Oma’s Pages #46
The next part of the 150 year celebration were the open houses. They were scheduled for five of the six weeks before the actual celebration began. In the end we held one every Saturday before the big main event. These celebrations were held at the Leeuwarden Church which is the Church we have been going to while we are here in the Netherlands. It is in Friesland. Opa was the Branch President of the Leeuwarden Branch. The area this Branch covered was the upper half of the Friesland Province. A Province is like a State in the United States. However, here in the Netherlands the country is so small that a Province is really about the same size as a county in the State of Utah.
|Maria Meyer with Tante Jellie|
|Pouwel with Egbert|
Friesland is one of the largest Provinces in the Netherlands. This is because Friesland was a separate country many many years ago. The people here have their own language. It is called Friese and it is taught in their schools. These Friesian people are from a different culture and background than most of the Dutch people. They are very proud of the fact that they are different. It is very difficult for them to accept a new idea like the Gospel. However, once they do accept it they are some of the strongest members. Many of the great Church leaders of this country started here in Friesland and in Groningen, which is it’s neighbor directly east of Leeuwarden. Opa’s grandmother (Maria Meyer) came from Friesland and his grandfather (Pouwel Van Komen) came from Groningen.
|On left is Tante Tini (Van Komen Hekking), middle is Pouwel Van Komen, on right is Hiltje Pouwel's second wife after Maria died. On the day of this picture they were bicycling to see the monument.|
For the open houses we hosted a Fietstocht (feets-talk is how it is pronounced) which is a bicycle race. It is not a race to see who finishes first, just an award for those who finish. The route went from the Church to the monument and back. The distance was equal to a marathon. At the first one, Thies de Jonge rallied his Branch in Assen to come here to support it.
Thies also called his family to come and join the fun. His brother Ekke (ek-a) who is a policeman and also the Branch President in Zwolle came with his wife.
|Ekke is on the bike and his wife is reading the map. The other lady is Thies' wife|
Thies’ sister Sitske was there as well.
|Sitske is in the red sweat shirt helping people know what to do|
The de Jonge family are very very important to the Church in the Netherlands at the moment. One brother is the Stake President in Rotterdam. One brother is the Bishop in Groningen. One brother is the Bishop in Amsterdam. Their are ten children. They are all very active in the Church. When their mother and father joined the Church they only had two very young children. So you can see how important missionary work is in helping the Church to grow. What if those missionaries had decided it was not important to knock on the de Jonge door that day?