Rock Valley United Reformed Church Newsletter Winter, 2011

“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of the week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper…” 1 Corinthians 16:1-2a

In the past couple of newsletters, we’ve learned from Acts 6 about what it means to be a deacon, but we’ve hardly touched what they actually do. Deacons are servants of Christ for the sake of leading the congregation in showing Christian mercy, and their first duty in that work is to pray. That in itself is enough to challenge our deacons, and to challenge us as the people under their care. It’s easy to forget that the office of deacon is a spiritual one, as much as the offices of elder and minister are spiritual offices. But now let’s start to get to the application of that spiritual office. For now, we’ll talk about their work with our offerings, and next time we’ll talk about the non-monetary work of the deacons. Every month, the deacons put a note in the bulletin to inform the congregation of the offerings that were received, and to let us know if we are meeting our commitments. That note is often followed by a quote from a variety of the passages in the Bible that encourage us to give joyfully and thankfully because of all that the Lord has done for us. I hope that you don’t read over that note too quickly. More than just a concern about whether or not we’re meeting the budget, there ought to be a real love and concern for these matters. We ought to be looking to see the work of the Holy Spirit, even in those numbers! Even when we’ve fallen behind in our budget commitments, the Holy Spirit has always provided for us, abundantly. When those pleas from the deacons are put in the bulletin, however, it’s not simply about giving the deacons enough to pay the bills; it’s about making sure that we support the spiritual work of the deacons. Yes, the lights have to stay on and the copier needs paper, but even those obligations are supposed to serve a greater spiritual purpose – the well-being of the church. In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul was telling the church in Corinth that their offerings were supposed to be a part of their spiritual service to the Lord ―on the first day of the week‖ – Sunday. That’s why we give our offerings during the worship service, since we’re giving them to the Lord. But then what are the deacons supposed to do with those offerings? How do they decide which causes to put in the bulletin, to ask us to give of our hard-earned money? How do they make sure that the gifts given in worship remain dedicated to that purpose? The first priority for the deacons is making sure that the ―gospel ministry and education for it be maintained‖ (Lord’s Day 38). Yes, that means making sure the minister and his family are cared for (1 Tim. 5:18), but that’s also the reason why we give our offerings so often to Mid-America Reformed Seminary and Westminster Seminary in California – the education for the gospel ministry. That’s also the reason why so many of our offerings are for the needs of church plants – Sioux Falls, Prinsburg, Rev. Murphy in New York City – and also the work of foreign missionaries whose first responsibility is to preach the gospel. There are many other causes for which we give our offerings, and next to the gospel ministry our responsibility is ―to bring Christian offerings for the poor‖ (Lord’s Day 38). Again, that means first taking care of the needs closest to home, and that’s why we have a responsibility to make sure that the deacons have enough to provide benevolence and tuition assistance. Even our Christian Education Chapter is meant to help us bear the cost of Christian education together. Once the needs of our congregation are met, then the deacons must see how they can show Christian mercy to others, including the needy in our community and Bethany Christian Services, for example. But when it comes to the deacons designating the cause of each offering, the goal that they must always have is a spiritual one: to care for Christ’s Church the way that Christ Himself would care for His people. In other words, if the deacons are only interested in numbers, they’ve failed in their office. They are Christ’s servants called to lead us in showing Christian mercy. That’s a heart issue, first of all. And may it be our hearts that drive us to joyfully give whatever the deacons ask of us.

Rev. James Sinke

On Sunday, October 3, 2010 we gathered together as a Church family, first around God’s Word, and then around a wonderful feast of delicious food at our Congregational Fellowship Dinner. Once again, our fabulous cooks whipped up quite a banquet for us, and we enjoyed the abundance of food and the sweetness of fellowship with each other. The comment heard most often—‖Let’s do this again!‖

Our dinner was enjoyed by members of all ages and stages of life......
...fathers like Brad and baby sons like Isaac...

...teenagers and young adults...

...little children like Avah... ...as well as the old geezers...ah, I mean the more mature members! (―Mature‖ obviously is not a word used very often to describe the newsletter editor!)

