"Ballad of the Voyage of Faith, a Centennial Tribute," by Ronald Ginther



"Ballad of the Voyage of Faith,"

A Centennial Tribute to Bergit Holbeck-Stadem

& Sister Tena Holbeck-Lundring


by Their Grandson and Grandnephew, Ronald Ginther


If you would be true sons and "datters,"

that Bergit, Tena, would lovingly take,

you must be willing to sail deep waters

in that brave, little boat only faith can make.


In 1903 Bergit sailed from Old Norway,

and never turning, went steadily her way.

Tena her sister stood stalwart by her side--

two orphan girls on the HELIG OLAF

crossed a sea so wide!


Oh, you can have your Kedar*,

and CanCun's* beaches roam,

but my love's still Zion,

the Old Farm I call home!


What a great challenge to venture so far--

no parents along they could stick to like tar.

Instead they must trust in a faithful Lord Jesus,

the Same Who reaches out to call to us.


We too much launch forth to gain new life,

to break through the snares of Old World strife.

How we take for granted blessings common here,

and likely forget how Bergit conquered her fear.


Everything so strange--with English spoken too--

the crowds she saw amazed her,

when she had known so few.

On Ellis Island" they faced the immigrants' test,

but God gave grace--both were marked: they passed!


How could they build such high towers?

she wondered in New York.

She had no time to think on it,

they had to catch their train and sit.


What would she do to earn her daily keep?

That's the question that often comes to sheep.

Yet she knew a Shepherd Whose staff was long--

it could stretch round the world and even reach Hong Kong!


She also had a treasure hid deep and most safely,

the kind that never forsakes the holder of it, you see.

No matter what happened, she knew she was God's,

And simple faith could beat all odds!


Where is our faith now that she's gone?

We sit at ease out on a summer lawn.

But there's a Farm that's afloat and leaving our shore--

and taking away all Bergit believed God for.


I pray we'll rise up before it's too late;

we think we have better,

but that's our sad fate.

We benefitted from pioneer days,

but how shallow we turn on them our gaze.


Someday a grandchild may ask, "What's Plain View?"

And could be you won't even have a clew.

Dig out old pictures if you can,

But all they'll show is long, lost land.


It's best to turn now and save what's left--

before the boat sails off and leaves you bereft.

The same God Who proved Himself to Bergit

will come take your hand, as you voyage yet.


You ask how to save what's good from our past?

Yet just to preserve it, it still cannot last.

It takes new skins, the green wine to hold,

lest both are lost, the new with the old.


Yes, it will cost, you'll leave all behind.

But look at the riches of Christ you will find!

Each day will be different, unique from the rest,

the sky's blue bluer, the rose's red, red-est!


Faith takes a Pilgrim* who's not settled down

to open new worlds, while Doubt sails round.

By now I hope we've taken our place,

along with Bergit and Tena of pioneer race!


Notes: Kedar--In Psalm 120: 5, 7: "Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar." Why was that? "I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war [continual strife]."

Psalm 122: 1: "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'"

Psalm 132: 13-16: "For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place. This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy."

[Are there any more reasons necessary to go to the "Little House of Zion" on Plain View? Not for me--ED.!].

CanCun--a popular tourist resort in Mexico famed for white sand beaches.

Ellis Island--Immigration center in New York Harbor, where at the turn of the 20th century millions of wannabe Americans including Bergit and Tena Holbeck were processed and allowed into the country; many too were sent back (sadly!) where they came from, but fortunately for all of us the Holbecks made it in, by God's grace and mercy!

Pilgrim--the name for brave, God-fearing, Christian men and women who sailed on the Mayflower in the 1600s and at Plymouth founded America's free society on godly principles taken from the holy Bible; really, any ordinary Christian who follows their brave, godly example to live in the Kingdom of God and propagate its wondrous Gospel.

To go to "Mama's Own Story," Bergit's own account of her situation in Norway (her parents and her wickedly grasping and stingy aunt Marie and how it was she and sister Katrine (with their brother Andrew going before them) came to America, and what transpired there so she could meet and marry Alfred Stadem:

"MAMA'S OWN STORY," by Bergit Holbek Stadem

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