Remembering Billie Hiemstra

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Mom’s favorite Bible passage was: (Deut. 6:4-5)

Mom’s Bible highlights this psalm of David: (Ps. 27:1-14)

Another of Mom’s favorite psalms is: (Ps. 121:1-8)

The final reading today is taken from the Gospel of John, which records the resurrection:

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned and said to him in Aramaic, Rabboni! (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:11-18 ESV)

The Gospel Story

The Gospel story is the story of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. This story is the focus of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—in the New Testament, and of faith statements, like the Apostle’s Creed.

Christianity began in a graveyard with the resurrection. The resurrection could not have occurred without Jesus’ crucifixion and death which was, in turn, associated with his life and ministry. Because Jesus’ life and ministry was chronicled looking back from the resurrection, each sentence in the New Testament should be prefaced with these words: Jesus rose from the dead, therefore . . . Jesus’ life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection are the Gospel story.

Christians, like Mary Magdalene, are the ones running from the cemetery to tell the rest of the world that Jesus lives (Matt 28:8). Why? Because the future is in Christ; death is only a transition, not the final word. This is why the Gospel message is described as the Good News.

Hazel Fern Hiemstra

My mother, Hazel Fern Hiemstra, was known to her friends as Billie. Billie liked to have fun, which we know because Billie was her stage name when she sang popular music in the early 1950s. We also know that she met the love of her life, my father, out roller skating with her friends. Mom and Dad were married roughly a year later on September 13, 1952.

Mom also had a serious side. Her entire life she wanted to become a missionary. Caring for this family was her primary mission field (2X).

If you do not believe me, consider how she cared for Dad these past few years. Dad’s Alzheimer’s rendered him unable to manage his finances in October 2013. Mom cared for Dad without assistance until she had hip surgery in January 2018—a total of five years. After that point, she required the assistance of professional caregivers. Even then, Mom never complained.

Mom’s interest in missions was not something new. Her mother, Marietta Salter Deacon, set an example for her at a young age working in missions in Guelph, Ontario already in the 1930s. Marietta died of cancer in 1941 when Mom was only about eleven years old. From that point forward, Mom cared for her younger siblings—a job normally reserved for adults.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Mom and Dad both volunteered for work with the Billy Graham Evangelistic campaigns in California while Dad was finishing his doctoral degree at the University of California at Berkley. When the family moved to Northern Virginia in 1960, Mom soon began volunteer work at the Central Union Mission in Washington DC helping provide for the homeless and alcoholics.

In this year of racial sensitivity, let me end with one more Mom story. Back in the early 1960s when racial segregation was still the norm, permanent press was unknown and women normally spent an entire day each week doing laundry and ironing to keep their families presentable.  Working at Central Union Mission downtown in Washington DC, Mom met an unemployed black woman named Rose and decided to help her find work. Together with other women in the neighborhood she set up a coop to employ Rose doing ironing for different families each one day every other week. Rose continued to work ironing for us for years and she was the first black person that I ever met. At the time, Mom was still in her thirties—not much older that the Hiemstra grandchildren here today.

Mom believed that she could make a difference in people’s lives. She always wanted to be a missionary and she was.

Remembering Billie Hiemstra

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

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Homemaker Hazel Hiemstra of Falls Church, Virginia passes at age 89

 

Hazel Fern Hiemstra 1952

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Also Remembering Billie Hiemstra

Hazel Fern [Deacon] Hiemstra, known to her friends as Billie, was born October 10, 1930 in Guelph, Ontario Canada and passed into the glory of our Lord July 25, 2020. Up until her hospitalization for cancer on July 13th, she lived at her home in Falls Church, Virginia. She was the daughter of Richard Henry and Marietta [Salter] Deacon of Guelph.

She Is survived by her husband, Dr. Stephen James Hiemstra and three of her four children: Stephen Wayne, Karen Lee [Reed], and John David. Her four child, Diane Sue, passed on February 12, 2007.

Hazel also has grandchildren: Christine Nousheen, Marjolijn Narsis, and Stephen Reza Arash, children of Stephen Wayne and Maryam [Hajatpour] Hiemstra. William Brandts, son of Diane Sue and Hugo Brandts. Alexander James Reed son of Karen Lee Reed and Brian Malvan. Frank Henry, Jessica Anne, John Robert, and Lauren Nicole children of John David and Julie [Oweis] Hiemstra.

Mom met the love of her life, Dad, roller skating in Guelph. They were married a year later on September 13, 1952. The following year while Dad served in the Air Force in Korea, Mom lived with his family on farm near Oskaloosa, Iowa. Later, Mom became a naturalized, U.S. citizen.

Billie was Hazel’s stage name from her days of singing with an orchestra as a young person. Among her children she was known to play popular songs taken from musicals like Oklahoma and South Pacific and hymns, especially those made famous by George Beverly Shea, who sang for the Billy Graham Crusades. When Dad was a doctoral student at University of California at Berkley, Mom and Dad volunteered for the California crusades. Our pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Berkley was Robert Boyd Munger who later joined the faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary and was made famous for a sermon: My Heart-Christ’s Home.

Mom spent her entire life caring for family, supporting Dad in his career, and being active in her church, most recently Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia. Mom was proud of her mission work in Washington DC when we were young and as a nurse’s assistant at Vinson Hall Retirement Center in McLean, Virginia when we were older.  She would also frequently recount the different fellowship groups that she founded in the church over the years.

In view of the corona virus pandemic, a brief outdoor internment service for local family members is planned at the church. Details are being handled by Murphy Funeral Home in Falls Church, Virginia. A memorial service will be held next year once the pandemic has passed.

Mom’s favorite bible passage is also known as the Shema:

 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deut 6:4-5 ESV)

In Judaism, the Shema, which in Hebrew means name, is used as a daily prayer. Mom was raised as a Baptist, but became a Presbyterian in marriage.

The details of my Mom and Dad’s life are chronicled in Dad’s memoir: My Travel Through Life: Memoir of Family Life and Federal Service, which is available online.

Homemaker Hazel Hiemstra of Falls Church, Virginia Passes at age 89

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

Continue Reading