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Our family

Who are the Millers? And how are we on our missionary journey together?

The story of our family officially began on February 10, 1999, when we, Cees and Mirjam, got married. Cees was still studying at the Theological University in Apeldoorn and Mirjam was a teacher. In 2000, our oldest son Joas was born and in 2002 our daughter Rhodé. Both in the same apartment in Apeldoorn. At that time, we made ourselves available for missionary work. By God’s providence, we ended up in Grand Rapids (USA). The congregations of the Heritage Reformed Congregations sent us out as a missionary family. From 2006 to 2011, we lived and worked at the remote Covenant College mission station in eastern Zambia.

There was a lot of work to do. In addition to leading and teaching, the necessary facilities had to be built, including a house for ourselves. We developed warm ties with the friendly and passionate students and community. In 2008, Obed was born there and a year later we had another son, Moses.

In June 2011, we moved to Malawi. There, the children were able to attend an international school. Cees continued to equip pastors and church leaders. Mirjam set up child evangelism and women’s ministry together with local friends.  Later, she also taught at the international school. In the spring of 2016, we repatriated to the Netherlands. Here we became involved in the International Christian Family (ICF) in Veenendaal. We were appointed as a pastoral couple and enjoyed this multicolored community. In October 2021, we said goodbye and handed over the baton a few months later to a newly elected pastor couple. 

Besides working in the ICF congregation, Mirjam worked at primary school. Cees became increasingly involved in the work of NET Foundation. However, we once again felt called to serve the church in Africa and made ourselves available to do so in Africa itself. The road here was not free of obstacles, but in January 2023 we were accepted by Africa Inland Mission. 

Cees Molenaar

At an early age, I felt called to become a servant of God’s Word. Through my relationship with Miriam, the world of missions was opened to me. Through a visit to Papua in 1999, the mission field started pulling at me. After my studies in Apeldoorn and Grand Rapids, I was able to work as a teacher in Zambia and later Malawi. I also enjoy the privilege of preaching. After the first period in Africa, I gained more experience with pastoral work in Veenendaal. Also, at NET Foundation I have been much involved in distance education and the equipping of church leaders through local trainers. Another common thread is playing volleyball, which I have done a lot in Zambia and Malawi with students and colleagues. In Veenendaal I participate in a few teams, too. For me, key words in missions are connectedness and reciprocity. My desire is that I may share the grace of God, which always impresses me, with many people.

Mirjam Molenaar-Vreugdenhil

Mission has played a big role all my life. I grew up as a ‘mission kid’ in Irian Jaya (now Papua). In the Netherlands I received my teacher’s qualification at the Driestar College. My experience in teaching and children’s evangelism work also came in handy in the work I was privileged to do for ten years in Zambia and Malawi. In my free time, I enjoy organizing women’s events, reading (educational) books and the Bible, cooking good food for my family and guests, and spending time in nature. When I walk through the woods, I am usually praying. I prefer to vacation in the mountains; it feels a bit like coming home. In recent years in the Netherlands, I have served with Cees in the local international congregation (ICF Veenendaal). That has given me precious multicultural contacts. I have been allowed to learn and give a lot. God has called us to Africa again. I get to use my teaching experiences from both Zambia, Malawi and the Netherlands again in Uganda. Not in my own strength but by the grace of God who calls and provides. 

Joas Molenaar

Our oldest son Joas was born in Apeldoorn in April 2000. From an early age he has been interested in vehicles. For many years, (technical) Lego provided lots of hours of building and designing fun! His school career was very varied: from pre-school in Grand Rapids (USA) through grade 1 in Vlissingen (Zeeland) to home schooling in Zambia and later grade 6 & 7 at the ABC Academy in Malawi. Grade 9 & 10 he did at RVA boarding school in Kenya and then completed high school in Veenendaal. In Malawi, Joas enjoyed swimming and in Kenya he played rugby. At Ichthus College, he met Noëlle and they are married in April 2023. Joas is an Innovative Engineer at Hoeflon. In his leisure time, he enjoys tinkering with cars. Noëlle recently completed her Masters in Leiden.

Rhodé Molenaar

Our daughter Rhodé was born in Apeldoorn in April 2002, four months before we moved to Grand Rapids. She became best buddies with her brother Joas. From a young age, Rhodé loved singing and playing guitar. Crafts were also always a favorite pastime; if I had kept all the crafts, our moves would have been twice as much work. Rhodé learned to walk in New York, during our pastoral internship. With the girlfriends at the mission station in Zambia, she picked and munched on mangoes, took ox-drawn wagon rides to cornfields and surrounding villages. In Malawi, she went to a real school and entered a classroom for the first time. There were also great activities to do at school; basketball, swimming, and ballet were a fun challenge. In the international church, she joined the music team. That continued in the Netherlands where she is a regular pianist and singer on the ICF music team. After high school, Rhodé took a gap year and then got her propaedeutic for Social Work in Nijmegen. She is currently studying Social Work at CHE and is entering her third year. Her boyfriend Tom from Brabant is now also well established in Veenendaal and the ICF community.

Obed Molenaar

Son Obed was born in August 2008 in Katete, Zambia, as the only white baby in a local hospital. He became best friends with our German shepherd Lassy and the many cats and turtles in our garden. A year later, he got a little brother and thus always had a friend nearby. In Malawi at school he quickly showed what kind of student he was: diligent and conscientious. He could swim like the best, so he won many medals at a young age. Switching from an international school to the Dutch elementary school was quite tough. After a couple years, he exchanged swimming for volleyball. He enjoys training and playing matches with his close-knit team. Obed is a real STEM guy and is in the third grade of high school. He is very interested in cameras, filming and video editing. He uses his talents and skills to create the “Brothers Abroad” YouTube channel. By making short videos, he and Moses give you a glimpse into our lives in Uganda. 

Mozes Molenaar

Our last-born is Moses. He was born in September 2009 in Zeeland, after a high-risk pregnancy due to malaria. Moses, however, was born in good condition and was taken back to Zambia only a few weeks old. A very cheerful child and always ready with a wordplay. He is blessed with a whole lot of energy. Moses does not remember much of the years in Zambia, but he has many good memories of Malawi. In the Netherlands he took drumming lessons and plays volleyball. Besides, he goes to school. In ICF he regularly plays the drum part and at camp the cajon always goes with him. Playing games with the youth group, baking goodies for the sweet tooth, making wood fires, and trampoline jumping are fun leisure activities. Moses would like to become a sports teacher and drive a RAM pickup without a doubt, but that is still in the future. In Uganda, he learned to play tuba at school. He looks forward to learning to play rugby at RVA.