My experience with IREF Delft.
My name is Elijah Cheruiyot. I am Kenyan, 30, and a believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For fifteen months ending in March 2014, I lived in Delft while working on a project for European Space Agency at TU Delft. Yes, you guessed it right – it was related to water resources management. It was my second visit to the Netherlands having stayed for two months in 2011 for an academic research. I enjoyed living in this very quiet city, enjoyed biking in nicely made bicycle tracts, made lots of friends; but perhaps the most memorable thing is my experience with IREF fellowship.
I knew about IREF during my first visit to Delft. I had asked the secretary of our department to recommend a church in Delft with services in English; we found a number of them online. She recommended IREF because she knew about it and Oude Kerk which hosts the fellowship was easily recognizable. On my first visit to IREF for a Sunday service, I knew my search for a church had come to an end. A warm welcome was clearly evidenced by the excitement of the members to see me. More importantly, I knew from the way the word of God was taught that we were all serving the same LORD and that instantly made me feel at home. After the service, we had an interesting interaction with some of the members as we shared tea and coffee. For the next two months, I had found a home in IREF, enjoying worship services every Sunday and participating in Bible study and prayer meetings on Thursdays.
My second visit was longer with much more enriching experiences. First, I had a chance to participate in Alpha course and the follow-up Andreas course, both greatly impacted on my spiritual growth. Though I could not complete the latter, I continued to receive course materials from Pastor Niek Tramper while back in Kenya. Second, I witnessed a number of people receive the gospel and get baptized. It is always a joy to witness as one more brother or sister joins the family of Christ, and this happens in IREF. Third, this period coincided with the time I was planning for my wedding. It was so amazing how the fellowship was very supportive to me when they had only known me for a short while.
One outstanding thing about IREF is the rich diversity of its members, which allows a multidimensional approach to the understanding of scriptures. It is great to see people from different parts of the world, different cultures, different careers, old and young; all come together to celebrate Jesus. It is the clearest indication yet that there is only one church – that headed by Christ. Should I visit Delft again, IREF is the place to be. I experienced tremendous spiritual growth while in IREF especially through Bible study and prayer meetings, and to keep up with that my wife and I recently joined a house group Bible study with members of our church in Nairobi. It is my prayer that God will bless IREF to continue with their life transforming ministry which impacts the lives of many, especially the international guests who find in IREF a home away from home.
From top to bottom:
– During Bible study in February 2011;
– Pastor Niek Tramper prays with me shortly before I left for my wedding in Kenya;
– Participants bid me farewell in my final Andreas course at Oude Kerk.