Hard, Messy, Gorgeous - Finding a community in the Netherlands
New to the Netherlands and struggling to find community? Read along as Nathanie Berkenbosch shares her family’s experience of being an expat who found community at Crossroads.
“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” – Robin Sharma
Moving back to the Netherlands
Hard. Messy. Gorgeous. I experienced them all. Moving back to the Netherlands after a long period abroad was not easy. In 2013, my husband and I moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with the idea of returning to the Netherlands after two years. That did not happen. We loved the country, the people, and the culture so much that we decided to stay to continue our adventure. Life happened, two children were born, and we befriended many locals and expats. Vietnam became our home away from home.
Then in 2020, Covid-19 hit, and we soon realised that our expat life would change. That’s when we started to re-think our life and, after much consideration, we decided to move back to the Netherlands. Hard.
Arriving in the Netherlands in November was not the best idea! Everything was grey and cold and the streets seemed abandoned. My world looked grey, too. We had no housing and I felt lonely and homesick (which is odd because I returned home). Messy.
I started questioning why we left Vietnam in the first place. My husband had his new job and my kids were going to school, but it seemed there was nowhere for me. And now my closest friends lived 9.500 km away, too! Then I remembered how we had found our first friends when arriving in Vietnam… at an international church.
A warm welcome and an immediate connection
Through family, we had heard about Crossroads International Church in Amstelveen, and after watching their church service live streamed a few times, we visited a Sunday service for the first time in February 2022. We were so warmly welcomed that I felt an immediate connection with the people of this community.
The second time we visited, we were invited to join a LIFEgroup. This is a small group of people who, through weekly gatherings, soon become friends as we share the ups and downs of life and faith, with a good measure of fun. Via this group, I also found my current job, which is Worship (music) Ministry Leader at Crossroads.
In just a few weeks my situation changed from feeling down and alone to having a community and a way to live out my passion for music and God. Being part of a church community is uplifting and enriching, as I experience friendship, support, and love from those around me. Gorgeous.
About Crossroads International Church
Crossroads International Church is a community of people from very diverse backgrounds. We are all at different stages of learning what it means to live like Jesus. Whether you are still exploring your faith or have been a Christian for a long time, you are welcome at Crossroads.
People who visit us for the first time often comment on how much they enjoy the dynamic interactions among such a wide variety of people. We speak English at our gatherings, and all age groups are represented, including children, teens, students and young adults.
Along with our regular Sunday services with extensive children’s programme, we have regular courses, groups and events happening.
Children & youth
On Sunday mornings during the service, we have a nursery for the babies aged 0-2 years and a Sunday school for kids aged 3-9 years in English and Dutch. Our youth programmes for age groups 10+, 12+ and 15+ have regular hangouts where they come together to eat, talk, worship and learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
LIFEgroups and seasonal group
The sheer size of our congregation means that it is hard to share personal needs on a Sunday morning, so we gather in smaller communities to discover what is going on in each other’s lives, pray together, study and serve. No matter your age or life situation we have groups for you, from Young Adults (18-30 years old), Evergreen Group (60+), Men's Groups, Women's Groups and Sports Groups to various LIFEgroups in different languages.
Courses and events
To help people to grow in life and faith, we offer regular courses like the Alpha Course, the Pre-Marriage and Marriage Courses, Parenting Kids and Teens, Celebrate Recovery Course and many more. Besides that, every now and then we organise events that serve different interests, like camps, picnics, community gatherings, movie nights and social gatherings.
Vision and mission
At Crossroads we believe in living out of an encounter with Jesus, embracing others around us and engaging with the world Jesus loves. Our hope is that Crossroads will be a place where no matter who you are or where you’ve been in life, you can come and experience a life-transforming encounter.
We welcome you to our service at 9.30am (with kids programmes) and 11am (CEST) at the Herman Wesselink College, Startbaan 3, 1185XP Amstelveen.
Find out more about Crossroads International Church
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