Mr. Wigger is an elder in the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
If members of the Hudsonville, MI PRC congregation felt like entering a contest this winter, they needed to look no further than a letter from the pastor, Rev. G. VanBaren. In this letter Rev. VanBaren encouraged his entire congregation, with a special emphasis on children aged 8 through 12, to try their hand at translating a short account of a typical day for the VanBarens in Northern Ireland.
This letter, although written in English, was full of words and phrases that are not at all in common use here in the U.S.
Admittedly it’s difficult at best to give you an idea of what this letter was like without giving you the entire letter. However, a few of the words and phrases included were treacle, free range eggs, zebra crossings, Pelicans, nappies, minced beef, biscuits, chips, trips, and 13 stones.
Those who sent back to the VanBarens the most correct and neatest translation were promised a prize from Northern Ireland.
The point of all this was summed up nicely in the last two lines of the letter, where Rev. VanBaren wrote, “So life goes in Northern Ireland. It can be interesting – provided one knows what others are saying.”
In our last installment of the News, we also reported that a home had been purchased for the Hanko family in Northern Ireland. This house is in the country about seven miles from Ballymena. It is a very scenic area. The house itself has four bedrooms but also three “reception rooms,” a family room, a formal dining room, and a living room. One of these could also be used as a study.
Rev. VanBaren also writes that in Northern Ireland Christmas is celebrated much as it is in the States. The same toys are in the stores, the same songs are played, the same decorations are seen, and there are the same family get-togethers on Christmas Day.
In a past issue of this back-page News column we made mention of an ongoing project of the Men’s Society of the Hudsonville PRC simply entitled “Bibles for Ghana.” We are happy to report that requests from Ghana keep coming in – so many, in fact, that the Men’s Society, along with the help of approximately 30 adults and several children, met on December 23 to package each Bible individually, and then address and mail all 422 of them to Ghana.
The project doesn’t end there. The Men’s Society has also received 15 requests back from young people who have received their Bibles and have “questions.” The society is now looking for families or young people who would desire to correspond with some of these young people.
This could prove to be a great way to get personally involved with these young people who are struggling with the Word of God. The requests for Bibles generally come from young people ages 13-18 who have nothing, sometimes not even enough money for postage to send their request. Often two or three young people “pool” their money to purchase one air mail letter.
The Helping Hands Committee, along with the deacons of the Hudsonville PRC, sponsored a food drive. This request for gifts of canned or dry goods, money, or gift certificates to area grocery stores was made, to give the Hudsonville congregation an opportunity to help those in need in their own congregation, especially during the Christmas season. The deacons were able to deliver over 50 bags of groceries and over $900.00 worth of gift certificates to needy families in their church.
The Christmas season just completed was also filled with many different church functions. Many of our churches, including Faith PRC in Jenison, MI; Hope PRC in Walker, MI; and the Hudsonville, MI PRC, were also hosts to choir programs.
Personally being able to attend a couple of these programs made me thankful for the opportunities to hear just how wide and varied the talents of our choir members can be. I hope that you also had an opportunity to hear some of these excellent programs.
Not only were our church choirs busy in the month of December, but it also appears that several of our Christian schools used the time for all school programs. The Free Christian School in Edgerton, MN; the Loveland Christian School, Loveland, CO; and the South Holland PR School in South Holland, IL all developed themes related to the Christmas season and no doubt led many to reflect on God’s greatest gift to us, Jesus.
In the developing story of the Randolph, WI PR Christian School, we can report that in mid-December the society completed a transaction and became owners of property for their school. This property is located behind their church in Randolph. Behind the scene much work has been done and is being done. Committees have been appointed to tackle the many and varied tasks involved in planning: building, finance, and education. And there is no doubt a great deal of work to be done before a school will be established in Randolph. But we also confess that the instruction of our covenant children is a responsibility that belongs to us all.