Itinerant Preacher - Alblasserdam, Netherlands
Jacques T. Brunt is an itinerant preacher, teacher, and evangelist in the Netherlands. He was born in 1979 and converted to Christianity in 2000. He is the youngest of five children, and was raised in a Dutch Reformed family. He was married to Annette in 2004, and they have four children: Levi, Boaz, Jesse, and Juda. Jacques' ministry can be divided into three specific areas. He is a leader and teacher for Heart Cry Netherlands, he is a teacher in his local Baptist church in Alblasserdam, and he is an itinerant preacher throughout the Netherlands.
Testimony of Conversion
Despite my upbringing in a family that was very much involved with the church, I did not have much to do with the Christian faith. As a child, I frequently experienced conviction of sin, impressions of the coming judgment, and eternity. However, I neglected these convictions and even purposed to ignore them in my daily live. I was much more attracted to sports. I was successful in playing soccer, and most of my friends were also soccer players. In time, I became more and more detached from my religious roots. Although I led a worldly life without God, I went to church on Sunday and my conscience continued to speak to me. My conscience functioned as God’s “spy”, and it protected me from many sins. It also would not let me get away from am awareness of God’s existence.
When I was seventeen years old, the big questions about life really began to bother me: Why am I in this world? What is the purpose of my life? Where will I go when I die? I was strongly convicted by preaching that dealt with the transitory nature of everything in this life, especially with regard to my dedication to sports. At the same time, I saw the richness and eternity of a life with Jesus; it was a life that I did not know. One day, this truth hit me like a bomb. Since that moment, I life began a quest to find peace with the God of the Bible and the Creator of my life.
At that time I had no spiritual discernment, and I had no one to help or guide me. I wandered around in complete darkness. I attended all kinds of churches and heard all types of teaching and preaching. All that time there was only one question burning in my heart: “How do I get peace with God?” I continued to seek God, but I became tangled in various theological systems and many arguments. I had plenty of religion, but no relationship! Then, one day the Lord opened my spiritual eyes and spoke powerfully to my heart from the letter of the Romans. Also, the famous book by Horatius Bonar, entitled “God’s Way of Peace” was a great blessing to me. It is grace, infinite grace that we must not only comprehend intellectually, but also experience personally through the Gospel. Only the Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
It was in the summer of the year 2000, after about four years of conviction for sin and seeking peace with God, that the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to me as my personal Lord and Savior. Something I had thought was impossible became a reality - peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. After my conversion, God put in me a spiritual hunger that could only be satisfied in His Son, Jesus Christ. Every day I reached out to Him that I might know Him more (Philippians 3:10). My desire and my cry to God would have been best expressed in the old song: “Lord, take me, break me, fill me, send me.”
Call to Ministry
Immediately after my conversion in 2000, the Lord called me and put the desire in my heart for the ministry. I did not know how, what, or where. It was all a great mystery to me, and I began to search for God’s plan for my life. In the last thirteen years, a great deal has happened to me. It has been a time that God has used to form me in different ways so that I could eventually be useful for Him. I was married in 2004 with Annette. She comes from a family of fifteen children, and has feared the Lord from her childhood. The wonderful thing is that she had always prayed for a man with whom she could serve in the kingdom of God. We now have three children. It is very clear to me that it was necessary for me to marry and have children. By being formed into a trustworthy husband and father, God has also made me fit for the ministry. The benefits and burdens of marriage and family life have shaped me tremendously.
During the last thirteen years I have dedicated myself to the study of the Scriptures. Learning biblical principles and doctrines was necessary before I would be useful to the Lord. The ministry and message of Heart Cry (Netherlands)* has had a big part in my spiritual growth. I am self-taught and have had no formal theological training. In recent years, my wife and I became convinced of believer’s baptism and immersion. This ultimately led us to be baptized on September 5, 2010. This conviction has shaped â€‹â€‹us spiritually, but has also placed us outside the traditional church.
