New Canadian Reformed Church pastor eagerly looks forward to Houston’s opportunities – new hobbies, new relationships and a chance to share comfort and hope with the church and community.
With his doctorate nearly finished, Pastor Carl Van Dam came to Houston with his wife and four young children from Grassy, Ontario – his first pastor position after years of study.
Pastor Van Dam got his Bachelors of Arts and his seminary training in Hamilton, Ontario, and then spent four years in Kampen, Holland studying for his doctorate – which he is in the very last stages of finishing right now, he said.
He was already fluent in Dutch when he went to Kampen, because he had spent two half-year periods there when he was 10 and 11 years old, and had spent two summers working there in his 20s, he said.
After Holland he lived for a short time in Burlington, where he had grown up, and then was called to a church in Grassy, Ontario, where he spent eight and half years during which the church grew from 300 to almost 500 people.
When he was called and invited to the Houston Canadian Reformed Church, Pastor Van Dam says he felt it was time for a change – both for the church and his family.
The Houston church was looking for a pastor with experience, which they hadn’t had since the 1960’s, Pastor Van Dam said, adding that he felt the church would be blessed to have someone with some experience.
And living up in Northern B.C. seemed exciting and attractive, especially because both he and his wife love nature and going hiking, said Van Dam.
Besides hiking and touring the beautiful area, Van Dam says he is looking forward to getting into fishing and cross-country skiing.
“Here, at least, you get some snow, I’m told,” he said, adding that snow in Ontario was pretty sporadic.
Used to urban centres, Van Dam says Houston felt very small, but he has enjoyed the five-minute access to things in town, and the natural beauty and friendliness of people in Houston.
“People are very friendly and it’s easy to talk to people you don’t know here. I think maybe the remoteness brings that out,” he said.
“It’s nice to see another human being when you’re out in the forest,” he added, laughing.
His goal in Houston, he says, is to faithfully teach and comfort people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Our life is all about Him… He is the only one that can give true comfort and hope for us,” Pastor Van Dam said.