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Letters from our Boys

Somewhere in the Pacific

Dear Friends:

I want to thank all those who are making it possible for me to receive copies of the Beacon Lights and the Standard Bearer.  For months I have not been able to attend a church service of any kind.  The ship that I am aboard has no chaplain and there is no Sunday observance of any kind.  The best that I can do to observe the Sabbath for myself is to read my Bible and our church literature. The material is a spiritual inspiration and helps so much to keep alive contact between the church and myself even though thousands of miles separate us.

I can’t tell you much about myself as far as the work I am doing out here is concerned.  I am one of the crew of an L.S.T. (tank landing ship) which is a part of the amphibious forces.  Almost immediately after entering the service early this year (1944) I found myself aboard ship in “the thick of things.”  As far as my material life aboard ship is concerned, it isn’t so bad.  The time passes quickly as there is always a lot of maintenance work to do on a ship.  The food is very good and most of the time I get a good night’s sleep.  So far I have been in the best of health and have come through battle unharmed, for which I am very thankful.

In September I met up with one of my church friends, also in the service, when we both happened to be in the same port.  More recently I had the chance to spend a few hours with a couple of other Christian friends from Grand Rapids.  It was wonderful to be able to talk with these fellows about home and the spiritual things.  We miss so much by being away from home and church, but I am more conscious now than ever before, that God is always with His people and that He is not limited to time or space.  With His peace in our hearts we have everything necessary for body and soul.

It is a joy to know that we boys are remembered in the prayers of our families and the church.

I’m sorry that I can’t write a more “newsy” letter, but censorship makes it impossible to say much.

Enclosed is a contribution to Beacon Lights, which is reaching me regularly.

Sincerely,

Walter J. Decker, F2/c

U.S. Navy

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Somewhere in Holland

Dear Friends:

I thought I had better drop you a line, while I have the chance, as these chances don’t always come around.  Today was Sunday, and the weather very ideal, something unusual around here.  Very beautiful and rich country around, but a very damp climate.  I can now readily see why all those “Hollanders” back home left this place and headed for the States.  I went to church this morning while the opportunity was available.

As you will notice, I have changed addresses a couple of times in the last few months, but I am now settled down with the address below.  For a couple of months I didn’t receive any mail, but it’s just now catching up with me in bunches.  So maybe there might be a “Beacon Lights” for me.

Here I am in Holland, and I, a “Hollander”, can’t speak a word in Dutch.

Hoping everything is going well back home and will continue to do so, I remain

Pvt. John P. Hazenberg, 36400036

Co. “B” 40th Tank Bn.

A.P.O. 256 c/o Postmaster

New York, N.Y.

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December 27

Dear Friends:

It’s about time I break down and write a few lines.  I have been in the army now almost two years, and I’m still in this country, for which I am very thankful.  During this time many of the men I have trained with have long been overseas.  Some have died in battle, I have heard.  How long I’ll be here remains to be seen.

During this time of the year we think and miss our families and friends more than any time of the year.  Which is only natural I guess.  For now you see and hear the World’s idea of Christmas and their desires for the New Year.  I am thankful that my Christmas has been different and my hopes of the New Year are different.  I have been brought up in a home and church where the Word of God is our Guide, and I know it will guide me through this life.

I want to thank you for sending the Beacon Lights and Standard Bearer.  I enjoy reading both very much.

Sincerely,

Johnnie Haak (So. Holland)

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News from the Front

 Of the 310 Servicemen now on our mailing list, 153 are boys from our Fuller Ave. Church and the remaining 157 are young men from all our other churches.

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Two more boys left from our Hudsonville Church recently, Joe Schut and Albert Talsma.  Both are in the Navy and at present are stationed at Great Lakes, Illinois.

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It has been reported that Pfc. John Hazenberg, from our Fuller Church, is in a hospital in England because of Trench-feet.  John spent some time fighting both in Holland and in France.

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Sgt. Arthur Kerkstra, also from Fuller Ave. has been wounded in action in Germany and now is in a hospital in Paris.  He writes that both legs were broken.

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S/Sgt. William Vanden Top, member of the Rock Valley Church was seriously wounded in Italy, both his legs being bruised and broken.  However, it is reported that he is getting along nicely now.

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Lt. Lawrence Kooima, also from Rock Valley, who was reported missing about a year ago, now has officially been declared dead.

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From our Holland Church we hear that John Cammenga has recently been called into the Service and is stationed at Little Rock, Arkansas.

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We have also received news from our Oak Lawn Church that George Regnerus was seriously wounded in action, Nov. 10, in Germany.  He is now in a hospital in England.