Nov. 26, 1955

Dear Rev. Hanko,

Now we’ve almost come to the close of another month. I surely am happy to see them go by because every one means one closer to coming home. I’ve been here almost 10 months now and eleven months since I’ve been home and seen my loved ones. It almost seems like an eternity since I’ve been home and the seven months ahead look endless, too, but God has indeed been with us and He will guide and strengthen us through the days ahead. This past Thanksgiving Day was truly a day of thanks to God for all He has done for us in the past year. Certainly we must be and are thankful to Him for all things because He doeth all things for the good of His own, but when God makes the difficult way easy to walk, we can and must be doubly thankful. I am supposed to leave here on June 20, 1956 and I should be home the first part of July. There is a chance that I might get transferred to an outfit that is gyroscoping to the states a little before that so I might get home a little earlier, but I’m not counting on it. The only thing to do in the army is hope for the best and expect the worst.

We have had a real nice fall here in Germany. We have had a few rainy and cold days, but on the whole, it has been beautiful. We had our first snowfall here in Babenhausen yesterday and it is snowing a little this morning. It has turned quite a bit cooler, too, so that I even had to wear my overcoat to the “Young Calvinists” meeting at Heidelberg yesterday. Heidelberg is only 50 miles away but it hadn’t snowed there. As you probably remember, we have a meeting once a month and Chaplain Oostinnenk is the leader. He is leaving for the states in January though, so this was the last meeting with him. We are trying to get Chaplain Bunder from the Reformed Church in Iowa (the only other Reformed chaplain in Germany), but he hasn’t agreed to come yet. We’ll surely miss Chaplain Oostinnenk a lot, though, because he is about the best we could get for this kind of work. Surely is too bad that we don’t have more of our Reformed ministers do this type of work which is sorely needed by young church members in the army, and also the chance for missionary work is very good, it seems to me. Rev. Oostinnenk enjoys the work very much and wouldn’t trade it for anything. He’s been in for nine years already.

He was telling us yesterday about the 14-day leave he took the first part of this month to the Holy Land, Greece, Egypt, etc. I’m surely glad he told us about it, because I always wanted to go there but now I don’t. He said he never had such a disappointing and disgusting experience in his life as visiting the Holy Land. Everything is so different than it should be. At every historic spot the different sects try to outdo each other in displays, etc., and also in collecting “gifts for the church.” In the “Church of the Nativity” there are three sections for the Catholics, Armenians and Greek Orthodox, respectively, and each collect their own funds. During the Christmas processions, if one faith so much as steps accidentally across the line into one of the other sections, there are beatings and riots so that the British guards must stand by fully armed. At the spot of the “ascension” they have a rock on which Jesus is supposed to have stood, leaving his imprint, and also they have a hole where the cross is supposed to have stood. At both places they say, “Come, put your hand where His foot was, or where the cross stood.” It’s so obvious that it is a fake and still millions do it, I guess. He flew over the “Wilderness of Sin” through which the Israelites wandered and said he could easily see how they spent 40 years in it. It is terribly bare, desolate, rocky and inaccessible. In Jerusalem someone slit his trousers, too, to get his billfold (the only place on his whole trip – the Holy City). He didn’t trust them, though, and had it in his vest pocket. In all he traveled 8000 miles for $125 – mostly air hops.

I sincerely hope that you and the whole family are happy and in good health. I thank you for your much-needed prayers, and remember you in ours, too.

Yours in Christ,

Cornie Doezema

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