...starry eyed lovers like newly engaged Kelcie and Kent...

No, Ruth’s not getting ready to go scuba diving! She’s just strapping on the proper equipment to get the job done!

Clean up was hindered by a temperamental vacuum, and it was decided that maybe our church needed a different brand of vacuum!

Public Professions of Faith
On September 19, 2010, we had the privilege of witnessing the Public Professions of Faith of four of our young people—Amber Kats, Lance Kooiman, Ashley Van Dyke and Larissa Van Dyke. Each of them was given the book Contagious Christian Living by Dr. Joel Beeke, which teaches how the Holy Spirit uses ordinary Christians to impact their world and to be His witnesses. Rev. Sinke preached ―Our comfort in Christ must shine for our Father’s glory‖ from Matthew 5:13-16, where Jesus taught that we are to be the light of the world, and that we are to let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in Heaven; and from Lord’s Day 1—our only comfort in life and in death is that we are not our own, but belong to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Profession of Faith is like starting a new phase, where the Holy Spirit says „OK, now you have finished boot -camp, and it‟s time to take you to the battlefield.‟ From the shelter of the home and the catechism class to the battle of light against darkness…”
Rev. Sinke, 9/19/10

We were reminded that we are not to make Profession of Faith pretending to be perfect; but rather, we come declaring that we are unworthy of Christ, and by grace alone the Lord has saved us from our own darkness. We often think we have to hide the truth that we still struggle with sin, but we were reminded that our good works are seen just as much in what we do as in how we deal with it when we fail. Our good works can be seen in how we confront the reality of our sin; in how we humbly confess our sin to one another; in how we quickly and lovingly forgive one another and work with each other, being zealous for righteousness while we recognize our need for the Holy Spirit to continue His work in each one of us. It is that humility, coupled with the desire to love the Lord and serve Him with all our heart, that will be a shining light to the world. Amber, Lance, Ashley and Larissa, we rejoice with you, and pray for God’s continued blessings for each of you. May He strengthen you to be true to the profession you have made.

“‟To be wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him‟ - those are action words. Those are your marching orders from the King.”

Rev. Sinke, 9/19/10

We’re so happy to have the Halma family join with us as members of the Rock Valley United Reformed Church! They shared with us a little about themselves... Ryan grew up in Inwood. He is the son of Rick and Paula Halma, and is the oldest of 6 children. Ryan graduated from West Lyon High School and has worked at C & J Construction for 8 years. Brittany was raised in Doon and is the daughter of Rainer and Diane Van Bemmel. She is the youngest of the family and has one older brother and two older sisters. Brittany graduated from Western Christian High School, and has worked at Exact Eye Care for 3 years. Ryan and Brittany were married on August 7, 2009. They have one son, Adam, who is 4. Adam will be starting preschool next year. The family is also happy to announce that they have another baby on the way! Welcome to our church family, Ryan, Brittany and Adam! We pray that we will truly be a blessing to one another as we serve Lord together.

