Belgium

About the Mission

 

Beginning in 2000, Belgium is the longest ongoing PWP Project that SportQuest has initiated, and each year the number of lives that are touched grows exponentially across this special nation. Partnering with local churches and sport clubs, you and your team will be equipped and empowered to use sports as a tool to help people discover Jesus. You will be challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually during an intense, high-adventure, five-day training camp that will help you bond with your team as well as prepare you culturally, athletically, and spiritually. Then, based on your chosen sport, you and your team will travel to two different cities where you will lead week-long, high-energy sports camps that will allow you to tear down religious walls, build relationships, and share your story with the community. Competition is offered (in select sports) against local club teams. 

Discover more about what God is doing in Belgium.

 

Project Summary

Dates: July 9 - 29, 2018

Location: Belgium (various cities)

Training Camp: TBA

Sports: Basketball, Soccer, and Dance

Age Requirements: Applicants must be between 15 - 25 years old 

Cost: $2,995.00*

* Includes international airfare from gateway city and in-country ground costs

* Price subject to change based on airline taxes and fuel charges

 

 

 

                         

Testimonials

  • Ruth Ellen B.
    “Jesus took me to one of the darkest places I’ve ever been to and reminded me that His light always pierces the darkness and will shine in and through me.”
  • Ian K.
    “I learned that fellowship and the work of prayer are God’s two greatest gifts to us that allow us to connect spiritually.”
  • Tiffany F.
    “Basketball brought me to Belgium through SportQuest, and God showed me that He can use me to impact lives for His glory if I am obedient.  He calls us to build each other up in community for this common purpose.”
  • Riley S.
    “My trip to Belgium was life-changing.  I’ve never felt God’s presence so intimately and intensely before.  I was surrounded by some of the most influential leaders I’ve ever met as well as people who are now my lifelong friends.  I learned the power of prayer and community on this trip, and I saw my teammates and I work together as the body of Christ.  Coming back home was tough, but my SportQuest experience has helped me change my way of thinking from self-centered to God-centered, and now wherever I may be I’m seeking to point people toward God.” 
  •  

    Belgium Country Info

    Project Coordinator: Kevin Verstraeten

     

    Population: 11,190,845

    Capital: Brussels

    Official languages: Dutch (Flemish), French, and German; English is also widely spoken

    Currency: Euro

    Most popular sports: Soccer, Cycling, Tennis, Basketball

     

    Political Situation:

    For such a small country, Belgium has been a major European battleground over the centuries.  Occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II, it has experienced an economic boom in the past 50 years to become a model Western European liberal democracy.  However, there has also been a growing divide between the mainly Dutch-speaking north and the mainly French-speaking south, with some even speculating that the country could split.

    Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), making it the home of an army of international diplomats and civil servants. King Philippe succeeded to the throne in July 2013 on the abdication of his father, the 79-year-old Albert II, who stepped down due to health issues.

    In Fall 2015, the refugee crisis hit an all-time high with almost 2,000 asylum seekers per week arriving in Brussels, mostly from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.  The question of how many refugees to allow in the country and what kind of social status to grant them is a looming political crisis.  The attacks in Paris in November 2015 as well as the Brussels airport and metro stations in March 2016 have put Belgium in the world spotlight, causing fear and suspicion about future incidents.  SportQuest cannot claim to know 100% for certain that this will not happen again, though our international staff who reside in Belgium keep us updated on the situation and we implement strict safety measures.  What we do know is there is an enormous window of opportunity and dire need to reach Belgians -- as well as refugees -- for Christ at this time.  We trust in God's protection and believe making disciples in Belgium is worth the risk. 

     

    Spiritual Climate:

    Humanism dominates the spiritual landscape. In Catholic schools, 80% of students choose the “non-belief” track.  Catholicism is in rapid decline. Nominalism is pervasive; nationally, only 5% attend mass, and as low as 1% in some parts of Flanders and less than 0.5% in some Walloon cities.  According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2010, 37% of Belgian citizens responded that they believe there is a God.  31% answered that they believe there is some sort of spirit or life-force.  27% answered that they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life-force.  5% did not respond. 

