Author - Anne Dryburgh, Echoes International Mission Worker
Anne has been a mission worker in Belgium since 1991. She works with women in the areas of teaching, discipleship, and counselling.
For years I had heard the gospel through a Christian youth group but had tried to play both worlds. Part of me knew that the gospel was true and how I should live, the other part of me wanted to have fun and to live my own way. Then, in December 1989, the Lord confronted me with my sinful heart and need of forgiveness. It was then that for the first time I understood that his forgiveness meant that he would be Lord of my life.
Reaching Out to Others
After being radically changed by the Lord, He gave me a burning desire to tell others about Him. I understood what it was to be lost and without Christ and what it is to be forgiven and accepted by Him. His love and acceptance would cause me to weep in bed at night. All I wanted to do was to tell others about Him.
At the time, there was a weekly evangelistic outreach in Dumbarton. While having the church open for young people to come in, a few of us would go out on the streets and witness to people of all ages who were hanging around the town centre. Each week, we had opportunities to speak about the Lord and, through time, saw people become believers.
Wrestling with the Cost
The desire to share the gospel with others grew and I came to have a deep sense that I was to spend my life serving the Lord. He was calling me to mission work. For weeks I struggled with the consequences of this choice. Doing mission work would mean giving up my banking career. My colleagues would mock me for making this choice. It would also mean saying goodbye to precious relationships. After a wrestling with the cost of the call, I submitted to the Lord and said I would obey Him and go where he wanted me to go.
After being radically changed by the Lord, He gave me a burning desire to tell others about Him
The Need in Belgium
A number of weeks after submitting to the Lord’s call in this way, someone came to Lennox Evangelical Church and spoke about the country of Belgium. It was shocking to hear about the spiritual need there and the contrast with Scotland at the time. It was said that Belgium was only 0.25% evangelical, this largely being due to the Bible being a forbidden book for lay people up until the 1960s. Lay people were told that it was a sin for them to read the Bible for themselves. What a contrast to the history of Bible reading in Scotland. I knew that the Lord was calling me to go to the country of Belgium.
My first trip there was in the summer of 1990, when I was part of an evangelistic summer team in the French-speaking city of Charleroi. The following year, I worked with a summer team in Brussels and then moved to Belgium in October 1991.
The first seven years were in a Flemish-speaking town called Zelzate. There was a small team of us that learned the language from the local people and sought to share the gospel in a variety of ways. When I left there in 1998, there were about 20 believers.
In 1999, I moved to the city of Gent, this time becoming more involved in discipleship. Since then, while I have been working with different churches, the main focus of the work has been on intensive discipleship. It has been thrilling to see the Lord transform people’s lives and even to see Him bring people to Himself who have asked for help with issues with which that they have been struggling. The Lord uses His book, that was forbidden for so long, to draw people to Himself and to transform their lives.