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Dear Gabriel-brothers and sisters,
Although it's still very cold in Belgium, I see the budding daffodils blooming in my small garden.
Lent - for our grandmothers the time of the great spring cleaning - lost a piece of its religious significance in recent decades but it remains a nice reason for us, to observe our mental and physical health. As Christians we prepare ourselves for the most solemn moment in Christian liturgy: Easter.
According to the Holy Scriptures: approximatively  1985 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth, the Rabbi, who pleasantly went around, arose from the dead after three days. Previously he had been nailed to the cross by the Romans and an avid elite from the Jewish people, all this because of a misunderstanding, fearing he wanted to create a new empire.
Even today - quite 2000  years later - people die every day because of their religious or ideological beliefs. We all know the dramatic situation in Syria, associated so closely with the roots of Christianity-. Also in certain regions of Egypt Coptic Christians are persecuted. Let us pray during the Easter Vigil for peace and healing for all who suffer today because of ideological reasons .
Our commitment as Christians and especially Christian philatelists will remain limited. But we can bring a modest message of peace and salvation through our exhibits. Therefore, it is important to keep our Gabriel communities organized in the various countries. Our website is an excellent tool to serve this purpose. So, I would like to thank our Dutch Guild brothers who made this site possible last year. And I was also glad to see that there is a direct link to the websites of various national guilds.
Only, the website can publish even more news from our country guilds. The two "starting" countries are encouraging. We hope for other countries too. Please, make use  of it and mention  our site in your national publications.
Here again our page: www.weltbundgabriel.eu
Our site is mainly in German today. This is probably also the language with which we reach most of our Guild brothers. Nevertheless, I would still urge that parts of our website are translated into English. As I have already pointed out, I want to keep the contacts with our American brothers, who are now almost two years without an own Guild.
On the other hand, I would like to ask our East European brothers  in the Czech Republic and Hungary to publish a small portion of their news on their website in German or English, so that in the other parts of the world one would be better informed about their  many activities. Our friends from Poland did so before in an enjoyable way. Thank you!
In the meantime I consider it as my biggest challenge to promote our Philatelic message of peace through personal contacts, lectures and participation at exhibitions.
With the wonderful experience 'M├╝nsterschwarzach 2016' in memory, I am sorry not to take part at any Congress of a National Association this year. I wish you all a lot of success for your events and meetings. Several times this year I am at philatelic exhibitions abroad and it would be a great pleasure for me to meet Guild brothers there. I'm at PRAGA 2018 from 15 to 19 August, at Stampex London from 12 to 14 September, in  Sindelfingen from 25 to 28 October and at Veronafil (Verona) from 25 to 27 November.
In the last year, I showed my collection "Music , talking with God" in Tampere (Finland), Wittenberg and Timisoara (Rumania). This year  I will show  this exhibit in Ronsse (Belgium - 60 years Gabriel) and in 2019 in Mondorf (Luxembourg- Massariprice) and in Stockholm (Stockholmia 2019). With my 1-frame collection "Damian, hero of Molokai" I was at Monacophil in December 2017.
My collection 'If you want to be my disciples'will participate in the champion class at the Belgian national exhibition Philexnam in Ciney from 24 to 26 August 2018.
As told above, Gabriel Belgium celebrates this year its 60th anniversary. This will take place  along with some other Belgian associations during the "Philatelic party 2018" celebrated on 20th and 21st October. Of course, I would greatly welcome you there.
Above all, I am looking forward to the next Congress of the World Federation, which is kept in the Monastery Frenswegen in Nordhorn from 15.08.2019 to 18.08.2019. I certainly hope to meet you all there.
In the meantime, I wish you all a Peaceful and Happy Easter. Let the joy of Easter grow in your heart, so that you can go through life as peacemakers.
Your President
Mark Bottu