Info about 2018 Tour

2014 Garden Tour Poster

Faith Church Community Garden is Available for Community Use

For more than a decade, Faith Christian Reformed Church has hosted a community garden south of its church parking lot.  In 2018, thirteen different vegetable gardeners have 12-foot by 27-foot plots in the gardens; some gardeners are member of Faith Church; others are Pella residents who wanted a gardening space. Some of the gardeners share their produce, putting it on a table in the church foyer for others to take home and enjoy. In addition, the community gardens have a small flower garden maintained by Kathy Groenenboom and Pearl Menninga. Anyone interested in a vegetable garden plot for 2019 can inquire while visiting Faith Church.

Also of interest at the church during the tour are the decorative pots and garden art available for purchase. Available pieces include including bird baths, gourd birdhouses, stepping stones, and hypertufa pots, planted with annuals. (See photos.)  Lemonade and cookies are available, and this is also the point of departure for the shuttle service to the Geetings garden. The Geetings driveway does not accommodate two-way traffic, and visitors are asked not to take private transportation to the Geetings gardens, but to use the shuttle service which will run during all of the hours of the tour.

Garden Photos

Garden Art Photos

Gazebo and Greenhouse Part of Van Klompenburg Gardens

Carol Van Klompenburg’s garden at 599 228th Place has a sunny front yard and a shady backyard, allowing for a range of perennials and shrubs. Running through the entry garden is a dry creek bed bordered by boulders and a paver walkway.  In the side yard is a large stand of miscanthus grass, often called pampas grass.

The backyard is shaded by bur oaks and pine trees. It is bordered on two sides by Carol’s flower gardens and on the third side by Marlo Van Klompenburg’s raised-bed vegetable garden, creating a secluded and peaceful atmosphere.

An additional back yard feature is an octagon gazebo, used to start plants in spring and as a getaway with a chair, desk, and hammock the rest of the year. A small greenhouse in the side yard is also used for starting plants.

A special attraction at the Van Klompenburg gardens is Tending Beauty, Carol’s gardening book being released by the Write Place in conjunction with the June 29 through July 1 garden tour. Also available at the Van Klompenburg garden are made-in-Nicaragua ceramics and jewelry.

Victorian Villa Back on Garden Tour by Popular Demand

The Pella Victorian Villa, a three story Italianate mansion built in 1871, is back on the Gateway to Hope Garden Tour by popular demand.  Since being on the 2016 tour, the villa has acquired on-site managers Piet and Carol Van Waarde and it opened as an AirBNB in January 2018.

Located at 1261 185th Street, the villa is recognized as an Iowa historic site, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stan and Alma Vermeer purchased the villa in 2011 and did extensive restoration and renovation on its second and third floors, along with its exterior and grounds. Previous owner Lila Turnbull had restored the first floor during her 32 years as owner.

Among the home’s notable features are a Mansard roof, a spacious wrap-around veranda, ornate exterior corbels (support brackets), and a 12-foot grand staircase—just one of six staircases in the home.  Typical period furnishings are used on all three floors of the home. Of special interest on the third-floor are its stained glass windows and Hindeloopen (Dutch folk art) décor.

Map of 2018 Garden Tour


Daylilies and Theme Gardens Part of Ginny’s Garden

Not long after she met her first daylily at Wilson’s Gardens, Ginny Geetings fell in love with them. That was a decade or so ago, and her gardens now have more than 430 different cultivars of daylilies—each of them labeled by name.

In addition to the daylilies, Ginny has 138 lilium, 16 varieties of allium, and 44 kinds of iris.  These specialties mingle with other perennials in the theme gardens sprinkled across the three-acre lawn with a several mile vista of the surrounding countryside.

Ginny has a welcome garden, a lilac garden, a grandchildren’s garden (each grandchild chose a plant), a prayer garden (all plants have Biblical names) and a family garden (with a plant with the name of each person in her family of origin). She even has a “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” garden!

Ginny says her mother always gardened, and Ginny grew up helping her. She has discovered that she prefers flower gardening over vegetable gardening.  She says, “I love the relaxation and the quiet, and I enjoy seeing each flower open.  It is great prayer time.”

