Images from Summer 2020 – Books, Boats, Bullheads, and Bogies

A sunrise with a doe and her fawns at the entrance to seminary last month.

I have been waiting (and wanting!) to do a post with various photos taken this summer. I thought of going with one theme and then decided to make it a variety show. So, tonight is a good time to show you some pictures I have been taking of my little world with all the simple pleasures of summer. I hope you enjoy.

Family fun in one of the waterfall pools we hiked to in the UP of Michigan.

The end of a beautiful night of boating with friends on the big lake and Spring Lake.

When you want the grandkids to help you put the furniture back in place at seminary after the annual carpet cleaning, you bribe them with ice cream and slushies. 🙂

A couple of neighborhood girls have been leaving Bible messages on the path leading into the park at the end of our street. During the “stay-at-home” order, they were very especially meaningful.

What could be better than a Free Little Library at the golf course?! Discovered at Gracewil course a few weeks ago. A few good books, but lots of bogies on that course ):


The cap to an afternoon on Lake Michigan – sailing and picnicking.

Catching bullhead (“suckers”) at Fair Haven Church pond with grandson Trey, my fishing buddy

Grandson Gale trying to throw the ball for Luna, our son’s dog. She’s one patient dog.

20200812_19575720200721_193004 The glory of summer flowers – zinnia and lilies.

And another round of golf with dad, brother, and son – so much weekly fun – bogies and all!


And traces of Fall are in the air – and on the ground.

Hope the end of your summer is great!


Published in: on September 1, 2020 at 10:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

Life in These COVID-19 Days: A Personal Picture

So what is life like for us during the coronavirus pandemic?

Like many, we are trying to keep things as normal as possible, keeping as many routines as we can. But, of course, many things have changed too. Yet, in the midst of all these changes (and fears), manifold evidences of God’s faithfulness and goodness appear from day to day – as you will see from the pictures.

A sunset over the “muck” fields of Hudsonville this past week

Let me begin with life at home, which is where we often are these days, especially in the evening (I have been able to maintain my work days at seminary – see more below). My wife and I have been working on some home projects, inside and out. She has been painting/cleaning/reorganizing (it’s Spring!) and I have been cleaning out clutter in the basement (the garage will wait a bit yet for nicer weather so I can move the deck and patio furniture and yard accessories out).

Some hyacinths blooming in back of the house this week

I love yard work, and with the weather becoming more favorable each week – and the daylight longer – I have been doing some landscape cleanup and garden preparation (the kale I left in the ground over the winter has actually started to come back!). This past week I also repaired our mailbox, which was knocked down for the third time in five years!



On the warmer spring weather days/nights I get out to walk, ride bike, and play pickleball (but no golf – the courses are closed!). We even got a ride out to the lake in this past week (Holland State Park), where the lake and sky were amazing!



Recently my brother and I visited Kollen Park in Holland, where we watched the first ship of the season come in – the Pere Marquette.


One of the things we had to stop for now too was our Voices of Victory quartet practices – and it is sorely missed! We take turns hosting at each other’s homes and we have come to enjoy the fellowship (“business meetings”) as much as the singing. Though several singing events have been cancelled, we continue to practice our songs and prepare for some future scheduled concerts by means of recordings. We are also posting some old and new recordings of fitting songs for the times on our Facebook page, so be sure to visit it.


Our Sundays are the best and hardest of days right now. “Best” because, though not allowed to gather for public worship right now, we are able to receive live preaching, prayer, and singing through live-streamed services broadcast on our church’s website (Faith PRC). We are thankful for this blessed means of grace in these times – truly rest for our souls! Thank you pastor and elders for providing this for us!

At the same time, these are the “hardest” days, since we cannot gather with the congregation and experience face-to-face fellowship and united, physical worship together. But our leaders are making sure we stay informed and in touch with one another as best we can. And, we are also missing our every-other-Sunday family dinner gatherings. It is hard not to see our children and grandchildren in this regular way. But, in this too, we stay in close touch and share picture and videos as well as texts and calls. They say this is the “new normal,” but it not normal and it is hard, as we know it is for you too.


But, then, last night our pastor and his family, along with an organist and pianist  from the congregation, organized a congregational singspiration and live-streamed it! It was a wonderful hour of psalm and hymn singing, as many of us gathered around our devices to join in! Word is they are also organizing one for next Sunday night on Easter. That would be wonderful!


