FLASH! …. Rev. Hoeksema Preaches!!
We heard the good news here rather incidentally and felt it was worth passing on to our readers. According to word received from Bellflower, on Sunday evening, January 25, “dominie” mounted the pulpit and delivered his first sermon since he was stricken last June. Our informant told us that his correspondent wrote that “he was very lively”.
That our beloved pastor and teacher continues to improve is also evident from the following note which appeared on the bulletin of the 1st church in Grand Rapids, on January 25:
“I have some real news to write you. I went in the ocean! You can imagine how I longed to do that. I did not try to swim much, however, because I was afraid of the breakers. But I was surprisingly steady on my feet. I believe I could easily swim.
“All in all, it shows that there is steady improvement. Yesterday I walked two miles without my cane; although for safety sake I had it with me—it took me fifty-five minutes. O, the Lord is good to me, above all expectations!
“Love to you all, especially to the sick.
Rev. H. Hoeksema.”
Missionary News. . . .
Greetings from Lynden, Washington!!
Undoubtedly, many of our people will be surprised to know that we are in Lynden. For that reason it might be well, first of all, to explain how this came about. Perhaps, you will recall, that at the close of our last news article concerning our labors we included a paragraph entitled: What Next? We mentioned that we had written our various ministers and consistories asking for suggestions and information regarding possible future fields of activity. In answer to our request several replies were received which suggested that the Lynden, Washington area would be worth considering. It was pointed out that some former members of our churches had moved to this area and that there were others who would like to come if there were a protestant Reformed congregation here. Then, too, it is well known that there have always been some interested families who live in and around Lynden. Several years ago, the Rev. H. Hoeksema visited here and spoke to large audiences. A few years later the Rev. B. Kok, at that time our Home Missionary, spent a few weeks in Lynden and aroused added interest.
Since that time contact has been maintained with these people through means of correspondence and distribution of our literature, especially The Standard Bearer. Then about two years ago The Reformed Witness Hour secured an outlet for its radio program in Bellingham, which is about 16 miles southwest of Lynden. This station, KROS, is now a 1000 watt station and, hence, can be clearly heard in this area. The response to the program was good and a comparatively large mailing list was built up.
At a recent meeting of the Mission Committee these things were brought to our attention. In the meantime our work in Byron Center seemed to be progressing towards organization. Our labors there, however, were more or less at a stand-still, pending the acquisition of a suitable place in which to meet. It appeared that there might be a possibility of acquiring a church and parsonage in Byron Center but it was also evident, that even if this property could be purchased, the negotiations and arrangements would take some time. And the possibility also existed that in case a suitable meeting place could not be found, no re-organization would occur in the near future.
The Mission Committee felt it wise, therefore, to send one of our missionaries to make a preliminary investigation of the Lynden area, in order that a decision might be reached which would be based on firsthand information and as a result of personal contact. Undersigned was delegated to journey to Lynden and spend some time there, while the Rev. Knott continues the work in Byron Center. At this writing we have no news of developments in Byron Center so must confine our report to the work here.
We left Grand Rapids by car on Thursday, January 15. A howling blizzard was blowing snow in every direction and retarded our progress for the first few hundred miles along Lake Michigan. Since that time, according to the news, much more snow and cold have been the portion of the “Easterners” (one can hardly imagine it all as he looks out here on green fields and watches the hardy tulips and daffodils begin to raise their heads while the violets bloom in the door-yards). About supper time that night we arrived in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where we spent the weekend as guests of the Rev. and Mrs. J. Howerzyl. On Sunday it was our privilege to preach once, both in Oskaloosa and Pella. On each occasion an offering was received for the Mission Fund.
On Monday morning we left Oskaloosa and continued to Parkersburg, Iowa, the home of Mrs. Hofman’s parents. From here we continued by train to the northwest while Mrs. Hofman returned to Grand Rapids., after visiting with her folks for a few days. The long journey to Lynden lasted from Tuesday noon until we arrived her on Friday noon; the last 16 miles from Bellingham via bus. So here we are in Lynden, Washington.
