Our children probably have heard and can sing from memory the words of the hymn: “I will make you fishers of men…” The song is based on the call of Jesus to His disciples to leave their occupation as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee and take up their new labor as fishers of men in the world.
Such is still the call of Jesus today. He calls certain of His disciples to labor as fishers of men in the gospel ministry. He calls them initially to this work. And He calls them throughout their ministry to move from one specific part of the sea of men to fish in another part.
In 2010, the sovereign of the sea called Rev. Daniel Holstege to labor as a fisher of men in the ministry of the Word and sacraments. And Christ assigned Rev. Holstege to labor among His saints in the First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland, MI. He labored there faithfully for five and a half years.
But in March 2016, Jesus called Rev. Holstege to a new area of labor. He led Rev. Holstege to accept the call of Doon Protestant Reformed Church to labor as missionary to the Philippines. He was installed on Friday, July 1, in a call to worship for Doon PRC, but held in the spacious sanctuary of Calvary PRC so that others from the area might attend. The service was led by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, who preached fromon “A Fisher of Men.” After the sermon, the Form for the Installation of Missionaries was read and Rev. Holstege came forward to sign the Formula of Subscription. On the following Sunday morning, July 3, Rev. Holstege preached his inaugural sermon from on “The Great Commission.”
Rev. Holstege is now the fourth missionary to labor in the Philippines, following Revs. Audred Spriensma (2002-2007), Richard Smit (2009-2015), and Daniel Kleyn (2009-present).
Although Rev. Holstege is now installed, he will not be leaving for the Philippines immediately. For about five more months he will be continuing his preparations to take up this work.
Included in his preparations are intensive studies in the theology and practice of missions. The Foreign Mission Committee in conjunction with the Council of Doon PRC have developed a foreign missionary training program. The program outlines four areas of preparation. The first involves familiarization with the mission field. Rev. Holstege is already somewhat familiar with the field since he visited there earlier this year, but he also is planning to visit the field again in October. The second area of preparation is training in missions through reading. There is a list of more than twenty books (ten of which are required) that the missionary is asked to read to acquaint himself with the work of missions. The third area is language training. Rev. Holstege is already hard at work learning Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines, largely through the use of Rosetta Stone. The fourth area of preparation is training through courses. Rev. Holstege is enrolled in a missions class at Calvin Seminary for the fall semester, and he will also be doing an independent study with Prof. B. Gritters at the PRC Seminary on the history of missions.
In addition to these preparations, the Holsteges also have a good deal of work to do in preparing to move. This involves sorting through their belongings, selling some things, finding storage for others, arranging to move certain things across the Pacific, furnishing their new home on the field, making financial and legal arrangements, and so much more.
Along with all this, the Holsteges are also making preparations for an addition to their family. Rev. Holstege’s wife, Leah, is expecting their fourth child in November. God willing, if all goes well with the pregnancy and delivery, the Holsteges and their new baby will move to the Philippines in January 2017.
As a denomination we give thanks to God for giving to us another fisher of men to labor in the Philippines. We ask that you continue to pray for the Holsteges, for the Kleyns, for the churches in the Philippines, for Doon’s Council, and for the FMC. And pray that God would soon raise up a third man to labor on the field with Missionaries Kleyn and Holstege.