Christian & Annet Aartsen
We got to know and accept the Lord in our lives in 1985. We had been married for 10 years and had two lovely children, a boy and a girl. Our lives were our own and we had very fixed ideas of how we wanted to live. We bought a house, both worked full-time, and Christian also trained a swimming club and we had a private swimming school. To do all this we hired a lady to assist in the housekeeping and to take care of the children. On the outside it all looked flashy; on the inside we were empty. To fill that gap we started our own little business and we loved it. We got in touch with a lot of people and learned about relationships and communication. We had a multitude of babysitters available for the evenings when we worked our business… but even then it didn’t really work.
Our marriage was on the verge of breaking down and we had to sell our house to pay our debts. Then one of our business partners told us about Jesus. I was raised in a Christian
family and although we stopped going to church when I was 15, there was always a warm spot in my heart. Christian had also been searching for God after his first marriage ended in a divorce. But that day in 1985 we accepted the Lord as our Savior and since then we have been on training course with Him!
Having a lot of life experience, though not always the right kind, we were hard ground for the Lord. But God is good and patient. We gave up our swimming school and slowly withdrew out of our business. He gave us wonderful and wise friends who taught and guided us. We joined a church in Rotterdam. Our weekly home group was great and gave us the stability we so badly needed. We heard music other then the world had given us. We were blown away by one particular song, “Let Your Living Water Flow Over My Soul". In 1995 our pastor asked us if we were willing to move into the church. They wanted a couple to host guest speakers and to see people who come into the church among many other things. We felt very blessed that we could live in “the house" of the Lord.
In 1996, Vinesong toured Holland and we hosted them. We discovered that the song that touched our heart so much in ’85 was written by John Watson. God works in mysterious ways. One year later we went to London to see what the Alpha course was like. We also visited Vinesong at their home base. Filled with blessings and knowledge, we went back to Rotterdam. Together with our pastor we started the Alpha course and God used that mightily. We worked with a team of about 30 people and ran 3 courses a year. What a precious time that was! The Lord taught us how to handle our finances and our lives; we paid all of our debts and grew as christians, a work in progress! Our daughter met a great guy and they got married. Our son’s swimming career came to an end, and he finished his study and moved out of the house. Our life was stable, thanks to the Lord. Then Christian parents passed away and a year later my mother went to be with the Lord. Christian got prostate cancer. But the Lord delivered us through these times and Christian is completely healed.
In February 2010 Vinesong toured Holland again and Pastor John came to visit us. He wanted to speak with us, he had one question: Would we come over to England permanently to live in their house and take care of it: Maintenance, bookkeeping, administration and whatever else needs to be done. This was really an answer to our prayers. We had seen so many of Gods servants coming into our church, tired and worn out, just in need for a place to rest and catch their breath again and we had asked the Lord for a place where we could serve them. We preferred a place in the south of France, but the Lord knew where we could serve best.
So we packed our bags, got rid off all our belongings, said goodbye to our children, to my dear father, our siblings, and the rest of our friends and family. We crossed the Channel in 2010!
Since then our son married a lovely wife and they have 2 beautiful children. Our daughter and her husband are also blessed with a lovely daughter. We’re looking back at a time of personal and spiritual growth and we give God all the honour. We have seen the Lord working in thousands of lives through the ministry of Vinesong. We are blessed and grateful to be here.