Date - Oct/77

Contributor - William Lensink

Title - Testimonial Dinner For Mr. Peter Turkstra

Topic - Peter Turkstra

Approximately seventy people attended a testimonial dinner given Mr. Peter Turkstra on his retirement from active leadership of Camp Shalom. Many of those attending were among the -people who had worked closely with him in the early days of the steering committee. Rev. Louis Harvey presided and opened with scripture and prayer. All present were warmly welcomed.

Much of the evening program was given over to presentations and testimonials. Rev. Henry Van Essen, president of Classis Ontario, began this with comment of appreciation, and presented a plaque in recognition of Mr. Turk,stra's sincere, dedicated, and outstanding service to the churches of Classis Ontario. Mr. Dick Potma followed, telling us that 1, the retiring chairman was like a father who had adopted a child. Mr. Turkstra adopted Camp Shalom and gave it that name. In steering committee meetings over which he presided, it was customary for him to select a member and request him to read a favourite passage of scripture, and then tell why that passage was his favourite, and why it was so meaningful. A plaque also was presented in recognition of the leadership and direction which Mr. Turkstra gave to the steering committee and later to the Board of Directors.

Rev. Harvey, between presentations, commented that the dinner had originally been intended to be a surprise kept secret until the day, but in the light of fears expressed that Mr. Turkstra might be in Guatamala for a Christian service project there also very dear to his-heart, the plans were revealed earlier.. Mr. Dick Hoekstra, the only other member of the original steering committee, serving since 1968, then expressed the appreciation of the present Board of Directors. He stated that the Board will always be indebted to Mr. Turkstra for his work for Camp Shalom.

A hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" was sung at this point in the program. After it Mr. John Van Hoeve, a close personal friend and co-worker with Mr. Turkstra, shared the satisfaction both men had derived from their seven years of hard work together, in the building up of the Camp to what it is today. Peter Turkstra in reply shared with the group the story of one of the two friends fishing excursions. After a particular successful trip, Mr. Van Hoeve was asked if he had marked the spot. "Oh, yes, we've got a red 'x' mark on the side of the boat where we caught all those fish". "Yes, but what if we get another boat next time?" And so with humour and appreciation a very sincere tribute was offered. Mr. Turkstra, was given honourary life membership in the R.C.A. (Many of our readers will recall that he is a very active member of the Christian Reformed Church.) The hymn with which we were to close was referred to here: "Blest be the tie that binds".

Rev. Peter Yff suggested in his remarks that some parts of the presentations made were like the Apocrypha, between the testaments, which contains much truth with a bit of embroidery. He reminded us that Camp Shalom is a real demonstration of what faithful people can do in the kingdom's work, and expressed appreciation for the dedication, sacrificial effort, and ability given by Peter Turkstra and those who worked with him.

Rev. Cliff Turkstra reminisced about the very early time of the purchase of Camp, and how that $60,000 had to be found somewhere, and in a hurry, for the land purchase. He had discovered an opportunity for a favourable $35,000 loan. In conversation with his father about how much funding had been obtained, Mr. Turkstra Sr. observed that he had obtained $10,000. "Oh," said Cliff, "I've raised $35." Father P.T. first took this to be 3,500 Junior's help really amounted to a lot that day. Personal stories of how Camp was used by the Lord as a great blessing for many people, young and old, were shared. Especially noted was the experience of his father in finding Camp Shalom to be a source of inner peace and blessing.