I cried bitter tears as we would send messages (during his illness) and was regularly overcome with emotion. But when I received the message of his passing, that is when it dawned on me that we had 22 years of friendship with Gert and Corry Zandbergen. Gert has now gone to be with the Lord. Even in his name, he represents strength, heartiness, bravery, a warrior to the end… Gert has fought his fight in life with bravery and he is now victoriously enjoying the presence of his precious Lord and Saviour.
We met in Noordwijk in 2000, where we were visiting a church. We were housed so beautifully in a Guest B&B. The lady of the B&B said ‘there is a couple that I think would love to meet you!’ We connected immediately with this couple, with lots of laughter and tears as we shared, and they promised that they would see us again. They were really touched by the stories and they came over the next year to visit. Give a Child a Family (GCF) (then called Place of Restoration) was a growing organisation, and had many things still to accomplish.
Gert and Corry came over twice a year to volunteer their services; Corry in admin (which is Corry’s forté) and driving for Gert (Gert would say he had two left thumbs, so he was not able to do any practical work). But, he made up for that by being relational and a good (but fast) driver for the years when he came to volunteer. He would drive our community workers to their destinations, sit for hours waiting for them to finish their tasks, and then drive them home again. He would come early in the morning and transport the children to school, and then later from school back to the centre. Gert and Corry saw the needs and just got stuck in and assisted, whether it was buying industrial dishwashers, washing machines, or the facility where Family Based Care is running from now (and much, much more). They were a gift to Give a Child a Family.
In 2004 he was instrumental in starting a Friends of GCF Association in the Netherlands to support GCF financially. What an ambassador he was! Always sharing and talking about GCF, and he wore his GCF shirts with pride. Most of all, he loved the children, the people in the community, and the staff. Gert and Corry assisted students to get through school and university, and the list goes on. Before Covid-19, we would meet in the dining hall for daily devotions and communications, and he would be there, sharing and caring. Oh, we miss him already!
We thank God for how Gert has given of himself and his earthly goods, to assist the poorest of the poor, and we know that he will have many jewels in his crown with all the people that he has prayed with, prayed for, and assisted.
Our deepest condolences to his loved ones, Corry, children and grandchildren, thank you for lending him to us at times.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
“It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, weeks to get to know them but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.” — Author unknown
Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.
With lots of love from us, your friends at Give a Child a Family.
Written by Monica Woodhouse