On this page I would like to tell something about myself and about my journey with God. It has become quite a story. And it’s not finished yet! Because the journey continues…
Repentance and Baptism
From a young age I was convinced of the existence of God and of the truth of the Bible. My parents played a big part in that. I grew up in a village (Schoonoord) and with my parents I always went to the Assembly of Believers, a denomination that doesn’t really look like a church. We also didn’t like to be called ‘church’. We were just ‘believers’. Gathering in the Assembly was therefore very different from that in regular churches. Anyone who wanted to share something could do so freely. We had no pastors or clear leaders. Everyone was therefore also encouraged to speak, pray, etc. I’ve never actually done that myself. I was quite shy and didn’t like to be in the foreground. When I was about 12 years old, I decided to live for God and repent. Repenting simply means choosing to turn away from all the sins (evil) in your life and turn to God and speak this out to God as well. This had a very real effect on my life. It gave peace and at the same time a deeper conviction of the existence of God. I also hated sin and wanted to live a holy life.
When I was 17 years old, I decided to be baptized. This means that your old ‘I’ dies and you bury it, and then rise again from the water (grave). Just like Jesus had to die and was buried and then rose from the dead.
Time to take my glasses off
I loved the Assembly of Believers. There were many people who really went for God and were serious about their faith. There was also an enormous amount of knowledge about the Bible and I was also stimulated to research the Bible itself. So I did that a lot. From an early age I read a lot in the Bible and was therefore well versed in it.
In the year 2000 we left the Assembly and joined a Baptist church. There I met my wife Evelyn.
I often spoke with my father about the Bible and through our studies we came to the conclusion that our lives are very little like the lives of the early Christians. Or that many of the things that Jesus Christ said during his lifetime are not being practiced by us Christians.
Thus I saw in my own life various sins, which were invisible to the outside world. Like regularly watching porn on the internet or TV. Or talking negatively about others behind their backs. I felt really bad about that. And rightly so: I repented and told God to follow Him and do good. Through that conversion I have received forgiveness of all sins – you really experience that! That forgiveness is a huge relief. But the Bible also promises freedom from sin. No longer be a slave to it (see Rom. 6:1-8 ) I didn’t see that reflected in my life! In fact, the Bible shows that if you live in sin, you have no part in Jesus Christ at all (and heaven, etc. see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ). I was taught in the past that once I choose Jesus Christ, I am saved forever. Unfortunately, this is not at all what the Bible teaches! (see for example Heb. 3:12-14). If you are forgiven of sins, baptized, go to church faithfully, but then do not walk in the new life, but live like everyone else – lying, stealing, slandering, adultery – then you are not at all sure of heaven .
In the Assembly (and in all the other churches) I saw that the Bible is read through a certain ‘glasses’. Every church has its own ‘glasses’, its own interpretation of the Bible. For example, I have been taught that once I have known a moment in my life when I have ‘accepted’ Jesus, have been born again, then I am definitively assured of a place in heaven. Now I see that this contradicts some scriptures in the Bible. Or that much of what Jesus Christ said to his followers is not meant for us, but for Israel, for example. That too is only a theory, you cannot conclude that from the relevant texts in the Bible. To keep that theory alive, you had to tinker with Bible texts and sources besides the Bible. Or that the first followers of Jesus lived in a special time, which allowed them to perform miracles, such as healing the sick. Something that is no longer possible in this day and age. I couldn’t find that in the Bible with the best will in the world.
I wanted to live a life in harmony with the Bible! I often cried to God for help and had a serious prayer life. Every day before I left for work, I spent some time with God, reading the Bible and praying.
Little by little God showed me new things and thus answered my prayers. Gradually I took off my glasses.
Baptism with the Holy Spirit
At one point an enthusiastic young speaker (David de Vos) came to our Baptist church and invited us to his ‘School for Evangelization’. This really appealed to Evelyn and me – this was important. If what we believe is really true, then everyone should know! And we must learn how to make that known to others. That is why we decided to follow this training, which consisted of about 8 evenings with different speakers.
