Rev. Garret Eriks, pastor of the Hudsonville, MI PRC, declined the call he had received from the Edgerton, MN PRC.
Seminarian Vernon Ibe’s internship among the members of the Grace PRC in Standale, MI, came to an end at the close of 2011. Grace was very thankful to God for giving them the privilege of getting to know Vernon, his wife, Melody, and their son, MJ, and for the way He used them to minister to their congregation. We add our prayer to theirs when we ask our Lord to continue to bless his remaining preparation for the ministry of the Word and sacraments in the Philippines.
A Farewell Program for the Ibe family was held at Grace on Sunday evening, January 1, with time afterwards for a personal good-bye from the congregation over coffee and cookies.
Prof. Russell Dykstra, along with his wife, Carol, traveled to Singapore and the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church on Wednesday, December 28, to give the congregation preaching supply for four Sundays in January. Along the way there were several delays, so instead of arriving in 25 hours, the Dykstras arrived in 50 hours—with no luggage. Nevertheless, there were many saints from the CERC at the airport to give them a warm welcome. Hopefully the Dykstras will return in late January with no delays, to begin seminary classes at the end of the month. Prof. Herman Hanko just completed a six-week stay in Singapore. He, his wife, and his sister returned home to west Michigan the same week the Dykstras left. On the way home the Hankos stopped off to spend Christmas in the Philippines with their son-in-law and daughter, Rev. Daniel and Sharon Kleyn, and the congregation of the Berean PRC in Manila. Prof. Hanko informed us that the congregation in Singapore is doing well, and while they have passed through a rather difficult time during the past weeks, that difficulty has served to strengthen the bonds between them as a congregation. Prof. Hanko also writes, “And so we bid you farewell. I recall that I said to you—it must have been at least three years ago—that we would likely not see you again until we meet in heaven, but the Lord sent us back more than once and showed us how little we know of what He has in store for us. But we both are now reasonably certain that this is indeed the last time, for the trip is really getting too much for two old people over 80 years old. We shall have to wait to see you again until those of you who can come to the States to see us, or we shall have to wait till we all meet in glory to be with Christ.” Prof. Hanko also urges us to pray for the saints there, especially for the young people in their zeal. The need for solid ongoing preaching is great. “And may our sister-church relationship flourish and enrich both the CERC and our churches.”
Rev. Angus Stewart, pastor of the Covenant PRC, our sister church in Ballymena, NI, presented a public lecture at their church on December 30 on the subject, “Scripture Alone.” Rev. Stewart answered three questions at that lecture. What does this great Reformed slogan mean? How does this powerful truth preserve Christ’s church and followers from errors old and new? And, How does Scripture alone relate to the church’s preaching and confessions?
The week before Christmas our denomination’s missionaries to the Philippines, Rev. Daniel Kleyn and Rev. Richard Smit, visited contacts we have in Negros Occidental. Our churches have been in touch with some of these men for many years (since the late 1990s). Various delegations visited them while the Philippines was being investigated by our churches as a possible mission field. Contact had been maintained ever since, also through occasional visits and conferences. Our missionaries flew out of Manila on Tuesday, December 20. After landing in Bacolod City they drove down to Inayauan.
On Wednesday a conference was held in the church building of the Reformed Free Church in Inayauan. Rev. Smit spoke on “Saving Faith,” and later in the morning Rev. Kleyn spoke on “God’s Counsel.” There were 35 adults who attended the conference, indicating to our missionaries that there is significant interest in the Reformed faith in this part of Negros Occidental. After lunch there was a time for questions and answers, which lasted a couple of hours. Many good questions were asked regarding the speeches, as well as on various other subjects. Our two missionaries are very thankful for the opportunity they had to meet these men, to get to know them, and to get a sense of their sincere interest in the truth. Revs. Kleyn and Smit arrived home again late Thursday afternoon, thankful for safe travels and for the blessed work the Lord gives them to do.
Young People’s Activities
The Young People’s Society of Hope PRC in Redlands, CA invited their congregation to join them for a singspiration after their evening worship service on Sunday, December 25, to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Young People’s activity committee of Calvary PRC in Hull, IA hosted a Minute to Win It competition on Monday, January 2, at Trinity High School. This was a parents vs. kids competition.
The young people of First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI hosted an Open Gym/Pizza Social at Eastside Christian School on December 27. All west Michigan PRYP society members were invited to join First for a night of fun and fellowship.
The Edgerton, MN Young People’s Society invited the young people and congregations of Hull, Calvary, Doon, and Heritage for a Christmas singspiration on December 25. Edgerton PRC also requested a special number from the young people of Hull, Calvary, and Doon.