December 30, 2013

End of Year update

At the end of the year, and at the beginning of the new, it is fitting to look back and to look ahead. There have been good times, and there have been difficult times, but as our beloved Heidelberg Catechism says we are to be thankful in prosperity and patient in adversity. God is teaching us and testing us during both of these times. How did we do? Did we grow in faith, in trust, in love and in grace? God has His purposes for all of the events of our lives.

I never expected to see 2014, and people I expected to be here still, are now gone. The apostle Paul desired to depart and to be with Christ, but God thought it would be better for His Church for Paul to remain, and Paul was submissive to whatever God had in store for him. It is my sincere desire to be an imitator of Paul, even though I long for my suffering to be over and to be with Jesus.

My wife and I estimate that I have now lost 65 - 70 Lbs since the onset of ALS. My clothes are very loose and baggy. I still eat pureed foods, but it is slow going and much less.

Please pray for us, that God would grant a rich outpouring of His Spirit in our hearts that we would experience submission, comfort, peace and joy knowing that He is walking with us and will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).


December 19, 2013

Gift Exchange or Great Exchange

Traditionally we exchange gifts with family and friends this time of the year. I would like to think that this tradition has its roots in the biblical story of the wise men (magi) presenting their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus at His birth. Perhaps it is the remnant of the pagan feast to Saturn which the Church replaced with the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Anyway, it is a tradition which the business world has certainly capitalized on. So much so, that many are tempted to over spend and go into debt for. The season meant for brotherly love, has been turned into brotherly shove.

The Bible gives a different version of the gift exchange, one which the Puritans called the 'great exchange '. His perfect righteousness in exchange for my load of filthy sin. (Romans 3:24, 25) Oh how we should praise and thank Him for this matchless gift.

May all of my readers experience this wonderful exchange this Christmas. Then we will be truly happy.


December 14, 2013

God's Sovereignty

I was convicted when I read the following verse for my devotions: Jesus said
to His disciples "it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which
the Father hath put in his own power. " (Acts 1:7b) God is sovereign, and I
can leave my future with Him; whatever that future may bring. My times are
in His hands.
 Pastor Bilkes read this poem on his last visit with me and I thought it
expressed beautifully, exactly how I feel. It was written by a German
teacher, poet and hymn writer,  Samuel Rodigast, in order to encourage a
very sick friend. I'm sure it did encourage his friend as it has done for me
centuries later.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth;
And follow where He guideth;
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup
That my physician sends me.
My God is true; each morn anew
I’ll trust His grace unending,
My life to Him commending.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He is my friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather,
Now I may know both joy and woe,
Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.
Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.
Samuel Rodigast ( 1649-1708)
Translated from German by Catherine Winkworth in 1863

December 8, 2013

Why am I still here?

The Westminster catechism asks the question 'What is the chief end of man? The answer is 'to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' As long as God gives me breath, I am to be thankful and praise the Lord with all that I have and all that I am. God is so good to me, He hears and answers my prayers, He is my Provider, Sustainer, my hope and expectation. It is because of what Jesus did for me that I am able to pray and approach His holy throne and be heard.

Well, how am I to glorify Him? With my limited abilities I am still able to read the Bible, pray, and write short blog posts. Due to progressive muscle weakness, simple tasks are getting more difficult. I hope to continue to honour Him to the end. Pray for me that I will remain faithful to Him to the end.


December 3, 2013

Black Friday or Good Friday

The shopping frenzy, known as Black Friday, is over in USA and Canada. It is the official kick start to the Christmas shopping season. Line-ups early in the morning, even camp outs and stampedes are common. What a sad commentary this thirst for deals and greed brings out the worst in our civilized society. We are afraid to miss out on a good deal, and business takes advantage of our natural instincts. Then comes Cyber Monday (on line shopping deals), followed by Boxing Day, post Christmas sales.

