MaddyChristine Hope Photography-9606.LTim and I just came back from a VERY good month abroad.

We both feel that this might have been the best month of our marriage so far. We enjoyed being together 24/7, we enjoyed working together, we enjoyed traveling and adventure, and we certainly enjoyed our overdue trip for Tim’s non-profit.  I think the best part was working together. I love working with Tim on his work and he certainly is very talented when it comes to my work. I love how it overlaps and how we do not have separate lives.  I realize that this is a blessing from God.

Burkina Faso
When Tim started to talk about going to Burkina, he mentioned me coming along. My mind quickly went to finances. We could not afford me coming along. I couldn’t just tack along for gigs and giggles, there had to be a significant reason – a job for me to do. Tim didn’t share my opinion, he felt strongly about me coming along. He said: “You are my wife, it’s time you start seeing what I, what we, do. You are part of this, you need to come.” One thing I find important in our marriage is that I know when to follow Tim, this was one of those times. I trusted he had wisdom I didn’t have and we booked tickets for the both of us.
We were really excited and at the same time we were a bit nervous because we just didn’t know what to expect doing this as a married couple. We tried to talk about expectations beforehand but one can just not prepare something that is unfamiliar territory. Well, any ‘worries’ we had were gone quickly once in Burkina because we turned out to be quite the team!
MaddyChristine Hope Photography-9471.LIt was amazing seeing Tim at work and juggle the sum of activities.  He was translator to many, often at the same time 😉 . 

He led different organizations, explaining constantly about Burkina’s situation.  He held meetings every day trying to connect organizations and their work.  He built strong relationships with the Burkinabé.  And of course there was me, his wife… he wanted to make sure I was doing well and at the same time I demanded a lot since I was filming.  Tim juggled all those responsibilities and everyone’s different needs, without any sign of stress.  He was like a fish in the water and, seeing that, I came to a stronger conviction that this is what Tim needs to do.  As we visited his cousin, as we even got to see his brother Pete in Burkina, I also realized how for generations, this is what the Brokopp – Arnold clan does. This non profit work, to contribute to making the world a better place, is Tim’s DNA!
The filming
I had a great time working in Burkina.  At some point I had to laugh… often people have mentioned how I would be a great asset to Tim’s ministry with my filming.  I always laughed it off because I would not see myself do that.  And here i was filming and photographing.  Like God would ever let my years of experience in TV go to waste, why on earth would I think that?!  So I was pleasantly surprised by what I was doing in Burkina.  And here too, Tim and I turned out to be quite the team.  Tim ended up doing most of the interviews as I filmed and he was so very good at it.  At the end of the two weeks we had both grown a ton in this area.  In the coming months it is my turn to juggle responsibilities and commitment and over time I will be excited to launch our Amoveo video.
MaddyChristine Hope Photography-9649.LMy heart status
Going back to Tim’s wisdom about me coming along. Yes, I found myself a job while in Burkina but I am convinced that even if I did nothing… I needed to be there.
Someone pointed out to me that we sacrifice by doing what we are doing. Missionaries sacrifice money and the ability to buy what you want when you want it, or more so, to buy what you need. It’s a sacrifice we both bring and this friend pointed out it is good for me to see why we sacrifice. Looking back I couldn’t agree more. If I am so sure this is what Tim needs to be doing, than this ‘sacrifice’ comes with it. And is it really sacrifice? I feel God started a new process in my heart while in Burkina. Because aren’t we all called to a life of sacrifice?
With Tim, I started to see that this is a lifestyle, our lifestyle.  We want to live a life of sacrifice to God.  God made me into who i am, He created me with purpose, and I want to give to Him who I am and what He has given me. None of it belongs to me and it is my desire to look around me and sacrifice.  In my daily living, with the people around me, if I make money I know it should go towards people, not towards things. Let’s just say that I came on board with Tim’s ministry like never before.  I don’t have a picture yet of what that means concretely but I know God will show the way.
Some of Amoveo’s concrete results of this past month:
1.  Amoveo received it’s first grant.  A solar company donated a $ 100,000 solar system and the financing to get it to Burkina.
2.  Money came in to buy more land for the agriculture center.
3.  The first stone for this agriculture center was laid.  What perfect timing since I got to film it.
4.  We visited a beautiful but secluded village.  Once a village of thousands, it is now home to only 200 people.  People are leaving because there is no water, leaving behind the little they have to start all over again.  Pretty disastrous.  After hearing this story, one of our partner organizations has agreed to finance a well in this village.  
5.  Tim connected with many different organizations and is working hard for all of them to see how important it is to address of of the needs in a region simultaneously.  So far we have water, schooling and food sustainability on board in regions in Burkina.  Health is being worked on.  It’s time for more project money to come in so we can go full force.  
We give all glory to God for all this.  We ourselves an do nothing, we merely give back to God who we are and what He has given us.
MaddyChristine Hope Photography-9149.L
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Burkina Faso

Map Burkina FasoFinally, F I N A L L Y, Tim and I are traveling to the place he calls home, the place where his heart is, the place where he grew up.  Finally, Tim gets to show me his people and his work.  His true home is Gabon but Western Africa in general is where he grew up.

We are going for Tim’s missionary work.

In short: Tim’s parents were missionaries in Gabon and so that is where he grew up.  When Tim was 14 they decided it was time to move back to the States to take care of mom’s parents who were getting really old.  It was quite the adjustment for Tim, going from the jungle to American High School.                   Tim’s heart was really for and with the African people.  After college he decided to move back to Gabon to serve among his people, his family really. Some years later Tim returned to the States and it eventually led to Amoveo Group.  Although we live here, Tim’s heart continues to be there.  When Tim’s work for another organization came to an end at the beginning of last year he started looking for ‘regular’ jobs.  He applied everywhere and my heart was breaking.  I could not see Tim being happy and content in a job that would ‘just’ supply for our family.  Tim wants to do good.  Tim needs to do good.  He needs to make a difference.  It is his calling.