One of those speakers spoke about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Knowing the Bible well, I knew this was true and that I needed this. The first disciples had been instructed by Jesus himself to wait for ‘the promise of the Father’ – He said: “You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. He said: if you want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, come to me afterwards and I will pray for you . It turned out that I was the only one who complied. I walked forward with some trepidation. The speaker prayed for me. It was a special experience where he suddenly said all kinds of things about me that he could not have known. It’s hard to describe, but I just knew God was speaking through him. This was completely unexpected! He also spoke out some things about my future (prophecy) that also happened later – or are actually happening now. There was also a kind of ‘glow’ within me that has not gone away. A new driving force to follow God more seriously.
Fasting – breakthrough!
Another speaker at that evangelism training was Herman Boon. He organizes an annual prayer and fast 10-day. In 2013, I decided to go to such a ‘ pray and fast conference gone. No food for 10 days, just drink. In the meantime, we would also receive all kinds of education.
They looked at me strangely at work.. “what are you going to do”?
During this 10-day event, I saw so much more of the life the Bible speaks of than I had ever experienced before! So we were challenged to pray for each other. If someone was sick, to pronounce healing, precisely as Jesus it to his followers had instructed . I prayed for a boy who had problems with his ear. He had bad hearing with it and would soon be operated on. After the first prayer I asked him if he noticed any difference. “No difference,” he said. Then I tried again and suddenly I saw his face brighten up. “Thanks man!” he said. His ear had opened and suddenly he could hear just as well with it as with the other ear!
Also, during that week, I had an experience that in the Bible “ speak in tongues ‘ is called. I had read about this before and saw, among other things, that it was normal to do in Acts (where the life of the first Christians is described). When people came to faith, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in an unknown language. Together we asked God to give us that gift.
I have to say something about that. In the circles where I come from, speaking in tongues was often seen as something scary. Or something that you should keep to yourself, don’t talk about it. Some people even suggest that the devil is behind this. This is a strange reasoning, because you are asking something of God. Think of it this way: suppose you have an important event tomorrow, such as an exam. Then you ask God to help you. A day later, you pass the exam perfectly and get a good grade. You want to thank God, but suddenly you think: maybe the devil has helped me and this is not from God at all! Isn’t that ridiculous to think? Jesus says that if you ask the Father for bread, He will not give you a stone ( * ). So it is with speaking in tongues, praying for the sick, and other things. You ask God for this gift and so you also expect an answer from Him.
For me the answer came immediately. After the prayer I began to speak and a strange language came out of my mouth that I could not understand. I can speak this language to this day, as much and as long as I want. It helps me pray, it grows my faith in God (see 1 Cor 14 ). I do it daily and wouldn’t want to be without it!
Also during those 10 days of fasting I saw the reality of the spirit world for the first time. When Jesus walked the earth, He regularly cast demons out of people. Sometimes they would suddenly start to stir when He was speaking somewhere. Someone in the room would suddenly start shouting loudly and behaving strangely. During those 10 days, several demons were also cast out and you saw the same phenomena as you read in the Bible.
An important promise
During the conference, Herman Boon, who led the conference, challenged us to set aside an hour each day for prayer. Get out of bed on time and then pray for an hour. Those who wanted could make a ‘promise’ to do this for 6 weeks (with the idea that it would become a habit so you would keep doing it). He also added: “ if you do that, you will find that your life will become a lot more adventurous “). The idea appealed to me, so I promised to do it.
By the way, not eating for 10 days is not as difficult as it seems 🙂 Besides an annoying feeling of hunger, it is very ‘refreshing’ for the life of faith and you experience God a lot more intensely. I can recommend everyone to go fast.