Hardly a word is ever spoken about Good Friday anymore, there seems to be no money in it. Yet the best deal is to be had "without money and without price " (Isaiah 55). The unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9), is to be had for free, with empty hands. That gift is Christ Jesus Himself and He gives eternal life to all who believe in Him (John 3:16). 

What better 'deal' can there ever be!


November 27, 2013

Abide With Me

The following is a prayer sent from Margaret and Henk.  It is a beautiful rendition of the hymn Abide With Me.  

Posted with permission from my Dad.


November 21, 2013

It Goes Without Saying....

Yet I feel it needs to be said. Lena, my wife for 37 years, is my primary care giver. She has been with me, by my side on this ALS journey these past 2 and a half years. My life has drastically changed, and hers has as well. 

It is difficult for me to be a husband to her and to communicate with her. She misses that most of all. Taking care of me takes a mental, emotional and physical toll on her. I pray for her every day that the Lord would strengthen her for this task. Needless to say, I love her very much. 

The road ahead is going to be more difficult, but God is faithful to His Word and promises never to leave us or forsake us.


November 7, 2013

Abiding In the Vine

John's gospel contains seven "I am" metaphors used by the Lord Himself: I am the door, the good shepherd, the bread of life, the living water, the true vine, etc. Continuing on with the theme of the vine, Jesus says "I am the vine, ye are the branches" (John 15:5a). Christ Jesus is the vine, and believers are the branches drawing nourishment from the vine.

When the branches are separated from the vine, they will quickly dry up and will not bear any fruit. So it is vitally important for the branches to "abide in the vine" (John 15:5b). "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me" (John 15:4).

This begs the question: What does it mean for believers to abide in Christ? Union with Christ and communion with Christ means to have a relationship with Christ. A relationship involves communication. How do we communicate with Christ and how does He communicate with us?

John answers the question in verse 7:"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7) He speaks to us through His Word, and we speak to Him in prayer. Read and pray, that is how we abide in Christ. Now we know what our duty as believers should be: read His Word and pray.

The pulpit in the new church in Vineland has a carving of a grape vine and two branches bearing a cluster of grapes. The words "I am the true vine" are engraved above. The visual lesson is obvious: if you want to be fruitful and enjoy union and communion with Christ, you need to abide in the vine.


October 30, 2013

Pruning the Vine

During my university days, about 40 years ago, I had a summer job at the Horticultural Research Station in Vineland. Studies were being done on many types of fruit, including grapes.

The grape vine has a winter hardy root stock and grafted grape variety branches. Three horizontal wires are used to tie up the six branches. Suckers and diseased branches are pruned off, gathered, and burned because they don't bear fruit. Even the six fruit bearing branches need to be pruned so that they will produce the maximum amount of fruit.

Pruning is 'painful' for the branches as they 'bleed' sap after being cut. The Bible describes this necessary pruning in John 15, illustrating the process taking place in the life of every believer. Pruning may be a sickness, a business failure, a broken marriage or failed relationship, whatever is necessary for the believer to bring him to his knees and shape him into what he needs to be.

For me, part of this pruning is ALS. The Lord is using this sickness to make me more dependent on Him, to spend more time in prayer and meditation, to humble me, and perhaps even to write this blog. Every trial and affliction is carefully weighed in His nail pierced hands before He gives it to His children. This thought makes it easier to submit and to endure the trial. I am but clay in the hands of the Potter preparing me for heaven.

Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way,
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me,
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.


October 21, 2013

Children's Children

When my daughter Sarah first told me that she was expecting a baby, then we both cried because we did not expect that I would live long enough to see this my 11th grandchild. That was in the spring of 2012. This week Lucas  turns one year old. Psalm 128 verse 6 says "Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel." The Lord has seen fit to fulfil this promise in my life. Blessed be His holy name.