As for life at the PRC Seminary, things have changed significantly there, too, as of last week. After the first executive order of our governor (in early March), we were able to continue our normal daily labors. But after the second order (last Monday), we had to transition to all online classes.


After a crash-course in how to use Zoom (the popular live-streaming app), most of the professors are teaching their classes live each day – either from their office at seminary (allowed!) or from home. For a few of the classes we are using prerecorded videos. So far this is going well, and we are thankful to be able to continue the training in this way. But, again, it is hard not to have regular contact and fellowship together. Our seminary “family life” has also been disrupted. (:


I am continuing my labors at seminary with near normal hours. I am allowed to be present to maintain the building, keep up with office work (it’s actually busier now!), and offer support (tech and moral!) to faculty and students. I am blessed and thankful to do so.

The friendly deer notice it is quieter at seminary and feel free to roam in front now too.

Little blessings of Spring from our Lord – miniature daffodils in bloom in front landscape

Even Judi Doezema’s Thanksgiving cactus inside is rejoicing in Spring!

Pray for us as we live in these trying times. We pray for you too, wherever you are. God is faithful and God is good, always worthy of our trust. And He loves us unchangingly, as one of our elders reminded us this past week in one of the devotionals he writes and sends us during these days:

Knowing our sin, and let’s be honest, only God knows our sins better than we ourselves, it so often seems unfathomable that the Holy God could or would love us.  In fact, simply the idea of Him having any kind of a positive disposition toward us, much less love, seems impossible.  We need only look back on this day or yesterday to see that repeatedly we have fallen into sin, and in our pride have rejected God and denied His sovereignty in our lives.  This is nothing new.  When we read through the history of old testament Israel, we are struck by how quickly and how often they would forget God and His mighty works that He had done, and follow after the false gods of the people around them.  We might even shake our heads at this, but are we really any different?  Yes, the circumstances of our lives are much different from theirs but think about it.  How many times, just today, just in the last few hours, have we forgotten God and gone after the other gods in our lives such as self, money, human strength, etc.?

And yet, despite our sin, God loves us.  Despite our failings as husbands and fathers, God loves us.  Despite our failings as wives and mothers, God loves us.  Despite our disobedience as children and young people, God loves us.  Despite our constant backsliding and forsaking of Him, God loves us.  Think of the prophet Hosea, who God commanded to take Gomer, an adulterous woman, for his wife.  Why did He do this?  First, it was to give a very clear and real example of the infidelity of the nation of Israel as she ran after other gods.  Secondly though, it was to show to Israel and to us, the great and unchanging love He has for His people, despite our constant infidelity.

The key, and this is what we must always remember, is that His love is UNCHANGING!  There is nothing that the people of God in the old testament or that you and I today, can do to change God’s love for His people.  Not even our greatest sins are able to change that great love.  If that were true then the Apostle Paul could never have written what he did in Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.


A New Week Completed and a New Semester Started


It was a good week at the PRC Seminary, as we started a new semester, the second of this school calendar year (2019-20). The previous two weeks were wrapped up in our annual Interim course, which Prof. R. Dykstra taught on the subject of “The PRC Schism of 1953.” A good number of visitors attended the class too, which is always a joy and encouragement (next two pictures).



But this week it was back to regular classes, including the second semester of Hermeneutics (Bible interpretation), taught by Prof. D. Kuiper (image below) for the first time this year (one of Prof. Dykstra’s courses, whom Prof. Kuiper is gradually replacing).


First-year seminarian Matt Koerner led us in daily devotions.


The other big news of late is the arrival and installation of the new custom library furniture, about which – as you might guess – I am quite excited (giddy with delight!). Mike R. of Bosveld Builders has been making the various pieces in the shop and Mike VO has been staining them, the idea being that these pieces all match the rest of the new look in the library.



Over the last few weeks the custom periodical kiosks have been completed (see images above), and in the last week the custom library desk and custom patron work station have been brought in. Today the countertops went on, and they are looking magnificent!


In addition, we had a new piece of the same quartz set in the window sill, so that all the pieces now match – wood and decorative stone.20200124_142954

Some cupboard doors and drawers have to be installed yet (maybe tomorrow), but we are otherwise finished with the library renovation project. It is an amazing new look. I am grateful for all of it, for its classical craftsmanship truly reflects the quality of all that we do at the seminary. May God be pleased to use it for His glory and the good of our faculty, students, members, and friends.


