Letter # 65 - Jan Rubinghís mother, Mettje Jans Boer, has strong handwriting, and seems more vigorous than ever, as you will see. The quarreling in the church does not leave Wildervank unscathed. Itís a sad but all too human story.
Wildervank, January 6, 1888
Dearly Loved son and Daughter and children,
Through the undeserved goodness of the Lord we received in reasonably good bodily health the letter you wrote at the end of November. We rejoiced, dear ones, to note that you also all were progressing onward and that you still could enjoy the privilege of staying warm and dry in your house and that you still had food for yourselves and your livestock. It was also pleasing to me to see that you could observe Godís good hand in it. May the Lord give us all observant hearts because by nature we so often notice what we lack but not that which we do possess.
Now dear ones, I wish all of you the Lordís blessing for soul and body in this newly begun New Year that the Lord may bless you with temporal, spiritual and eternal blessings and that your dear children may prosper to the honor of his name. And may he make us all mutually wise that we may be patient in adversity and thankful in prosperity and to trust him for the future. May the Lord grant us that by grace for Christís sake.
It is thawing here now, dear ones, and Iím glad about it. Iím not worth much when itís cold. Itís been rather wintry up till now, but not severe today.
In the last while there have been a couple of sudden deaths here. You may not know them but the one was Geesie Venhovenís husband. You remember Geesie. He was not from here. The 5 year old died from typhus in a couple of days.....We see that the saying proves true that death beckons every hour. In the natural world it is not so shocking, as you wrote us, how that some near you died. Yes, dear ones, because of sin everything has gone in the wrong direction. You should just be here with us in the church once! There itís really sad. I believe the problems arise largely over school fees and aggrandizement and greed. I think that often situations arise because of that. In the case of the school fees it seems to me that it doesnít add up and the rules they have there are unclear and so they disagree. Apart from all that, they have enough in the (school - ER) committee. Iíll give you some names: the junior Roelf Vos, Roelf van der Laan, Joannes R. Brouwer, Hendrik Drent, son-in-law of Harm Eerkis, Tjakke Tjapkes Schuringa, and Gerardus Kuik, and three or so whom you would not know very well. At Classis they said that the elders should not get involved with it, but they did get concerned about it. There are some who are for Principal Althof and he and his wife....and they are not good for the congregation and as long as Dominee van Hoogen has been here they are always in opposition and called on the Consistory (to get involved -ER).
I do like Dominee van Hoogenís preaching very much, and I believe that if you could hear him you would be completely satisfied. He could visit the congregation a bit more, but there is certainly nothing in his conduct to complain about, but some people bring so many complaints and spread lies abroad in the congregation. I never thought that this would happen here in our congregation. The elders are Lammert Kuipers Groenewolt and Teunis vander Veen, both from Gieterveen, Harm Eerkis, Geert Jonker, Tjapke Schipper and Derk Venema. The deacons are Jan de Teus Brouwer, Kier Bos, Tjakke Tjapkes Schuringa, and Klaas Pot. Four of these are for Dominee and six are for the Principal.
Because of this issue there were no elders or deacons elected. Those who are against Dominee are Lammert Kuipers, Harm Eerkes, Teunis Vander Veen, Geert Jonker, Derk Venema, and Klaas Pot and they had many more of the congregation with them and they chose elders and deacons in the school and when Dominee last Sunday evening was about to preach, Venema went to the pulpit and announced who had been chosen as Elders and Deacons, and Dominee had not even given the benediction and said then that it was not legal and could not happen.
Then they brought it to the Burgemeester (Mayor), Then Dominee and Venema had to appear before the Burgemeester and he forthrightly told Venema the truth, but Venema then asked that if the benediction was pronounced whether he could then do it. He has to pay 25 guilders fine. So Sunday after the sermon he went to the pulpit again and announced who was chosen, but what will happen now nobody knows as yet. Time will tell.
Iíll tell you who are on Domineeís side. They are Jans de Teus Brouwer, Kier Bos, Tjakke Tjapkes Schuringa and Jan Groenewolt. Now who is actually in the right one cannot yet judge. We do know that man sees what is before his eyes, but the Lord looks at the heart, and everything will be judged someday.
Now, dear ones, I better just desist. You must write us once what you burn in the winter there. Can you stay warm? Because surely you have no peat! I hope, dear ones, that you may receive these letters in the best of health, and if you can that you will write us back soon, and your children, too. Please overlook my mistakes! After having wished for you the indispensable blessing of the Lord for soul and body, I am your loving mother, M. J. Boer.
Greetings from our Heichiena