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A Book, a Goat, and a Pig

Our Shared MInistry

Every year Bart Huizinga and Taeke Dam of Sarnia, Ontario, gave their grandchildren money for Christmas. But last year the two friends decided to do something different. Instead of the usual cash, they gave their respective grandchildren a book, a pig, and a goat.

Each child received a copy of the new devotional book Listen and Be Still, a compilation of favorite TODAY devotionals, along with a note telling them that goats or pigs had been donated in their names through the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s gift catalog.

Huizinga, who is 77, and Dam, 88, have been TODAY devotional readers for nearly 50 years. When they saw the Back to God Hour’s new book Listen and Be Still, they decided it would be a good way to pass on a faith legacy to their children and grandchildren.

“They all have it so good,” noted Dam. “I wanted to show my love to my children and grandchildren while remembering less fortunate families around the world.” So he sent for the books and gave one to each of his five children and 13 grandchildren. Inside each book was a CRWRC gift catalog indicating that a pig and a goat had been purchased on each child’s behalf.

Huizinga decided to do the same for the 14 of his 18 grandchildren who were 17 years and older. “I wanted to show them an example. It’s one way to show what we have and develop an interest in others.”

“For me, this is very satisfying,” reflected Dam. But what did the kids think of receiving goats, pigs, and a devotional book for Christmas instead of money?

“We were all pleased and moved by the unique gift from Grandpa,” noted daughter-in-law Cathy Dam. “This was memorable and got everyone’s thoughts away from the materialism so prevalent at Christmas time.”

“He has shown us with his actions something that can never be taught with words alone: Christian generosity,” said grandson Jim Dam, of Toronto.

Huizinga’s grandson Eric Wildschut, a student at Calvin College, said it was very thoughtful of his grandpa to plan such a unique gift. “It would have been easier for him to give us money, but the example he showed his grandchildren has its own blessing.”

“I really admire my grandpa,” said Eric’s sister, Jodi Wildschut, a Christian school teacher in London, Ontario. “It’s a great way for him to use his money, giving to something he believes in. It’s a good way to show his grandchildren how important his faith is. Grandpa picked organizations he supports, wrapped up the book by himself, and wrote a note explaining why he was not giving us money this year,” she added.

Huizinga’s note reminded his grandchildren that “we live in an affluent world.” He wrote about his faith and that of their grandma, who passed away two years ago. “She had a generous heart and this would have been important to her too,” he reminded them.

For information about the commemorative book Listen and Be Still… 365 Reflections on God’s Word from the Pages of TODAY, contact the Back to God Hour at 1-800-879-6555. For a copy of the CRWRC gift guide call 1-800-552-7972 or visit In Canada, call 1-800-730-3490.


    Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

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