RBI Graduate Celebrates 50 Years of Ministry in Oskaloosa, IA

September 3, 2015

Pastor and Mrs. Alvern Boetsma will celebrate 50 years of ministering to God's people at the Good News (Christian Reformed) Chapel in Oskaloosa. On Saturday, September 12, from 1-3 pm the community is invited to join in celebrating with Pastor Alvern and Jane. The celebration open house will be held at the First Christian Reformed Church, 815 N 11th Street (by Forest Cemetery) for a time of greeting and refreshments.

What changes a young man who had his sights on becoming a mechanic, to a man who serves the community as a pastor? It is called the will or call of God the Father. Alvern Boetsma felt that call in the summer of 1961 and again in 1962 following his junior and senior years in high school. While participating in SWIM (Summer Workshop in Missions) first to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then in Tara Haute, Indiana, Boetsma was encouraged by his field leaders to follow this lead of the Lord. That was confirmed to him following a visit to Reformed Bible Institute (RBI), now Kuyper College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With the support of his future wife Jane Kamps, the decision was made to begin training at RBI.

Alvern Boetsma and Jane Kamps were married in 1964 and lived in his home town of Borculo, Michigan. After graduation from RBI in 1965, the Boetsmas came to Good News Chapel in Oskaloosa where he preached his first sermon on September 5, 1965; first as a "worker" in the Christian Reformed Church, then an ordained elder and finally in 1979 as an ordained evangelist. Boetsma has led over 4,800 services since that time. They still have two services each Sunday, though both are now in the morning; and Sunday School is held year around at Good News Chapel. Summer Vacation Bible School remains a very large part of their ministry as do weekly classes including Teens, GEMS, Boys Club, Ladies Bible Class, Men's Group and more.

When not busy with church activities Pastor and Jane enjoy their two daughters Joni DeLong and Deanna Garber and their families including several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Pastor has served on several church Classis committees, Education Committee of the local Christian School, Red Cross Board, Hospice Board, as well as serving as the local hospital and hospice chaplain.

Fifty years ago the Boetsmas were called by God to this community. Countless lives have been touched in that time and to God be the glory. Pastor's motto remains "Help me to accept people where they are in life and help them to become what God wants them to be." A favorite Bible verse would be Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

Cards of appreciation and congratulation may be sent to Pastor and Mrs. Alvern Boetsma, 1201 Arbor Trace Drive, Oskaloosa, Iowa, 52577.

*Originally published in the Oskaloosa News on August 30, 2015.