October 13, 2013

Another Thanksgiving Together

We were so thankful for God's kindness to our family in giving us a beautiful warm sunny Saturday afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family. Gerrit brought along the bounty of the Westerink harvest (perch and bass fillets from Pigeon Lake) which he deep fried with chips for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal!  His beer batter was incredible (as usual) and we all ate our fill!  Mom kept some vestiges of a traditional meal with her famous pies.  She makes the most incredible pies! We had Dutch apple, pumpkin, cherry supreme pie (a new favourite), and pecan. 
The kids enjoyed playing hockey, jumping in leaves, swinging and jumping on the tramp.  

We always end our meal by going around the circle and saying what we are thankful for, but we completely forgot this time as the meal was very casual outside and different families had to leave at different times.  We ended the day with a bonfire and that's when we remembered the most important part - the thankful part!! We read from Psalm 103 and then went around the circle at the fire saying what we were thankful for.
Here are a few of the things that came up:

- that Opa could be with us this year again!
- for provisions of work and transitions that went smoothly
-for Benjamin!
- for good times with extended family
- for a great start to a new school year
-for hard times that teach us important lessons and draw us closer to God.

We are so blessed.  It's easy to forget that every day we are showered with so many gifts from above…

What are you thankful for this year?

I took some pictures that I uploaded to youtube as a slideshow if you would like to see
With gratitude

October 9, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

It is that time of year again, the weather is getting cooler, the hours of daylight are getting shorter, and the leaves are changing colour by the day. It is time for fall festivals and harvest feasting. The growing season has been excellent and an abundance of food is being gathered in. God has been merciful and gracious, despite our sins and iniquities. It is high time to give thanks to our Creator, Provider and Sustainer.

The story is well known by most of us when Jesus healed the 10 lepers of that terrible disease. All of them were of course very glad for the healing, but only one of them was truly thankful, and he was a Samaritan. Are we like the majority of people today who give no thought or thanksgiving to the Lord? Thanksgiving holiday is known by many simply as 'turkey day'.

God is so good to us and the list  of blessings is endless if we would try to 'name them one by one'. Let us be as the thankful Samaritan or as the Psalmist who said "I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:7).


October 4, 2013

Child of the King

In my mind, I travel back in time to nearly 50 years ago, to the Netherlands to visit my paternal grandparents (Westerink). My grandmother or Oma, was a short, round, smiling woman with facial features similar to my father. She was very open about her faith, and it radiated from her eyes. People who knew her knew that she loved and served the Lord. At her funeral service, the minister started by saying "Today we have come together to bury a child of the King".

My Oma was a covenant child, born again by the Spirit of God. She belonged with body and soul to King Jesus. My father, myself, and my three children are also covenant children saved by free and sovereign grace alone. My eleven grandchildren are also incorporated into that same covenant sealed by baptism. I pray for them every day, that God would remember His covenant promises to them, and apply His Word to their hearts, and make them His children through faith. That would be at least five generations of Westerink's who belong to the King.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him ye creatures here below
Praise Hm above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost


September 25, 2013

Indian Summer

Here in Ontario it is common to have a week of summer-like weather in the fall which we call Indian Summer. I think that this week is it. I still enjoy times in the back yard soaking up some sun. God is so good to me.

My jaw muscles are weakening so that it is difficult to open my mouth for eating and tooth brushing. Another peg in my tent is being pulled out.

God is my Creator, Sustainer, Provider, and only does what is good for me. He is my hope and expectation.


September 19, 2013

Condition Update - September

ALS is a progressive disease that slowly, but surely kills off all of the nerves controlling the muscles of the body. At the present time, it has basically left me paralyzed below the neck. My neck muscles are now getting weaker making it difficult to hold up my head and to operate my computer. I control the cursor with a piece of reflective tape on the bridge of my glasses. Imagine the scenario: a wobbly head chasing a cursor across a keyboard.

It is for this reason why I will no longer be able to write many more blog posts. Hopefully other members of the family will take over.

Best Regards

September 11, 2013

Why I Love the Psalms

The book of Psalms has been my favourite book of the Bible and most helpful to me throughout my ALS journey. I have read the Psalms three or four times a year for the last three years. I keep going back because I find that it describes my heart so closely and prescribes helpful solutions for my struggles.

