehow wrong and Vistaprint has resent the 1500 business cards. Please pray that the letter which I prepare for the pastor in the Phillippines will be clear. It's about the ultimate goal of this ministry and how to achieve that through various means. The challenges are huge but the Lord is with us so we believe. It's all about the Bride who is preparing herself for her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
October 31th 2010
Some days ago I ordered too 5000 English business cards for a huge discount and I have a big stamp now so that whenever letters are sent, that they can be quickly stamped with Local Body of Christ.
My co-worker in India has brought two people to the Lord which is a very joyful event. These people are the first to become Christians through the ministry of Local Body of Christ and they are very important to this ministry as they don't have the baggage other Christians have. They get introduced from the start with the vision that every Christian within a neighbourhood form together the Local Church.
From the Phillippines special news too. A pastor's family is praying for the ministry and apart from the prayer from me and my co-worker is this the first clear regular prayer support since the start of this ministry. Other people have either prayed for it in the past at a prayer meeting or on an individual base. However this pastor's family's prayer is a committed kind of prayer which is a blessing to the ministry.
Also they are the first to actually give an invitation to Local Body of Christ for ministry in their area.
Please pray that the vision of Local Body of Christ will be supported by a workable strategy. As Local Body of Christ grows, administrative issues and communication problems are likely to grow too. So a hierarchical system will need to be set up to make sure that the vision for a Local Body of Christ in each neighbourhood will stay alive. At the same time it is very important that the Local Churches are fully independent and will make decisions on a consensus base. Registration as an official mission/church ministry organization is something which will be adventageous for Local Body of Christ but initially expensive. Please pray for wise exploitation of financial resources. E.g. ministry in the Phillippines or registration are both useful ways but they need to be in God's manner and God's time.
October 19th 2010
The book is finished which I read for the Bible study I am doing with the local person. I will spend time to look at the different viewpoints and the intention is to get back in touch with that person shortly after that.
I have ordered 5000 Dutch business cards for a very good price. That's a lot for one person. I am very glad about that.
I have ordered 1500 English business cards for my co-worker in India which will arrive at his home in 3 weeks time. After that he will start doing ministry in the area around VOC street (which is basically the same name as the street in which I presently live), Puzhal, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Meanwhile I have asked my co-worker for advise and help with the content of my website, which may be prove to be a challenging thing. Part of the problem is the Tamil script itself which cannot be used on a normal keyboard in Chennai. I am waiting for feedback about a website which remappes the keyboard so that one can write Tamil while being online. An update of my website into Tamil is likewise planned.
Today I prepared a Bible quiz consisting of about 50 questions most of which deal with controversial issues. It will be used for both gaining prayer support from a larger pool of Christians (mainly Bible students) and for raising awareness in the Body of Christ about controversial issues which presently divides the Body of Christ worldwide while it is God's will that we are united in Him.
Please pray for my co-worker that he will be able to do useful ministry for the Local Body of Christ and that I will be able to train him well in all aspects of this ministry. Please give praise to the Lord for the fact that the Local Body of Christ doesn't consist any more by one person but consists of two persons already for a couple of weeks!
October 6th 2010
Some time ago I ordered a Bible study book which I largely have read through. The time is coming near that I will get back to the local person I am doing Bible study with and to continue our Bible study about the topic he raised. His viewpoint is an extremely minority one. Through my preparation I came across two main viewpoints. I am at a loss presently to make up my mind by means of Bible study. However in my spirit I believe the general held position by most Christians to be the right one. However I cannot back it up presently with a clear cut Bible study. The other main viewpoint is actually quite convincing and backed up by thorough Bible study.
Please pray that the Lord will guide me in the conversation I have with this local person who wants to help the ministry given that we agree on the matter at hand. Please pray that I may prepare myself well.
September 26th 2010
Further talks with the pastor of a newly started church in Almere confirmed that we work together. Achiever's International Christian Centre and Local Body of Christ work together. Though we have different visions we still have found a way to be respectful of the vision of the other and to help one another. That's in itself also a beautiful sign of the unity of the Church. It was also confirmed that he is my mentor and that I am accountable in my ministry to him when it comes to church planting.