If you haven’t already done so, stop in for a visit! You might even find a good book to read in the library or bookstore. Don’t alarm the deer on your way in. 🙂

Published in: on January 24, 2020 at 9:43 PM  Leave a Comment  

Recent PRC Seminary Images (Inside and Out!) – November/December 2019


Since our last PRC Seminary update in pictures, much more has happened that has been captured in photos. So, in this post we bring you up to date with a selection of images from the last month.


Yes, we did have an early snow in the middle of November – always pretty and exciting, especially for those of our number from Mexico and Australia who don’t get exposed to a lot of this white wonder. 🙂 But then things returned to normal – gray skies and green grass!


As usual, our friendly turkey and deer neighbors make their appearance, including a nice buck – a little unusual.


On the plant side of things, Mrs. Judi Doezema’s Thanksgiving cactus broke out in full bloom just in time again – always a treat in our entry way.


Our Friday brat/burger lunches are always special, especially when wives, children (including new babies!), and friends join us. And sometimes we have a guest give a talk on something, as Mr. Rick Noorman did recently on PR Christian School teacher training.





On Wednesdays during devotion times we often have area PRC ministers give a chapel talk, as Rev. N. Decker (Grandville PRC) did this past week.


In other exciting news, we recently had our final building inspection on the new addition and were approved, so we could finally start moving the PRC archives into their new home upstairs. Over the last two weeks about 2/3rds of the boxes have been moved into the new room. Kevin Rau has been my willing and ready moving partner!

Out of the old room downstairs…


Around the outside with our carts…


And into the new room!


And due to the extra space at this point, we have a better home for our rare books and Dutch titles as well as lesser used magazine boxes from the library.


And our other archivist assistant, Mr. Bob Drnek, has also moved upstairs into the archives “research room” to continue his work of organizing and cataloging.


So grateful for the new archive room(s)! We have plenty of room to grow (tripled our size with the Spacesaver shelving)!


Finally, in the physical education department, our ping pong team continues to practice for the seminary winter olympics. 🙂


What’s the Latest at the PRC Seminary? Some Updates in Pics – October 2019


Indeed, the calendar does show November now, but we are going to bring you up to date on things at the PRC Seminary through the month of October. It has been two months since I posted anything on the new archives/library renovation project, so let’s catch up with the help of some photos I have been taking since then.


The main addition to the archives room has been the new SpaceSaver shelving, purchased through and installed by the Casper Corporation. This is an amazing, high efficiency shelving system that runs on tracks installed in the floor and turned with the ease of a large wheel at the one end.




The key was getting the tracks and raised flooring just right, and the crew spent almost two days just on that. And then, of course, the shelving units.




This past week we had our final fire alarm and fire suppression system test and inspection for this special room (we passed!), and now await final building inspection before we can start moving in and transferring our PRC archives into this room. We are eager and excited for that day!


Just outside the archives room, in the hallway leading up to it, was an old doorway that was converted by Bosveld (Mike Rau) into a beautiful display case, which was immediately filled with a few seminary history treasures.


The other main event has been the near-completion of the library renovation. Most of the new furniture and its accents have been added now, making for beautiful and functional areas for reading, study, discussion, and fellowship (done quietly, of course!).




We welcome you to come by and take in the new look, as well as to make use of the library . There are plenty of resources for you to use for your own personal reading and study! Plus, don’t forget our bookstore!



As far as seminary life is concerned, the semester is filled with the regular activities: daily classes, daily devotions, weekly chapels (not quite every week), lots of study, and then end-of-the-week Friday brat/burger lunches that often include guests and the wives and children.


And, naturally, the tradition of playing (and learning to play!) ping-pong in the lower level continues.


We’ve had a couple of special events too – our Fall picnic at Hagar Park in Jenison…



and two lectures by Dr. Nick Willborn of Greenville Presbyterian Seminary (on southern Presbyterian theologians in the 19th century) – very informative and instructive. You may find those on the seminary’s YouTube channel.


We also had a certain professor celebrate his 50th birthday, complete with some fun brought in  by his family for one of our morning coffee times.


And, of course, it is Fall here in West Michigan, so we end with some pictures taken of the fall colors in the last few weeks.




This is the area to the west and north of seminary where a walking path runs, part of the trek and scenery some of us take and enjoy after lunch.


Remember to pray for us!


And to send us your wood!

Published in: on November 2, 2019 at 8:37 PM  Comments (1)  

PRC Archives/Offices/Library Project Update – August 2019

A well lit archives room

It has been a month since we updated you on the PRC seminary building project (last one was on July 4), so tonight we will provide you with a summary of the last month.


