When the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over Ukraine on 17 July, more than 200 of the 293 passengers who died were from the Netherlands. Several of the victims were family members or friends and colleagues of Nazarenes in the Netherlands.
At the Amersfoort Church of the Nazarene, Rienk and Priscilla Hollander lost Priscilla’s brother and his wife, Rob van Keulen, Caroline van Keulen-van Doorn, and their two children, Alard, 16, and Jeroen, 15.
“All the attention and love extended to them which have arisen out of this terrible happening has filled them with thankfulness as they have received many signs of compassion extended to them from the Church,” said Jacob Overduin.
The family is tied up with numerous meetings for families of the victims, as well as going to the airport to await planes returning some bodies to Holland. There was also a televised public memorial service in the main church in Amersfoort with over 1,000 people attending. Then the Amersfoort Church of the Nazarene followed with a time of support, prayer and meditation.
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Some members of the Dordrecht Church of the Nazarene were also touched by the tragedy, when three attendees discovered that one of the assistant teachers at the school where they worked, along with her husband, Anton and Lianne Camfferman, were among the crash victims. The woman had worked at the school for 20 years. They left behind three daughters.
“We had a special meeting on last Sunday and we took a silence for the people who died, and also we read something from the paper about these two people who died,” said pastor Michel Meeuws.
The church and community are having a difficult time responding to the assistant teacher’s death, because the school is closed for the summer and most of the teachers are on holiday.
Meeuws suggested that Nazarenes who are praying for the situation pray first that violence would not escalate in Ukraine, as well as pray for peace and unity in Holland, and for God to comfort the families and friends of the victims.