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22.12.2021 15:52:45 5998x read.
In Deo Kees Zonneveld (Cornelis Maria) by bro. Wim Swuste FIC

We just heard from the Gospel according to Luke that Jesus sent 36 couples to do recon- naissance work for his mission of peace and justice. Two by two, appointed by Jesus.

The Disciples were given a clear message. In- structions on what to do if the reception was good or not good, what to take for luggage, instructions to link to what others had to offer. It was very clear. The couples sent on mission had been given strict rules.

The instructions Kees had been given at the start of his mission we heard from the lecture of the Constitutions of the Brothers FIC. Kees took those instructions to heart. And when recently he celebrated his 70-year jubilee, he repeated his mission statement again: total availability, permanent readiness to work with the people around him, be well-prepared, and make your own wishes subordinate to those of others for whom and with whom you work, and continue your formation.

In his mission to Malawi, which continued for more than forty years, he carried out his assignment very well. To tell the truth, he was rather proud of having had the strength to do that. We, his relatives and fellow Brothers, can only feel respect for that. That is why we feel Kees has earned his praise. And the Eternal One will surely support us in this.

Kees spent his youth in Haarlem, and went to school with the Brothers. In the sixth form, his teacher was Bro. Edwinus. And Edwinus was a good finder of callings for our congregation. In September 1943, Kees and four others from his class went to the FIC prep school in Simpelveld. At home, there was poverty, and due to the war they had to eat flower bulbs and sugar beets, there was nothing else to be had.

Recently Kees told us he had really enjoyed his time in the noviciate: “We had a great group. Al- most no one left the congregation and I’m happy to say there are four of us left to celebrate our 70-year jubilee.”

On 5 January 1963, Kees with George van de Leur and Hortensius Meeuws leave for Nyasa- land in Africa. He is to work as a teacher at the teacher training college in Maryview. He teaches mathematics. Together with the students, he prepares teaching aids for the children at primary school. His first years there are difficult, because of riots. The country is working toward in- dependence and chooses a new name, Malawi.

On his arrival, Kees is appalled at the terrible poverty and misery among the population. “But,” he says later, “the people and the children were friendly and kind, it was fantastic!”


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