A young man who is both pastor and evangelist from India has joined the ministry which is another reason to praise the Lord for. For a couple of weeks we already have daily contact. This may change due to circumstances on his side. By any means he is committed to the ministry and will pray for it and wants to help the ministry. He has come up with some good advise. These include adding prayer requests to the weekly blog and to set up a Bible quiz in order to get a larger pool of Christians who are willing to pray for this ministry. The Bible quiz simultanuously provides a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about difficult interpretative issues which presently divides the Body of Christ worldwide.
I have started to get the emailaddresses of all interested Christians within the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands). Once I have all of them (unless it takes too long) I will start to organize several meetings through group emails. I simularly will start to raise up a Local Church within this neighbourhood.
Please pray that I may proceed with wisdom and commitment. Please pray for both the Ghanese pastor and the Indian pastor and the role they want to play in this ministry. Please pray that the partnership between Achiever's International Christian Centre and Local Body of Christ may prove to be very fruitful for both ministries.
September 15th 2010
Only been doing lots of Bible study and spending time in prayer. However that's a worthwhile pursuit of time. As a result I have ordered a book which deals with arguments against what I believe is the right interpretation. It seems to be a book with quality arguments and therefore I didn't hesitate to buy it. The Internet has aided me too in several sites which were dealing with both sides of the argument at hand with the person which I am doing Bible study with. I will take my time and when I am well prepared I will get back to him again.
The time in prayer has resulted in some answers. Through the prayer I realized that I really need somebody within each neighbourhood who is willing to be a contact person for the Christians within the neighbourhood. I visited somebody and we did some brainstorming and he came with some good advise. I have also asked him to consider if he would be willing to be the contact person for his neighbourhood which is Almere-Buiten Centre (Almere, Netherlands). He will discuss this with his pastor and with his wife and will pray about it.
I also came to realize that I will need email addresses of those interested. It will be a lot easier to inform the Christians in a neighbourhood as a group and to come with dates for the meetings. Also telephone numbers will come in handy because you can set up a chain call. Whenever there is something urgent it can be arranged that one person calls one or two other persons and each of them calls another one or two persons until everybody has been reached.
It seems that I also have received an answer as to what responsibility I should take in concern to raising up a Local Church within the neighbourhood. I have been asked by a local pastor of a Church which has started only a few months ago to work together with him. He believes me to be the right person to take this responsibility. This gives me the necessary mentor to which I can be accountable. Otherwise I would have been a self-qualified church planter which can be a very unwise thing. We will have further talks about this and I pray about it with the Lord Jesus.
September 5th 2010
The prayer meeting was a blessing. It was held at the home of somebody out of the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands). 1 other person came and I was present to in order to facilitate the meeting. We have talked for some time thus getting to know each other better. Through this a prayer subject arose for which we have both given thanks and praise as well as that we prayed for it. The same subject was cause for praise in the life of the one and was cause for a prayer request for the other.
A second prayer meeting has been organized but nobody turned up. It was just the host and me.
So three times I have organized something for the Christians within this neighbourhood of which only 1 was a success. I have spend considerable time in prayer to ask the Lord about the next step. I feel a bit miserable. I belief I have to choose from basically four options.
1. To continue the same way as I have done up till now and to keep organizing meetings. The Lord will show the next step as I will organize those meetings.
2. To find a person who can take some responsibility so to ensure continuity of what has been achieved up till now within this neighbourhood.
3. To finish the ministry in this neighbourhood and to do the same ministry in other neighbourhoods.
4. To stop altogether with this ministry of the Local Body of Christ.
I believe the Lord wants a combination of the first three options. By the end of September I would like to start doing similar things in other neighbourhoods. In case I have an answer about what the Lord wants me to do for those who would like to have a Church in the neighbourhood, I will spend more time doing ministry within this neighbourhood. As my slogan is: Every Christian within your locality is together the Local Church, it is my heart desire to see a Local Body of Christ come to fruition within the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands).
