A New Face
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a first hello from your new Editor. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sjirk Bajema, a distinctively Frisian name, which shows up my second-generation Dutch heritage. By nationality I am a Kiwi, being born in Nelson, that beautifully picturesque piece of God's creation at the top of the South Island. From there I went to Palmerston North where I completed a History degree at Massey and then on to Geelong where I did my theological training. There I met Betty-Ann, my Aussie wife. From Geelong I did a year's vicariate in Perth, Western Australia, and I ministered for twelve years at the Reformed Church of Canning in Perth. We have two children, Eileen (17) and Andrew (13). Now I am living in Auckland, ministering at Mangere since the beginning of 1999.
While I was in Australia I edited an independent reformed-presbyterian magazine, THE CALL, which focused on issues of concern for Christians. Now I am being asked to edit again, and to follow in Br Gary Milne's footsteps. That reminds me of one thing we must do, that is to thank Gary most warmly for his faithful work of over seven years with FAITH IN FOCUS.
Being an Editor again is never quite the same, however. My previous magazine was a Quarterly - FAITH IN FOCUS is a monthly. The technology is a little different this time too. Now files are uplifted and downloaded, they are zipped and unzipped, and pictures are scanned and cut and compressed (my son is very useful here). They told me at College we had to keep learning - but I did not quite imagine it this way!
An Editor, however, is only as good as his contributors and his helpers. For Gary there has been a very helpful team for some years. Their help needs to be acknowledged. We thank Wilma Reinders, Julie Fietje, Belinda Vannoort and Marty Eldershaw, who have now retired from their respective works. There is still Mark and Dorothy van der Zwaag doing our distribution, Nicola Wharekawa as the Secretary, Keith van Kessel as the Treasurer, Walter Walraven with the typesetting, together with Peter Heeringa as the Chairman and Leen van Vliet as a member of the Committee.
As you can see, we will have quite a different team. It may take a while to get together this team. Would you pray for us, asking that the Lord help as He did before, and perhaps challenging us even more? The magazine has a tremendous distribution, and that could be even more if all our churches bulk-subscribed. That is why I would want to work at making FAITH IN FOCUS an interacting with different aspects of our Christians lives. Lord willing, there will be Bible Studies printed regularly as inserts, so that FAITH IN FOCUS is in our groups; there will be an historical section from our denominational archivist, with photographs to surprise and remind us of why the Lord has placed us here in this land; there will continue to be our regular columnists; there will be issues focusing on specific subjects; and there will be contributions from our ministers and from you, the person in the pew. If by now you wondering how `little old you' could possible help, you could certainly pray for us, and for all those involved in faithful Christian publishing; you could ask your local elder/minister why there hasn't been news from your church in FAITH IN FOCUS for a while (if that is the case); and you could send in any material that has blessed you in the Christ-like walk (like a book review, poem, etc.).
There is one thing I can guarantee you will see from this new Editor - mistakes! They may appear in some quantity in the first few months, but we are working on it. In the words of an elder I once served with, “If you are not working you are not making mistakes!” Well, we are certainly working, and we very much pray that it will be with you, our brethren in the faith.