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George Oppenhuizen Collection



Biographical Note

Detailed Description

Papers (Material Topically Arranged)

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George Oppenhuizen Collection, 1926-1961 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: George Oppenhuizen Collection, 1926-1961

ID: COLL/185

Primary Creator: George Oppenhuizen (1892-1965)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Folder level description


Missionary to the Navajo Indians and lay minister in the South West Grand Rapids area. The papers include reports, correspondence, chapel messages, speeches, bulletins, brochures, Sunday School lessons, and notebooks.

Biographical Note

George Oppenhuizen was born February 1, 1882 in Franeker, Friesland, the Netherlands. Rev. F. TenHoor, who was the pastor of Gereformeerde Kerk in Franeker, baptized him. When his parents, Engele and Agnes moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, the family became members at Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church. Rev. F. TenHoor also moved to the United States and was the pastor of Oakdale Park CRC (1896-1900). George was four years old when he moved with his parents…At the age of sixteen he made public profession of faith.

At the age of twenty-two George married Gertrude Bouma, who was also a member of Oakdale Park. The following year his family joined other families to become the charter members of the Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church. While a member of Oakdale Park, he volunteered to do mission work in the neighborhood. This work continued when he joined Neland Avenue. To equip himself more fully for the work of evangelization he attended evening classes at the Kent County Sunday School Association, where Professor L. Berkhof of the Calvin Theological Seminary was one of the instructors. He also took correspondence courses with the Moody Bible Institute.

In 1923, George taught at the Riverside Indian Boarding School in Redlands, California. The following year he accepted the position as full-time evangelist working among the Navajo Indians. He worked at Tohatchi (two years), Naschitti (twelve years), and San Antonio (six years). At times his work covered over two thousand miles. The results of his labors for the Lord are seen in the conversions of Indians who became leaders among their own people.

Family circumstances made it necessary to leave the Indian field. From 1943 until his retirement in 1948, George worked as a Grand Rapids Churches missions worker supported by the churches. This involved working at three chapels: Hanley, Ivanrest, and Allen Road. In 1953, he initiated a new project: the Forty-fourth Street Chapel, where he worked there until his retirement. All of the chapels grew through neighborhood evangelism and transfer members from inner-city churches. Allen Road was organized as a Christian Reformed Church in 1953, Hanley in 1962, Ivanrest in 1964, and Forty-fourth in 1976.

At the age of seventy-two, George Oppenhuizen finished his work as an evangelist. He passed away on January 21, 1965.

Box and Folder Listing

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[Series 1: Papers (Material Topically Arranged), 1926-1961],

Series 1: Papers (Material Topically Arranged) --- 1926-1961
Box 1
Folder 1: Bulletins, reports, and correspondence of 44th St Chapel --- 1954-1955
Folder 2: Bulletins, reports, and correspondence of 44th St Chapel --- 1956-1957
Folder 3: Bulletins, reports, and correspondence of 44th St Chapel --- 1957-1958
Folder 4: Communications including Camp Workers Contract from JC Schaap, Sec Of Tohatchi Mission Committee --- 1926-1927
Folder 5: Correspondence --- 1943 and 1946
Folder 6: Hanley Chapel becomes Hanley Christian Reformed Church --- 1943-1961
Folder 7: Messages on Missions --- 1955
Folder 8: Messages on Sunshine Chapel --- 1954
Folder 9: Messages at 44th St Chapel (typed) --- 1955-1957
Folder 10: Mission Talks --- 1958, 1959
Folder 11: Navajo Land Brochures: History, parks, ceremonies, tribal government
Folder 12: Personal calls made Report to Lee Street Council
Box 2
Folder 1: Personal Workers Meetings,  Forty-one messages --- September 1958-October 1959
Folder 2: Reports to the Board of Missions of Wyoming and Grandville Progress reports on Ivanrest and Allen Road Chapels --- 1943
Folder 3: Reports to the Board of Missions of Jenision, Grandville Ave and Wyoming on the work at Hanely, Ivanrest and Allen Road --- 1944
Folder 4: Reports to the Board of Missions of Wyoming Park --- 1946
Folder 5: Reports on Chapel activities --- 1947
Folder 6: Reports on Chapel activities --- 1949
Folder 7: Reports on Chapel activities to Lee St Correspondence --- 1959-1960
Folder 8: Student Notebook
Folder 9: Sunday School, lessons Typed material
Folder 10: Sunday School, lessons Mission messages

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[Series 1: Papers (Material Topically Arranged), 1926-1961],

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