    The Church faces five major crises – declining commitment, waning influence, a severe lack of leadership, mass defections and, most of all, the pedophilia scandals that have destroyed Catholicism’s reputation. The average age of priests is over 65. The charismatic movement brought some new life but remains quite small. 80% of evangelical churches in Flanders do not have a Flemish pastor. 25% of the population in Brussels is Muslim – due to the huge influx of immigrants from countries like Turkey and Morocco – and there are 6 times as many Muslims as there are evangelical Christians (roughly 1% of the total population).  Pray for revival in this materially prosperous but spiritually poor land.  (Info taken from Operation World)

     

    Challenges for Prayer:

    Belgium is a deeply divided nation. For 2,000 years, its territory has straddled the cultural divide between the Latin and Germanic worlds. Walloon-Flemish rivalry and resentments color the use of language, the economy, politics, religious life, and worldviews of both communities. The growing immigrant population adds a third angle to this dynamic. An eventual breakup of Belgium is within the realm of possibility, paralyzing political progress. Pray that national leaders at every level may have wisdom regarding this complex challenge. Pray that the Church might be a profound example of unity to the wider society, and that real reconciliation and peace might be shaped in Belgium.

    Belgium has witnessed, for centuries, blood spilled on their land by other European powers, irrevocably wounding Belgian character and identity. The Protestant community is only in the last few decades recovering from the destruction of its 600 congregations by the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th Century. Pray that the defilement of past violence might be removed by Christ’s own blood, and pray that true healing of past damages and fear might occur.

    Pray for the influx of refugees and immigrants into this nation, many of whom are from Islamic backgrounds.  Pray for protection from radical fundamentalist, but even more so pray for the salvation of Muslims, many of whom are experiencing life in a country without religious persecution for the first time.  There is a major open door to reach Muslims for Christ, and ministries like the Bijbelhuis in Antwerp and StapSteen in Brussels are being used by God for such a time as this.

     

    Points of Interest:

    • Grote Markt (Grand Place) in downtown Brussels
    • Atomium sculpture
    • Manneken Pis statue
    • St. Bavo’s Cathedral which houses the famous painting, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (as seen in the film Monuments Men)
    • Historic city center of Brugge
    • Bastogne War Museum

     

    Typical Weather:

    Summers can be very hot in Belgium, but usually rain is just around the corner.  In an average month, Belgium gets at least 15 days of rainfall and humidity hovers around 80%.  Bring a light rain jacket for evenings and possible rainy days and bring plenty of layers. 

     

    Typical or unique Foods:

    Typical meals usually revolve around meat and potatoes.  Bread is eaten with almost every meal.  Pasta is also very common.  Belgian fries (as opposed to French fries) are eaten with everything from fast food to expensive steak dinners.   Belgium is known for its chocolate, waffles, beer, and – everyone’s favorite – Brussel sprouts.     

  • Dear Parents,

    We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in your child's life this summer. Thank you for supporting your son or daughter as they step out in faith and seek to encounter all that God has for them. May this moment remind you of the dreams that God has placed in your heart over the years. Are you walking in all that God has for you? We want to encourage you to believe that it is never too late to step out and surrender your will for His will. What we do in this life really does matter for eternity and obedience is always better than sacrifice. We love, appreciate, and pray for you as a parent. Please let us know if you have any specific prayer requests or questions.

    We understand that the safety of your child is very important to you and it is equally important to us. In the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, we highlight and discuss questions that are important for you to review. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have regarding your child's upcoming SportQuest experience.

    Below we have included two letters from SportQuest parents.  We hope these letters encourage you, excite you, and bring you peace as you prepare your child to "Go" on this experience of a lifetime!

    A Mother's Story by Carrie, Kansas

    We have three sons who have all traveled multiple years on PWP Projects. We have had a son travel with SQ every year since 2000! I asked each of our boys how SportQuest made a difference in their lives. Each one of them mentioned that it was through SQ that they became aware of the need to share the gospel to every corner of the earth. Ryan mentioned that it made him see things in a different perspective and made him grow in different areas of his life. Kyle and Chris mentioned how it made them want to reach out to others.

