My grandfather, Joe Grassmid, first arrived on the shores of the United States in 1913 at the age of twelve. The entire family, two parents and nine children (Joe being the youngest), were leaving Friesland (part of the Netherlands), having secured transport aboard the Titanic; just before departure, however, one of the girls became very sick, and they were forced to postpone their journey (!), finally crossing aboard one of the final voyages of the Lusitania. After only a couple years in the US, great-grandmother died, and great-grandpa returned to Friesland, along with one mentally retarded daughter and Joe.
1919 marked Grandpa’s second and final voyage to the United States. He spent a short period of time plowing fields in southeast SD before settling in western Michigan, where he married Florence and raised five children; I am the son of their youngest child, Ronald.
Born and raised just south of Grand Rapids, MI, in the Christian Reformed Church, I attended the local Christian schools (Moline Christian, and South Christian HS). After graduation I worked in construction and eventually built up an exterior remodeling company.
1993 marked the year in which I married the lovely Charity (Nobel). The Lord has blessed us with five wonderful children—four daughters and one son. Our eldest daughter Jessica (18) is a sophomore at Hope College in Holland, MI. Esther (16) recently began working at the local retirement center and loves her first job! Lindsey (14) was employed to mow one yard this summer and is running cross country for Menno school. Alicia (12) has been marketing produce from our garden and also runs cross country. Joseph (10) has been busy making new friends and playing baseball during the summer. Our children are thriving in school (homeschool) and adjusting very well to Menno, SD.
Now a bit of our journey. . .
After leaving the CRC and joining an independent Reformed church in the early 90s, we subsequently joined the United Reformed Churches of North America in 2001. At the age of 34, already with five children in the home, we sold our hobby farm in Michigan, and I began studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, SC. Although while in SC we worshiped with a wonderful PCA congregation (Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church), we retained our membership in the URCNA. Upon graduation from seminary, I was considered by, and considered, a number of churches from various Reformed denominations but ultimately accepted a call to Bethel URC in Jenison, MI, as Pastor of Congregational Life. This calling was a great blessing as I already knew the congregation well (having completed a seven–month internship with them under Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen). The Lord used this charge to encourage and further equip me in the calling to the gospel ministry. Indeed, our entire family was greatly blessed at Bethel.
Though greatly blessed at Bethel URC, my desire to preach the Word on a regular basis continued to grow day by day. In the summer of 2011 I received a phone call from an old friend, Rev. Mike McGee, asking if I would consider a call to the RCUS. Although I already was quite familiar with the RCUS and had even been encouraged by two of my seminary professors to join the RCUS, I took some time to prayerfully consider the opportunity. As the Lord indeed governed each step of the way, I was ultimately extended and accepted the call to Zion Reformed Church in Menno, SD.
Now, only nine months into our lives with the saints at Zion, we are still “learning the ropes.” A new town, a new congregation, a new denomination—so many changes! The changes have been good. It was a true joy to become acquainted with the brothers at Classis and Synod and to meet so many of our covenant youth, while teaching them at the youth camp in the Black Hills this summer. We are truly thankful for our blessings in the RCUS. We have been blessed at Zion beyond measure; what a joy it is to minister among the saints of the Lord in this beautiful location!