Psalms written by David when pursued by Saul, Asaph when questioning God's ways, pilgrim Psalms or Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120 - 134), or even a Psalm penned by Moses (Psalm 90), all follow a similar pattern. The cycle is one of seeking, crying, hungering, thirsting after God, followed by a confession of sin or admission guilt, ending with a hope, trust, deliverance or beam of light (except for Psalm 88). The Psalms are experiential, that is, they agree with the experiences of God's people, especially those who are afflicted.

When I was growing up, we learned many of the metrical versions of the Psalms found in the Presbyterian Psalter. Looking back, I am thankful for this, because now I am benefiting from it. It helps me in my prayers and meditations. "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119)

The Psalms are God's own words meant for singing in worship. Words that are put to music are much easier to memorize. Proof of this is in the advertising business use of songs in most commercials. When you hear an ad three or four times, it sticks in your mind for a long time.

So my advice is, get busy reading and singing the Psalms and expect a blessing.


September 3, 2013

Electric Wheelchair For Free

I have a powered wheelchair that I no longer am able to make use of. It is controlled by means of a joystick, with three speeds, and a power seat (up and down). It is a Quantum 3000 (make), and is in good shape. Includes manuals and two chargers. Someone generously donated it to me, and now we would like to give it to somebody who could really use one. Please email us at



August 29, 2013

Summer is O'er

The daylight is noticeably getting shorter, the nights are cooler and the sound of the crickets fills the air. Teachers are back in school preparing their classrooms for the students to arrive next week, and students are busy with 'back to school' shopping. A new season is closing in on us, especially for families with children.

Lena and I were privileged to celebrate 37 years of marriage last week. This is a milestone we didn't expect to reach. The Lord has truly been good to us and 'caused His face to shine upon us'. How much road we have left together God only knows. He gives life and He ends life according to His timetable. He never makes mistakes.

All too soon, the leaves will begin changing colour in preparation for the winter again. My son tells me that the weeds are beginning to die off in the lakes. Time never stands still, it hastens on to the end. God is the only one not measurable by time, He changes not (immutable). We fade as a leaf and die, we spend our life as a tale that is told. Are we ready, are we prepared for His coming?


August 14, 2013


We live in a world that is filled with temptations. To be tempted is not a sin. Jesus was tempted three times by Satan in the wilderness, and He didn't sin. What did He do when He was tempted? He turned to the Word of God, and resisted the temptations rebuking Satan. Jesus is our example.

Temptations reach us through the gateways of our senses: eye gate, ear gate, nose gate, mouth gate, etc. There are even temptations that arise from within, out of our sinful heart. In this high tech 21st century, temptations have become so much more accessible. The temptations are not new, but they come in a more attractive and disguised format.

The Lord's Prayer has the well known petition: And lead us not into temptation. This does not suggest that the Lord would ever be guilty of tempting us, but it is a plea for help when in temptation. The petition continues: but deliver us from evil. This is not a request for the removal of temptations, but it is a cry for help to overcome the temptation. Temptations are a test of our faith, and even serve to strengthen faith. A tree that is exposed to the wind grows stronger roots than a tree that is sheltered from the wind.

There are temptations and behaviors that people under affliction are especially vulnerable to: the tendency to feel sorry for oneself, to be angry and have the 'why me' attitude, to take frustrations out on loved ones and caregivers, to be self - centered, demanding, and ungrateful. I am guilty of all of these sins at one time or another.

Special grace is needed during seasons of affliction, and the Lord is very willing to provide that grace. "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (I Corinthians 12:9)


August 9, 2013

Shrek the Sheep

My sister sent this blog post to us and we wanted to share it with you. It is sometimes difficult to find out who wrote the original, but as best we know it came from this blogger.


