On this last day of 2021, there are many things on which to reflect as God's pilgrims and strangers in this world: the ongoing pandemic with its continued effects on our lives, work, schooling, and worship; an increasingly wicked world that more openly mocks our Christian faith and oppresses God's people; governments that rob us of basic freedoms and widely hinder and limit our ability to serve God and carry on our callings in this world. Besides, all of us can recall the personal events we experienced in this past year - from the joyful (births, anniversaries, etc.) to the sorrowful (losses and crosses).
Especially, on this December 31, 2021, we remember those PRC members who died and were received into glory by their Savior Jesus Christ, including little ones unborn or stillborn, not numbered here but who belong to Jesus and make up His church in heaven. And we know that many of our members also lost other family members who were believers and who have entered into their everlasting reward - grandparents, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and friends. And with many people in different places still suffering restrictions due to COVID-19, it was a difficult time to see loved ones depart this life. In some cases, loved ones in their final days and hours could not be ministered to as normal. Visitations and funerals could not be conducted as usual. Sorrows were multiplied and griefs extended.
And yet our faithful Father, our merciful Shepherd, and our abiding Comforter were present with us and ministering to us - through the Word and through pastors, fellow saints, and friends. In God's abounding grace He remained with us and with our loved ones. In His irresistible power He broke through all restrictions with the light of the gospel and comforted those about to die and us. And by His merciful hand He delivered our loved ones out of this vale of tears and into His presence of endless joy! All praise be to our great and good God! May we humble ourselves before Him as we remember His work in the life and death of these precious saints of His.
In Memoriam: PRC members who died in the Lord in 2021 (by month and date, with ages and church affiliation)
- 19 - Ronald A. Bauman, 84 (Pittsburgh PRC)
- 27 - Dick Burgers Jr., 91 (Doon PRC)
- 5 – Pauline M. Breen, 94 (Southeast PRC-GR)
- 14 - Leonard Van Bemmel, 84 (Doon PRC)
- 17 – Audrey Reitsma, 95 (SE PRC)
- 22 - Theodore Mingerink, at birth (Byron Center PRC)
- 2 – Sylvia Van Baren, 79 (Byron Center PRC)
- 5 – Audrey Van Voorthuysen, 91 (Hope PRC-Redlands, CA)
- 9 – Dora Haak, 97 (Crete PRC)
- 11 – Sadie Knoper, 90 (Southwest PRC)
- 23 – Frances Koning, 86 (First PRC-GR)
- 23 – Berdena Rust, 92 (Kalamazoo PRC)
- 31 – William Oomkes, 83 (Grandville PRC)
- 2 – Thelma Westra, 93 (Faith PRC)
- 11 – Tom DeVries, 77 (Hope PRC-GR)
- 11 – Margaret Faber, 91 (Georgetown PRC)
- 24 – Wilbur Linker, 78 (Immanuel PRC, Lacombe, AB)
- 25 - Ken Kooiker, 68 (Hull PRC)
- 5 – Robert D. Decker, 80 (Georgetown PRC)
- 23 – Calvin Yonker, 69 (First PRC-Holland)
- 2 – Genevieve Warner, 95 (First PRC-Holland)
- 8 – Elaine Bos, 86 (Faith PRC)
- 19 - Samuel Marcus, 16 (Grace PRC)
- 22 - Debra Kuiper, 55 (Southwest PRC)
- 9 – Sarah E. Feenstra, 50 (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA)
- 13 – Reka Sietstra, 97 (Faith PRC)
- 30 – Jeanette DeVries, 92 (Grandville PRC)
- 30 – Beverly Hoekstra, 85 (Southwest PRC)
- 7 – Daniel J. Schutz, 85 (Covenant of Grace PRC)
- 12 – Peter Poortenga Jr., 76 (Hudsonville PRC)
- 14 - Ruth Lubbers, 89 (Byron Center PRC)
- 16 - Jo Anne Weimeister, 85 (Loveland PRC)
- 23 – Cora Van Den Top, 94 (Hull PRC)
- 1 – Joanne Vlietstra, 70 (Kalamazoo PRC)
- 5 – Clarice Gritters, 93 (Hope PRC-Redlands, CA)
- 7 – David M. Ondersma, 79 (Georgetown PRC)
- 11 – Mary R. Potjer, 78 (Georgetown PRC)
- 14 – Theresa Looyenga, 91 (Southwest PRC)
- 16 – Donna Dykstra, 87 (Trinity PRC)
- 26 – Leah Huisken, 45 (Hope PRC-Redlands, CA)
- 7 – Leon Kamps, 81 (Hudsonville PRC)
- 18 – Berend Meelker, 62 (Hope PRC-Redlands, CA)
- 21 – Don Vander Klok, 79 (Byron Center PRC)
- 21 – Henry Vander Meulen, 83 (Lynden PRC)
- 1 - Cornelius (Case) Nymeyer, 85 (Cornerstone PRC)
- 4 - Beverly Langerak, 74 (Grace PRC)
- 6 - Ed Van Ginkel, 90 (Doon PRC)
- 7 - Hennie Gritters, 84 (Hull PRC)
- 17 – Ryan J. Oosterheert, 46 (Byron Center PRC)
- 18 – Mark Hoeksema, 72 (Trinity PC)
- 23 - Carl W. Potjer, 84 (Georgetown PRC)
- 25 - Kathryn Grusczynski, 92 (First PRC-Grand Rapids)
I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:8-11)
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (Psalm 116:15)
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world (John 11:25-27).
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. (Romans 14:7-9)
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:19-21).
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 6:18-20).
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them (Revelation 14:13).
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:1-4).