Sharing Christ‟s Love with Native Americans In Bonesteel, South Dakota
By Ruth Post
This past December a group from the Rock Valley URC made their annual trip to Bonesteel, SD, to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Native American group on their reservation. As this was our family’s first trip, I was curious how this tradition began. Dee filled me in by telling me that for many years Justice For All traveled to Bonesteel annually with supplies. About 8 or 9 years ago, JFA decided not to go. Since a group from church had already been established to go along, the church group decided to go anyway and to continue what JFA originally started. Our group met at church at 9:00AM Saturday, December 5. Herm Rozeboom, Wilma Burgers, Arlin Hoogendoorn, Gloria Burgers, Lorna De Vries, Dee Vander Giesen, Mike, Ruth, John, Naomi and Matthew Post all posed for the group picture taken by Gene. Bev Olsen and Harry Dykstra also arrived at church after the group picture was taken. We traveled in a caravan of three vehicles and we arrived at a gas station in the town of Bonesteel around 12:00. At the gas station we met several others who we would spend the day with—Al, the pastor from Bonesteel, and another church group from Cozad, Nebraska. With Al in the lead, we drove to a community center on the reservation a couple miles from town. At the center we unloaded boxes from the JFA trailer that Gene pulled from Rock Valley. The boxes were filled with JFA supplies that would be used as prizes for the Bingo game that afternoon. Blankets, Native American art and gifts, shampoo, lotion, candles, Christmas décor and lots more were unpacked and displayed. Others worked on preparing the meal that we would share at 4:30 that afternoon. A group of guys delivered more supplies from JFA and Cozad to a drop-off point at another location in Bonesteel. These were bigger items, like beds, couches, and many more boxes of donations. John and Matthew had a great time unloading the trailer and they kept running back for more! Around 2:00 the people of Bonesteel began arriving at the center. The guys from RVURC took turns calling off the bingo numbers for the afternoon games. There were so many prizes that no one cleaned off their bingo cards when someone would win. The most popular prizes were the Native American gifts and the blankets. The church group from Nebraska tried to keep the children busy in another room with arts and crafts and games. This proved a bit difficult since the kids’ room was not in the best shape and the kids were quite excited about the gifts that their parents were winning. It was a busy, fun afternoon. Approximately 100 adults were counted during the afternoon games. After Bingo was completed, we had some time to clean up the room and prepare for a Message with supper to follow. Every year Al gives the message and we were told in advance that it is usually quite long! This year was different. That afternoon Al asked the pastor from the Cozad group to give the sermon instead and to base the sermon on the power of the Bible. Even though he did not have much time to prepare for his sermon, we heard an awesome story about how the Bible changed his life from on of drugs and alcohol to becoming a Christian minister. I wished that we had brought Bibles to hand out. Afterwards, we served supper to the people of Bonesteel. We ate ham, homemade applesauce, homemade bread, potatoes and fresh green beans from the Burgers’ garden. It was very delicious, very homemade, and the people were appreciative as they were going through the line. After supper, one woman quietly came back into the kitchen and shook everybody’s hand, saying thank you. After clean-up and before we left to go home, Pastor Al prayed for our groups. It was quite beautiful to hear how thankful he was that we come each year, and how the people look forward to it. Our kids were happy and content on the way home, busy planning next year’s trip to Bonesteel. Our family left with a sense of awe at how much better it really is to give than to get. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to serve with you!

Matthew & John— the most energetic and best looking help ever!! BINGO!!