I have gotten back to the person with whom I was doing Bible study. He has started to ask questions about my purpose of bringing up certain matters. This is disconcerting to me as I hope that the end of our Bible study will be agreement about what the Bible says about a certain matter. Also I want to analyze the process which leads to that conclusion. Too often people start to accuse one another of being dishonest or reasoning in circles and the end result is that both persons keep their own conviction and end the Bible study. His desire from the start has been to have a dialogue instead of a discussion. A discussion disrupts that what the other shares. I agreed to his ideal about a dialogue. Up till now our Bible study has mainly been of the format that he had specific things to share with me. I just followed his train of thoughts and whenever I had questions I put them forward. To him this is dialogue. I cannot say that I totally disagree with him on this. However to me it is a teaching session in which he is the teacher and I the pupil. I am not entirely sure if this contradicts a dialogue or that the way we do this teaching session can be seen as dialogue as well. This last time however I had specific things to share with him. That would make me the teacher and he the pupil. This is however contrary to his purpose as he is part of a belief system which most Christians would consider a Christian sect. From his point of view I am not a Christian as far as he can see from the outside. Apart from that he expressed concern about my motives of sharing these things with him and he also said that he had lots of other things to do and that we didn't really make progress as we had already sticked to one subject for some time. My reply to that comment would be that I have given him a lot of time to share certain things with me and that it would be fair to allow me also quite some time to share certain things with him.
I have emailed him about this update of our Bible study. If he would disagree with something I would try to come up with a combined statement. By now I have conferred with him about this and the text can stay as it is.
August 27th 2010
The first meeting was organised in the local park. The weather was beautiful. This meeting was for the Christians in the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands). I let everybody know who had indicated the park to be their place of preference or at least it to be an option. The intention was to organise one happening for different interests like prayermeeting, shared meals etc. That made for a list of 11 people. 3 of those promised to come. 3 of those said they couldn't come of which 1 said that it would probably never fit in the schedule of that person due to activities from the Church that person is part of. 1 backed off altogether. That's more or less the same situation as the person who said that it would never fit in that person's schedule. The only difference is that the first person will be informed directly about ongoing activities while the last one will only know what is happening by going to this website. Both persons wished me all the best with the Local Body of Christ. 2 of them said they would maybe come. The last 4 ones I sent a letter.
The result: After waiting for half an hour nobody had turned up. I went home. 45 minutes after I left I got a telephone call from 1 of the 3 who had promised to come. That person couldn't find it. So I should have communicated more clearly about both the starting time and the end time.
Next time better we agreed with no hard feelings whatsoever. The other 2 who had promised to come had very good reasons for not being able to come.
Of the other 8 people who were informed 1 let me know by SMS that that person was unable to come. I appreciated to be informed about that.
Presently I am organising a prayer meeting at somebody's home for those who were interested in a prayer meeting at somebody's home. More about that later.
Some news about the 2 persons who want to help me in this ministry.
With one of them I did Bible study. This has come to a temporarily standstill as I will do private Bible study on the matter he shared. I will get back to him as soon as I am ready for it. We both look forward to that moment.
And last but not least: I got positive news from the pastor from Ghana. This means that this ministry of the Local Body of Christ will become truly worldwide with both a presence in the Western World as a presence in the Third World. The implications of this are high and go far beyond the preliminary international ministry what has been done up till now in Belgium, Wales, England and Scotland. This is something to praise the Lord for.
August 20th 2010
By now there are only 2 persons left to ask their preference in regard to the place of fellowship. However after repeated visits I didn't find them at home. So I decided to call for the first meeting. More about that later.
Interesting things have happened. 2 persons have expressed their desire to help me in this ministry. One lives locally and we have started to do Biblestudy. He wants to help me as long as I don't ask him anything which goes against his beliefs. Very reasonable of course. That what I have asked him to do was OK with him. However we both agreed to do Bible study and to take the next step from there. More about that later.
Then there is another person. He is from Ghana and he is a fulltime minister and is involved in a mission organization. We have communicated a couple of times via email and presently he has received a detailed layout of this ministry and summary of what has been done. I have asked him to pray about it and see if he can agree to it in principle. His desire is to set up the Local Body of Christ in Ghana. So that's a special situation. I am currently waiting for his reply.