DSC_0594-300x198Fast forward to Robert.  Robert is Burkinabé and as a local he tries to make a difference in his country.  Any donation is celebrated so when a company donated a lot of money for thousands of mosquito nets, he was thrilled.  He was going from village to village handing out these mosquito nets.  One day he handed out the nets to a father and something happened that changed him forever.  The father accepted graciously but as Robert walked away he saw the daughter walk up to her dad, tucking his sleeve and asking the following question: “Père, père (father), have you told this man we haven’t eaten in a few days?” All Robert could think of was what was the point of handing out mosquito nets to prevent malaria if they died of hunger? Robert started to look for a different way.

Around April last year Tim crossed paths with an old friend, colleague and former boss (while in missions in Gabon) and their hearts connected over the same issue:  in order to really change a country, organizations need to work together!! Around that time Tim made a trip to Burkina Faso and encountered his old friend Robert.  Tim heard Robert’s story and realized that their hearts were convicted in the same way.  Tim came back and started started Amoveo Group with his friend Matt.

Amoveo Group is inviting organizations to come sit around the table to solve complex problems together.  There is no point working on one need, when all the needs must be addressed at the same time in order to make sustainable change.  What good does medicine do if people get sick because of drinking dirty water.  What good does food do without any water around.  What benefit does schooling have if children die of hunger.  Amoveo doesn’t work on one need; it addresses all needs by focusing the efforts of lots of organizations.

And THAT is why we are going to Burkina.  It was quite the investment but we are finally going.  There are organizations traveling with us and Tim is helping them see and understand Burkina Faso’s needs.  They also will meet with organizations who are already working in Burkina.  And very exciting, it’s time to get started on projects while we’re there like an agriculture school.  My role in it all…I hope to come home with photos and video.  We are in desperate need for that.

Now some of you know we are able to do this work and traveling because family and friends support our work.  We are able to get started on a agriculture school because of organizations, but also because of people like you supporting particular projects like this.  Tim and I are personally in need of more support.  We are just not making it on a monthly basis.  And to explain, Tim works on the side coaching soccer and I work hard keeping my business in Holland going.  But it’s still not enough.  If you go HERE you’ll see many different ways you can support us.  Of course one could donate money, but some may not be able to give in that way.  Well, no problem… do you know you can actually DONATE THINGS too?  There’s an organization who set up a website page for us: donated goods are given, then sold and the proceeds go to us, to whatever place you assign your product to.  We just love this little feature on our website.  In advance, thank you for helping us do the work we long to do!

Hopefully I am able to update a photo here and there but we are in the bush bush and slums so I am not sure how much internet access I’ll have.  If it is quiet for a bit… you now know why!


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Faithful in prayer

I have always wondered how that works: praying for people! People will ask me to pray for them, people will ask me to pray for a friend of theirs that I don’t know, or I know of a friend who needs prayer desperately. It has happened that the list was overwhelmingly long that I really didn’t know how to go about it. It seemed impossible to pray for everyone. I have always been sensitive to the fact that I never wanted to promise people I’d pray when I wasn’t sure I could. And I wondered if people would really pray when I heard them say: “I’ll pray for you” while passing me in the hallway. Would people really, really pray when they said they would?

And then I met Tim. And with him came his way of praying. Tim keeps a journal and he showed it to me in our early days. In there is a longggg list of people he prays for on a daily basis. And I got to see how he has his time with God during the day and he really, really prays for all those people faithfully. I was impressed, and love is written all over it. He would also bring many of those people before the Lord again in our night time prayer, adding more people to it as they would come to mind.

The wonderful thing about marriage is that now we can pray together. And it really is wonderful. It has an encouraging effect. So I find myself praying more than before. And we never promise to pray without fulfilling that promise. We actually follow through, and often right there on the spot.
Very regularly we get texts from people who need prayer and we do the fire safety thing like “stop drop and roll”. We stopwhatever we are doing, we dropto our knees (not always literally), and rollinto a time of prayer. And just this week I realized how it’s become a habit for us to pray for people. I love it! It’s who we are becoming. And of course there is the truth that praying for other people doesn’t just benefit the person for whom we are praying. It is very fulfilling, I have more time with our Lord and it builds my faith.
So… keep the prayer requests coming…

New Blog

Although this blog is new, blogging and writing is not new to me.  I am a writer, I need to write.  Sometimes I have these creative waves and it just has to get out.  I am also one that needs to process and writing is a great way for me to do that.  I love to share life in a deep and honest way.  I have always shared my life openly, in the good and in the bad.  I like to be real and I truly dislike putting on a mask and putting up a front.  To me there is also beauty in sharing the difficulties in life because I know I am not alone.  Somewhere, someone has gone through the same or something similar.  There is beauty and power in friendship, and in people coming alongside one another with encouragement.  And by sharing honestly I know people in return have opened up.  It’s good all around.

But this blog does feel a little different.  Besides my regular audience, this blog is read by a new audience, for one: Tim’s friends and family. And for the most part, Tim’s audience doesn’t really know me.  I loved meeting many of them at our wedding and look forward to getting to know everyone more in the coming months.  I can’t wait to get to know people who are dear to him.  But for now it is a little ‘scary’ to share my heart with people who do not really know my heart.

So here’s to a new chapter, in a new book. I no longer write as just me.  I am now a ‘we’.  God has brought me the answer to my heart’s desire in Tim and I can’t wait to write many more chapters together!