Since our last update much has taken place. In the new addition the electricity has been supplied and all the new LED lights are providing the lighting (cf. first picture above). The new heating/cooling units have been installed in the new offices  and are operating (thanks to the power!). The final coats of paint have also been made in these archives room and the offices. All that awaits is the carpet (starting Monday, the 12th!).


In the library, all the custom trim and panel work has been completed, and now it is all stained and lacquered – a beautiful look that matches the rest of the building!


And this week the paint went on the library walls – including a nice olive color on the accent walls. What a change in the appearance!


In addition, all the new ceiling tiles were set in place this week – in the library and hallways outside the professor’s offices and in Rev.B. Huizinga’s “new” office (professor-to-be). What a wonderful color a clean white ceiling is! Now the new lighting stands out even more.


The main item missing in the library and offices and hallway yet is the carpeting, which arrived this past week and will be installed starting next week Monday.


On the outside the major news is threefold. First, a new roof was installed over the entire library, the existing offices, and the front entry. This was planned anyway this summer as part of our major building maintenance, and Bosveld has an amazing new product that will last for a long time. With all the beautiful work down below, the last thing we want is a leaky roof!


Second, our underground sprinkling system was finally repaired and restored, including new water lines and heads in the back of the building where the new addition went in (Thanks, Schepers!). Hard to believe we made it halfway through July without our watering system, but we had timely rains (the Lord’s sprinkling is always best!) and for a few weeks got creative with extra hoses and sprinklers from home.


And third, the area in the back was prepped for new grass seeding – a fresh load of topsoil was brought in and then graded, and now Kregel Landscaping has killed the weeds and will soon plant the new grass seed.


The deer and turkey have already checked out the new area in back and given their approval for future grazing and pecking.


We are thankful for all the great subs and workers involved in this project – for their skills and for their safety. The next few weeks will put all their efforts on full display, and we are more than ready to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Stay tuned for the final touches – and for an open house in the Fall sometime.

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 10:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Little (but Large) Treasures of Summer



Granddaughter Chloe and daughter Kim enjoying some phone pics.


My father playing a round last Saturday, the day before his 86th birthday. He still hits them well!


Grandson Trey (right) with a neighbor friend, selling lemonade in the hot July weather last week.


Some more day lilies and Asian lilies around our home.


A relaxed Prof. Kuiper reading out back at seminary.


Our bi-weekly beanbag tournament – that’s grandsons Gavin and Graeson. Look out, that bag’s coming right at you!


A pot of wild flowers at the entrance to seminary.


A new (to me) “Little Free Library” I recently discovered on a bike ride in the neighborhood.


Grandson Gale all excited to play with the dog’s ball thrower.




A little time at the pool on the 4th of July. That’s grandsons Logan on the slide and Trey on the diving board.


A summer thunder storm with great wind lines.


Granddaughters Chloe (oldest) and Yvette (youngest)




A summer evening in Montague, MI. Golf, dinner, rootbeer floats, and a sunset on Lake Michigan. Hard to beat.


We hope you are having a beautiful summer too.

Published in: on July 15, 2019 at 11:01 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Week in Photos, Personal and Seminary – April/May 2019


It has been a cool, rainy week in our parts, but we have now turned the calendar to May, and we hope that we have also turned the corner on our cool, wet weather (including snow! The picture above is my backyard this past Sunday morning – perhaps the last of the season for that white stuff!).


But, just to show you that we have had Spring in West Michigan and enjoyed some nice warm days, we include these shots – a grandson (Carson T) who plays freshman baseball for the Chargers – and a grandson (Trey D) who turned 6 on the same warm day, a day that beckoned us to enjoy our first ice cream cones!


There is also much to report on in the PRC seminary sector of life.


Last weekend, of course, was the seminary’s Dordt400 conference, and while there is much that can be reported on and many photos I could post, I will limit myself to a few here. (Others may be found on the PRC website and on the seminary website blog.)


Yes, there were books on display – I set up an assortment of books and magazines from the seminary library devoted to the subject of Dordt and her 400th anniversary…


and, with Trinity PRC’s great help, a fine display of Dordt artifacts – including woodcuts of the synod and its work, and first editions of the Canons of Dordt, the Acts of the Synod of Dordt, and the Statenbijbel. It seems people were truly interested in these 400 year items! Warmed my heart. 🙂


Of course, the heart of the conference was the people – the speakers and the attendees, including the brothers and sisters from afar – from 8 foreign countries! That included dear pastor-friend V. Ibe from the Philippines, whom I had not seen since he left seminary 6 years ago (to the far right – that’s Dan Pastoor to the far left and Rev. L. Trinidad in the middle, another Filipino pastor).


