Build one another.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Who are we?
Open Heavens Ministries is an Apostolic and Prophetic Ministry founded by Leo and Irene Maat in 2008. We are an international church with many different cultures and background, that’s why our services are bilingual: English and Dutch. Although we are diverse in nature, we have one common thread: a deep desire to see the Kingdom become manifested in and through our lives. Our services have a strong emphasis on the Word and on powerful worship where we give the Holy Spirit the freedom to move in our meetings.
Our mission is to bring every believer in the place of their destiny. The church is the training ground where believers can reach their full potential in the Kingdom through being trained in righteousness and walking in the Word of the Lord daily.
Our vision is to bring heaven on earth and to let the sound of heaven be heard not only in our lives but also in those around us and into the entire world. To be ambassadors of Christ in every aspect of society and be a living testimony to those around us so that Christ may be seen in our lives, bringing glory back to our Lord and Saviour.
The start of Open Heavens Ministries
In September of the year 2008, we received a first prophecy from pastor Hans Oudhoff stating that we would start a church. He added that we had learned so much how not to do it that we were well equipped to do it. Leo did not appreciate the word because he was happy travelling around the world and preaching the Gospel in various churches. Someone else had told us that we would have a year to travel freely and after that things would change.
In October as we travelled to Aruba, Leo had a very clear dream, which woke him up at 5 am. The dream was about a large field and we were the owners of it. All kinds of people came to plant trees in the field and it became a whole forest. Someone joined us and said, “In order to achieve this, you must have worked very hard!” Leo answered, saying, “I have done nothing for it, it just happened!” That same morning, we were scheduled to preach in pastor Arno Boetus’ church and after preaching, pastor took the mike and had a word for us. We would return to Belgium and God would begin a new work and it would expand and we would say, “We have done nothing for it, it just happened!”
In November of the same year, we decided to have a celebration, just to gather some old friends together and worship the Lord. During that event, people congratulated us with the start of our church! We got presents and felicitations from various people.
Then people began to phone us telling us that they wanted to join our church. Old friends wanted to work with us. Some already wanted to give their tithes and asked for a bank account! We were totally stunned and wandered what this could mean! Pastor Jules Petersen from Enschede told us that we would pioneer a church and we needed materials and money. He offered chairs and tables, a sound system and even support on a monthly basis. We just had to find our building and could come and the get the stuff.
During the month of December we felt that God was calling us to start a church and we knew we had to be in Turnhout. Years ago a prophet came to the South part of Belgium and prophesied that there would be a revival in the North part of Belgium in a place called Tu …Tu … Tu… and since people were trying to help, he stopped right there, not able to pronounce the name of the city. The next day someone came to the prophet, asking whether the city could be Turnhout. The prophet’s heart jumped and recognized immediately the name; that was the place!
In the former ministry, we had already started to pioneer a church in Turnhout and therefore we decided to go back to that place and start from there. It was an old farmer’s house, with a small hall seating about 40 people. It was far from being a nice place, but it was cheap and we could have our services there on Sunday afternoon.
Starting January 2009, we began with about 30 people. At the end of the month the owner of the farm died and the hall was no longer available for meetings. The Lord gave us an interim place in a hotel in Antwerp and we could continue our meetings in a nicer environment. People came and continued to come … everyone was supernaturally sent to the place and joined. We were happy with the place, but knew we had to be back to Turnhout.
After searching for some months, we finally found the place at Parklaan 3, a hot spot on the ring of Turnhout and in August 2009 we began our meetings there using only the small cafeteria, which could seat about 40 people. We were growing and one Sunday, Leo prophesied that the wall, which separated the big hall from the cafeteria, would be moved. We needed more room! We were now in August 2010, one year further.
During all the years that we have been busy in Turnhout, we have seen God’s hand upon the ministry, blessing and providing in everything we needed. We give God all the glory and expect that the coming years will even be better than the former.