Introducing Jacob Baijal

We arrived in Toronto airport almost four years ago, excited but a little spent from the long flight from the land down under. My wife Kirsty, our not yet one-year-old daughter, and I were greeted by the heat and lush greenery of the Ontario summer, not to mention a fellow student who heaped us into his family van and off we went. So the adventure began! But before all that, you might wonder how a non-Dutch guy (last name pronounced ‘buy-gel’ not ‘buy-al’) ended up on a plane to Ontario in the first place.

My wife and I both grew up not in Reformed but in Baptist churches. In fact, we met in one such church during our university years, while I was completing a Bachelor of Arts. After seeing how keen Kirsty was to discuss the inerrancy of Scripture with me, I realized we just had to get married. And we did! Meanwhile, the Lord continued to deepen my love for his Word and reform my faith and understanding. It was around this time that God planted in me a desire to preach his Word. Kirsty and I went through a mini reformation together, coming to the Reformed faith eagerly and early in our marriage. We became members of Rockingham Free Reformed Church of Australia and were delighted with the wonderful communion of church family and the biblical and confessional preaching. Before seminary and parenthood came onto the scene, we both worked for a few years, with me working in the trades while also beginning to study Greek under Rev. Dean Anderson. Having been encouraged by Rev. Anderson and our elders to pursue my desire for ministry, I buckled down and completed the biblical language prerequisites. Around that time, we welcomed our first child, Hope. And before we knew it, we were stepping off that plane in the Toronto airport.

During my seminary years, I have had the opportunity to teach catechism and to preach, to form friendships in Church and at school, and also to plow through reams of reading. In my second year, I had the privilege of helping out at River’s Edge Haven of Hope, volunteering as a mentor. I benefited greatly from my preaching internship with Rev. Vermeulen at Attercliffe Canadian Reformed Church, where I soaked in all I could and reveled in the opportunity to proclaim God’s Word. After another year zipped by, my third summer turned into winter (milder than previous winters!) as we headed south to Australia. There, I was able to dive into the work of ministry again at Rockingham FRCA. During this time, I also served for a couple of weeks on the mission field with Rev. Kleyn in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

While I was learning and growing, our family was doing some growing of its own. Since moving to Ontario with our daughter Hope (now 4.5 years old), God has blessed us with two more children. We received our son Brody (now three) and another daughter, Sophia (soon to turn one). My wife Kirsty has these past four years enjoyed being involved in our church, Trinity Canadian Reformed Church (Glanbrook), and has also formed close friendships with other seminary wives. We can say with conviction that God has sustained us and even blessed us these past few years. He has built our bond as family and comforted us through our Christian brothers and sisters when extended family was far away.

In the Lord’s kindness, we have learned, grown spiritually, and found joy in our Canadian years. At the same time, I have been confirmed in my own desire to serve the Lord in his Church, if and when that door is opened, and so I will present myself for examination at Classis in June to be declared eligible for call. Meanwhile, we continue to wait on the Lord, looking again and again to his mercy and grace!