This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

August 2, 2013


We all know how important communication is to any human relationship, especially in a marriage. In fact, the lack of communication is one of the major reasons why marriages fail. Communication involves more than verbal expression, it includes facial movements, hand signals and body language as well. A roll of the eyes and a wave of the hand speaks volumes, in addition to the spoken word.

What happens when these forms of communication are cut off? This is without a doubt my biggest loss due to the ravages of ALS. How does one compensate? Well, you do the best you can using primitive, low tech alphabet cards, to high tech Dynavox computer system. But it is definitely not the same. The emotion, the feeling is missing from the computer generated voice. You can communicate your basic needs, but not your innermost feelings.

It is a good thing that communication with God is not limited by our human frailties. He knows our thoughts and the intents of our heart. We don't need words; even groans are enough. We can pray at any time, night or day. He never slumbers nor sleeps, but He is ever mindful of His people.

God speaks to us through His Word and Spirit. John describes Jesus as the Word made flesh (John 1). As the Word, He communicates Himself to us. The Spirit is the Comforter Who applies the Word to our hearts to comfort us with God's promises. There is no communication barrier that gets in the way.

Praise be to His name!


Look at these two communicate!

July 26, 2013

John VanWoerden Passed Away

John VanWoerden, a spiritual friend and brother of mine, died on July 24th, in Chilliwack, British Columbia. There are an amazing number of similarities in our lives that I want to share with you.

* We are both 59 years old
* We were both given a medical death sentence 2 and a half years ago
* We were both married in the same year
* We have loving children and grandchildren
* We both served as elders in our churches and had to step down due to illness
* We both have a heart for missions
* We both have a beautiful, loving, supportive wive
* We both have a wonderful, loving, supportive family and church community
* We are both saved by the grace of God through faith
* We both have a blog for the same reasons (John's blog is )

There are of course some differences in our situations:

* John had cancer, and I have ALS
* John had a lot of pain on his journey, and I do not
* John could walk and talk to the end, and I cannot
* We live on opposite sides of our beautiful country, Canada (5,000 Km)
* John has completed his journey, and I am still here (for now)

There could be many more similarities and differences, but this is enough to give you the idea why we were drawn together.

We express our deepest sympathies to Henrietta, children and grandchildren from our family.


July 17, 2013

The Shadow

My sister-in-law was reading a book and wanted to share an excerpt from it with us. I want to share it now with you.

     Donald Grey Barnhouse, on the way home from the funeral of his first wife, was trying to think of some way of comforting his children. Just then a huge moving van passed by their car and its shadow swept over them. Instantly, Barnouse asked, "Children, would you rather be run over by a truck or by its shadow?" The children replied, "Of course we'd prefer the shadow!"
To which Barnhouse replied, "Two thousand years ago the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus... now only the shadow of death can run over us!"

Yea, though I walk through the
                                                          valley of the shadow of death,
                                                                    I will fear no evil:
                                                                 For thou art with me.
                                                                    (Psalm 23:4 KJV)

   Death is the chariot our heavenly Father sends to bring us to Himself.

July 11, 2013

Condition Update

I think it is time to give my blog readers an update on my physical condition. At no time has the disease remained static, although it has slowed down in the last year. At present, I am paralysed from the neck to my toes. I cannot move my arms or legs without help. If my hand slips off my leg, then it stays there, until Lena moves it back. I am drooling and have a tissue tucked into my shirt to absorb it. I sweat a lot from my arms and forehead and need regular wipedowns with a towel, especially in the hot summer weather.

I can still swallow pureed food, but it takes a lot of time and patience from my care givers, mainly being Lena. I can still turn my head using neck muscles, but my head tends to lean to my right. This allows me to control the cursor on my computer, and be able to write this blog post. The control is slowly getting weaker, and I have good days and bad days for being able to write.

My body has the tendency to curl up into a tight fetal position and to stay that way in a cramp. That is why I need daily range of motion or stretching exercises. I also take several medications to prevent muscle cramps. This is a part of my daily struggle with this dreadful disease.

