Rev. Smit is pastor of the Immanuel Protestant Reformed Church in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.
On March 9, 2007, the members of our Genesis Protestant Reformed School Society in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, decided to set September 4, 2007, as the goal for the opening day for a new elementary school. By this decision, we had committed ourselves to a very ambitious and daunting task. Nevertheless, we realized that we would be totally dependent upon the Lord’s will and help for the accomplishment of this goal. By faith the board and society pressed forward in the confidence that the Lord would provide all that was needed to obtain the goal, if it was His will.
Six months later, on Tuesday, September 4, 2007, the Lord providentially and amazingly made it possible for the Genesis Protestant Reformed School to begin with two teachers and thirty-six students in grades 1 through 9.
Surely, this day would never have been possible without the Lord’s help. The Lord has blessed us with many covenant children. The Lord provided us two qualified teachers: Mr. Rick Span, who teaches grades 4 through 9 and serves as administrator for the school, and Mrs. Sharon Bevaart, who teaches grades 1 through 3. The Lord provided the equipment, the books, and a curriculum. The Lord has provided the financial means to support the operations of the school.
The Lord amazingly provided a place to house our new school. At first, we intended to share the church building of our Immanuel Protestant Reformed Church. This seemed workable, but it was not ideal. In the last couple of weeks before the opening day of school, a vacant church building of the Free Reformed Church in Lacombe became available for the school to rent. After a busy two weeks of cleaning and preparation by many workers, young and old, the rented facility was ready by the opening day to house the school. For now, this facility will serve adequately the needs of the school until it is possible to construct a new school building on land adjacent to the church building and parsonage of our Immanuel PRC.
This historic day in the cause of parental, Christian, Protestant Reformed, and covenantal education in Canada began with a convocation chapel. Parents, excited children, grandparents, and supporters assembled together at 8:30 A.M. for a time of singing Psalter numbers, prayer, and for a meditation upon Scripture, presented by Rev. Richard J. Smit.
Rev. Smit spoke to the students and teachers from Nehemiah 4:6, “So built we the wall . . . for the people had a mind to work.” Rev. Smit pointed out some parallels between the work that Nehemiah did and the work that our parents did, and the challenges that they endured in order to establish and begin our new school. He showed that just as God had given Nehemiah and the people the heart to work together and the necessary tools to build the walls of Jerusalem, so God had given graciously to our parents a mind and heart to work together in their covenantal instruction and, for the spiritual construction of the wall of the future church, to use together the tool of our new school. It was a spiritually profitable time for the consecration of the school year to the service of God’s kingdom and covenant.
The school has enjoyed overwhelming support from our fellow saints throughout the Protestant Reformed Churches by many, many words of encouragement as well as by generous financial gifts towards the general operating expenses of the school and towards the new building fund. We give humble and hearty thanks to our God for what He has done and for the support of our brethren with whom we share a conviction for Protestant Reformed, Christian education. Truly, Jehovah has remembered us in His mercy (Ps. 136:23).
Now, with God’s blessing and according to His will, we look and press forward with much labor and prayer to another first for our new school: the completion of our first year of school on June 19 with a graduation ceremony planned for Friday, June 20, the Lord willing.
May our heavenly Father bless our feeble and weak efforts, here in Lacombe and in all our PR elementary and secondary schools throughout the western and midwestern U.S.A., so that the tools of our own schools may serve the spiritual construction of the future generations of the church in the fear of Jehovah and in our goodly heritage of the Reformed faith.