A last notice. I have visited the quarter Almere-Buiten centrum (Almere, Netherlands) once in order to get in touch with Christians. That resulted in a couple of beautiful encounters. I got to know about a starting Church at a certain couple's home within the neighbourhood.
August 10th 2010
Last week I continued to search out from the remaining 8 persons what place of fellowship they preferred. As people are often not at home it is difficult to come round at the right moment. Sometimes I make an appointment as to when I will visit somebody but even that is no guarantee that it will work out fine. So it is laborious work. I am down to 4 people whom I still need to confer with about the meeting place.
As I was free from work from Saturday August 7th afternoon 13:00 until Tuesday August 10th evening 18:30 I decided to continue contacting Christians in other neighbourhoods as well. By Monday 20:15 I had gone once through the whole of the neighbourhood Indische Buurt and Sieradenbuurt both in Almere, Netherlands.
Last week of July 2010
The last two/three weeks I spent in going through the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands) many times in order to find those who weren't at home the first time. After that I spent some time in contemplation and prayer in order to decide what was going to be the next step. Last week I wrote a letter in which I let every Christian know what was the result of the previous letter. 10 categories of interest were provided for in that previous letter. The result was:
1. A total of 9 Christians allowed all other Christians within their neighbourhood to receive their address.
2. 15 Christians would like to get the address of all the other Christians within their neighbourhood.
3. 10 would like to meet Christians and would contact them themselves.
4. 6 would like to receive help in contacting the other Christians.
5. 8 were interested in prayer meetings.
6. 9 were interested in singing hymns and other spiritual songs together
7. 9 were interested in Bible study.
8. 10 were interested in shared meals.
9. 8 were interested to get involved in Christian service together with other Christians out of their own neighbourhood.
10. 14 were interested in being Church together with the other Christians within their own neighbourhood.
I handed down the addresses of those 9 Christians to those interested to receive the addresses (15 in total).
I requested all who had filled in option 1, 2 and/or 3 to contact those who liked to receive help in contacting other Christians. (in so far these Christians allowed to give their address to others). I will also help them to get in touch with other Christians by introducing them to other ones.
Those who were interested in prayer meetings, worship, Bible study, shared meals and/or Christian service I am right now finding out what kind of meeting place they prefer. I think primarily of three options:
1. a meeting hall of the local community centre
2. at somebody's home. If interested I also ask them if their own home would be open for that.
3. when the weather is fine in the local park.
When I have inventarised that, I will start to organize meetings for those categories.
Those who liked to be Church in their own neighbourhood, the Local Church or the Local Body of Christ, those I asked for patience. I don't see myself as an apostle or pastor or vicar. I will get in touch with Church planting ministries like DAWN (http://www.dawnministries.org/) which stands for Discipling A Whole Nation. Also I will get in touch with the House Church movement and with Church planting ministries in the Netherlands. Together with them and times of prayer I will decide to what extent I personally will be involved in seeing a Church come to fruition within both that neighbourhood and successive neighbourhoods.
early July 2010
In the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands) I found about 114 Christians. I wrote those interested a letter and posted those letters also at the addresses which weren't at home or those with whom it was unclear whether they were Christians or not. I only went once through the neighbourhood in order to find Christians. In this letter Christians could indicate in which manner they would like to be in touch with other Christians in their neighbourhood. I got 30 positive replies to my letter.
14 Christians showed an interest for a Local Church in their neighbourhood which made me very glad and was a big encouragement. The other 17 had a variety of other interests. Though less than the ideal of a true expression of the unity of the Local Body of Christ, it is still beautiful to see that Christians would like to be in touch with other Christians in their own neighbourhood. I am right now in the process of determining what will be the next step. The reply I received to this letter is confirmation to me that this ministry is worth my time and energy. All glory to Jesus. I hope to continue with this ministry for the rest of my life and I hope other Christians will join this ministry. The world is too big a place to go door-to-door all by myself!
first part of 2010
The neighbourhood in which I live is called Oostvaardersbuurt (Almere, Netherlands) and I went door-to-door throughout the whole neighbourhood. There are about 2500-3000 homes and I found 320 Christians. I had nice conversations with several of them. In order to find all of them, I went several times (about 6 times) throughout the neighbourhood to find those who weren't at home at earlier times. I have all the addresses on file and will start sooner or later to do follow up. I also went door-to-door in the neighbourhood Stedenwijk-Noord (Almere, Netherlands). This was close to my work location and was a lot smaller.