The Lord has been good to me throughout this journey, hour by hour, and day by day. I often think of the well known hymn: I Need Thee Every Hour. I have never felt abandoned by God, despite the feelings of being trapped in my body, like a cage. My Father hears my cries for help, and leads me through it with His rod and staff (Psalm 23).


July 2, 2013

Canada Day

July 1st is a national holiday known as Canada Day. Founded in 1867, makes us a relatively young 146 years. Not unlike a patchwork quilt, Canadians are a multicultural composition of people from all over the globe. This gives Canada a unique flavour of mutual acceptance and unusual cooperation. The only original Canadians are known as Indians, or more properly, the First Nations.

Canada is known as a peaceful and peace keeping nation. The Canadian economy is the envy of the G8 (the eight wealthiest nations of the world). Canada is rich in natural resources such as: fresh water, oil, minerals, lumber, pulp and paper, etc.

Is Canada a perfect country? Far from it. Just think of the most recent municipal, provincial and federal scandals that have dominated recent news reports. Canada is also the only civilized country with no abortion laws. We have strayed far from our Christian heritage.

Yet I am proud to be a Canadian, and I am thankful for my country. The little known verse 4 of our national anthem says it all for me:

Ruler Supreme,
Who heareth humble prayer,
keep our dominion in Thy loving care.
Help us to find oh God in Thee
a lasting rich reward.
As looking for a better day,
we ever stand on guard.
God keep our land,
glorious and free.
O Canada we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada we stand on guard for thee.


June 29, 2013

Summer Blooms

This year we have had a true Spring in southern Ontario. Sunny, warm days, cool nights with spaced out gentle rain. My cedar trees, the ornamental grasses, and the hostas are thriving and loving it. I have an ivory lace lilac that has never bloomed like this year. The entire backyard is filled with an amazing perfume.

In the same way, the Christian is blessed by God's providential dealings, and He looks for fruit. Not flowers and perfume, but fruits of faith and repentance. Trials and afflictions are a part of God's providential work, and are meant to produce fruits of patience, submission, and trust in the Lord.

So bloom where you are planted, whatever the circumstances might be. Flowers give off a sweeter smell when they are crushed. God does what He has to in order to shape His people into what He wants them to be. He is the potter, we are the clay.


We were a little late taking the picture; the blooms are starting to die already, but you get the idea :)

June 17, 2013

Grade 8 Graduation

This week, my oldest grandchild, Lena, graduates from grade 8 at RCS. It is a big day for Lena, her parents, and all of her family. The end of elementary school, and the beginning of high school is an important milestone in life. What a privilege it is that she could spend all of those years at a Christian school. Lena, I love you, and I am proud of your accomplishment.

In September, I will have 9 grandchildren attending the same Christian school where I used to be the Principal. I have officiated at many graduations, also of my own children, but never of my grandchildren. I would have liked to, but it was not meant to be.

It is getting more difficult for me to type these posts because my neck muscles are getting weaker. Thank you to my faithful blog readers for almost two years of blogging. God's blessings to you and be a blessing to others. 

June 10, 2013

ALS Walk 2013

On Saturday, June 8th, we were joined by over 80 people on team Westerink at Bayfront Park, in Hamilton, in the 2013 walk for ALS. Our team raised just over $10,000 for research and equipment for ALS. The weather was good, no rain, and I was pushed in my wheelchair for the 5 kilometre walk. Thank you to all of the participants and sponsors of my team. We had a great day.

The whole Team

The half way point


Jack and all his siblings

My dental surgery is healing nicely, and I am again enjoying the taste of food. It is however, becoming more of a challenge for me to swallow food. This will be the next hurdle in my journey with ALS. But God is going with me every step of the way, and underneath are His "everlasting arms".