Did You Know... In January, Lamar Nance retired after 35 years of service in the United States Military
Thank you for your service to our country, Lamar, And thank you for sharing some of your experiences with us!
I joined the Navy in the spring of 1975 just a few weeks after high-school graduation. Both my brother, sister, and dad had served in the Navy and it seemed like the thing to do. I was first stationed in San Diego for boot camp and interior communications school. While there I whiled away many pleasant hours learning the intricacies of electronics and the proper way to fold my underwear. My assumption was this early education would serve me well later in life – the electronics thing panned out okay, but you can imagine my surprise when I met and married Audrey and discovered that not only I but the entire US Navy, past and present, did not know how to properly fold underwear – but that’s a story for another time… From there I transferred to the USS Francis Hammond ported in Yokosuka, Japan. The Hammond was a fast frigate and our mission revolved around anti-submarine warfare. My job specifically was to maintain the ship’s communication systems, such as the public address system, the intercoms, telephones, alarm and warning systems, and the optical landing system for the helicopter deck. I spent a little over two years on the Hammond and then transferred to the aircraft carrier Midway, also home-ported in Japan. While I was on the Midway we worked on the ship’s closed-circuit television system. Our job was to video tape the aircraft launch and recoveries. In the event of an accident, the tape would become part of the accident investigation board. As a part of that job, we maintained the video cameras, video tape system, and all the interconnecting circuitry. I spent a little over two years on the Midway and by then my enlistment contract was up and I came back to the US. While I was on active duty overseas we traveled to South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Republic of the Philippines, Kenya, and Iran (we were still friends with them then, but just barely). After I came back to the US in late 1980 I joined the Navy Reserve in Sioux Falls. During this time I taught shipboard firefighting. During this time we traveled quite a bit within the US and I had the opportunity to deploy to Spain for two weeks. I joined the South Dakota Air National Guard in 1991 and attended Munitions school at Lowry AFB in Denver. Our job was to work with munitions, up to the point just short of loading them on the aircraft. We assembled bombs, maintained and tested air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, worked with electronic and infrared counter-measure systems, and worked with 20mm gun ammunition. I worked there for about 7 years and then transferred to Wing Weapons Safety where we monitored weapons build-up and load activities. I was with Safety for about 10 years and then transferred to SD ANG Headquarters, where I, as I explained it to Audrey, did whatever Captain Sallie said needed to be done. To pick out memorable moments is pretty tricky, as there were so many. In 1979 we left Kenya in a hurry and spent the next 80 days off the coast of Iran as the embassy had just been overrun. This was the starting point of the Islamic Revolution. At the same time Russia tried to be helpful by invading Afghanistan. Oh, and then Yemen did what they could by having a revolution. It was a very interesting time in that part of the world. About that same time (on the Midway) we were transiting the straits of Malacca near Singapore and we were involved in collision at sea with a freighter. Two shipmates were killed, several planes were damaged, the optical landing system (yes, my optical landing system) was bent back against the ship, and one of the aircraft elevators was jammed. We limped back to the Philippines and spent the next month or so getting patched back together. In November after 9/11 in 2001 I deployed with the Air Guard to Saudi Arabia. We were there to support Operation Southern Watch, which was to enforce the No-Fly zone over southern Iraq, and we assumed we would be doing our normal job of building bombs and sending them off not to come back. We were surprised to find out the Sauds had a change of heart regarding our presence. Well, they liked our presence, but didn’t much care for our bombs. We spent our time there assisting the effort packing up several square miles of weapons and shipping them somewhere else. As I mentioned at my retirement, when a guy looks back and realizes that bases you were stationed at are closed (San Diego Navy Base and Lowry AFB), and ships you’ve been on are now scrap metal (Hammond) and others are museums (Midway), that’s your first hint that it’s time to go. I was able to meet a great bunch of people and be a part of something larger than myself. If I had a chance to do it all again, I’d do it the exact same way. It couldn’t have been better.

Lamar Nance

Rejoicing in the Birth of Ty Nicholas Hoekstra
What an awesome blessing for the Hoekstra Family! They share with us their adoption story...
We received the much anticipated phone call on November 10, that a birth mom from Nebraska had chosen our family to be the "forever family" for her child. After many phone calls and several weeks we got to meet the birth mom face to face and learn more about her and our future child. Ty Nicholas made an early appearance on December 12, 2010 at 3:35pm. He was a beautiful little boy who we fell in love with the minute he was born. After a lengthy hospital stay in Nebraska for aspiration pneumonia and several tests we took Ty home with a NG feeding tube. Ty did great with the tube and fit into our family right away. After several weeks Ty had a repeat test done to see if he still aspirated and he was given the ok to drink from the bottle so we were able to remove the tube. That very same weekend Ty began to vomit everything he ate. After a consult in the Rock Valley clinic, Devin and I headed up to Sioux Falls with Ty for some more tests. We soon found out that he was suffering from pyloric stenosis and needed surgery to correct the problem. The surgery went very well and Ty recovered quickly. Now that Ty's stomach has been repaired he eats much better, his reflux problems are resolving and he doesn't have stomach cramping like he had before. Ty is a great joy to have in our family and he has an older sister that loves him so much. Ty's adoption is an open adoption so our family will maintain contact with his birth mom as Ty grows up. We thank the Lord everyday for giving us the avenue of adoption to add another child to our family. Thank you for your continued prayers and support throughout this new chapter in our lives. Devin, Nickkie, Autumn and Ty

