Archive | December, 2013


16 Dec

When I asked how he happened to join OM International in Belgium 16 years ago, Govert Minderman flashes a pirate-like grin and jokes, “They left the front door open!” But before that, Govert had taken a few seriously wrong turns.  His story really goes back to when his Indonesian Govert Mindermanparents were interred in a Japanese concentration camp in the 1940’s. During those harrowing years his father was forced to watch his wife being raped by soldiers. He also saw his brother cruelly beheaded.

Govert says his mother was a strong Christian.  “Later, I asked her what she did after she was attacked. She said she dropped to her knees and prayed that God would redeem those soldiers. She also prayed that hate wouldn’t enter her heart, so that she could raise her children in love.”

After they were liberated, Govert’s parents were given the choice of returning to Indonesia or moving to the Netherlands. They chose Holland. In spite of his mother’s powerful faith, Govert began running with wrong crowd as he grew older, drinking and taking hard drugs.

 “I was on drugs for 25 years,” he admits. “By the end of that time I needed 500 Euros a day to support my cocaine and heroin habit. I even robbed a bank to get money. The woman I married was also on drugs. When we had a daughter, the welfare department threatened to take her away unless we stopped our addiction. So I went to a rehab center to try to get free of it. My wife started going with another man, and we divorced.”


Of his salvation experience Govert simply says, “God found me.–I didn’t find him. He let himself be found! My mother told me I needed to pray and when I was sick from drugs I prayed. But the answer didn’t come until years later.” The “hound of heaven” relentlessly pursued Govert over many paths until he was ready to stop and acknowledge his need. Accepting Jesus as Saviour changed him from the inside out.

Not long after that, Govert attended an OM new recruits’ conference in the Netherlands.. “Meeting Al Meyer [manager of the Zaventem, Belgium, conference centre] and fellow believers there was one of the most blessed times of my life. I wanted to join one of OM’s ships but I had injured a tendon, so was advised not to. Then someone suggested that I should help at the base in Zaventem, Belgium, because I like practical work.

Zaventem, Belgium buildings“Just the fact that I could be part of a ministry is such grace. –To BE church rather than just go to church! In Zaventem we were ten nationalities together. I helped with building, maintenance and repair at first. Now I also like doing hospitality for ZavCentre. It’s the Lord who gives a smile, who fills my heart with joy!”

For a number of years Govert assisted disabled OMer Jonathan McRostie, and remembers once struggling with another friend to carry him and his wheelchair up a set of steps to a meeting room. Jonathan suddenly asked his helpers, “Do you know what this reminds me of?” Govert’s friend, groaning under the weight of the chair, mumbled that he wasn’t  interested. But Jonathan went on, “Remember the friends who carried the disabled man to Jesus and made a hole through the roof?”

 “Suddenly,” smiles Govert, “ that chair wasn’t so heavy!  You know, moments like that are really precious.”

 In his spare time, Govert enjoys playing his guitar and doing prison ministry with friends. “I like to play music, to have fun. But the most important thing is God’s Word. We always try to share that, or give a testimony.”

Govert will always suffer heart and kidney problems as a result of his long years of drug abuse. But few visitors to ZavCentre go away without noticing his cheerful spirit. Govert is very aware of how much he owes the Lord for turning his life around. “I’m a blessed person,” he states simply. “Whenever people ask me how I’m doing, I always say I’m grateful!” —Forever grateful.

Read Debbie Meroff's book and learn how it's possible to transform a continent

Read Debbie Meroff’s book and learn how it’s possible to transform a continent