The Lord called me in the year 2000, but it was ten years later that He began to open the doors. It all began with a sermon that I was asked to give at a youth conference. A short time later, there were other several invitations for teaching and preaching. I accepted these invitations while I made my living as a broker in real estate. In time, the number of speaking engagements increased so much that Annette and I decided that I should work less. The spiritual work grew and grew. The Lord confirmed my calling and provided financially. It all did not happen suddenly, but step-by-step. We prayed that the Lord would open doors for a full-time ministry as the work grew more and more.
During this period, the agency where I worked was affected by the financial crisis and drastic measures were necessary. One of these measures was that I lost my job in April. Although this was a great trial, we have seen that it was an act of God to free us up for a full-time “faith” ministry. In the midst of these trials, God’s words through Isaiah were a great blessing: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold...” (Isaiah 42:1). Annette and I felt the liberty to apply this text to ourselves and we both received boldness to give ourselves to a full-time “faith” ministry. After thirteen years, God's calling has become a reality.
HeartCry Missionary Society and Heart Cry Netherlands are two distinct missionary organizations that are organized independently.
Description of my Ministry
My ministry is divided between Heart Cry Netherlands, preaching in my local Baptist church, and itinerant preaching throughout Holland. My wife Annette and I have been involved in the work of Heart Cry Netherlands from the beginning of our pilgrimage. Besides organizational and practical work, I am mainly occupied with preaching, teaching, and leadership. My wife and I are also members of the Baptist church in our hometown of Alblasserdam. Annette works in the children's ministry. I preach once a month during the Sunday worship services and regularly lead the prayer meetings. The elders of our church support our ministry in different ways and encourage us in what we are doing. As a family, we are under the supervision of the elders, and the church is where my family attends when I am preaching the gospel in other parts of the country.
My itinerant ministry with Heart Cry Netherlands and the Baptist churches demands that I preach in many different places throughout the Netherlands. My ministry includes Sunday worship services, conferences, evangelistic outreaches, church weekends, and numerous other meetings where I preach the gospel. I am also involved in an interdenominational, rural prayer group of pastors and preachers with Oscar Lohuis and Arjan Baan. Through Heart Cry Netherlands and the Baptist churches, we have built a very large network through which our ministry is increasingly taking shape. The core of our ministry is Ephesians 4:12.
I was born on January 17, 1980 in Naaldwijk, Holland. I grew up as the eldest child in a large family of fifteen children. My God-fearing parents were not involved in the church because of their objections to the preaching, but they read sermons at home. Twice on Sunday my father would read a sermon from the Church Fathers and the Puritans (Hugo Binning, Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine, etc.). It was a blessing to have parents that taught me the Bible from my youth, parents that lived the Christian life before us.
As a family we went through many trials that shaped me into the person I now am. My father had his own horticultural business which eventually went bankrupt. Shortly afterwards, my one-year old brother Albert drowned in the vicinity of our home. These events left deep tracks in my life. As a family we went through ups and downs, but it was a time when I clearly experienced the guidance and wonderful care of the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
My upbringing and the events in our family kept me from a life in the world. I have never led a worldly life in the sense that I was totally absorbed in sin. Nevertheless, it was a long time before I could personally testify that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. This was partly due to the one-sidedness with which I was raised. Doctrinally, the teaching agreed with the Bible, but no one ever took me by the hand in a practical sense to teach me how I could be saved. Assurance of faith was something that seemed impossible. This lasted until I visited a youth meeting of Heartcry Netherlands along with my current husband Jacques. That evening, faith broke through in my heart and I knew for sure that Jesus did not only die and rise again for others, but also for me.
For years my prayer had been that I would come to know a God-fearing man with whom I could serve the Lord in ministry. In 2004, Jacques and I were married. Together we went through a whole process of spiritual growth. We also underwent believer’s baptism together in September 2010. After our first baby was born, I quit my job as a nurse in order to give myself fully to my children. Now we have three healthy boys – Levi, Boaz, and Jesse. My great desire is that our child-rearing will contribute to shaping them into men of God. As a family, we are members of and serve in the Baptist church in our hometown of Alblasserdam. Jacques speaks there regularly and I am involved in the children's work.
As a family, we have recently come into a special situation for which we have prayed for some time. We wanted to devote ourselves fulltime to the work of the Lord. We now have that opportunity and we believe that the Lord will richly provide for all our needs. Glory to the Lamb!