There has been a considerable amount of activity in our calling congregations since our last news column. Our Hope, Michigan congregation called Rev. Flikkema, who is presently the pastor of our Isabel, South Dakota Church, and Rev. Miersma of Pellaaccepted the call of our Holland congregation. Two immediate results of that decision are: Pella’s formation of a trio consisting of Reverends Koole, Laming, and Slopsema, and the planned installation of Rev. Miersma in Holland on January 7, 1981; with Rev. VanBaren delivering the message and Rev. Heys reading the form for installation.
From our Birmingham Mission Station we learn from Rev. VanOverloop that from 10 to 11 A.M. each Sunday morning one of his taped sermons is proclaimed on a 100,000 watt FM religious radio station in the Birmingham area. Rev. VanOverloop reports that although it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of this outreach, he does not doubt that the sermons are being heard: In addition to some contacts that have been made as a result of the broadcasts, an interesting incident involving a member of our South Holland f congregation supports Rev. VanOverloop’s belief. As I understand it, this member received some watermelons that were trucked in from the South. When it was learned that the melons came from Alabama, mention was made of the mission work of our churches in the Birmingham area. Further discussion brought to light the fact that the truck driver had even heard the name of our missionary pastor from somewhere. More careful contemplation revealed that he must have heard by means of our Birmingham radio broadcast.
Back in, September an Edmonton bulletin announced, “The Standard Bearers are in the back of Church.” Being so used to finding my own copy in the mailbox each time, this announcement took me a little by surprise. A recent conversation with our business manager cleared everything up, however. He told me that when the S.B.’s were mailed by bulk rate it took from six to eight weeks for the subscribers to, receive their copies. (Consider, if you will, how old the S.B. news is even for those who live in the Grand Rapids area; then try to imagine how stale it would be six or more weeks later.) Determined to keep our Edmonton people current, Mr. Vander Wal sought out other mailing methods, with the result that they now receive the Standard Bearer in about one week. Though it costs slightly more, twenty-two copies of the S.B. are mailed to Edmonton’s clerk who in turn distributes them to the members of the congregation at the earliest opportunity.
That a considerable amount of church extension work is done by our congregations is evident from the number of bulletin announcements and newsletters we receive concerning this work. Following are some excerpts from responses to the church extension work of our South Holland and Hope, Michigan congregations: From Teiper, Taiwan: “Thank you for sending me tapes of the Word of God. I am serving Pastor in a small congregation in Taiwan….”
From Lancaster, PA: “We were members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Pa. but we had to leave as our minister was not of the old school, ,etc. We have been visiting, other churches. We loan your tapes to others also who have left with us. I can’t tell you what a blessing we receive from them. Could you continue to send them so we can hear a real sermon where we can receive a real blessing.”
From Dundee, Scotland: “Having recently obtained and read the booklet ‘Saved By Grace’ by the Reverend R. Decker, I am most impressed by the truly Biblical and Reformed nature of the booklet and desire to read more. Would you be so kind as to send me the following? ‘Pentecostalism in the Light of the Word’; ‘God Is Our Refuge and Strength’; ‘The Church Today. . . .A Comparison’; ‘Shall There Be Reformation No More’; ‘The Christian’s Social Calling and the Second Coming of Christ’; plus others if you have them. I notice that the Rev. D. Engelsma is the pastor of your church. Would you also send me a tape cassette of a sermon of his? I appreciate that as a stranger and a foreigner my requests seem like begging, but I would dearly like to have them.”
From Lakeside, CA: “I have found your pamphlet on ‘Good News For the Afflicted’ a great comfort to those who have had much to suffer. Please send me 24 copies for use in pastoral work. If there is any expense, please bill me. Thank you. Sincerely in the Lord.”