In 1910, twenty Dutch immigrants called the Dutch Twenty arrived in Medicine Hat, Alberta and were the first of their countrymen to apply for the “free” homesteads which were advertised as the “last best west” by the Government of Canada.
This book describes how the people tried to farm this arid region. They came together to build a church, later salvaging what they could when they decided to leave for good after their short settlement.
The people lived and grew spiritually by giving thanks to God when they could have cursed the government, the land, and their situation. They instead chose to lead lives filled with thanksgiving, integrity, courage, and faith in a sovereign God who they believed had brought them to Canada despite their initial belief that this land would be the “last best west.”
Robert Westra was an active elder of the Reformed Churches in Alberta for more than fifty years, and president of the Classis of the Canadian Prairies for two three-year terms. This experience has given him the knowledge and experience of the policies, theology, and people of the Reformed Churches of Canada and the United States. As a boy growing up in an agricultural community, and in a Dutch church which was also involved in the settlement of Dutch immigrants during the 1950s, he is well acquainted with the difficulties of the early Dutch immigration experience in Canada. Robert is a retired scientist (BSc., MSc. Ph.D.) and consultant in the agricultural and financial sciences. He lives in Rochester, Alberta with his wife Vyrle Elaine, with whom he has been married for more than fifty-four years. They have four daughters and eleven grandchildren.