Heritage Series | My Grandmother

Heritage Series, Personal, Uncategorized

Feb 23, 2018

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Last year I started up a series I’ve called my Heritage Series. It all started when my Dad sent me an old family photo and asked if I could clean up some of the scratches and signs of age from it, and it made me realize just how much I enjoy not only learning about stories from my ancestors, but seeing pictures and hearing stories from other families as well. And so my little series was born, and today I wanted to share about another very special person, my Grandma. She passed away now almost 5 years ago in her hometown of Woodstock, Ontario but she left behind an incredible story that I wanted to share with you.

Dina Cole was born on September 19, 1923 to Dirk and Egberdina Reemeyer in The Netherlands. She became the 2nd of three children, with older brother Bert and younger brother Dick. When oppressions and losses from the Great Depression impacted her family, they moved when Dina was just 6 years old to Ontario, Canada. Her father who had come from some wealth then became the bread winner for their family in a new way – lots of farming, fruit growing, and carpentry then took up his time.

My Grandma as a baby on the left with her older brother, Bert.

When World War II struck, my Grandma decided to join up to help at the age of 21. At her mother’s urging, she joined the Dutch army as a nurse and served near Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea as well as Java, Indonesia. At one point she even came under fire from Indonesian rebels while in Java but was protected first by Japanese troops and finally by Gurkha’s (Nepalese soldiers who fought for the British Army) . 

As the war came to an end and reconstruction operations began, my Grandma returned to The Netherlands until she was honorably discharged in 1946. She returned home to her family in Hamilton, Ontario where she worked as a secretary at a steel mill. It was during that time that she became a Jesus follower and dedicated her life to serving Him. She started attending London Bible Institute (in Ontario) to become a missionary. It was there that she met my Grandpa, Dave Cole who also wanted to be a missionary. They were married not too long afterward on June 9, 1956 and started their missionary journey back in Indonesia where my Grandma had served during the war.

They would spend their next 40 years living and serving the people of Indonesia where they also raised their two sons, my Dad and his brother. In fact, I was actually born in Indonesia when my Dad married my mom in 1984 and decided to follow in my Grandparents footsteps and return to Indonesia to serve as missionaries. I spent my first 7 years there before my family returned to Canada, as well. And there’s another story for another time!

This is one of the last pictures I have of my Grandparents together. They’ve both gone to be with the Lord, now, the Lord they spent their whole lives serving in loving others. I’m so very grateful for their lifelong example of living a life of integrity, a life honoring God, and challenging me throughout my childhood to know God better. They both left an amazing legacy behind, and I’ve loved sharing just a portion of that with you!

In case you’ve missed some of this series, you can read an unforgettable story of my Grandpa’s time as a Canadian solider in World War II here, and learn more about some of my other ancestors here!

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