Some people said to me: yes, I would also start seeing and experiencing things if I didn’t eat (hallucinate) for 10 days! But that is not the case, you stay with both feet on the ground and apart from feeling hungry and weak it is doable.
After those 10-days, I did indeed get out of bed every morning at 6 am and prayed until 7 am. Praying in tongues helped with this and it was just beautiful to do. If you’ve never experienced anything from God, it’s hard to describe what it’s like. I have often thought during such a moment: though I lose everything I have and everything I possess burns down – if You are with me as you are now, I am fine with everything. That perhaps describes a bit how real those experiences are.
Life is getting more adventurous
Then it started. Remarkable things indeed began to happen. It started with the video below that someone shared on Facebook.
I thought this was so special. This man (a Dane) seemed to be living the life I was looking for. Two weeks later I saw a message on the internet that he was coming to the Netherlands. When I read on, it turned out that he came to Coevorden / Emmen. So my hometown. I knew: this is God! I didn’t hesitate for a moment and signed up for the meeting.
He was there for two days and this was truly unforgettable for me. We took to the streets in those days and saw the same things as in the video. Just by doing simple actions like the laying on of hands we saw people healed from all kinds of diseases and ailments. Just on the street, almost everyone we prayed for experienced that pain disappeared and that they felt better. I’m aware that this sounds unbelievable.. but that’s what happened! And I wasn’t the only one with that experience – dozens of people came up with the same story. A video was also made of this:
The man from Denmark is called Torben Søndergaard.
Then I could never have imagined that he is a good friend now, my neighbor and I work closely with him.
When you see such videos, it seems as if this is only about healing the sick, but that is certainly not the case. The point is that as churches and believers we go back to the basics of the Bible and the gospel. If we do that, we will experience events like Acts again and the Church will grow like never before.
After Torben’s visit to the Netherlands, I was asked by the organization of David de Vos to go to Africa for a video report to create an evangelistic campaign. Since filming is a hobby of mine and it seemed very nice to experience such a large campaign up close, I said ‘yes’ to that. It was a beautiful trip and I was also asked to join the next trip to Africa. During that 2nd trip I read Torben’s book: ‘ The Last Reformation ‘. This appealed to me enormously. Strange.. actually there is nothing new in this book. It’s the simplicity of the story that touched me so much. Something happened to me from reading that book.
When I came back from Africa I read the last chapter. I then noticed that God was speaking to me. He told me to let go of everything else and go along with that “reformation” that the book is about. (This book has meanwhile been translated into Dutch and available here ) .
As a result, Evelyn and I decided to leave the Baptist church we belonged to and even put my camera hobby aside and not come to Africa anymore. Because that’s what God asked of me. It wasn’t such a logical step, because the combination of filming and reaching people was just right for me. I also found the collaboration with Go and Tell very valuable.
A few weeks after that decision, we went to Opwekking, the largest Christian conference in the Netherlands (or Europe?). We had been loyal visitors for years, staying and camping all weekend, but this time it was different. Normally I read the program booklet extensively and I wanted to experience as many services and speakers as possible. Now I looked at it differently. For how many sermons have I heard in my life that have worked out nothing in my life? As a result of which I have not or hardly started to live or think differently?
I came to the conclusion that listening to sermons mainly gives a ‘good feeling’. You learn new things and our faith is ‘built up’ by it for some time. But where does it lead? The aim is to put what we have learned into practice, right? And I didn’t see that result. For example, all those sermons do not lead to people from outside the church coming to faith and following Christ. Or that we as believers become more effective in propagating our faith. Because the hard truth is, most people in the Church have never led anyone else to Christ. That’s something to ask yourself. Are you a Christian and are you reading this? How many people have become disciples of Jesus because of you? Chances are that the answer zero point zero is. Isn’t that dramatic? After all, isn’t that what Jesus gave us?!
An awful lot of believers die without having won a single other person to Christ. For many people, life with God has come to a complete standstill and they do not live the dynamic life that the first disciples and apostles lived.