In 1804, William, a 21-year-old from a poor family, decided to go to New York City to find a job. He told a neighbor his plans, saying he knew how to make soap and might work in a soap factory. The neighbor said, ―Just remember to be a good man, give your heart to Christ and pay the Lord all that belongs to him. Give a dime of every dollar you make, make an honest soap and you will be a happy and wealthy man.‖ Sure enough, William found a job making soap. Later, he became part owner and then sole owner of the business. His product line — and giving — expanded greatly. He gave many millions of dollars to the Lord’s work throughout the world, far more than 10 percent of his wealth. William Colgate died in 1857 at age 74, but his legacy and company, Colgate-Palmolive, still thrive. Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), a prominent, wealthy Chicago lawyer, is remembered for writing the beloved hymn ―It Is Well With My Soul.‖ It seems such lyrics would come naturally to someone so successful. But Spafford didn’t pen the hymn during life’s high points. Instead, the words poured forth amid tragedy. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire wiped out Spafford’s life savings. Two years later, his wife, Anna, and their four daughters headed to Europe on the SS Ville Du Havre, with Spafford to follow a few days later. The boat was struck by another vessel and sank, killing 226 of the 313 people onboard. Although Anna survived, the Spafford girls didn’t. After receiving the news, Spafford went to England to get Anna. While sailing over the spot where his daughters had died, he wrote the lyrics to ―It Is Well With My Soul.‖ They’re a reminder that no matter what life brings, our souls can be at rest in God. ―When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.‖

Answers to Place the Face: Kelcie Groeneweg & Gloria Burgers

So you think you know everyone in our church pretty well, huh? Well, can you guess who these members are? (The answers are found elsewhere in this newsletter.)

It looks like they have the same hair-do, but these gals are not sisters. One of them has a twin sister, while the other one just looks a lot like her sisters… Who are they?

We are not a “For Sale” column, but if you’re looking for a long-lost recipe that your Grandma made, or in need of craft items, or need to post an announcement, or things of that nature, this is your place.  

WANTED: Do you have the skill of creating a beautiful piece of work with a simple ball of yarn and a tiny hook? I'd love to learn that skill from you! I was taught some of the basics of crocheting when I was young but most of those lessons have been lost. Please contact Andrea Sinke. Allergy Alert: As you know, our son Aaron has multiple food allergies, some of which can be quite severe. In December, we found out that Leah has food allergies as well as severe environmental allergies. Both of them share an allergy to corn and peanuts. Since a peanut allergy can cause an anaphylactic attack, which has the potential to completely close their airways and stop their breathing, we'd like to request that if you bring something with peanuts in it PLEASE let the ladies in the kitchen know. The children know about their allergies and that they need to avoid peanuts but it can be difficult for them to tell if something has the nuts or peanut butter baked into it. We appreciate your concern in helping protect and love our children in the many ways that you show it. Rev. James and Andrea Sinke WANTED: We are looking for someone in our church that has a video camera and tripod (or can use one from somebody) and that would be willing to video tape a wedding at the RV URC on Sat., June 18, 2011. If you would be willing to help us out please call 470-6099 or talk to Cherie Groeneweg at church.

Did you know that the Western Christian Chamber Singers will be coming to RVURC? They will be worshipping with us during the evening service on April 10, and will give a concert following the worship service. Mark your calendars for a beautiful evening of praise to God. Did you know that Korrie and Sarita Van Maanen welcomed their 8th grandchild in October? Abigail Ruth Van Maanen was born to Micah and Kristin on October 4 at 2:00pm in Orange City. Abigail weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. and was 19 1/2" long. Adriana (6) and Isaiah (4), Abigail's older sister and brother, were very excited about having a new sister to take care of and play with. Grandma and Grandpa were very excited as well! Congratulations!  Did you know that Jim and Donna Van Beek are now Grandpa and Grandma? Titus James Van Beek was born to Jayme and Sarah on January 5, 2011 at 3:44AM—why do babies like to come in the middle of the night? He weighed 8 lbs. 11 oz and was 21 1/2 inches long, so he’s off to a good start. He was born at Rice Hospital in Willmar, Minnesota, but in case you’re wondering, the hospital bill is not cheaper even if the parents are in the medical field! ―Granny Van Beek‖ commented, ―He’s just the cutest baby ever!‖ Congrats!

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