Letter 13

Date (sent): 25 June 1873
Writer: A. Stokdijk
Sender: Gerrit Willem Bloemers
Place: Holland, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
Addressee: Derk Willem te Selle


Gerrit Willem te Selle was quite a religious person, so this letter begins with several paragraphs that sound more like a sermon than a letter. There is very little actual "news". Eventually Gerrit Willem shares the news that his granddaughter, Gezina Woordes, got married. Gezina is the child of Gerrit Willem's daughter Anna.

Gerrit Willem sends photo of his deceased wife, Janna te Selle Bloemers (1796-1870), who was an aunt to Derk Willem te Selle, as well as to Jan Hendrik and Harmen Jan te Selle.

Holland, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

June 25, 1873

Worthy Nephew D.W. te Selle and further friends,

We have received with joy to all of us your last letter of April 11. And also has Tobi­as at the same time, beside this, received another letter (3) from you at the Post Office. But he lost it on the trip home, which grieved us greatly, that it was lost, and we do not know by whom our friends from Holland the same was written, much less what was included therein.

This troubles (disturbs) us much. But it has happened. Perhaps you may know from whom the same was. In case you do, will you inform us when you write again. We thank you for your trouble you went through and what you did to write us so much. We hope that the good wishes to both old and young (extended to us) you will also do to them, may actually by God’s grace come to pass.

You write we are all children of one Father, learners (pupils) of one Master, all called to one purpose, members of one body.

Upon this I must answer you, my friend, yes that we are in confession, and so far as we can see on the face of it, and are then against the modernists.

And truly we are fortunate (lit. Above all however we are lucky/fortunate) if we can experience the strength of our conversion in our hearts. And fortunate we are when that Jesus who was crucified and died for us, lives in our hearts by the faith, so that we have the Communion of Saints who with our spirits testifies that we are God’s children.

I rejoice in my old age to hear from you that when our earthly home, this tabernacle is destroyed, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, but Eternal in the Heavens. Just the language that Paul uses in 2 Cor., 5.1 when writing to the believers. So when we have this hope, then our hearts are also cleansed from the dead works of sin.

Positively/Surely it is joy to my spirit to hear such news from you, my friend. O might all of our friends share in that news, but alas, how it is with many?

One still can hear about approval of the truths, and confession of them, they are no deniers of God, no Christian deniers, but all live for themselves, they do not know that there is no rebirth outside of God, no new life, no true peace without such faith. I have observed many times that a great number who carry the name of Christian are stuck in that without having the true renewal taken place, without being able to say that old things have passed away, see all things have become new.”

And we surely know, my friend, that God, our Father, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit together are the one true God and that they work toge­ther to rescue our souls from eternal damnation. And blessed are those who hear and do and keep what God declares in His word.

But we also know that there is another named the Devil. Satan, Old Snake, the Deceiver, Prince of Darkness, the God of this Age who tries to have us and to keep us, and we are unfortunate when we give heed to him, his will to do, and forthwith to serve him.

In one word, when the Devil, the world and sin holds our hearts, then we are lost. As soon as a child is born and developes its own personality, both work on the person, both want to have us, and both want all of us, our heart, the life, and the pleasure of our spirit, our outlook, our pursuit, our endeavour, our longings, our desires. Will we be aware of all in which we live?

The Spirit of God will be surely be our fellow witness if we serve and fear God. God does not leave Himself without witness, and peace and rest and joy in the Lord is something that we do not find in the world.

Yes, all the pleasure of the world is not as much as a day in fellowship with God already here on earth. Oh, this blind world, those who do not believe, may the Lord convert many who will serve Him in seriousness and in true (unification) fellowship of the Spirit.

We can inform you in this letter that a daughter, Gezina Woordes by name, is mar­ried to a son of Damkot, who formerly lived at (the farmstead) ‘Moezebrink’ in Ratum. Our daughter, Anna, is the mother of Gezina.

This spring we have had was a wet and cold spring, and still till now too much rain, although it is very warm now.

Also I feel moved to send you a picture of my deceased wife. We had only one picture of my wife, we have made a copy of the same which we are sending you now. Further, the family is all well. Also in my old age, I myself feel fairly well, not too bad all things considered. Although I must say that physical faculties in all ways are decreasing.

After hearty greetings from Tobias and wife, together with the children and also the other relatives I want to include my own. I request that you give our greetings to your family and to all who ask about us.

I sign this letter, hoping that you will not wait too long to write us again.

Your loving

Uncle G.W. Bloemers

At request written by A. Stokdijk

The pictures belong to you, D.W. te Selle