Letters to the Editor 2010 Winter


Winter 2010

All about Jesus

I just finished reading the Spark (fall 2010) and thoroughly enjoyed the article mentioning Dr. Richard Mouw, Calvin’s Commencement speaker. Dr. Mouw’s point “it’s all about Jesus” is well taken especially given the present-day era of diversity, inclusiveness, pluralism, etc. These items aren’t bad in and of themselves, it’s just that the truth is “it’s all about Jesus.”

Ren Vandesteeg ’70
San Antonio, Texas

Korea connection

On my way to India on assignment for Partners Worldwide, I spent time in South Korea and climbed Halla-san, the highest mountain in the country. At the summit, a man asked me about my Calvin College backpack. The gentleman was the Rev. Dosun Chang, a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and he was at the site with his family. We had a great time together. Calvin is everywhere!

Brent Seely ’09
Hyderabad, India

Prof helped start GVSU

I enjoy the articles in Spark about Calvin’s history and wanted to make sure readers knew about another story that involves both Calvin and Grand Valley State University (GVSU), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Dr. William Harry Jellema, one of Calvin’s legendary and outstanding philosophy professors, is the person who conceived the idea of establishing a state-owned four-year college in west Michigan. I am acquainted with this little-known fact because I was a student of Dr. Jellema at Calvin and later represented the city of Grand Rapids as a commissioner at the time of the initial discussions about establishing the proposed college.

Dr. Jellema, Dr. Zumberg (the newly appointed president of Grand Valley State College) and I met in the former Rowe Hotel to discuss the proposal. A campus west of Grand Rapids was suggested, but it was dependent on the availability of water, which in turn depended on the city of Grand Rapids being able to provide that water.

While these discussions were going on, two interstate highways were being laid throughout the city, and in 1960, the official year of the founding of GVSU, Grand Rapids was declared an All-American City. It was my privilege, along with then-city manager Al Rypstra, to present the city’s case to a panel of judges in Phoenix, Ariz.

Today, western Michigan is saturated with colleges and universities—public, private, religious, specialized and so forth. Every young person who wants to go to college in our region should be able to do so. 

John Vanden Berg ’46
Grand Rapids, Mich

A Moses sighting

Last Sunday afternoon my wife, Jan DeVries Ubels ’77, and I found Moses! He’s in the church of St. Peter in Chains in Rome. He looked a bit too heavy to bring back to Calvin, so we can only supply this photo that Jan took.  

John Ubels ’74
Jenison, Mich.

Creative carving

With fond thoughts of my alma mater and the recent 25-year reunion fresh in mind, I was inspired for a different approach to my annual pumpkin-carving designs.

Bob Duimstra ’85
Appleton, Wis.

John Calvin spotted in Malawi

I have noticed that in honor of John Calvin’s 500th birthday, he has been showing up in photos at various locales all over the world. Therefore, I thought he might enjoy coming with me on my short-term mission trip to a Christian home for orphaned children in Malawi, Africa. I have volunteered three weeks out of the summer for the past five years, organizing small teams out there. 

The name of the place is Tiyamike Mulungu Center (which, in Chichewa, means “give thanks to God”). It is located in the small, rural town of Bangula in southern Malawi. The home itself is not that old, having begun around 2003, and has an interesting and providential history that Will and Pam Phillips, the current directors, love to share. It has now grown to more than 130 children, many of which are babies. The children, many of which come from very sad backgrounds, are given food, clothing, education, and are raised in a loving Christian environment.

After my first trip, I fell in love with the children and have been planning return trips every year. Each of these trips has resulted in many life-changing memories and heartwarming stories, and I always see God’s smile reflected in these precious little “image-bearers” of Him. You can find more information about Tiyamike Mulungu Center at www.tiyamike.com and www.malawiorphans.com.

Being the outgoing travel companion that he is, John kept wanting me to snap his photo at different locales. And on my last day there, we snapped a photo of most of the children with the older boys lifting good ol’ John Calvin high in the air. 

Randy Dykstra ’97
Wyoming, Mich