This past weekend was the DeJong Reunion here in town. About 400 relatives (& outlaws) came out to celebrate the sharing of genetic material and God’s grace and faithfulness! These people are all descendants of Lieuwe Jorrits & Tjtske Lijkeles DeJong who came to America from the Netherlands in 1894 with their children…all but one. Baaye stayed behind with her husband and family in the Netherlands. Some 60 of her descendants came for this reunion, in addition to descendants of many of the other children of L&T DeJong. My great-grandfather was their son Peter, who was 15 at the time they immigrated. His son, Johannes (John) was my grandfather and his son, John, is my dad. There were 24 of us from the Peter DeJong family at the reunion.
Friday night began with a picnic out at the Birch Bay State Park.
It was an absolutely gorgeous evening and the girls had fun playing in the sand and the water and finding out that lots of other little girls they know from school are their 4th cousins!
Saturday evening was dinner and a program, during which two of my 3/4 Dutch girls did a little klompen.
Aren’t they cute? It seemed to be a big hit with the Dutch relatives, because they sang along in Dutch to one of the dances. Dad said one of them commented to him that they “don’t do that in Nederland anymore”, though. Ha!
This morning was an absolutely beautiful worship service and a nice lunch. The service was a celebration of God’s faithfulness and included readings from a book about these ancestors. The sister who stayed in Holland saved every letter that she received from her siblings and her parents and her grandson, Ulbe Bakker, who was at the reunion, compiled these letters into a book years ago. Many of the letters are testimonies of the faith and trust in God of these people who went through many trying times as immigrants. Ulbe now lives in the same homestead in Holland where his grandmother lived. It’s really an incredible heritage and this morning’s service was a wonderful way to praise and thank our Lord for that gift of grace and faithfulness.
Another unknown part of the reunion was what Dad’s 2nd cousin Carol did at the Lynden cemetery. She went and cleaned every gravestone of all the relatives before the reunion began. She also placed a Friesland flag by each one. On our way out of town this afternoon, we drove through and there were SO MANY Friesland flags! This is Grandpa’s.
Just a little update on my previous blogs: Sarah is finally better! PTL! It took until about Friday night before we really saw any improvement at all. She did come out to Birch Bay with us and felt much better out in the ocean air, but was exhausted when we came home. Saturday morning she felt OK, but very weak, so gradually we’ve been able to get her to eat small amounts of food and she is gaining back strength. And so far, no one else really has gotten the same bug, at least not to that extent…so we keep praying for health!