An exchange of pulpits by Rev. VanBaren and Rev. Decker made it possible for the congregations of Grand Rapids’ First Church and South Holland to fellowship with a “son of the church” on December 27.
Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers arrived home on Dec. 21 and planned to spend “the holiday weeks at home with their family.” Rev. Lubbers was, of course, the center of much interest. Before he had been home for 48 hours he had already, on request, spoken at the chapel exercises of Adams, Hope, and Covenant High School. He also conducted the morning service at First Church on Dec. 27. In discussing his many and various labors in Jamaica, he noted that he had, during the past few months, often remarked to his wife that “things must be going all right because it’s all uphill.” But, as he mentioned to the students at Adams, this is not to be wondered at, for he’s, at present, laboring in the time of sowing, not in the time of harvest. He therefore goes forward in the confidence that he “can do all things through Christ which strengthenest me.” And in his sermon at First Church he stated that his desire is the same as that expressed by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:19. In encouraging “prayer and supplication,” Paul added “and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.”
At the commencement of the catechism season, an informational note was given to the parents of catechumens in First Church of Grand Rapids. One item in the letter read, “The pastor intends to use certain visual teaching aids which he hopes will impress upon the catechumens more deeply the truths of the lesson.” He uses, among other things, a flannel board, and transparencies with an overhead projector. The season is far enough advanced by now so that it can be said with certainty that these have proven to be useful tools. In fact, one of the 8th grade students asked the undersigned, “Why don’t you teach Bible like Rev. VanBaren teaches catechism. That makes it a lot easier.”
We’ve picked up the following little gem from the “Highlights” of Hope School. “We are happy to announce that three of our students successfully memorized the book of James during the summer memorization contest. One student entrusted the first four of the five chapters to memory.” Can you imagine that? “Congratulations to Elizabeth Engelsma, Lori Kortering, David Rau, and Susan Besselsen!”
We should also pass on the following interesting news concerning Covenant High School. It was taken from the high school newsletter, which most of you outside the Grand Rapids area do not see. The information was entitled “Tight Shoes!” Note was made of the fact that the “present facilities, though very functional and carefully planned, were only designed for a limited enrollment. During our first year of operation with an initial enrollment of 60 students, the ratio of pupils to space was very favorable. Last year the ‘shoe’ began to pinch when the enrollment climbed to 106. This year with 124 students in attendance, the ‘shoe’ is bulging at the seams and the discomfort becomes a daily reality. Study halls and library must be used as classrooms. Storage space is at a premium and when students work on special projects or committees, the hall or the office must be used as a meeting place. Therefore, the need for Phase II of our building program is upon us. We expect an increased enrollment for the next two years, and at that time the situation will be critical. . . . The building committee has been meeting with the architect, and preliminary plans and sketches are in the final stage of completion. . . . May we go forward in faith, confident that the Lord who has prospered our way in the past will continue to bless us in the future.”
There seems to be, according to the last bulletin received from our church in Lynden, Washington, continued appreciation for the “Studies in Biblical Doctrine.” A grateful recipient in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, no less, writes, “We are very interested in your Bible Studies. Would it be possible to be put on your regular mailing list, please. We should also be grateful for some back copies, which we could pass on to Africans searching for the truth. Here, as in other parts of the world, ‘many are carried about with every wind of doctrine.'”
This quote, yet, from the “Quiet Thought” section of Southeast’s Bulletin: “Christians are mirrors to reflect the glory of Christ; and a mirror does not call attention to itself unless there are flaws in it.”