June 8, 2013

Poem - Edit

My sister, Nellie, and her husband, Jim, recently came to visit Jack and I. She loves writing and after watching the CHCH news footage of Jack's birthday surprise, she wrote the following poem, while driving back home to Michigan.  - Lena

The wife:
A birthday wish on our front lawn
How grand an undertaking!
And CHCH news may be there, too,
great memories in the making.
What can be said to point to God,
the giver of all blessings,
who showers us this day with rain,
and mercies never ceasing?
The teacher:
The seed of an idea has grown;
today comes to fruition.
More can be taught than just 3 R’s;
“Child, what will be your mission?”
Yes, we’ll go; go rain or shine.
Busses unload two hundred, three?
“The little ones should be in front.”
Be kind and then you all will see.

 The editor:
“Cut, cut!” they say, “Cut out the Word.”
Lord, Jesus, Bible, Holy, God.
Cut Bible verse, prayer and praise.
Generic. That will get the nod.
Drop, delete. Edit, eliminate.
Words, phrases, songs fall to the floor.
What’s left? Footage no one can hate.
Just tell the story, nothing more.

The blogger:
With words he taught young minds to think.
Taught sciences with phrases.
With songs to sing and glorify
the God whose love amazes.
Each day a joy to go to work
He’s fun and energetic!
“Hello!”  “What’s wrong?” “I see!”  “I’ll help.”
and, “Happy Birthday, Eric!”

 The Father:
With loving hands He edited
the life that was this man.
Some were surprised and others shocked,
but God knew; it was His plan.
Drop the job. Delete fishing.
Eliminate  all walking.
Edit out elder duties.
What else? Now no more talking.
More Lord? Subtracting from the whole?
“My child, I’m looking at the soul!”

You and Me:                                                                                                             
We watch, and pray, ask, and blog,
and try to understand.
“If it were me, could I endure
such trials from God’s hand?”
Each one of us has a job
To do what we must do.
In all to glorify His Name.                                                     
“My grace is sufficient for you.”

                                           --Nellie deVries
                                           June 7, 2013


June 5, 2013

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening

"Forsake me not, O Lord." — Psalms 38:21

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, "Forsake me not, O Lord." "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe."  A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse's aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer to-day, "Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. 'Forsake me not, O Lord,' now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood, do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. 'Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.' 'Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!'" 

"O ever in our cleansed breast,
Bid thine Eternal Spirit rest;
And make our secret soul to be
A temple pure and worthy thee."

June 1, 2013

Dental Work Completed

Yesterday, I had two molars removed by a dental surgeon. He discovered the beginning of decay next to the one that I went in for. Rather than come back another time, we decided to do both at once. Two for one, Lena said. We still have some Dutch blood in our veins.

Well, I am very happy to report that the procedure went very well. I did not need any pain pills or antibiotics. I felt carried on the wings of prayers, and remained calm throughout the procedure. I recited Psalm 23 in my mind, over and over. It felt like that well known poem "Footprints in the Sand", when the author sees two sets of footprints become one set. At that point I was being carried by my heavenly Father. Thank you for your prayers, calls, and emails.


May 29, 2013

Jack's Birthday Surprise

Yesterday was Jack's 59th Birthday. Often when people reach that age they will wake up in the morning and find 59 pink flamingos on their front lawn; but today we experienced something far better than flamingos!

We were inside having coffee with some family members but meanwhile, outside, this was happening.........

We heard quite a commotion out front and put Jack in his wheelchair and opened the door.....

 and this is what we saw!

All of the student body of Rehoboth Christian School was standing on our lawn, our driveway and the sidewalks. Then they started singing Happy Birthday while standing in the rain! About 350 happy, singing faces looking up at Jack as he sat beaming with joy. Marcel Verhey, president of the student council, presented Jack with a huge birthday card, signed by every student in the school.

I spoke a few words and then Ray Roth, the new principal, said a few kind words and read from 2 Corinthians 4:16 "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."

A reporter and camera man from CHCH Channel 11 were also there to get a story for the nightly news. They interviewed myself and Ray Roth, the new principal, and two students.

As expected, the news report had cut out all reference to God in the feature. This was disappointing for us as we really wanted God to receive the glory, but we know that God is still on the throne and He will receive all glory.