And another special pastor-friend – B.J. Kwon from South Korea, whom I got to know when he took classes at our seminary (and SE-GR PRC) while attending Calvin Seminary. It was wonderful to connect with him and his wife again.


Our two Asian students couldn’t resist celebrating with amazement the “celebrity” status of Rev. Kwon (note the large photo in the back – one of a collection of specially made photos of all the foreign visitors).


And perhaps you saw this picture already, but one of our professors/speakers was still promoting the conference when he left the church parking lot on Saturday afternoon!



Related to this is a very special gift the seminary received today from the saints in Kolkata, India – thank you cards for having Rev. E. Singh attend the conference. What a beautiful, colorful treasure – and precious words! We too thank God he could be there!


The seminary also had special guests this week. Yesterday (Thursday) about 25 students (plus the parent chaperones and Mrs. K. Van Baren, their teacher) from Heritage Christian HS in Dyer, IN came up for a morning visit, before embarking on a church history tour in the afternoon. They joined us for devotions…


and sat in on a couple of classes – Prof. Cammenga’s OT History class and Prof. Dykstra’s medieval church history class.


And together we enjoyed a Jets pizza lunch!


We are grateful for their encouraging visit – thanks for coming Heritage CHS!


We had another special guest this week: Rev. D. Kleyn, PRC missionary-pastor in Manila, the Philippines (who is here on leave while pursuing advanced studies in preparation for setting up and teaching in a new seminary in that part of the world). For his foreign missions/world religions course Prof. Gritters had Rev. Kleyn give two presentations on the life and work of a missionary in that foreign culture.


And finally, we may add this too – the addition of a new piece of art work to the seminary’s walls. Prof. B. Gritters can relate the full story, but he has often used John Calvin’s words to the saints in Geneva concerning the church’s need for pastors: “Send us wood, and we will send you arrows.”


Well, now, thanks to the wood-working skills of his brother Mike and the fine lettering and design of a couple of ladies (sorry, I don’t remember who now!), these words have been etched in wood and by symbol on a beautifully framed piece. Yesterday afternoon it was hung at the entrance to the library.

Thanks Prof. for not losing the vision of such a work of art. And, thanks Mike and ladies for the excellent work. It is a Gritters’ masterpiece – with a wonderful message stating and summarizing the labors of the PRC seminary!

All in all, it was a busy and blessed week. Now you see why.

An April 2019 Update in Pics from the PRC Seminary



Typical for the month of April in West Michigan is up and down weather – from warm sunny days and sure signs of Spring to cold and snowy days with signs that Winter won’t die quickly. Twice this month we had measurable snow, burying green grass, fresh landscape bark, and bright daffodils.




Last week the Lord gave us a snowy Sunday (April 14) and, while we were quick to complain, the scene Monday morning took our breath away.




But now we are back to normal and the daffodils seem happier dressed in green rather than white.





The work on the building addition (new archives and offices) has gone very well, with a mixture of inside work and outdoor work. Soon school will be done and the opening will be made between the library and the new part, with the library renovation set to kick into high gear in mid-May.



And, yes, we are excited to finally have the Dordt400 Conference this weekend! Need I remind you that it is this Thursday evening (April 25 – 7 pm) through Saturday morning (April 27). Not only will there be great speeches and presentations on the Synod of Dordt and its work, but there will also be displays of fantastic Dordt artifacts – first edition Bibles, a copy of the original Canons, medallions, and pictures. And, of course, blessed fellowship with believers from all over the world! Join us for the whole conference or as much as you can take in. The venue is the beautiful Trinity PRC in the center of Hudsonville, MI.


We hope to see you there!

PRC Archives: A 1953 Event in Photos


It’s Spring Break week here in chilly Michigan, and while others may be playing hard in warmer climes, we are going to create our own warm fun – with a PRC history/archives photo trivia post.

These are some more pictures donated recently by John Buiter (Hope PRC), and your only clue is that this event took place in the summer of 1953. The rest is up to you! Guess the event and identify the ministers and others in the group photo. And, of course, where the event was held that year!


I realize there were serious and significant things going on in the PRC in that year, but we can still celebrate the special fellowship and fun these members had that summer.

Published in: on April 4, 2019 at 4:22 PM  Comments (1)