This month I started to contact the Christians within a radius of 50 metres around my home (Laan der VOC 170, Almere, Netherlands). I found about 20 Christian homes and I ended up being in touch with 3 of them.
My cycle trip for the unity of the Church finally took me to Stornoway, which is the main town on Lewis, Hebrides in Scotland. It is far away in the North-West and lies 3 hours out of the mainland. It's a town with many Churches and many Christians. I took the time to meet with every pastor and talk about Church unity. I was helped out by a friendly couple with whom I became friends. During the three weeks I stayed in Stornoway I went also to the island archipel St Kilda. (a video link is provided on the Gallery page). Although I had planned to go on to Ireland and France I decided to go back to the Netherlands because of finances and a changed vision. The end of my trip got media coverage as well. This time in a island magazine.
about 10 days later in August 2009
Alston is British highest market town. I'ts in the Pennines, which is a rough hilly part of the country. I went door-to-door and arranged a meeting that same evening. 1 couple pledged to come. Another 6 were interested in coming but didn't show up. Another 2 people said they would have liked to come but weren't able to come. The meeting place was a central place in the centre of this little town in the open air! The plan was to go to a pub or somebody's home once everybody had arrived. Only the couple who had pledged to come showed up and I was invited to their home. We had a beautiful evening together. A home Church does exist in this little charming town and I met with some of them. This was very uplifting. Another person I will still get in touch with. He is heavily involved in Church unity.
My bicyle trip took me to a village called Newbridge upon Wye in Wales. I went door-to-door covering the whole village. This took me about one full day. As it was still a quite small village, many people already knew each other and so there was no need to make them aware of each other. In a town like Nieuwpoort, Belgium this was a useful thing but not in this village. So I ended up in talking with everybody about the unity of the Church which was a nice thing to do. It was very pleasant to have an English business card with me to hand out to all the Christians I met. The local vicar was an inspiring person to me. He had Christians from several backgrounds in his chapel mainly because there wasn't another Church in the village where he lived. So they went to the Anglican Church instead.
He agreed to the notion that Church unity cannot be reached through top-down methods but only through talking to one person at a time.
In Nieuwpoort Belgium I arrived by bicycle and a bike-car filled with camping gear, business cards of the Local Body of Christ, a tennis racket,tennis shoes and my concert guitar. I planned to go on a trip through Belgium, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France in order to get a good experience in how this ministry was going to be received in a diversity of cultures. In Nieuwpoort I stayed 10 days (some photo's are on the Gallery page). I mapped out a small part of this town and went door-to-door in order to find the Christians and connect them with one another. I met a Christian artist who invited me in his home and had some other fine conversations at the door. In the end I let the Christians know through a small letter what was done and the end result was that I had given awareness to 3 Christian families about each other. Before this action they didn't know about each other even though they lived in the same neighbourhood. But that's exactly what this ministry is about. Bringing Christians in contact with one another who live in the same neighbourhood and let them be the Local Body of Christ. Admittedly I didn't do anything else other than making them aware of each other. Nevertheless I counted this as my first success. The encouragement was that 1 of those Christian families was indeed very thankful about this action and I was going to be prayed for in their prayer meeting.
My passion for the unity of the Church took shape through this new created website. I happily found out that this website is on the top of Google when presented with the search terms 'local body of christ'.
It took about 2 weeks of full-time work to create this website using Vistaprint's services. News got around about this website and an impending cycle trip, about which I was interviewed. It was published in a Dutch regional newspaper.
Somewhere in 2007/2008
It had been on my mind already for some time to connect with the Christians who live in my neighbourhood and to help them get in touch with one another. The idea of going door-to-door seemed a bit daunting but finally I decided to do a test. I went through one long street going door-to-door to find out where Christians where living. A street of 170 even and 170 uneven numbers took about 3 hours to go through once and the end result was that I had found a decent number of Christians.