As you can see by the following picture, Jack was very touched by it all and I'm sure he would say that it was the best birthday gift he's ever received; it certainly was the biggest one!

We ended by singing Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thank you Mr.denBoer, Mr.Roth and all the students of RCS for making this such a special day.

God is good.

If you would like to watch a video of the event, here is the link. Enjoy! (we sure did).  Click HERE FOR LINK.

May 27, 2013

Dental Work Needed

People often ask me what my needs are for prayer, and usually I answer that I would be faithful to glorify God until the end of my journey. But now I have something specific that I would like to ask you to pray for. On Friday, May 31st at 2:00 p.m., I will have a molar extracted by a dental surgeon. Big deal, you might say. Those kind of things happen every day. But for me, it is a big deal. I have great difficulty opening my mouth wide enough, and long enough for a dentist to work on me. Added to that, I worry about being able to breathe through the entire procedure.

I will have to stop eating by mouth until my gums heal up. In the meanwhile, I will have to be tube fed. My hope is that I will be able to eat again afterwards, as enjoying the taste of food is one of the last pleasures that I have left.

This week I turn 59 years old. I didn't expect to live to celebrate this occasion, but God has a different plan, and He makes no mistakes. He only does good, because He is good. Praise be His name!


May 21, 2013

ALS Walkathon

                                                    ALS Walkathon
Less than a month before the ALS walkathon but it's not too late to join our team. The Hamilton walk will be held on Sat. June 8th at Bayfront Park. Team Westerink is looking for more walkers. If you are not able to walk but would like to sponsor me, Lena, please follow this link


Looking forward to seeing you there.

May 20, 2013

Giving Into Despair

This is a post someone sent me from a blog called Always Learning written by Lori Alexander.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Life can be very difficult at times.  For several weeks after surgery, it was very hard not to give into despair.  I even wrote on my facebook page these words..."When I am too weak to cling to Jesus, you {my brothers and sisters in Christ} cling to Him and hold tightly onto me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."  
 I felt too weak to pray most of the time.  I read these words in Streams In The Desert that describe what I was going through perfectly ~
Once you have come close to the point of despair, God's message is not, "Be strong and courageous" {Joshua 1:6}, for He knows that your strength and courage have run away.  Instead, He says sweetly, "Be still, and know that I am God"{Psalm 46:10}.
Hudson Taylor was so weak and feeble in the last few months of his life that he told a friend, "I am so weak I cannot write.  I cannot read my Bible.  I cannot even pray.  All I can do is lie still in the arms of God as a little child, trusting Him."  This wonderful man of God, who had great spiritual power, came to the point of physical suffering and weakness where all he could do was lie still and trust.
Just before going into surgery, my dear neighbor Uschi, came to visit and as she was leaving, she said, "Stop being so strong!"  I told her I needed to be or I would be in a mental hospital.  God taught me otherwise.  I don't always need to be strong for when I am weak He is strong.
 During those rough days, I depended on the prayers of all of you and the support of my family.  Ken was a huge comfort to me with reassuring words.  I can't imagine going through something like this without a supportive spouse.  
 I have learned through my many trials that God never does leave me nor forsake me just as He has promised.  I have learned that it is okay to be weak.  I have been very, very weak yet He has carried me through just like He always will.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

May 15, 2013

Joy Cometh in the Morning - Spurgeon

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." — Psalm 30:5

Christian! If thou art in a night of trial, think of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of thy Lord. Be patient, for "Lo! He comes with clouds descending."

Be patient! The Husbandman waits until he reaps his harvest. Be patient; for you know who has said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." If you are never so wretched now, remember  "A few more rolling suns, at most,
Will land thee on fair Canaan's coast."

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares-it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then
"With transporting joys recount, The labours of our feet."

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future - to live on expectation - to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though "weeping may endure for a night," when "joy cometh in the morning?"

- Spurgeon.