Oma’s Pages #44
When we arrived on our mission and began to work with the members we discovered that this year (2011) was the 150 year anniversary of the first baptisms here in the Netherlands. There was a committee that had been formed two years earlier to plan a celebration to commemorate this event. Due to a lot of conflicts and problems we discovered that there were no definite plans.
A man by the name of Thies de Jonge asked Opa and I to meet with him and a man named Jan Weening.
One of the issues we discussed that night was the monument. There is a monument here in the Netherlands that is a nationally recognized, dedicated monument to commemorate the first baptisms into the Church in this country. The monument is located at the location where the first baptisms took place.
Jan Weening had asked numerous people before we came to help with the upkeep, but nobody did. It needed some serious upkeep.
The monument is located within the boundaries of the Leeuwarden Branch. Since Opa was the Branch President we felt like we needed to do something about it. The first thing Opa did was to take out a section of the fence around it and make it into a gate. He had to paint the newly welded pieces. As you can see he does almost everything here wearing a his missionary suit.
|The man who lived next door came out and helped Opa set the post for the new gate|
We arranged a day to clean the monument. The Groningen Ward planned a Young Men’s activity to come and help. Opa and I arrived and nobody was there so we went to work by ourselves. You could not tell exactly what color the brick was and it was covered with lichens, mold, and moss.
We began to scrub. And we scrubbed and scrubbed. It was very hard work.
Later the Young Men arrived with their leader. They helped to scrub as much as possible off the bricks and concrete. Then the leader started to power wash all the junk we had scrubbed off. He showed the young men how to do it and they all worked very hard.
Here it is not like the Young Men’s program in the Wards at home. There were only two young men who showed up to come. And if all the young men had come there would only have been a few more boys.
By the time we finished it was getting dark. We went over to the picnic table across the road and talked about what we had done. Their leader said that he had come with a bad attitude but as he began to work he truly felt the spirit of what had happened there. He said he felt that it was a sacred place and a very important event happened in this place. He said that he had felt there was a special spirit at this place. He was so glad he had come, worked, and felt his testimony of the Gospel and of his heritage enlarged. We all bore our testimonies about the spirit of the place and how we felt about it while we were working.
There are always great blessings when you are working for God.
Later in the week Opa and I went back and painted the letters so you could read the words. The letters were deep and narrow into the monument so we had to take a regular paintbrush and cut off nearly all the bristles so that it would fit into the slots without leaving any of the black paint on the monument. It took us nearly all day to finish the work. Originally the letters were painted gold. We could see some of the original gold showing through. However, sometime in the past the letters had been painted with black so we had to paint them black.