During the weekend at Opwekking, I was really frustrated about that. I walked around the grounds there and thought about the things we had been through, the sick being healed with a simple prayer, demons being cast out, a different view of the church. At the same time I thought: am I not just kidding myself? Thousands of Christians walk around here! Could it really be that I ‘see’ or have discovered something that all those thousands of people don’t know? Who do you think you are!? That was what went through my mind at the time. The main frustration was that I didn’t want to listen to sermons again. I wanted to get into action… or else go home. That’s what I said to Evelyn on Saturday: “I don’t feel like doing this anymore, I want to go home!”.
My brother Johan came up with the great plan to pray for the sick during the conference, just like we did on the street and had learned from Torben. So, with some trepidation, we stood in people’s aisles and approached people and asked if they had any complaints that we could pray for. When we were able to pray for the first person, we saw someone enthusiastically sticking her thumb up in the background. We talked to her and it turned out that she had also been at Torben’s meeting. Quite special, because there are 70,000 people walking around there and maybe 100 people would have been present at Torben.
We agreed to meet in our awning the next day to pray as a group for the sick. So that Sunday morning we sat together in the awning of our caravan and we got to know Ferry van der Marel , Karin Hekhuis and Eveline de Regt. We went out together. We were allowed to pray for several people and they all declared that they experienced healing. For example, a girl who was on crutches could run after prayer without crutches. I filmed everything with my phone. Below a video. (Sorry for the sound interference)
Little did we know that the above was seen by a woman sitting in front of their caravan with her family and friends. You see this family on the 18th second of the above video. Her husband was sitting there in a wheelchair and she saw with amazement the healing of this girl.
Eveline, without her knowledge, approached this group and asked: “Is there anyone here who needs healing?”. Immediately this woman pointed to her husband. We asked if we could pray for him and that was fine. He had a muscle disease and had therefore been in a wheelchair for 10 years. In principle he could stand, but his back was ‘stuck’. So when he stood, he was bent all the way forward with his face to the ground. To make matters worse, lately the disease also started to set in in his foot, making it impossible for him to stand on it because of the pain.
Then we prayed for him and over 18 minutes of prayer we saw improvement! It started with his foot – the pain disappeared. This encouraged us to continue praying and expect that he would be fully healed. I captured this with my phone:
wow! We were very impressed with this. Mainly because of its simplicity. Simon had simply been next in line for us to be healed – only his condition was worse than the people we prayed for before.
What made it extra special was that Simon turned out not to be a believer at all and was ‘lured’ to the conference by acquaintances. They had invited him to visit ‘at the campsite’ for a day. When he got there he thought: this is no ordinary campsite. After this event, he surrendered his life to God and to this day (two years ago) he is doing well and has moved on with God. Simons’ story can also be seen in the film released by The Last Reformation in 2016 and on Youtube can be viewed..
This was so great! I can remember few days when I was as happy as that day! I thought: ‘ Revival must know this, we must tell this story! So we went to the conference leaders with this story and the images. They were impressed and Kees Goedhart, who was to speak that evening, asked me if I wanted to tell this story on the main stage. So that evening I was suddenly talking in front of 10,000 people and it was broadcast live on TV (Family7) and later often repeated on the radio (Great News Radio) and various media wrote about it ( “Suddenly Simon became a household name” , “How is Simon Ekkelboom now?” ).
It was clear to me. Indeed, I am on the trail of something that many of those thousands of people who were there do not know yet and that we have been able to show. I thought it was special how this video has been watched so many times, while I didn’t have to make any effort for it. For all the other videos I’ve made, I sweated for many hours to make something beautiful out of it. And few people watched it. Then I put my camera gear aside because God asked me to and I record something on my phone and suddenly it is seen by a lot of people! Indeed, life becomes much more adventurous if you start each morning with an hour of prayer and ask God to use you for His Kingdom!
