It was back in 1953 when my Pake (pa-ke) decided to take his large and young family and immigrate from Friesland, Netherlands to Sussex, New Jersey. They boarded the S.S Maasdam on March 28th and arrived in a new land on April 6, 1953. They came not knowing the language and had only a few connections to familiar faces. They sold their belongings, packed their bags and set sail to new opportunity.
I have been giving this venture a lot of thought this week. I try to imagine what led my Pake to this decision. I wonder if he had a mentor or if his peers supported this decision. I am confident prayer played a significant part and I have to believe a combination of conviction and call of God must have been evident in his spirit.
But what about my Beppe? How did she reconcile this conviction of my Pake? Through the letters written, it is evident that it was a great struggle for her to leave her family and say good-bye to everything she knew in order to board this ship and sail the seas to the new land.
And my Aunt Trina was staying behind to marry the love of her life, my uncle Louie and Aunt Follie was staying behind to finish her education. It must have been comforting to the two of them to have each other. But it was the days before instant communication and easy travel. I wonder if they wondered how long it would be until they were reunited….
And what about Aunt Anita, Uncle John, Aunt Wilma, my Mom, Aunt Henny, Uncle Pete, Aunt Sim, Aunt Jaltina, Aunt Dot and Uncle Myles. What were their thoughts? How could they envision something their parents had never experienced yet.
There is so much to wonder about. The more I wonder the greater my respect and admiration is for those who journeyed the pathway of immigration.
I am thankful for God’s leading and provision.
I am thankful for God’s faithfulness.
I am thankful for my Pake and how he lived in faith.
I am thankful for my family!
I have to say, when I think on this young family(my family) sailing the seas, I think I come by my sense of adventure quite honestly!