Lynden is in the extreme northwestern part of the state of Washington. It is about 14 miles inland from the Pacific ocean and 3 miles south of the Canadian border. The city, with a population of about 3000, as well as the surrounding country, lies in the valley of the Nooksack River. On three sides, (north, south and east) the valley is surrounded by the Cascade Range of the Rocky Mountains. Westward the valley opens up and gently slopes to the shores of the Pacific. Mt. Baker, whose snow-capped dome rises over 10,000 feet above sea level, is clearly seen a distance of 45 miles to the south-east. Many other well-known peaks, both in Canada and the U. S., are in plain sight. The weather is comparatively mild with light frost and some rain but seldom snow; though there is an abundance on the hills and mountains in the distance.
As we sit here and look around, the thoughts come to our mind: “how beautiful for situation”, and, “as the hills round about Jerusalem”. Besides the massive Rockies always strike one with awe. They too bring to mind the words of the Psalmist: “The firmament showeth Thy handiwork”. And even more as one travels through them their towering majesty must necessarily humble one and cause him to wonder in awe before his God and utter: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
The physical and natural beauty of the Nooksack valley is not greatly marred but even somewhat enhanced, by its inhabitants; for it would indeed be a lonely place without its people. Lynden itself is a neat and clean little town with trim houses and yards. It is the center of a large trading-area and has many fine stores. One can almost see that this area is well-populated with thrifty Holland stock; there are over a thousand families of Dutch descent in this vicinity. Most of these live on comparatively small but well-kept dairy farms. This area is the great milk-shed for the larger cities on the coast. Besides milk, poultry and eggs and all kinds of fruit are important products.
There are several churches in Lynden. Three large Christian Reformed churches in town have an average of over 200 families each. There are also Christian Reformed churches in the smaller towns nearby. Besides these, one can find the Reformed, Baptist, Methodist and Catholic churches, as well as lesser groups such as the Gospel Hall and Christian Science. There Is a Christian grade school and a splendid new Christian High School in Lynden. A few miles north of town is another Christian grade school to serve those further removed.
Our labor here, at present, is of a preliminary nature. We have contacted several families and find some enthused, some interested, and other willing to listen. Before we left Grand Rapids we had made arrangements with the Radio Committee to use the time of the Reformed Witness Hour on KVOS, if we so desired. We plan to speak over KVSO on Sundays, February 8 and 15, the Lord willing. In the meantime we are looking up and meeting the people who havewritten in or listen to the broadcast or who, in some other way have expressed interest. In this manner we will attempt to determine the possibilities of this area for future labor. At this writing, it would be too early to give a well-founded answer to that question.
In connection with the above we pass on an interesting experience. While looking up those on the mailing list of the Reformed Witness Hour, we came to the home of an elderly American woman, who had been receiving the message. She lives outside Lynden and attends a small Community Church near her home. When we knocked at her door she opened it and asked if we were the doctor. We replied that we were not the doctor but a minister and thereupon she invited us in and said they were expecting a veterinary since they had a sick cow.
While she talked she stated that she enjoyed the Radio messages but also readily admitted that since she was not Holland and, hence, due to her lack of training, she did not understand them too well. It became evident, however, that she was a Bible student. In the course of the conversation she revealed, that though she did not grasp the truth as we know and love it, she likes the note which our program strikes. She said that she did not at all agree with the tendency of the modern pulpit which claims that man is getting better and exhorts him to use his own will and power to extricate himself from sin and ruin. She herself was convinced that sin is developing fast and that the signs of the coming of Christ increase.
Over against such claims as the fact that men build great hospitals, etc., she understood that in it all they do not seek God’s honor and glory but merely satisfaction of their own sinful pride. To me it was striking, and also heartening, that she could, independently as it were, and upon the basis of Scripture, so clearly testify to the truth as we know it. God’s ways are indeed past finding out!