Pastor Martin Vellekoop came to Houston to be the new Christian Reformed Church pastor. His wife

New pastor pleasantly surprised by what Houston offers

New Christian Reformed Church pastor, Martin Vellekoop, is settling into Houston, learning how things work here and getting to know people.

New Christian Reformed pastor comes to Houston hoping to encourage healthy relationships and unity in the church and community.

Coming from Winnipeg to pastor at Houston Christian Reformed Church, Pastor Martin Vellekoop says he and his wife Cindy didn’t expect to end up in place like Houston.

“Cindy and I just really talked to the Lord about it,” said Vellekoop, adding that things really fell into place in Houston – including Cindy’s grade one and two teaching job at the Houston Christian School – which made them feel that Houston was where they were being led.

Having lived in cities their whole life, coming to Houston was a bit of a culture shock, but they have been pleasantly surprised by what Houston does offer.

“It’s not a big city, but there’s more here than meets the eye,” said Vellekoop, pointing out how well-kept Steelhead park is, how nice the Leisure Facility is, and how friendly the people are.

Vellekoop has been involved in ministry ever since university.

After getting a Calvin College Bachelors degree in classical history and a degree from Calvin Seminary, Vellekoop went with his wife Cindy to Japan with Christian Reformed World Missions to plant churches there, he said.

Preparing to stay in Japan, Vellekoop and his wife spent a couple of years in language school, as well as going to a few different parts of Japan for internships, he said.

“You can’t learn Japanese like you do here. Here we are taught to question… if you are questioning a teacher there, it’s sort of a sign of disrespect,” said Vellekoop, adding that learning Japanese was just a lot of memorization.

“I did end up writing a sermon,” said Vellekoop.

It took him six weeks to write and get edited and then he was able to go around and preach, he said.

After being in Japan three years, personal reasons brought Vellekoop and his family back to Canada.

Since then, Vellekoop pastored in several different places – Pembroke, Ontario; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Maple Ridge, B.C. – and also spent a year and a half getting licenced as a facilitator for healthy congregations at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center before going to Winnipeg and then Houston.

“I have always been intrigued with how people get along or don’t get along,” said Vellekoop.

“For me as a Christian that’s really important… Jesus prayed that – he prayed that [the church] would have unity, so I think that’s important,” he said.

But for now, Vellekoop says he is still getting to know the Houston CRC congregation and “learning their dance steps.”

“I’m kinda the new partner here, and I’m not here just to teach a new dance when I haven’t even learned what the dance is,” said Vellekoop.

Then, after figuring out how things work here, he will begin to work together with the church to figure out what God wants them to do, he said.

It will probably involve a lot of different things, including loving and listening, coming alongside and sharing the love of Christ, said Vellekoop.

In the next five to ten years, we will be working together to figure out how to be a Houston CRC community and how to be part of the Houston community, he said, “because Houston is bigger than the Houston CRC.”

 

Just Posted

Pitch-in week in Houston

Houston participated in Pitch-In-Day recently. Businesses and schools help clean up the… Continue reading

Houston dogs cause trouble in April

Majority of bylaw complaints involved dogs

Houston floodwaters recede

Further rises in water levels are not anticipated

Houston formalizes council-staff interactions

CAO’s performance to be measured each year

Duck pond

Houston’s third annual volunteer duck pond cleanup was held last week. It… Continue reading

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Most Read