    Kyle traveled to Kenya in 2010. I want to share a heart-wrenching story that occurred after his return from Africa. He had been home for about an hour and was full of stories, but because of the wee hours of the morning we all decide to go to bed and catch up on everything else the next day. Kyle decided to have a bowl of cereal and my husband and I headed off to bed. As I was getting ready for bed, I decided to visit some more with Kyle as he ate his bowl of cereal. As I entered the kitchen I noticed Kyle standing with his back to me looking at the food in the kitchen cabinet. He was not moving, not making a noise but just standing there. I asked if he was OK and nothing came out of his mouth. He continued to stand there just staring. I didn't go over there but just stayed silent, waiting for his next move. With his back still to me I heard the words in a tearful cry "WE HAVE SO MUCH. THEY HAVE SO LITTLE". He said "I thought I knew....I've heard missionaries talk....but I didn't know. Mom you think you know, but you don't know." It took him a while before he turned around, but when he did his eyes and face were so filled with tears. I will never in my life forget that picture of what I saw in my son.

    Kyle gave a presentation to our local church after his return from Africa. The church was packed with those not only from our church, but from our community. This 19-year-old son of ours was emotional as he shared about the people of Africa. His life will never be the same.  Kyle has always been a child that respected us and gave us no trouble in high school, but he now has a passion for missions and others. What a blessing to have SQ be a part of our children's lives.

    I'm tearful as I am thinking right now of what SQ means to us.  We have always been a basketball family, and we enjoy sports immensely. We believe so strongly that God has blessed the boys with a talent of basketball that can be used as a platform to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We believe this is what SQ wants to do – use sports as a platform to share the Gospel. God has given kids so many talents in different sports not to bring them glory, but to bring GOD the glory. 

    I would like to reassure any parent that is apprehensive to send their kids overseas. We know that God loves our kids more than we do and that we are called to be witnesses. We definitely prayed over the trips our children took and of course when we saw how God provided the finances for these trips it confirmed that they were to be there.  We had problems with Kyle's shots and our medical clinic was very against us sending him to Africa. However, God really taught me something when my child looked me in the face and said, "Mom, we have a God that can keep me safe, and I'd rather die sharing the Gospel than to stay back home to just work and make more money."  This 19-year-old was teaching his mom to trust in God as he felt he was being called to serve Him in sport missions.

    A Parent's Perspective by Chi-Chung, California

    My wife and I are privileged to have sent our daughter on two summer missions trips with SportQuest -- the first at the end of her junior year in high school to Costa Rica and the second after graduating from high school to Belgium. We wanted her to use her God-given abilities – in her case basketball – in an environment where she can be a blessing and encouragement to others. We looked at a number of organizations and prayed that God will give us a sense of peace and direction. There were several key reasons why we decided to go with SportQuest. First of all, they are clearly missional -- the theme of Playing with Purpose is clearly in their DNA. Secondly, they were responsive. Throughout the process of learning about the organization they were always the first to respond back. Though SportQuest is located in Indiana, they were able to put me in touch with a local staff member in California who was kind enough to meet up with us for a cup of coffee during the investigation process. Thirdly, they are serious about safety. I appreciated how much attention they put into ensuring the safety of their missionaries. On her first trip to Costa Rica, they arranged to have her fly out of California to the East Coast with another athlete so that she would not have to fly alone. Once they touched down they were met by SportQuest personnel and taken to a local hotel where they could spend the night before flying out to Costa Rica the next morning. Once in the designated country, SportQuest provided a week of training and orientation so that each athlete is prepared physically, mentally and spiritually for the work ahead.

    Fundraising is always a major concern and challenge. However, we've found that SportQuest walks with you throughout the process, providing wonderful tools and ideas to journey the fund raising process in faith. We also appreciated the updates when gifts were sent in so that we knew where we stood on the fundraising side throughout the process.

    We've been thoroughly blessed by our relationship with SportQuest. We've seen our daughter's love and passion for God grow through her time with SportQuest over the past two summers. As a parent, there is no greater joy "than to see our children walking in the truth" (3 John 4). Thank you, SportQuest, for helping our daughter walk and serve with passion and purpose.

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Contact Us: 317.270.9495
P.O. Box 53433 Indianapolis, IN 46253
info@sportquest.org

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