On Saturday, April 16th I gave my first public speaking engagement in The Netherlands. The honor was mine to speak to refugees women from across the globe, a.o. Syria, Angola, Nepal organized by Stichting Gave.

I had the privilege to encourage these women/sisters with an inspirational message of faith and hope. Here’s part of my 35-min. speech which was translated simultaneously into Dutch and Arabic.

“I can imagine how many times you might feel alone, because no longer  can you be together with your family, spouse or children. Perhaps you had to literally run for your life, to escape life’s perils and pressures. Maybe someone did you wrong, reason why you ended up where you are today. Your situation might seem hopeless, as if it will never change, but I have news for you. You are not alone!

You are in the presence of other women like yourself, including myself. You are in the presence of God Almighty who sees your tears and feels your pain.

Perhaps you are wondering whether you can stay in this country, or if after some days, months or even years, the government decides that you are not entitled to a residential permit and you and your children have to pack and return to your country of origin.

Always ask yourself “Why” and “What”.

“Why did you leave your country to pursue a better life?”

“What do you want to achieve with your life in the future.”

If you know “why” and “what” you want in life, you will find the “how” to face your situation with strength, wisdom and boldness.

Situations of despair can drive one to desperate measures. I would like to encourage you to find someone you can trust and who you feel comfortable with to talk to. Sometimes God may seem far away and you might wonder if and when He will answer your prayers.

You are not a miserable person with no future. You are a strong, bold, brave and beautiful woman. Today you might not know where your next meal will come from, but rest assure that the Creator of the Universe will take care of  you.

It’s now almost sixteen years since I came to live in The Netherlands with my two children, then seven and eight years of age. On August 13th 2000 we landed at Schiphol at 5.15 a.m. We got off the plane and walked a mile to get to the immigration office, where we stood in a long line. As we moved forward I took out our passports and handed these to the immigration officer.

The officer didn’t ask: “why are you here?”  or “go back to your own country.”  He briefly looked at our passports and said: “loopt u door, u bent thuis.” Fifteen years later, I wrote my first book, my autobiography with that same title “Go Ahead, you’re home.” Back then I had absolutely no intention of starting my own business, not to mention writing a book.

I encourage you to take heart. Your situation may seem gloomy and rainy and you can’t imagine how nor when you will get out of the hell you are living in. Take this from me:

“Sometimes you have to go through hell, to create your own paradise.” Tirzah Libert

Thanks for listening and may God bless you and yours exceedingly, abundantly, beyond your wildest dreams!