Ukraine, pt 3: Gerhard & Katharina Rempel Willems

 Dear Relatives,           Our great-grandfather, Gerhard Willems, was born in Holland (or Prussia) on Oct. 3, 1820.  He was married to Katharina Rempel in 1841.  They spent some years farming in Russia.  Great-grandmother died in Russia in 1875 at the age of 52. [1]  Gerhard Willems (1820-1900) and Katharina Rempel Willems (1823-1875) are my paternal great-great-grandparents.  … Continue reading Ukraine, pt 3: Gerhard & Katharina Rempel Willems


Ukraine is not just a place on the map to me; it is a land that carries deep, personal meaning. My Grandmother Willems was born in southern Ukraine, in a small Mennonite village on the east bank of the Dnieper River about 200 miles from where that river’s waters empty into the Black Sea. Her … Continue reading Ukraine

How I got to the GTU

"Human inheritance is both blessing and curse.  And in religious inheritance this paradox is acute…. What curses do we need to shed, in the process of growing up?  What can we hold to as blessing? "                                                                    Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith The discovery of Mennonite history was exciting and welcome. But … Continue reading How I got to the GTU