Trees Add Variety to Kuyers Garden

Jon Kuyers’ garden at 506 Liberty Street, Pella, is a mix of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. In choosing garden items, Jon considers their colors, shapes, textures, sizes—and even their scents.

Jon started gardening 20 years ago when he just wanted to add a little color to the landscaping around the house—and it took off from there.

His favorite features are the 30 varieties of trees on the property, with their wide-ranging of textures, shapes, and colors.  His favorite tree is the tri-color beech. He says, “Its foliage really stands out or the whole growing season, providing a nice color contrast with the surrounding plants and trees.”

Visitors will likely see a variety of daylilies, hydrangeas, and annuals in bloom during the days of the tour. Jon says he enjoys gardening as a chance to get outdoors and enjoy the peacefulness it brings at the end of a busy day. He also enjoys sharing his garden with others—something he will get a chance to do during the June 29 through July 1 garden tour.


2018 Gateway to Hope Garden Tour

2014 Garden Tour Poster

Visitas a las Iglesias

I was very glad to be able to visit all five of Faith Church’s sister churches in Chinandega during my time there. On Tuesday night, I preached at El Manatial. On Wednesday night, I gave a short meditation and made a presentation about my family’s time in Africa at Iglesia del Nazareno’s missions service. The church was a faithful prayer partner during my family’s time in Africa.

As always, click on any picture to open slideshows.

Saturday night, I preached at Amor Viviente’s main service. Afterwards, I enjoyed authentic Honduran cuisine. Porfirio and Suyapa, the pastoral couple at Amor Viviente, are Honduran missionaries in Nicaragua.

Sunday morning, I preached during Sunday School at Resurreccion y Vida. What a joy it was afterwards to gather around the Lord’s Table with the congregation to celebrate communion, including our union with one another in Christ. Somos uno in Cristo!

After church, Evaristo and Ignacia, the pastoral couple at Resurreccion y Vida, treated me to lunch. Evaristo encouraged me to try cow tongue, something I’ve never knowingly eaten before. He said that it’s good for preachers, because it will help us talk more.

Sunday evening, I preached at Iglesia de Dios’ main service before heading back to Managua in preparation for an early Monday morning departure back to the United States. After the service, Lorenza introduced me to her daughter and granddaughter, Ester. It was a privilege to meet them and pray with them for Ester’s upcoming surgery.

I’m currently at Managua airport, awaiting a 7am departure to Houston and, by 7pm, Des Moines. Visiting neustros amigos en Chinandega is always a great encouragement, but as I told each one when we said “Adios!”, “Proxima en Pella!” Next time in Pella.

Compassion & Corinto

Saturday morning I visited the teenage class in the Compassion program at Iglesia de Dios Central. (Click on any picture below to open slideshows.)

The program director, Yahaira, gave me a tour of their offices and explained the records they are required to keep for each of the program participants.

It was a delight to see how well-used the second-storey classrooms Faith Church helped fund are. When I was last in Chinandega in October 2015, the church had just completed construction of the classrooms, and the Compassion staff asked me to offer a prayer of dedication for them before they began using them.

Lorenza cooks for the Compassion program. She and Kathy Groenenboom, who last saw her when a team from Faith Church visited Chinandega in July 2016, became fast friends. Lorenza has a two-year-old granddaughter, Ester, who underwent heart surgery in August 2016. Adrianna has facilitated ongoing communication between Lorenza and Kathy as Kathy’s three-month old grandson, Derek, recently submitted to heart surgery. It was a joy to show Lorenza a picture of Lisa (Kathy’s daughter) and Derek in the hospital after surgery, and to share the latest update from Faith Church’s weekly prayer sheet, that Derek had been able to return home from the hospital. Lorenza shared that Ester needs another heart surgery, which is scheduled for March 2. Before leaving, we prayed together for Derek, Ester, and their grandmas.

After visited the Compassion program, I enjoyed a visit with Adolfo and Martha in their home, before traveling with them to Corinto, a town on the Pacific coast about 20 kilometres from Chinandega. There, we visited the beach and the port, and ate fish together. On my last trip to Nicaragua, I also went to Corinto with the Quiroz family. I guess it’s becoming a new tradition.