After this event, Torben contacted me. He also wanted to share this video. He also said that he would see us working together in the future. That seemed great!
Torben later also posted a video on the Internet in which he said he is looking for those people who are passionate about reforming the church. That immediately appealed to me! I wanted to give up everything and follow Jesus. This was a great opportunity to get started!
When I saw this video we were on holiday in France. It never let go of me after that. I showed it to Evelyn and told her I’d love to do this! And that I wanted to sign up! She didn’t react enthusiastically.. but more with a laugh: that’s not possible at all, is it? How do you want to do that with our work and Thijs’ school? Just take 3 months off? That’s not possible at all. And besides: you know very little about Torben and we don’t know what that school looks like, where we should live. Evelyn suggested that I first send an email asking for some more information. Then we would see further. That seemed like a good idea and enthusiastically I sent an email.
That evening we went to bed and the light was already out when I said: “Um.. what would I email Torben again?”. Evelyn replied: “You would ask for some more information…?”. I jumped out of bed and said: “Oh no, I just signed up in the mail!! What have I done!!?”. I immediately sent an email to apologize. I wrote that I had forgotten a detail: I had not discussed it with my wife! I thought I’d never hear from him again, but he sent an email back. He said that I had shown my heart with my ‘registration’. And that he wanted to talk to us and if we wanted to Skype with him.
It wasn’t for me at all to sign up so impulsively, to send an email so thoughtlessly… but it shows how excited I was. Normally I read an email a few times and consider things carefully before making a decision. Again I noticed how God was at work in me..
We had a chat with Torben and he invited us to come over. Especially to remove our insecurities about ‘living in faith’, ie without income. During that long weekend we visited both Torben and his wife Lene, as well as two other couples who lived by faith and told special stories of how God provided their income. I knew these stories from books! I’ve read a lot of books about people who experienced such miracles, but to meet such people myself was very inspiring! You may think, ‘living on faith’, without a fixed income? Is that really possible? Why would you think that? This is something Jesus Christ taught. click here for the part in the Bible where it says it.
On the way back to the Netherlands we weren’t sure if we would go to Denmark and sign up for that training.
But we did know one thing: we wanted this life too! It was so… alive!
Bye work, bye career!
We decided we were going to try it. It was God who called us to give all our time to Him. For example, I thought, “Suppose I give up my job, which suddenly gives me an enormous amount of time to tell people about Jesus… then there would be a greater chance that I would no longer belong to that group that made zero disciples. In other words. .. imagine that through this decision one person would find God and be saved from sin and thereby from God’s judgment coming upon the world (want that is coming!), d and would it be worth it!”
At the end of September I approached my supervisor at NKL Contact Lenses and indicated that I wanted to stop. I found that very difficult! Not only because I have always had a lot of fun in my work and NKL is a really nice company with many nice colleagues! I had also built up a lot in terms of work there and the product I had made was a great success worldwide and everything showed an upward trend. We were about to break through in many countries with this product. I also found it very difficult to explain to my colleagues why I was doing this. I don’t think it has become clear to them… so much has happened before that they didn’t get much of it. I didn’t show much of myself at work.
at 10 November 2014 I had my last working day. I actually thought the goodbye wouldn’t be so hard for me.. but I cried like a baby 🙂 Strange that I didn’t see how much I loved the work! That’s probably because I love God a lot more and everything else just seems uninteresting!
After I left there I built a website: www.delaatstereformatie.nl and started translating The Pioneer School into Dutch. During that time we experienced some special things and we were able to baptize two people. One of them had whiplash as a result of a car accident years ago. Because of this she could do very little. She has been completely healed of this through prayer, is now born again and now also prays for others and shares the gospel with others and has baptized a number of people herself. After these events I concluded: it is already worth it!
A few months later, we captured her story on video. Her story shows how the good news spreads from person to person. A great story, check it out!
