Called and Equipped: Ora Et Labora with Johannes (John) Molenaar

Before Johannes (John) Molenaar began his career in ministry, he had a whole other life.

“It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I felt called to the ministry. My wife, Lena, and I already had a family by then, and I worked part time as a butcher while I began studying,” he told members of the Kuyper community gathered in the Vos Chapel on March 28 for Ora Et Labora, a weekly time where speakers come to campus to talk about their work and how their faith impacts that work.

Speaking via a video call from his home in the Netherlands, he recalled coming to the United States in 2000 to study at Kuyper, then known as Reformed Bible College, and, eventually, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.

“Actually, I was privileged to lead the first chapel after the name changed to Kuyper,” Molenaar said, smiling. “It was a wonderful time.”

Sadly, however, it did not last, and an issue with immigration paperwork forced the Molenaar family to return home in 2008.

“Within three months, we were back in the Netherlands, and I took a job as a Bible teacher at a nearby Christian college. Now, I also preach and teach catechism classes at various churches in the Netherlands and Belgium,” he said.

Part of his current role also involves leading groups of students on international mission trips, to places like Brazil.

“They get to see how other people in the world live, often in much worse situations than theirs. It’s really quite an enormous experience, and they take it with them,” he said. 

Reflecting on his sometimes-tumultuous journey, Molenaar highlighted the presence of God along the way, continually calling and equipping him wherever he was.

“Life is not always easy,” he emphasized. “But, looking back, I can see how God has helped me in the things I am doing.”

And he also pointed out the importance of trusting in God’s guidance to get us through difficult circumstances in our lives.

“Without faith, I would never have been able to do the work that I am doing now. Being Christlike, that’s my calling,” Molenaar told the audience.

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