How Have They Been Changed?

Today I would like to introduce you to my friend, Anne. Anne is a Biblical Counselor and Missionary in Belgium and she will be one of the Guest Bloggers whose posts you will be reading from time to time. She has written a little about herself at the conclusion of her posting. 

In September 1991, I moved from the industrial west of Scotland to work as a missionary in Belgium, Europe. Having being radically saved, my heart was bursting with enthusiasm to see others come to know Christ and live radically for him. After sensing that I was called to mission, I responded to a missionary report about Belgium. In Belgium, the Bible had been a forbidden book for ordinary people until the mid 1960s and only about 0.5% of the population claimed to be born again.

Full of youthful enthusiasm, I went out each week and learned the language from the local people. I could understand literally nothing of what people said; nothing. It reminded me of the cartoon show The Clangers I had watched as a kid. All the people seemed to be doing was making noises at each other which in some way was a form of communication.

Slowly, I began to understand the gobbledygook, which is also known as Flemish. As I started understanding more Flemish, I tried to talk about the Lord and the gospel. Contrary to my youthful dreams, people were hostile or indifferent to the gospel. The team of us working in the town prayed everyday and we saw the Lord working in people’s lives. Each year a few would become believers.

It was at this stage that I felt like tearing my hair out. Instead of living according to my naïve assumption that people would come to Christ, and then radically live for him, I met people who had huge problems and were stuck in them. This is not surprising since there had not been a church proclaiming biblical teaching in the town for as long as we can remember. How could people know what it means to live a biblical life if there had been no biblical teaching?

Those who had become believers had done so after reading John’s gospel. When I met with them I discovered that some of these people had been adulterous, suffered incest, had drinking problems, and even one girl who was being trained to enter prostitution. How were these people to be helped? I had no idea, so I asked others who I assumed would know. They recommended books offering human philosophies. What happened? The people did not change. In fact, their enthusiasm for the Lord decreased. Because of this I started reading the book of Colossians with one lady and noticed that she started to change again. Why? Because she was in awe of Christ and knew that she had fullness in him.

This was a catalyst for me to go to Bible College and to pursue long distance training in biblical counseling. In the intervening years I have seen people change. Women who have been abused as children, wives in abusive marriages, women suffering from depression, women who fear others (victims of manipulation/bullying), women with drinking problems, women married to drunks, and women who were suicidal.

How have these women changed? The most important reason has been the direct work of the Lord in their hearts. They have seen and experienced the hope they have in Christ and live out the reality of the fullness of Christ in their daily lives. Through living in the new man in Christ, and living out of his fullness, they have experienced his life-giving change.

Another significant factor for many has been the loving support of others. I mean by this other believers who have come alongside them and supported them in some way. The church has functioned as the body of Christ as different members have given support, love, and biblical teaching. 

Hello! My name is Anne Dryburgh. I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and have been a missionary in Flemish speaking Belgium since 1991. Every day I am involved in helping other ladies. This is usually in evangelism and biblical counseling. At the moment, I meet with a number of women individually, help with Bible study groups, and am involved in a counseling center. My training involves a BA in biblical counseling, an MA in Christian counseling, and am pursuing a PhD in Biblical Counseling, all from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. I am also a certified biblical counselor with I.A.B.C.