And because of this video, others have come to faith! Who also experience special things with God! This is unstoppable!
Evelyn and I said to each other: now we really live the life we want to live! This is how the church must have spread in the first century!
A few months later, in February 2015, this time Evelyn said: let’s go to Denmark. Because this had been the original plan. She didn’t want to do things halfway. If this was what God was calling us to do, then we should go do it. After thinking and praying about it for a while, we noticed that we had an enormous peace about it. On a Friday evening (February 13) we called Torben and told him we had decided to come. We still wanted to sell our house, so as not to be without income and high mortgage payments. That might take a while, but after that we’d be on our way! The next day we had an appointment with one Fabian, a Peruvian who lives in Germany and wanted to talk to us about The Last Reformation. He had just visited Torben in Aalborg, together with his wife, and was very enthusiastic about this work. We had no idea if they were old or young, had kids, etc. We knew nothing about them.
It turned out to be a young family with 4 children. We immediately had a nice click and a good conversation about the work that we were both enthusiastic about. They thought we had a nice house and when it turned out that we wanted to get rid of the house, they were immediately interested. They turned out to be looking for a house in the Netherlands and her family also turned out to live in Emmen. The house would be perfect for them! Buying was not an option for them, but we agreed that they would rent the house.
Now it all happened very quickly. We packed our things and gave several things away. Evelyn submitted her resignation as a pediatric nurse at the hospital in Emmen – where she worked with great pleasure. And then… Fabian came to visit and told us the lease could not go through! It just turned out to be financially impossible and moreover he was in danger of losing his job if he moved from Germany to the Netherlands (had something to do with the fact that he is not yet a European citizen). For a moment we felt a slight panic – coughing up a mortgage without income .. exciting! But we prayed for it and that same day we experienced that peace again. We said to each other: No, obviously this whole thing is God’s work, so it just goes left or right. We just continued planning as if nothing had happened.
Fabian called for two days and indicated that he would rent anyway. It was still insecure financially, but God made it clear to him that it was the intention.
So we were able to leave for Denmark on April 15, 2015 and Fabian and Albertine moved into our house 2 weeks later.
A nice detail. In the process of ‘letting go’ months before, I have dedicated our house to God several times and said to God as I walked through the house, “God, this is all for you, you can have it all. Use it for your kingdom.” This because I no longer had an income and the house had become too expensive as a result, I ‘gave’ it, as it were, to God. I did not expect that He would answer this prayer in this way. Fabian has baptized quite a few people in our bathtub since he rented the house, prayed for the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our kitchen, and received people seeking God. I couldn’t imagine better tenants..! haha!
How did people react to our departure? Most thought it was very brave – strangely enough, we didn’t think it was that special. Most of them were especially curious about how we were going to make it financially. And they asked us when we would come back. We said: the expectation is about half a year. But to be honest we hadn’t the faintest idea. Likewise, we would be back within three months, or would we stay away for years and travel all over the world. This is an undertaking with God – so we’ll see where He leads us all.
My blog starts roughly at this point. So if you want to know how the story continues, it’s best to read my blog.
Now, more than a year later, I can say that we have never had any financial worries. We have never had to ask anyone for money, we have not lived on aid, subsidies, etc. (except for child benefits). We have never been short and have been able to live normally. We have received huge gifts, but also once we were without money at the checkout of the supermarket, so that we had to leave the stuff behind. That was not pleasant, but we had no shortage. We now even live in a nicer house than we had in the Netherlands – for free – and we feel richly blessed! God is good and trustworthy!
Large numbers of
When we still lived in the Netherlands, I often prayed a simple prayer: “Let me reach large numbers of people with the gospel”. I’d like to see a substantial change – the way the gospel went around the world 2,000 years ago, I wanted to see that again.
In the meantime, I have already seen that become a bit of a reality. I was allowed to participate in 3 films:
My story on video
Part of this story is also on video.
Thanks for reading and God’s blessings!